Kirbie's Cravings

Seasons 52

One of the San Diego restaurant openings I was most anticipating this year was Seasons 52. It’s a chain of restaurants that is most known for offering a menu where every dish is under 475 calories. The menu is not comprised of salads and diet foods either. It’s real food like filet mignon, seared scallops, flat breads, etc.

I became very interested in this restaurant after reading an interview with the Chef about how they make their dishes without any butter, cream or deep fryers. It’s a subject that is close to my heart. My mom and brother are of the camp that everything needs a little butter to taste better, whereas I’ve always believed that a lot of savory dishes can be accomplished without the use of butter or extra oil and still taste delicious.

The San Diego location is inside the newly redesigned UTC mall. Seasons refers to the fact that their menu changes with each season, to reflect the seasonal fresh produce. 52 refers to a chef’s special menu also offered, which changes each week.

From the exterior, the restaurant looks quite nice, complete with valet parking (which seems pretty unnecessary since parking is free at the mall) and fire torches surrounding the restaurant. Upon entering, there is a lounge area with a huge circular bar. Seasons 52 offers about 100 different wines.

The actual dining room seemed smaller than I expected and you can watch the kitchen in action through the clear glass windows.

Steak & Cremini Mushroom Flat Bread

We started with a flat bread appetizer. The flat bread is very thin and crunchy. Normally I prefer thicker flatbreads over the cracker-thin ones, but even though this flatbread was so thin, it still had the slightest chew letting you know you’re eating dough and I quite enjoyed it.

Caramelized Grilled Sea Scallops roasted asparagus, sun-dried tomato-mushroom pearl pasta

This was DH’s entree. The scallops were grilled perfectly. I thought the dish had a lot of flavor and tasted on par with the quality of other grilled scallops we’ve had at higher end restaurants. I didn’t miss the lack of butter one bit.

Grilled Quail

I chose from the Chef’s weekly menu, a quail dish. I was surprised and happy to see so many quail wings on my plate. Sometimes there’s only two or three when I order this at a restaurant. It actually took quite a while to eat as I really had to dig in and forgo the knife and fork after a while. The meat was grilled to a medium rare. The quails were tender, rich, and it actually tasted like there was butter used.

With both of our entrees, I was impressed with the flavors of the dish. They both packed some powerful tastes.

Another feature of Seasons 52 is their mini indulgences desserts. To further tempt you with dessert, they actually bring out the entire display of dessert offerings and then you can choose the ones you want (priced at $2.50 each), or you can refuse dessert altogether if you possess the willpower to do so.

We obviously had no willpower since we ended up choosing three: pecan pie, pumpkin pie, raspberry chocolate chip cannoli.

The mini desserts replicate the flavors of the desserts without giving you the full dessert portion. I’ve actually never been a huge fan of the whole mini shot glass desserts and while these were pleasant, it was the weakest part of the meal for me.

I was pretty happy with my meal overall. I thought the restaurant exceeded my expectations and demonstrated that it is possible to have great tasting food without using an excess of butter, fat, oils, etc. I thought the portion sizes were just right too, so that I was satisfied but not overly stuffed.

I thought the prices were pretty reasonable too. They are about mid-level restaurant prices (around $20 or so for an entree).

I definitely plan on dining here again. I will say though that DH did not share my enthusiasm for this restaurant. Normally we are pretty much in agreement in restaurant experiences, and this is one of the few where we had such different viewpoints. While he enjoyed his flatbread and his scallops, he wasn’t very impressed with the overall experience and would likely not think to come back if he wasn’t married to me.

Here are photos of the menus:

Seasons 52
Multiple locations
4505 La Jolla Village Dr #1
San Diego, CA 92122
Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

16 comments on “Seasons 52”

  1. I gotta say, the marketing hook of everything is under 475 calories, is a good hook. if the food is tasty – that is.

    I will need to check this out sometime soon. ; – )

    • I really enjoyed the food here. I didn’t think things tasted “healthier” or lighter like sometimes it can when restaurants offer lighter calorie dishes.

  2. You and DH are so funny! I too have little willpower when it comes to desserts, and having mini versions for $2.50 – well, I would probably order too many. Your entrees look good; I think the only time I’ve seen quail on a menu was at Chinese restaurants.

  3. I’ve been waiting for Seasons 52 to open because we have an Olive Garden gift card that can be used there! Smaller, tasty portions of food is definitely something that would interest us, but with my sweet tooth those shot glass desserts would have to be really good to be worth it.

    • Oh I didn’t know you can use OG’s cards there! good to know. I think they made the mini shot glass desserts fine- I’m just personally not really into this new trend. I’ll eat them, but I prefer the full-on pie/cake/etc.

  4. Can’t wait to try this place! The lure of 475 calories or less is quite attractive as well as their mini desserts (haha, we probably will suffer from lack of willpower as well!).

    • I love the idea of going out and still eating a healthy, low calorie meal. Though if you have a sweet tooth, those calories can add up with the desserts! heh. But hopefully it all balances out.

  5. I LOVE seasons 52!! me and my maid of honor went to eat there a few months ago and we shared a flatbread (i think it was some caramelized onion one) and then we each got an entree. I love that i wasn’t feeling super full after it and the fact that they’re all under 475 calories is a great thing! 🙂

    • Oh that’s so cool that you have one by you too! And yeah, this seems like the perfect place to be eating out at as you prepare for your wedding. =)

  6. I recently had the blackened fish tacos. Super tasty!! I’m going to have to try the quail.

  7. We have one of these by me as well, I agree the food is good but the desserts make me sad haha.

  8. I live in San Diego and have seen this place at UTC but have never been. I’m more metro San Diego and have soooo many places within walking distance but good info and honest assessment (thanks!) about Seasons

    • Definitely give it a try if you’re in the UTC area. Things really are starting to look up in UTC now. I haven’t wanted to dine there in ages, but now there’s Tender Greens, Seasons 52 and even the food court has some new things I want to check out.

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