Hob Nob Hill

Review by: Michael Stern

Embroidered bywords on the wall behind the cash register of Hob Nob Hill offer this assurance: “Pleasures in Life are Few, One of Ours is Serving You”. There isn’t a more benevolent restaurant in America. Its gentle dining rooms put us in mind of mid-century domestic science brochures that offer advice for the new bride who wants to please her husband and create a happy home: Set an attractive table, cook wholesome meals to keep your family healthy, add a pleasant little garnish to every plate that shows you care. So it is at Hob Nob Hill, the last word in comfort-food restaurants and one of the last of a special breed of place that once thrived in Southern California – the deluxe urban coffee shop.

Outfitted in uniforms with crisp white aprons, the ladies who attend tables are brisk and kindly; and they are guided in their work by an almost imperceptible loud-speaker system utilized by hosts who patrol the floor and rush to a microphone whenever they see a customer who needs something. The hosts’ broadcasts are made in old-fashioned numeric code like police dispatchers on “Highway Patrol” once used, so the sensitive ears of customers are not exposed to the nitty-gritty details of dining-room upkeep. “101 on 20,” means table 20 needs service. “50 on 10” summons a bus boy to table 10 immediately. “104 to the counter” alerts the staff that someone at the short counter in the first dining room needs a check.

Pause a moment to admire your Waldorf or spinach salad when it’s set down. A moment later, the waitress will return with a plate topped with a linen napkin on which are placed chilled forks for your salad-eating pleasure. Yes, chilled forks.

Everyday dinner entrees include prime rib and chicken croquettes and hot turkey with sage dressing; but there is a whole rotation of specials by which regular customers set their clocks: corned beef and cabbage on Monday, beef stew Wednesday, pot roast and leg o’ lamb Sunday.

Many San Diegans think of Hob Nob Hill as a breakfast spot; and if you can eat but one meal here, that’s the one. It is a joyous place in the morning; and to start the day with freshly squeezed juice and good coffee and a wedge of blackberry coffee cake or a pumpkin muffin, is a taste of Pacific Coast heaven. Amidst the rush and crowds, waitresses liven up the room by schmoozing with customers they have known for years as enthusiastic pastry-hounds rhapsodize out loud over the individual bundt cakes and caramel pecan buns and sweet rolls in the glass case that everyone admires while they wait for a table.

What To Eat

Coffee Cake


Hot Turkey Dinner

Pecan Roll

Waldorf Salad

Corned Beef Hash


Hob Nob Hill Recipes


What do you think of Hob Nob Hill?

One Response to “Hob Nob Hill”

Christina Rowley

January 4th, 2007

My family and I ate at Hob Nob after reading the current reviews on this website. I have three children: a toddler, a seven year old and a ten year old who is in a wheelchair. The table they gave us was great and roomy. I typically find that restaurants built prior to the laws for handicap accessibility are hard to maneuver through, but Hob Nob Hill made sure we could get through.

The staff was wonderful; the food was fresh and tasty. I loved the little extra homemade touches of yesteryear. I personally loved the fresh-baked bread and the scooped-out oranges for the wonderful jellies and jams. The staff had coloring placemats and crayons for my children; the placemat had kid-oriented food items and included a juice for breakfast, a nice touch. The waitresses all seemed to stop by and say hi, which the children loved.

As for my husband’s and my own food, all was excellent. My husband said he had the best roast beef hash ever. Our coffee cups never went empty, and they actually had creamer in a nice little pourer, instead of those nasty little single-serving plastic things. All in all, it was a very enjoyable breakfast; we are taking my parents back soon. Oh, and they do accept reservations.


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