Truluck's

8990 University Center Lane, San Diego CA 92122

Truluck’s, nestled in University City, is always fresh on the dining scene with an edge not many can counter. Renowned for their seafood, they operate a crabbing fleet of no less than sixteen boats off the coast of Naples, Florida. Armed with this advantage, the crab is delivered fresh to your table within twenty-four hours of being caught. Those searching for an alternative to seafood can choose from a selection of seven steaks and chops roasted or grilled to a level of precision unmatched by most steakhouses. For recreational wine drinkers or connoisseurs alike, Truluck’s offers a hundred wines by the sampling, the glass, and the bottle.

Truluck's: Truly Deluxe Dining in La Jolla

Upon entering Truluck’s, one can’t help but be drawn to a large tank full of live crabs and lobsters in the reception area. Renowned for their dedication to the freshest seafood, this Texas chain operates a flotilla of sixteen crabbing boats off the coast of Naples, Florida. Eyeing a reticent stone crab, one can’t help but feel a pang knowing that not twenty-four hours before, he was roaming boundlessly in the Atlantic. As it stands, this evening his loss will be my gain.

The dining room, a large open space cloaked in sweeping shadows, has an understated elegance that instantly renders one at ease. A throwback to older East Coast seafood restaurants, luxurious ruby-red leather booths line the walls and congregate in clusters throughout the room. A skilled jazz instrumentalist sits back behind a grand piano near the bar, crooning disarmingly to fill the lulls in conversation among diners and bar revelers alike. This extra touch creates a soft atmosphere conducive to the unhurried comfort that Truluck's captures in both their ambiance and décor. Stunning in its stark tranquility, a large Marlin adorns the wall directly adjacent to our table, while over every open surface, submerged pink orchids twist lazily in tall cylindrical vases, providing warm splashes of color to the unfussy décor. The wine list, another point of pride for the famed establishment, is impressively presented between the bar and dining room in a temperature controlled glassed-in vault for all to see.

Appetizers

Our meal commences on what I can only deem a positive note, as both items contain the word “tower”: the Chilled Seafood Tower, customized with fresh Maine Jonah crab claws and oysters, and the Tuna Tartar Tower with a side of shrimp chips for dipping. The seafood tower is an impressive spectacle to behold; a plate lined with crushed ice sits on a raised metal stand with smoke from dry ice billowing down entrancingly. The oysters, not usually one of my favorite mollusks, are tender and cool, and well paired with a light champagne mignonette and a flute of the Piper Heidsieck Champagne. The crab claws, partially cracked but still in their shell for the true “crab-eating experience”, are fantastically coupled with a tangy cream-based sauce with smooth hints of mustard and horseradish. The tuna tartar tower, looming five layers tall, is a vibrant arrangement of sea beans, crab, tomato salsa, avocado, and fleshy raw tuna. Plunging a shrimp chip generously through the rainbow of ingredients, I find a childish delight in the crackle ‘n pop that emanates from the tuna on the chip’s porous surface. Both “towers” are testimony to Truluck’s commitment to freshness.

Highly pleased with our appetizers thus far, we opt to stay on the first course and order the Sautéed Superlump Crabcake, the Brazilian Pacu Fish Ribs, and the Warm Goat Cheese. Before the crabcake arrives, our enlightened server, Robert, informs us that it is 92% crabmeat. The wine pairings, a fruity Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and a crisp Grüner Veltliner from Austria, showcase a small fraction of the hundred wines by the sampling, the glass, and the bottle that makes Truluck’s such a well-rounded establishment for recreational wine drinkers and connoisseurs alike.

When the jumbo crabcake descends upon our table, our jaws drop at the sheer mass of it. Resting on a creamy sauce packed with fresh herbs, the golden-brown orb is an indulgence in crab to rival the previous Jonah crab claws. Unencumbered by stuffing, the fresh white meat's flavor radiates alongside a zesty, herb infused sauce. 

The Brazilian Pacu Fish Ribs resemble a glazed cross between fish sticks and ribs, and produce a heady scent of barbeque and island fruit that has me nearly overlooking the two thin bones holding the flavor-packed meat together. Grilled watermelon triangles dangle daintily over a simple slaw.

The Warm Goat Cheese appetizer, a change from our steady stream of seafood, demonstrates that chef Nathan Boothe has culinary depth that reaches well beyond the sea’s bounty. Two toasted pieces of crostini lie over a generous lump of goat cheese scattered with olives, sweet chilies, and spiced pecans. A testament to flavor, the tartness of the creamy cheese is a lovely contrast to the nutty sweetness of the pecans, the brininess of the olives, and the spiciness of the chilies. 

