Humphreys

$50 - $75 Top 10 Recommended Special Offer Private Room View

Step into the main dining room of Humphreys Restaurant and understand how opulence is mastered. The large multileveled room is bathed in soft light and flowing panels of pale gray and ice blue upholstery. Juxtaposed against the whimsical softness of the colors are massive exposed beams that lend an anchor to a bay-side view that threatens to draw you in completely. The menu is thoughtful and inventive in the way it continues this balance between the ethereal and masculine – the Mirin Sesame Shrimp appetizer positions two large shrimp atop a bed of mango-mint relish that is refreshingly cool against a wasabi dressing. The menu and decor offer a cohesive gesture of sophistication that may just leave you swooning.

Humphrey's: An Island of Temptations

Humphrey’s by the Bay is a veritable San Diego landmark.  Both a popular concert venue and a highly-esteemed restaurant, local audiophiles and foodies alike flock to Humphrey’s for multi-sensory satisfaction.  Removed from the urban sprawl and congestion of “mainland” San Diego, the restaurant’s Shelter Island location offers the tranquility of a desert isle within close proximity to the conveniences of a bustling metropolis. Chef Paul Murphy’s globally-inspired menu adds to the exotic travel fantasy, with its bold, revitalizing flavors that, in true island style, tend to accentuate the bounties of the sea.  With breath-taking tableside views of the city, punctuated by the lazy bobbing of sailboats docked along the shore, Humphrey’s is a delicious respite.

Although Shelter Island is already cloaked in darkness on this late autumn evening, we are drawn by the soft glow emanating from the restaurant like moths to a flame.  We follow the meandering road and faint illumination to Humphrey’s by the Bay. Turning into the parking lot, the restaurant emerges from an outcrop of palm trees like a lavish Swiss Family Robinson-inspired island retreat.  The large, glass-fronted entrance greets us, giving us intriguing glimpses of the lush dining room that lies beyond its doors.  We are led on a winding path past the curtained private room into the main dining area, an open space in cool neutral tones.  The focal point of the 168-capacity space is the large wall of windows at the far end: although hidden under the black of night, subtle glimmers of light and slight shadows from buoyed boats hint at a stunning view.  An iron sculpture suspended from the ceiling, suggestive of Brancusi’s futurist birds and Calder’s abstract mobiles, offsets the dark wooden beams and adds an erudite sophistication to the minimalist space.  We settle into the expansive heather grey armchairs by the window, immediately comfortable in this approachably elegant dining environment.

We are immediately greeted by our server, Tim, who presents the menu and wine list with a flourish and offers helpful and knowledgeable guidance.  The wine list is an extensive multi-page assortment of predominantly California wines, with a smattering of Australian and European vineyards to round out the collection.  The menu is more pared down, offering a careful selection of dishes with varied and exotic influences: the ingredients and culinary styles of Asia, the Mediterranean, and Middle East are all fair game in Executive Chef Paul Murphy’s deft hands.  While the dishes favor seafood, more red-blooded options are also offered for meat lovers.  Overwhelmed by the diversity of the menu, and its intriguing flavor combinations, we willingly submit to Tim’s suggestions for our appetizers.  With drinks and appetizers ordered, we sit back and relax into Humphrey’s soothing candlelit calm.

Our appetizers arrive all at once, an artful collection of culinary presentation.  The soft pink of shrimp attracts us to the Mirin Sesame Shrimp.  The large, meaty crustaceans curl sensuously around each other, accented by a garnish of mandolined cucumber slices and a pool of the sweet, pink-hued rice wine for which the dish is named.  As we each spear a shrimp, we expose a hidden component to the dish: a relish punctuated by chunks of vibrant yellow mango and sweet red bell pepper.  The dish plays with the subtle nuances between different forms of sweetness: the salty sweetness of the shrimp is juxtaposed against the more tangy sugar of the mango and the mirin’s stronger fermented flavor.  Accents of mint refresh the taste buds and complement the coolness of the dish.

