Vessel Restaurant Shelter Island

Enjoyed my second dining experience at Kona Kai this August in their Vessel Restaurant.  Yep, the above promo video adds some snob appeal, but, the restaurant is boatwear friendly and casual, surrounded by yachts in the marina.  Hey, they let me in.

Service got off to a slow start, but, we were in no hurry.  As a former server, a patio offers a fun dining experience.  But, if that patio is a distance from the bar and kitchen, as is normally the case, the extra 50 yds for staff can add to some painful waits or fog-etfulness on orders and attention.


We were inside and close to the kitchen, but, the dining room was slightly under-staffed for our patient wait.  Finally got a Kona lager and our waiter’s excellent description of the tender calamari strips.  That was a good start and the calamari was the best I have ever had.  I’m searching the interwebs for a recipe to reproduce the tender texture and lightly battered favor.  Please share if you have one.

My usual dining speed is “please get our beverages within 5 minutes”, then I slow down to enjoy the conversation with my guest, drink the view and watch the other people.  I call this “slow dance” dining speed to wind down from the day, traffic or other stuff.


Our dinner orders were braised scallops on a veggie blanket and salmon caesar salad with ample anchovies.  My photo is a bit weak, but, the salmon and the scallops were very tender and jammin with juicy goodness.

The vessel is dining in the round with a ring of tables at the perimiter on the window and patio dining on the water as a second perimiter.


The Vessel bar is drinking in the round.  Have dined at this comfy bar before and easily struck up conversations with sailers, vacationers and local characters.


Four our of five anchors makes Vessel a comfy spot for repeat visits.

Vessel Restaurant and Bar at Kona Kai Resort & Spa

1551 Shelter Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 221-8000
View Website



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