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Ratings: 10 | Reviews: 10 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mzwolinski:
4.7/5 rDev +4.4%
I had never heard of this place until my incredible wife found it in mentioned in a local magazine and decided to surprise me with a beer dinner here. God she's great.
Now that I've been there, I definitely believe this to be one of San Diego's most underrated beer establishments. What makes this place special is not its collection of great beers -- which it has. It's not even a great location -- which it also has. It's the food, the way in which the food pairs with the beer, and the way in which the staff *knows* the food and the beer and how they pair. This is a place for a truly wonderful culinary experience, showcasing wonderful beer in its best setting -- with wonderful food.
The beer list, as others have mentioned, is impressive. Lots of Belgians on the menu, some Victory, a few beers from Unibroue, lots of local stuff from Pizza Port, Ballast Point, Alesmith etc. And not everything they have is on the menu. If you don't find something you want, ask for it.
The food menu is what really impressed me. It's not a huge selection, but it's certainly more respectable than some of the other reviews on here led me to expect. It's a 2 page menu, with choices that are designed to pair well with beer and wine. Coriander crusted Ahi tuna and dijon crusted pork chops in a sage balsamic reduction were some of the main courses (I had the latter). The salads also looked creative and tasty. And there are a variety of appetizers, including three different cheese boards (American, European, and Brie -- with the particular cheeses varying from week to week), and a selection of seasoned and unseasoned olives from around the world.
Prices were variable. The food was extremely reasonably priced. $8 for a gourmet cheese board and most of the main courses were in the $10-15 price. A bargain for the quality and thought that goes into these dishes. Beer, on the other hand, can be pricey. Expect about a 80% markup from what you'd pay at the store. BUT! If you go, as we did, during happy hour, beer bottles are 50% off! Which means I got to pair my selection of European cheese ($8)with a 750ml bottle of Brasserie Dupont's Foret for about $6.50. Not too shabby!
Service was excellent. Our waiter, Peter, knew his beer very well, and knew enough about the menu to help with some great pairings. Very attentive and courteous -- though again, this is probably another reason to stop by during happy hour when they're a bit less busy than normal.
All in all, a terrific place. I hear they host beer dinners from time to time, and I'm definitely looking forward to coming back for one in the near future! This is a real culinary jewel.
09-04-2006 18:24:51 | More by mzwolinski
More User Reviews:
4.78/5 rDev +6.2%
I did a three day brewery, brewpub, beer bar tour of San Diego which included a Saturday early dinner stop at The Vine (combined with post dinner beer shopping at the Olive Tree Marketplace).
The Vine is located in busy little beach town of Ocean Beach. There are plenty of other restaurants and retail in the area as well as lots of young people (surfers and skateboarders).
The Vine is more of a wine restaurant with a high-quality bottled beer list. It was early in my trip and I was excited to get a Pliny (bottle date 9.23.10 and consumed on 10.9.10). Other beers were from Alesmith, Stone, Pizza Port, Avery, Bear Republic, North Coast, Oskar Blues, Ommengang, Victory, and seven beers from Russian River. They also had some Belgians and Germans but I was there for West Coast brews.
I went with the six cheese board which was a bit much for one person but I had not eaten in a while and enjoyed it with my Pliny.
They had a nice counter for solo dining that faces outside so you can people watch.
10-18-2010 01:19:47 | More by Yetiman420
4.33/5 rDev -3.8%
We went to The Vine to meet a friend as a result of the reviews here. It almost measured up to expectations, but not quite. The website advertises Ballast Point, which was *NOT* listed on the real menu nor on display. They must have quit carrying it and not bothered to update the website. What a shame. That was my first choice, so then I ordered a Pliny as my second. They were out of that. So then I ordered a Blind Pig. They were out of that, too. Finally had to settle on a Racer 5 as my fourth choice. The waitress told me they were out of both Pliny and Blind Pig at the brewery, which might have been false, since I'm getting emails from mail order dealers telling me they are both back in stock as of a week or two ago. The wine selection was quite respectable, with servings available at 3 oz, 6 oz, or by the bottle. On the bright side, the Tuesday happy hour made the drinks all half price and the price was definitely right by the time we figured out what we wanted.