The Stuffed Figs are presented like an abstract work of art.  A long, thin dish is dotted by deep purple halved figs, their open faces glistening like wet paint blots on an artist’s palette.  The dish is garnished by balsamic vinegar and a scattering of slivered almonds, adding notes of chaos to the precision of the composition.  The taste confounds my preconceptions: rather than being sweet and fruity, each morsel is dominated by a savory earthiness, accented by the pungent, warm blue cheese.  It introduces a seasonal component to our feasting and a welcome warmth on this chill autumn evening.
The Seared Blue Crab Cake, an astounding, near dinner plate-sized golden mound, dwarfs the other appetizers.  Substantial enough to be a main course, it is drizzled with a zigzag of cilantro sauce, a vibrant green reflected in the verdant tangle of escarole and mixed greens that accompanies the dish.  Pungent shallots and citrus are dominant flavors, adding potency to the mild crab meat.  Hints of Asian culinary influence intrigue the tongue, the nutty flavor of sesame perhaps, or miso’s sweet acidity used so sparingly they are ethereal and elusive.  Dipping a hearty chunk of crab cake into the cool garlicky aioli adds new layers of complexity to the dish, making for a light but nuanced dish.  Although trying to save room for the feast to follow, my dining companion and I have a difficult time resisting this tasty creation.

The Maple Glazed King Salmon on a Plank is an unadorned ode to the splendor of this oceanic “king.”  The fish is served atop the very plank it is cooked on, presenting a startlingly rustic juxtaposition to the refined quality and skilled preparation of the dish.  The pink flesh of the fish peeks seductively from beneath its deep, smoky maple sauce, tantalizing us with the promise of boldly satisfying flavors.  Reminiscent of “salmon candy” from the Pacific Northwest, the sweetness and inherent richness of the buttery salmon is intensified by the roasted, sticky sugariness of the spicy maple glaze coating it.  Creamy, white mashed potatoes and bright orange carrot spears, radiating from the salmon steak toward the edge of the plate, act together as a simple platform for the salmon’s dynamic flavors, focusing the palate on the dish’s main attraction.  It is a dish that reveals the unexpected complexities and sense of culinary opulence conveyed by high quality ingredients.

Confounding my expectations, I am surprised when the Gorgonzola Walnut Raviolis are delivered to our table.  Instead of the modest pile of pasta I anticipated, I am greeted instead by a brick of tender shortrib, filling the air with the gamey aroma of braised meat.  Two tree-sized broccoli florets add a contrasting note of color to the dish.  It is only after deconstructing the shortrib that the raviolis are revealed: large, fluffy pasta rounds that form a soft cushion for the meat and soak up all of its flavorful jus.  The butternut squash filling, accented by cinnamon and nutmeg, acts as a counterpoint to the shortrib’s heartiness and imparts a sweetness that balances this earthy, savory dish.  Like the Stuffed Figs, this dish captures the comforting flavors of autumn, with the spicy sweetness and nourishing heat of a winter stew.

Despite the growing mountain of takeout containers we are accumulating, we can’t resist sampling Humphrey’s sweet confections.  In the spirit of overindulgence that has characterized the rest of our meal, three desserts arrive to the table, each tempting us with their virtues, and sinful attractions.  Each are manifestations of the diverse possibilities of sweet tooth satisfaction.  The White Chocolate Cheesecake is an elegant cylinder of creamy white with a dark chocolate crumble crust encircled by a vivid red berry coulis.  The white chocolate adds a buttery taste to the velvety cheesecake, with the flavors being brightened by the tangy sauce.  The Chocolate Lava Cake is a study in texture and darkly sweet decadence.  True to its name, a miniature volcano of fluffy cake rises from the plate alongside a tiny ramekin of vanilla bean ice cream.  A long thin chocolate cigar rests on top of the cake, another eloquent use of chocolate as a culinary medium.  Upon sinking my fork into the cake it “erupts,” flooding the plate with warm chocolate sauce.  As the palate nears chocolate saturation, a taste of cool ice cream refreshes the taste buds and prepares the mouth for more indulgence.  Unlike the weighty decadence of the White Chocolate Cheesecake and the Chocolate Lava Cake, the Pear Bread Pudding is a surprisingly light refreshment.  Basking in its warm, bruléed sugar aromas, it is an immediate enticement.  A little scoop of caramel-colored dulce de leche ice cream crowns the crisp, golden confection, melting slowly under its radiant heat.  The first bite is a surprise: the bread pudding has the airy flakiness of a baklava, without its greasy heaviness.  It crackles in the mouth, dissolving into pure caramelized sweetness.  Chunks of pear add a slight crunch and fruitiness to the dessert, grounding its flaky etherealness with the nostalgic, countrified flavors of a warm pie.  While each dessert is an expression of pastry mastery, the Pear Bread Pudding is a clear favorite.