Our culinary revelry is continued with the Lobster and Leek Soup and the Hot-House Tomato Salad. The soup appears in the deceptive form of an empty bowl with a few pieces of ripe lobster meat drizzled among crème fraiche and caviar. A moment later, Robert expertly pours a stream of steaming soup into our bowls from a dainty silver tureen, plunging the lobster out of view and causing the crème fraiche to form swirling patterns across a hearty pea-colored base. The soup itself is light and creamy while the lobster, crème fraiche, and caviar add a rich and salty impact that sends waves of bliss surging down my throat.

The Hot-House Salad is a sight to behold; a halved tomato is fully submerged by buttermilk dressing, Parmesan shavings, dill, shaved red onion, and Applewood smoked bacon. The creamy heaviness of the dressing and its accompanying ingredients is complemented by the freshness of the tomato in an ingenious pairing.

Entrees

Despite its devotion to the surf, Truluck’s also pays homage to turf with a selection of steaks and chops. The Filet of Beef Oscar, a 5 oz. cut topped with fresh Maine Peekytoe crab, shaved asparagus, jalapeno Béarnaise, and a side of Parmesan mashed potatoes, is truly a study in the art of grilling. Paired with an elegant 2005 Viader Syrah, my knife slices through the buttery pink portion effortlessly. The succulent morsel all but melts in my mouth alongside the smooth, rich jalapeno Béarnaise. Not to be outdone, the asparagus and crab provide a healthy yet creative seafood alternative as a side.

Next up is the South African Cold Water Lobster Tail, better known to the seafood aficionados as “the Rolls Royce of lobster”. The open-faced tail is drizzled with a simple yet savory lemon and garlic butter. The classy crustacean proves to be sweet and tender, with a butter that doesn’t detract from the meat’s velvety smooth texture and overall freshness. A side of seasoned Parmesan mashed potatoes whipped up to precision alongside some not-too-firm and not-too-soft grilled asparagus complete the dish.

The King Crab Macaroni and Cheese, one of Truluck’s dozen or so side options, proves impossible to resist. A medley of baked cheeses made with a rich buttery roux back my long held theory that there’s more to macaroni and cheese than noodles, butter, processed powdered cheese, and milk. With a generous splaying of thick chunks of crab mingling amid penne steeped in full-flavored cheeses, it’s an instant hit at the table.

Alongside our next entrée, the Dutch Harbor Red King Crab, it’s the sort of epicurean experience gourmands like myself only dream about. My first encounter with a crab this large, I approach the creature with an intimidation I wouldn't normally associate with food. Apprehension proves unnecessary: the crabmeat abundantly pours out of its shell, helping me avoid the sort of catapulting crab debacles that would normally ensue for me in this situation. Dipped in the same lemon-garlic butter as the lobster, it is chunky and tender, the flavors harmonizing in the most succulent of ways.

Desserts

The pièce de résistance comes in the form of a two-person serving of the three-layer carrot cake. Awarded Best Carrot Cake in both Florida and Texas, where the Truluck’s chain reigns supreme over quality seafood, it more than delivers in both taste and presentation. A thin drizzle of warm butterscotch syrup gracefully poured in front of us by Robert has our eyes glazing and our mouths watering in anticipation. Not dense like most cakes of its kind, this sinful treat boasts a light, fluffy cream cheese frosting and a generous helping of candied pecans over a moist and spice enriched cake.

The Dark Chocolate Cake, equal in silhouette and magnitude yet not as sweeping in flavor as the carrot cake, is not for the faint of stomach. All three layers of the rich cake are robed in a ganache of the finest quality milk chocolate and topped with a bouquet of wild berries. The fresh fruit combined with a scoop of the purest vanilla ice cream offset the richness of the cake in both taste and temperature to create a seductive mingling of the senses. Thanks to the two-person servings of both these delicious desserts, we find ourselves up to our ears in leftovers, and marvel at the idea of dessert for breakfast after our stomachs have had a night of repose to recover.

Reluctant to leave, but just as eager to burrow into a well-deserved food coma, we inch our way out of the booth and into the crisp night air. As we take in our surroundings, we notice that the outdoor patio has filled up with a few tables. Heat lamps and fire pits alike keep guests protected from that San Diego coastal chill. Surpassingly satisfied with both the surf and the turf, we go home with smiles on our face over the recent memory of our culinary indulgence, as well as the promise of leftovers in the morning.