We ordered a mixed board as appetizer, and while the food on it was great, the servings were just a little on the small side. The waitress was nice enough to swap out one of the cheeses for us when we asked about it. Each cheese serving is about the size of an icecube, but again the whole thing was tasty, especially the bread. But for more than two people, don't hesitate to order a second if you're hungry.
Entrees were a bit on the small side as well. They came on plates that were about 8 inches wide. I had the flat-iron steak and fingerling potatoes, which were delicious. My wife and our friend had the seared salmon and golden mashed potatoes, which was again excellent.
Despite the smallish servings, we had a great time there and would definitely go again. The food itself was so delicious that you just couldn't be upset about anything for long, and service was excellent.
09-18-2009 17:06:38 | More by PhxHorn
4.53/5 rDev +0.7%
Well worth the visit for an outstanding meal. As the other reviewers said, the beer is in bottles but selection is good. I met a chef while I was in OB and he told me that in his opinion this was the best place to eat in town. After visiting (twice) I agree. We sat on the patio one time and indoors another, both were great experiences. The waitstaff was very friendly and knowledgeable. My wife and I missed the happy hour but I heard they have good specials. What else can I say that hasn't already been said?
Outstanding food, very good beer selection, great waitstaff.
05-20-2009 04:47:52 | More by Spacegrass
4.95/5 rDev +10%
Bottles only but a lot and rare. And the rare stuff sticks around and doesn't vanish too quick. Food always pleases. Not a beer bar food place. Customer service and knowledge of the staff is very high. Lots of great wines, so another place that has great beer, but wine so bringing a non beer person works great. Happy hour drink specials, maybe food? Great atmosphere, and not a beer bar all guy kind of crowd. Also lots of beer tasting / dinner paring events. Seems like parking would be tough but I've always found a spot. Outside patio is also nice since the weather there is mostly great.
03-19-2009 01:04:24 | More by paytoplay
3.9/5 rDev -13.3%
Ocean Beach has a great fishing Pier, and now it has - almost - a great beer bar in the form of The Vine. The Vine, however, is really just a great wine bar slash bistro that happens to have a great selection of 22 oz. craft brews available.
But let's start with the basics. It's on the corner of Bacon and Niagra - easy to find (Ocean Beach is only so big anyway...). Inside it looks like it was an old deli or convenience market that's been converted into a restaurant. They've done a good job though and it's nice. East coast people might find it a little weird unless they're familiar with the New York area where anything can be reworked into anything, and sometimes turns out even better! Alas, such is not the case here, but it's comfortable and nice.
The food is very good, but not great. I find it more 'haberdash' than a straightforward restaurant, although that's what a wine bar is!!! And they do offer entrees, I just think it's more centered around "tasting". And that makes sense. I would bring my girlfriend here to taste some wines and cheeses and what not, but not necessarily for an actual dinner.
It is, however, very fairly priced for San Diego. Cheese boards are one of their big things (makes sense... pairing them with wine) and they run in the $10 - $12 range. Meat boards are also available, as are mixed boards, and they're pretty much all $10. Pair a cheese board (or mix) with a salad, and perhaps an additional baguette at $4.99 (there is bread with the cheese), and you've got a great little meal at around $23 for two people (not including wine or beer). Throw an entree into the mix, and you're only going up by about $10 to $18, and entrees in San Diego are usually in the $17 - $22 range.
I need to mention the wine list as it is, indeed, a wine bar... very good selection... not quite impeccable, but close. And remember, they're keeping cost in mind. There's not a single wine on their list that I'd scoff at. All good picks.
As for beer, the bottle selection is great (no draft). It changes, but it's mainly a lot of local brews. There are some exceptions, some Victory for example. And a lot of Belgians. Mainly it's Port, Avery, Alpine, Ballast Point, Bear Republic, and Russian River. ALL BEERS I LOVE!
So what do I say here? Thumbs up, thumbs down...? Definitely at least one thumb up, and probably two. Certainly worth a try!