We stagger toward the door under the weight of our leftovers and full stomachs, giddy from the serotonin rush of our bacchanal extravagance.   Driving down the winding road leading back to civilization, we reluctantly leave behind Humphrey’s island of temptations, cheered only by the knowledge that this gluttonous getaway is not too far out of reach.

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  Restaurant Info

  • 2241 Shelter Island Drive
    San Diego CA 92106
  • Address: 2241 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego CA 92106
  • Cross Street: Anchorage Lane
  • Location: Point Loma & Ocean Beach | Shelter Island
  • Cuisine: Seafood |
  • Cost: $$$ | Moderate | $50 - $75
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Dress Code: Casual Elegant
  • Meals Served: Breakfast | Brunch | Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking: Street | Public Lot | Private Lot |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | Mastercard | Discover |
  • Corkage Fee: 15.00 | Per 750ml bottle.
  • Staff: Paul Murphy | Executive Chef
  • Phone: (619) 224-3577

  Business Hours

Monday
Main Dining Room | Breakfast 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Tuesday
Main Dining Room | Breakfast 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Wednesday
Main Dining Room | Breakfast 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Thursday
Main Dining Room | Breakfast 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Breakfast 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Breakfast 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday
Main Dining Room | Breakfast 7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Main Dining Room | Brunch 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Features

Occasion

 


  F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

The brunch is $39.95/adult and $16/children ages 4-11yrs old.
Humphreys does not have an ocean view, but does have a beautiful view of the San Diego Bay.

 Menus

Breakfast

A Fresh Start

For a Very Special Breakfast

A la Carte

Sunday Champagne Jazz Brunch

From the Sea

Carving Station

Specialty Selections

Tradition Morning Fare

Sweet Endings

Lunch Menu

Small Plates

Field Greens & Soup

In Between

Full Plates

Dinner Menu

Field Greens & Soup

Extras

Entrees

Celebrate

Small Plates


 User Reviews

My visit  

My visit was great I loved the meal I got. The view was great and the service was really good. Cant wait til we go again.

Semper Fidelis  

Humphreys was the perfect choice for our celebration. It is conveniently located near the MCRD, beautifully appointed with a great view of the sailboats which I am terribly fond of. Kudos to the chef and server; our meal was fresh and delicious. The complimentary dessert for our new Marine was most welcome. Thank you!

Fantastic place to eat  

Humphreys is a great place to eat. The food is terrific and the prices are not too expensive. The view in the bay adds a great feel to the overall establishment.

Anniversary Dinner  

In town for business and a few vacation days with wife. Anniversary dinner at Humphreys was outstanding. A very professional staff. Polite, knowledgable of menu and wine pairings. The atmosphere was very nice, subdued lighting and comfortable chairs. Dinner was well prepared and nicely presented. Cocktails were top shelf. For a special occasion, or just a first class dining experience, I'd recommend Humphreys.

Delicious!  

The salmon and the seafood risotto were incredible!

Lunch at Humphreys  

We celebrated my mother's 85th birthday at Humphrey's. Staff were attentive and personable. The lunch menu provided ample choices and the prices were quite reasonable. We had a relaxing family celebration in very comfortable chairs, with a lovely view of the marina. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Lunch at Humphreys  

We celebrated my mother's 85th birthday at Humphrey's. Staff were attentive and personable. The lunch menu provided ample choices and the prices were quite reasonable. We had a relaxing family celebration in very comfortable chairs, with a lovely view of the marina. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Humphrey's is addicting  

We returned for a graduation celebration and everything was perfect. I can't really add much to an earlier review -- the food is great and the service is terrific. Even though it was a busy Saturday night, we received attentive service and were never rushed.

"BEST" Brunch Ever!!!  

My husband and I were on our last day of vacation in San Diego. He heard about Humphrey's on 98.1 Smooth Jazz station. We used our GPS to find the restaurant and to our wonder, it was located on a beautiful scenic bay. He told me how much it would cost, but I decided to go and enjoy myself with my husband. That was the most wonderful brunch I have ever had!!! We love to eat out. Our children our in college and we, finally, have time to spend on ourselves. Someone said that it was pricy. I feel that it was well worth it. The food was excellent!! The atmosphere, live smooth jazz, was off the chart, and the ambience was incredible!! My husband and I are from South Carolina. We travel quite a bit, but have never encountered a breakfast brunch like the one at Humphreys. I not only plan to let friends know about this wonderful restaurant, but will look forward to returning to San Diego just so that we can have brunch there. The service was excellent, the food was excellent, the jazz was excellent. What can I say but the whole experience there was "EXCELLENT".