 
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Reservations


  Business Info

  • Address: 8990 University Center Lane, San Diego CA 92122
  • Cross Street: Lebon Drive
  • Location: La Jolla & UTC | UTC
  • Cuisine: California | Seafood |
  • Cost: | Moderate
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Meals Served: Dinner |
  • Parking: Street | Public Lot | Valet Parking |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard | Discover | Diners Club |
  • Corkage Fee: 25.00 | Per 750ml bottle.
  • Phone: (858) 453-2583
  • Features: Full Bar, Famous Chef, Live Entertainment, Organic Ingredients, Outdoor Seating, Private Room, Prix Fixe Menu, Takeout Available, Working Fireplace, Wheelchair Access, Valet Parking, Happy Hours, Personal Wines Allowed, Healthy Options,
  • Occasion: Romantic Dining, Dining Alone, Business Dining, Meet for a Drink, Quiet Conversation, Special Occasion,

  Business Hours

Reservations Available

Monday
Dinner - Main Dining Room 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.  
Happy Hours - Stone Crab Lounge 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  
Tuesday
Dinner - Main Dining Room 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.  
Happy Hours - Stone Crab Lounge 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  
Wednesday
Dinner - Main Dining Room 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.  
Happy Hours - Stone Crab Lounge 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  
Thursday
Dinner - Main Dining Room 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.  
Happy Hours - Stone Crab Lounge 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  
Friday
Dinner - Main Dining Room 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.  
Happy Hours - Stone Crab Lounge 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  
Saturday
Dinner - Main Dining Room 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.  
Happy Hours - Stone Crab Lounge 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  
Sunday
Dinner - Main Dining Room 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.  
Happy Hours - Stone Crab Lounge 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  

  F.A.Q.s

Frequently Asked Questions
Every night from 6pm until closing
No, Trulcuk's is located on University Lane and Lebon Drive about 3 miles from the beach.
Truluck's dress code is casual elegant. A dress code key can be found on: http://www.sandiegorestaurants.com/article.cfm/article/15/Dressing-to-Dine--Dress-codes-defined

 Menus

Dinner Menu

All of Truluck's menu items are trans-fat free. This is a sample menu only. Prices and availability may be subject to change.

Fresh Florida Stone Crab Claws

Cold Appetizers

HOT APPETIZERS

SECOND COURSE

PRIME SEAFOOD CLASSICS

FILETS

PRIME CUTS

CRAB & LOBSTER

SIGNATURE SIDES

SIDES

Bar Menu

Join us for our fabulous Cocktail Hour from 4:30 - 6:30 pm daily. Enjoy Half-Price Cocktails, Featured Wines, and Selected Appetizers. Sit, Sip, Relax! This is a sample menu only. Prices and availability may be subject to change.

APPETIZERS

FEATURED WINES BY THE GLASS

FOR THE LOVE OF VODKA

GIN ESSENTIALS

TO KILL A TEQUILA

WHISKEY A GO-GO

READY TO RUM-BLE?

WINED UP

Gluten Free Menu

This is a sample menu only. Prices and availability may be subject to change.

FRESH FLORIDA STONE CRAB CLAWS

Cold Appetizers

SECOND COURSE

FISH

CRAB, LOBSTER & PRIME CUTS

DESSERT


Customer Reviews & Ratings

Truluck's  

A very welcoming atmosphere, with the guest service and welfare as its top priority the wait staff from the moment you enter to the time you depart is outstanding I highly recommend this resturant for any occasion. If you want to make it special make it Truluck's Special!!!!

Truluck's Dining Experience  

Everything about the ambience, service, cordiality, and meal were excellent and deserving of the high rating this restaurant receives. Our group thoroughly enjoyed the meal, ambience and service we received. Truluck's is equal to some of the best restaurants in Chicago where we are from and dine regularly. Thanks.

Great Bartenders!!!  

LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THE RESTAURANT BUT THE BARTENDING STAFF STANDS OUT! I WISH I COULD REMEMBER HER NAME, EVENING OF 2/5/2013 6PM. WE DECIDED TO EAT AT THE BAR AND CANCEL OUR TABLE IN THE RESTAURANT. HAD A BLAST!!!! GREAT FOOD, GREAT WINE LIST, SUPER COOL DRINKS, OLD FASIONED AND NEW EXCOTIC DRINKS!!

outstanding food  

The food was great. Poor customer service on behalf of the waitress. The rest team was outstanding.

DC  

Want a nice restraint specializing in seafood? Truluck’s cuisine offered several fresh choices. The service was excellent while allowing us to take our time to enjoy a birthday celebration.

excellent service  

Everything about this restaurant is amazing. . The food was delicious. .. the service from the staff was the best.. I came from la and I was looking for a great place to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday and I know that I made a great decision. I will definitely recomed this reataurant to any one.

Excellent. I'll be back.  