09-25-2008 22:14:15 | More by NeroFiddled
4.45/5 rDev -1.1%
Visited while in San Diego on business.
Appearance: About what I would expect from a local San Diego place. This neighborhood was new to me but the bar and restaurant itself had a good vibe. The location seemed to be really good as well.
Quality: Top notch. Not much more to say, this was great food and great beer. The food was cooked to order and whatever dopey specifications or requests that I had were indeed met.
Service: The staff surely knew their stuff, both about the beer and about the food. Definitely about the beer. Im sure they could say the same about the wine. They were willing to give suggestions or steer you clear of what may not be the ideal choices.
Selection: Unfortunately, only drawback was that they did not have anything on tap/cask and most bottles are the 22oz or larger so it made it difficult to someone sitting at the bar to really get through a bunch without feeling ill effects. Took it like a man and had a good selection of 'big' beers. Still, the beer selection was very very good with a ton of locals that were new to me and a full Belgian selection. As a huge bonus, they also had a few unique offerings that were not on the list.
Food: Far above average from what I would get at one of the upscale chains or otherwise. The suggestions were all good and exactly as explained. The menu was not huge but covered just about everything that could be asked- salads, cheese plates, tons of high end apps, and entrees.
The food was reasonably priced and I would highly recommend to any food and beer enthusiast coming to the area. Well worth it.
This would be a great place Im sure for beer pairing dinners, would have loved to have had the chance.
One note- learned post meal that they dont accept AmEx but they were absolutely understandable and trusted me to call in my other personal card. Brian was the bartender as I ate drank at the bar and was great.
01-11-2008 01:31:59 | More by marcpal
4.47/5 rDev -0.7%
This is a restaurant with a great beer selection. The atmosphere is somewhat low rent, high value as it seems that the building is a bit old, but there have been efforts to spruce it up. White linen table cloths help a lot, and fake candles had us fooled for a bit.
This place is about food, and it's very good, and very inexpensive. I had the salmon and really liked it.
Impressive beer and wine selection. I enjoyed a Rochefort 10 in the brewery goblet. They didn't have my first choice unfortunately, so have a second and third option ready.
Service was good, but they were a little busy, but given the place, very understandable.
Great place for a romantic dinner, recommend walking down to the longest boardwalk on the West coast just down the street afterwards. Parking is a bear, but worth the hunt.
08-19-2007 20:13:28 | More by HardTarget
4.53/5 rDev +0.7%
Not really a beer bar, they are focused more on wine and food. However, if you happen to be visiting Ocean Beach this is a great place to stop in and get upscale food. They have a great selection of bottled beer from around the world, but currently nothing on tap.
They have a interesting menu focused on small servings meant to be shared. They have some good entrees though, such as flat iron steak that goes great with a good beer or good wine. If you want to avoid a regular bar in OB and want some good food swing by!
01-11-2007 22:48:06 | More by mrkrispy
4.33/5 rDev -3.8%
This place is pertty fantastic. The beer selection is all from bottles, and most of the domestic stuff is easily found in the local liquors stores (if you want to look for awhile), but the imported stuff is pretty nice and a treat. The atmosphere is fantastic; a great escape from the loud bars in the area. The inside isn't actually very big, but they set it up in a way that makes it feel comfortable, even when the place is packed. The service has been amazing every time i've been in there, too. The waiters all retain an relaxed attire (which in boston would never happen), but they always show up at the perfect time. It's relaxed enough to let me relax, but professional enough that it feels like a nice treat to be there. The beer selection isn't large, but the offerings are almost all things I would order. The food has been quite good everytime I've been there, from the steak, to the salad, and the person who makes sauces and gravy knows what he/she is doing. Moreover, the prices are cheaper than a lot of the other restaurants I've seen, unless you hit a diner or burger place on Newport. This place is a rare deal that wine, beer and food lovers can all enjoy together.
07-29-2006 16:58:59 | More by dbalsock
The Vine in San Diego, CA
95 out of 100 based on 10 ratings.