The Prado, located in the House of Hospitality is, without a doubt, the best restaurant in the Balboa Park area. There are quite a few places to eat at Balboa Park, but this restaurant is definitely my favorite.
The House of Hospitality has an inner courtyard dotted with flower pots and a water fountain called "Woman of Tehuantepec". Both the courtyard and the water fountain provide a very pleasant atmosphere - it's a perfect place to rest, take a picture, and have a meal.
The Prado can be divided into 4 parts: the dining room (indoor and out) and the lounge (indoor and out). The lounge area is a little more casual and offers a lighter menu of drinks, appetizers, and sandwiches. The dining room is a full service dining area with impressive style and decor.
The dining room has an eclectic mix of contemporary art with ethnic influences. Noteworthy are the glass art by Martin Blank: hand blown glass orbs grace the walls, shelves, and stands throughout the restaurant.
Basked in an amber glow, this place is fancy without being snobby. Typically, the waiter will pull out your chair for you to sit on and he will drape your napkin over your lap before you eat. Dress code is dressy casual (don't come with flip-flops, tank top, and cut off jeans). At the same time, employees are familiar with tired clients who have had a long day at Balboa Park. So, don't worry if you are a little dusty from your walk so as long as you are decent.
The seating includes chairs around a square table which is covered with a table cloth. There are a few round tables suitable for large groups. Every table has a decorative candle jar, spiral napkin holders, and sugar packed in colorful tubes (not packs). Complimentary flat bread with sun dried tomato hummus.
The outside dining area is an open space adjacnet to the Casa del Rey Moro Garden. Colorful lights strung across the courtyard to give it a festive, outdoorsy ambiance.
The service is very fine: waiters and waitress are friendly, and truly serve you. It's such a treat coming to this restaurant - I appreciate the fact that they are nice to you even if you are not dressed to the nines.
There are no bathrooms in The Prado. Bathrooms are across the courtyard and a part of the House of Hospitality. Ask hostess for directions.
The food is superb:
The food is richly prepared and, when possible, artistically arranged.
Cocktails, margaritas, sangria, and other alcoholic beverages available.
Kids menu available (drink and dessert included!).
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Tuesday to Sunday: after 5:00 pm
Extended lunch and dinner hours in the Lounge.
Reservations are accepted and recommended.
1549 El Prado
San Diego, CA
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