San Diego's Historic The Marine Room Criticized For New Per Person Minimum & Increased Pricing

November 8, 2022

San Diego's historic The Marine Room is being criticized for its increased prices and a new policy that requires a $100 pre-paid minimum per person for dining in the restaurant's recently-renovated lounge area. 

Last month, La Jolla Shores' iconic, 81-year-old Marine Room revealed a refreshed dining room and new oceanfront lounge following a several week renovation spearheaded by Los Angeles-based Studio UNLTD design firm. With the refresh, the oceanfront restaurant introduced a new lounge menu featuring high-end small-plates, expensive specialty cocktails and a policy requiring a minimum $100 per person food-and-drink order during a maximum two-hour visit. For the $100 minimum, diners are required to either put down a cash payment at the host stand prior to seating or prepay on a credit card at the point of reservation. 

The Marine Room's new policy and increased menu pricing has caused a bit of a stir online, with both Reddit posts and Facebook discussion lambasting the decades-old eatery. While many commenters support the policy, others are critical of both the minimum required amount charged prior to ordering and the increased menu prices. The Lounge's new cocktail menu includes a $35 Old Fashioned and a $44 "deconstructed" margarita. The restaurant's lounge also has a newly enforced dress code, which prohibits t-shirts, shorts, baseball caps, flip-flops and casual beachwear.  

"I was going to book, then saw this and stopped booking lol!," read a comment on a post about The Marine Room's new lounge policy on popular Facebook Group Eating and Drinking in San Diego (EDSD). "Not necessary. I worked in the service industry for 14 years and never encountered this in a not Michelin star restaurant."

"Wonder if they will take first born in payment," wrote another commenter on EDSD. 

"The margarita is $44!", commented a user on a post in the FoodSanDiego Subreddit. "I don’t hate the Marine Room. Their high-tide dinner is amazing. But I’m definitely skipping the lounge."

San Diego's famous Kellogg family purchased La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club predecessor La Jolla Beach & Yacht Club in 1935 and opened the property's signature onsite restaurant The Marine Room in spring 1941. From 1994 until last summer, Chef Bernard Guillas led the kitchens at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s restaurants The Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel and The Marine Room restaurant. Chef Mike Minor relocated from Las Vegas to replace Guillas in late 2021 as Executive Chef of the property. Minor previously honed his craft for three decades in Las Vegas, working his way up to become Executive Chef at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino's Border Grill restaurant for 13 years. 

"We will look into the feedback you’ve shared," responded La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club Marketing Coordinator Sierra Prescott to a request for comment. "In the meantime, we can tell you that the response we’ve received about the Lounge from our guests has been overwhelmingly positive. They love the new design, atmosphere, and the food. They like that they have the option to eat in the main restaurant which still offers a more traditional menu or enjoy drinks at the bar where there is no minimum."  

The Marine Room is located at 2000 Spindrift Drive in San Diego's La Jolla Shores neighborhood. For more information, visit