The waiter was excellent. Great service. Great food, except my asparagus was overcooked. All of the staff was very friendly and professional. I was there for a special birthday dinner, and the waiter brought out a special birthday dessert for my date. The individual french press coffee pots (for each person) was a very nice touch. Desserts were awesome...especially the carrot cake. Very nice place!

Absolutely AMAZING!  

This was the best dining experience we have had in the past several years. Now I can see why they won Best of the Best! Went to Truluck's to celebrate our friend's engagement in style and our expectations were surpassed. Our server Molly was fantastic throughout the entire meal. The medium crab claws were a huge hit and the "best" caeser salad hands down. Entrees were perect. Swordfish Pontchartrain, Ciopinno, Filet and New York Strip. Dessert was over the top with a slice of carrot cake that was enough for 6 people. Thank you to the folks at Truluck's La Jolla for the memorable experience. We will all be back soon.

Great night!  

Really enjoined the place. The wife loved it. the Happy hour was great. Food was great. Drink Really good.

Truluck's Birthday Dinner  

The ambiance, service and food was a perfect complement for a birthday dining experience. Our small group of four shared a booth and found the setting excellent for converstation. Service was outstanding - timely, informative and friendly.

Outstanding!!!  

Truluck's is certainly up there with the best of them.

Phenomenal!!  

Best restaurant I have eaten at hands down. Ambiance was great and my girlfriend and I had a wonderful evening.

Trulucks Happy Hour Menu  

I recently went to Truluck's with the plans of having dinner there. My husband noticed the restaurant had happy hour 4-7 pm daily and we decided to change our dinner plans to go to happy hour for 3 hours. It was a great experience. There were many selections of appetizers and drinks all half the regular price. We ordered 6 different appetizers which were all excellent. La Jolla Voodoo was an awesome drink. I would definitely come back, again for another date night with my husband.

Excellent Restaurant!  

We have never been here before, but when we walked in we knew it was a very fancy place. The food was absolutely incredible and the service we received was really great. Fantastic food for a very decent price. Cheers to Truluck's!

Excellent restaurant!!!  

We had the BEST meal we have EVER had at Truluck's! Make sure to try the scallops and the sea bass with Pontratrain sauce -- both of these dishes are incredible! Food, service and staff are outstanding! If you visit San Diego, you must visit Truluck's!

Outstanding  

Great food, amazing service, beautiful surroundings!

A great meal  

Worth the drive to La Jolla. We were on vacation and have now been to San Diego, Santa Barbara and Napa and keep going back to Truluck's as the best meal of our trip and an overall great experience. From beginning to end. Wsh we lived closer so we could go back again/more often. They really care about providing a great meal and a great dining experience.

To die for  

My wife said Truluck's served the best lobster she's ever had! It's a restaurant you need to dine at for your palet's pleasure.

Best Service in San Diego  

I read the reviews for this restaurant and thought we had to give it a try and it was worth it. The food is great but more importantly, the service was outstanding. I finally felt like the staff worked for their money and ensured that everything was perfect.

Really great service and..food!  

Everything was really good and the service was really great!

Great Restaurant  

Very relaxed, fun, yet upscale atmosphere. Will definitely go back. Amazing food and our waiter was great!

Won't be disappointed!  

Our daughter will be attending UCSD this fall from Louisville, Kentucky so we are trying to find some excellent restaurants in the area. I went on San Diego's Best Restaurants and found Trulucks. I reviewed the menu and knew that the family would enjoy the fresh seafood offerings. It is pricy but the food was excellent! Our server, Sammy helped make it a memorable evening....during dinner the manager stopped by to check on us..a very nice touch. Don't hesitate to go here as you will not be disappointed!

An overall A+  

We had made reservations here to celebrate our daughter's graduation from UCSD. Everything, starting from the ambiance, was excellent. Truluck's had come highly recommended and sure lived up to it. The food was really delicious, the service impeccable. 

Great Choice  

I was visiting San Diego and looked on-line for San Diego's top ten restaurants and found Truluck's. The restaurant was voted #1 and did not disappoint. The service was second to none and the food was to die for. I would not hesitate to recommend Truluck's for any occasion.

Best in San Diego  

be prepared to pay for this wonderful dining expereince. It's worth it!

Great Restaurant  

Great food, great service, great music

WOW  

Truluck's was amazing. The food the service and the Live music amazing.

Nice dinner  

Didn't know what to expect when I got there, but was definently impressed by the service, food, and prices

Great Flavors  

The food was so good, so good that you find yourself thinking about the favors days later...how often does that happen? Amazing!!