The most sumptuous brunch in the city  

Humphrey's Sunday brunch is fantastic - legendary in fact! More food than you can possibly sample including plenteous seafood, a pasta station, an omelet station, generously carved roasts, sushi, and great desserts. The champagne flows freely and the service is good. Be sure to make reservations and linger over the food. You won't need to eat again that day. Oh, and if all this isn't enough, there is live jazz as well.

Lunch and Sail Boats  

The kitchen and bar were slow for an unbusy Saturday lunch. We loved the menu, the ambiance and our waitperson. We enjoyed it and thought the price was very fair. Huge wine pour when it finally came.

Very Nice  

We had looked on line for a restaurant with an ocean view and had been convince from the information about Humphreys that this was the case, so we were a little dissappointed to just have a view of hundreds of boats tied up in the harbor. The food was excellent and just about made me forget about my dissappointment with the view. The service was good, but the waitress had more tables than she could handle efficiently, telling us that she would bring the dessert menu for us to look at "in a few minutes." Still the food was fantastic and I would recommend it and go back again, just not when I want to enjoy looking out over the ocean as we eat.

Holiday dinner with Family  

Took my family to Humphreys restaurant the night after Christmas. When I did my research this place looks fantastic and it really was, however, don't be fool about the looks. I give the service a poor rating for not uderstanding what the customers needs and wants. The most thing that really bothers me about a fancy place like this you would think the server would at least ask each individual in your party what they would like to drink but instead they serve everyone a glass of water you didn't order. So much for child friendly dinning the kids where ignore and my Wife and I had to walk to the outside bar to order our drinks. Overall I think this is unacceptable service and waste of your money but the food was great. I guest you just can't have it both ways.

A Great San Diego Brunch Experience  

Never a Dissappointment-= Great Food ,Great View, and a relaxing Brunch!

Great Experience  

This was my pre-prom dinner, and when I had first got there, there was no parking so we had to park about a block down, and had to walk. When we first stepped in it looked like a bar only and was very loud, until we were seated in the dining room where it was nice and quiet and we were sat right next to the window where we got to see the nice scenery. The waitor was very nice, and complemented my date on her dress multiple times and my tuxedo. The meal was a little pricey, but it was very nice, even though the plates were small. I would recommend this to a friend, and I would come here again.

Great food, great service, nice atmosphere  

We came here last fall and enjoyed a leisurely dinner. The menu has excellent selections for those not wanting seafood. I don't remember exactly what it was, but the signature soup was tasty. Our server was knowledgeable and made some useful suggestions. The dining area filled rapidly and I we felt it got a little noisy, but it wasn't obnoxious. A great experiencen - we will be returning.

Nuce Dinner  

If your are looking for a nice and confortable place to take a dinner with your wife or some friends, this is an excellent option!!!!

Romantic Dining Experience  

Good food and service. Romantic atmosphere and good selection. However, not enough seafood selections.

valentine dinner  

Humphry's has some really good food. The price is a little high but it has a fantastic atmosphere and great view.

Chief needs some help from Chief Rahmsey!! Waitres  

My husband and I were here April 10/11 for Breakfast. Beautiful restaurant,with breath taking views, hostess out standing! Waitress, rude to guests with children,rude to elderly!

poor service but great food  

We went here for mothersday brunch and the service we receive was very poor. It took about 10 - 12 min for us to be greated by our waitress. And when she did come she gave us some excuse about she thought we were changing tables. I have to say that they were busy, but she did greet another couple as soon as they sat down and in the meantime we were still waiting for her to come to our table. Food selection was great. Nothing was overcooked and everything was delicious.

humphrys  

atmosphere was amazing. we felt very welcomed. service was very nice! it was a classy resturant that had it all from sit down to a nice meal, dancing, and shows. 

Just not good  

We only went once but the food was bland, the service was fair at best, the portions were small and the prices were high. Specifically the calamari was cold and poorly seasoned. The scallop entree' came with three medium/small scallops that were a bit slimy and ran $27. My wife's meal was similarly forgettable. On the plus side the ambiance, chairs and view were very nice. (Just not nice enough to go back). We wanted very much to like it but we cannot recommend it in good conscience.

Caution  

If this is a planned romantuc night please choose another spot, or I guarantee you'll be disappointed. I'm warning you.