Best Seafood in San Diego  

If you want to have a nice evening in a sea food restaurant in San Diego do not miss Truluck's. Service is great, sea food is excelent. Live jazz music is great. Try the king crab pawns. Oysters are perfect. Do not miss this place.

Outstanding Experience  

We went to Truluck for my husband's birthday. It was a first visit but it will not be our last. Excellent food, nice atmosphere and impeccable service.

Great Experience...  

I met my co-workers for a celebratory drink on the patio and later met my date for dinner in the resturant. The service, food and drink were outstanding. Thanks Trulucks for making that night worth remembering!

Great as a NOLA restaurant!  

One of the best restaurant I've been to - and I've been to all the greats in New Orleans. The service, ambiance and quality are top-notch, but be prepared to pay.

WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE  

We had an exceptional dinner, celebrating 45 years of marriage. Even though our wait staff knew it was a celebration, they didn't make a big scene (thank you) and the chef sent us a beautful bread pudding dessert to share. We will return

Going Back for the Lobster  

Best Lobster I had ever had. The South African lobster came with two large tails and the flavor was amazing. Everything else was really good but the lobster just blew me away. It was Market Price and the bill wasn't as bad as I was expecting and we had Champagne. So I loved it and I'm going back for the lobster!!

Truluck Anniversary Dinner  

great place for date night! The staff was helpful and the bar vibe was great place to hang and have cocktails

Perfect Birthday dinner for a sea food lover.  

Thank you, Honey Sheridan

Excellent  

From the moment we walked into the restaurant your staff treated us as VIPs. The hostess quickly found our reservation led us to the bar to enjoy a few drinks and appetizer since we arrived 30 minutes early. The waitress in the bar was very informative and intuitive to our needs and handed us off to our table with no glitches and the waiter carried us through the dinner service from there. The food was sublime we each had a different crab for our entre and finished the meal with a desert. The food and service was exactly what you would come to expect and a little bit more. We will be returning to your restaurant for another evening very soon.

Visiting from San Juan Capistrano  

Had a perfect dinner and wonderful evening on Saturday, January 14. We were in Torrey Pines on business and made last minute reservations based on rankings on internet reviews. We shared several appetizers and the South African lobster...all excellent. Gina was friendly and perfectly professional and helpful with ordering. Our reservation was for 8:30 and we ran up against the closing of the kitchen. Gina very skillfully kept our meal flowing smoothly. And the live music was a big bonus; made the evening perfect! We happen to like American songbook as well as 50's to 60's and the wide range and smooth transitions from the likes of the Isley brothers to Cole Porter and Gershwin was more than we could have requested. Will definitely be back on next trip to SD.

Truluck's Fantastic  

Great selection of fresh seafood, prepared perfectly. Go for the large stone crab claws as an appetizer. Truly amazing. We have recommended this restaurant to everyone we know that lives in or travels to San Diego. L&B Las Vegas

Truluck's  

Best place ever

Truluck's made my BDay  

Celebrating the birthday in Truluck's was the best pick ever. The service, the food, the atmosphere, just everything was excellent. I would go there again for any other occasion!

Wedding Anniversary at Truluck´s  

Excellent experience: nice place, great food and outstanding service!!!

Truluck's = An Excellent Dingin Experience  

Absolutely one of the best dining experiences we've ever had. Knowledgeable waiter whose timing when coming back to our table was perfect, great ambience, excellent food, friendly staff. The service and the food were outstanding. We would not hesitate to go back to make our way thru the rest of the menu. Thank you Truluck's!

Best Seafood!  

Staff was excellent, food was outstanding and evening was memmorable. I will definately return when I visit San Diego again.

Impeccable !!!!!!!  

From the moment we arrived the service was amazing The lighting and decor amazing, the food was also Delicious and I highly recommend this restaurant and will Visit here again for sure. I would have to say truthfully that My experience here was one of the best ever!!!

Nice date night!  

Wanted to take my date to a nice place and wasn't disapointed. Made reservation, we got there a little early and they took us right to a great table..Service and food was excellent!

Nice date night!  

Wanted to take my date to a nice place wasn't disapointed.Made reservation we got there a little early they took us rite in to great table..Service and food was excellent!

Wonderful restaurant  

Going to this restaurant was one of the highlights of our trip to San Diego. Wonderful experience in every way. Definitely recommend it!

WE LOVE TRULUCK'S  

My boyfriend surprised me with a nice dinner at Truluck's to celebrate my new job. I had never been there before and was pleasantly surprised. We loved the atmosphere and the live piano player completely set the mood. We had an awesome waiter, Danny Trahan, and the food was delicious! We aren't rich, so we don't go to places like Truluck's often, but we will definitely be back in the future. What a great evening!