RVSD June 2012 : Page 118
La Jolla food drink Guide Where to eat now. This is not all-inclusive. These are only the restaurants we’ d recommend to friends we like. $$$$ $$$ $$ $ Barbarella Restaurant & Bar The atmosphere is hip and space is limited, so be prepared to spend some time sipping wine or a special martini in the bustling bar. They’ve got thin-crust, wood-fired Italian-style pies, pastas (baked orecchiette with gorgonzola, pecorino and Parm) and a grilled steak with herbed butter that locals love. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 2171 Avenida de la Playa, 858.454.7373, barbarellarestaurant. com $$ Very Expensive ( $ 60 and up) Expensive ( $ 40-$ 60) Moderate ( $ 30-$ 40) Inexpensive (under $ 30) Updated Hot Spot New jerk pork belly is definitely a star dish. Pastry Chef Jack Fisher makes the best molten chocolate cake in town. What else do we need to say? Don’t handcuff Knibb—go for a “mercy of the chef ” and let the guy run wild. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 910 Prospect St., 858.964.5400, nine-ten. com $$$ 2011 Restaurant Awards Prepkitchen Now with two locations, the casual offshoot of Whisknladle specializes in sustainable farm-to-table fare. Favorites include the cutting board with cheeses and house-cured meats and the PK Brick Chicken with roasted fingerling potatoes, sautéed spinach and pancetta. Happy hour is pretty fantastic with $3.50 tapas and $20 pitchers of sangria from 3-6 pm daily. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. 7556 Fay Ave. (La Jolla) and 1201 Camino del Mar (Del Mar), 858.875.7737, prepkitchen. com $ George’s California Modern Trey Foshee has joined the likes of Per Se as one of the few high-end restaurants in the nation to offer a full vegetarian menu. Don’t worry—his stunning La Jolla Cove eatery is still an omnivore’s delight. Foshee’s new menu includes tea-roasted duck with sesame-crusted foie gras and porcini-glazed bone-in halibut with lemon yogurt. Start at the bar with one of Frankie Thaheld’s bourbon-based cocktails (he’s got a fancy-pants ice machine specifically designed for ultra-pure cocktail cubes). For those looking to experience the depths of Forshee’s expertise, he has recently begun offering a 12 to 14 course omakase tasting with an optional beverage pairing called TBL3. Dinner daily. 1250 Prospect St., 858.454.4244, georgesatthecove.com $$$ Puesto Proprietors Eric and Allen Adler’s authentic Mexican street food is a welcome addition to the downtown La Jolla dining scene. Mexico City chef Luis Gonzalez churns out craft carne asada and shrimp tacos served with griddle-crisped shredded mozzarella and toppings that include grilled cactus and pineapple. Salads with jicama are a fave amongst the La Lolla ladies. Lunch and dinner daily. 1026 Wall St., 858.454.1260, eatpuesto.com $ WHERE’S THE BEEF? The carne asada roll at Japengo features sesame-seared ahi that tastes like steak. AsiA MAjor The Marine Room At high tide, waves spray the windows at one of S.D.’s ultimate “rooms with a view.” And in the kitchen of La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s signature restaurant? Chef Bernard Guillas, a recent inductee into the Maitre de Cuisiniers de France (he’s kind of a big deal). Guillas and chef de cuisine Ron Oliver’s Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World won cookbook of the year honors with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. And now they’ve hired well-respected chef Amy DiBiase (ex-Roseville) for the property’s other dining room, The Shores. It’s worth a nibble as well. In other words, you’re in good hands. Dinner daily. 2000 Spindrift Drive, 858.459.7222, marineroom.com $$$$ Roppongi This La Jolla staple is upping the ante with a revamped cocktail and happy hour menu to include Asian-inspired tapas and award-winning sushi rolls. With its Prospect Street patio, there’s no better place to sip signature cocktails like the lychee martini while nibbling the fresh fare. This tapas-heavy menu has been updated with more than 30 tapas alone! Go for the crab stack, Hamachi forks, crispy quinoa cakes and interesting maki rolls. Happy hour daily from 3-6 pm . Lunch and dinner daily. 875 Prospect St., 858.551.5252, roppongiusa. com $$ Roll Out! We revisit the classic Café Japengo, an S.D. pioneer of sushi and Asian fusion. It’s Friday night at Japengo’s bustling sushi bar, and in between red dragon rolls and omakase orders, chef Jerry Warner is getting interrupted by regulars. One has a special request. The other is late for the opera and needs a rush job. “I’ve been here so long,” says the exec sushi chef. “I’ve been through first dates, courtship, marriage, kids, and then they split up and it’s a new round.” After 22 years, Japengo’s modern, airy décor remains au courant, as does the menu, which boasts inventive specials like the summer roll with crab, broccolini, grilled shrimp, salmon and sweet ponzu. Standouts from the kitchen include an Asian short rib flatbread and fire-roasted oysters. On June 23, you can get up close and personal with the affable Warner and learn his tricks of the trade during a two-hour sushi-making class, replete with sake tasting. “I was the first white guy making sushi,” laughs Warner. 8960 University Center Lane, 858.450.3355, cafejapengo. com – Gillian Flynn Tapenade With head chef Jean-Michel Diot, there is hardly a misstep at this Southern French bistro. Our favorite part is the olive tapenade delivered to your table as soon as you sit down: a mix of olives, garlic, capers and fresh herbs. Diot’s aged sirloin with cognac sauce will Nine-Ten Locals rejoice! The beloved Nine-Ten is no longer dark on Sundays and Mondays. Chef Jason Knibb’s Jamaican 118 | | June 2012
Food Drink Guide
Roll Out!<br /> <br /> We revisit the classic Café Japengo, an S.D. pioneer of sushi and Asian fusion.<br /> <br /> It’s Friday night at Japengo’s bustling sushi bar, and in between red dragon rolls and omakase orders, chef Jerry Warner is getting interrupted by regulars. One has a special request. The other is late for the opera and needs a rush job. “I’ve been here so long,” says the exec sushi chef. “I’ve been through first dates, courtship, marriage, kids, and then they split up and it’s a new round.” After 22 years, Japengo’s modern, airy décor remains au courant, as does the menu, which boasts inventive specials like the summer roll with crab, broccolini, grilled shrimp, salmon and sweet ponzu. Standouts from the kitchen include an Asian short rib flatbread and fire-roasted oysters. On June 23, you can get up close and personal with the affable Warner and learn his tricks of the trade during a two-hour sushi-making class, replete with sake tasting. “I was the first white guy making sushi,” laughs Warner. 8960 University Center Lane, 858.450.3355, cafejapengo. Com –Gillian Flynn <br /> <br /> Barbarella Restaurant & Bar The atmosphere is hip and space is limited, so be prepared to spend some time sipping wine or a special martini in the bustling bar. They’ve got thin-crust, wood-fired Italianstyle pies, pastas (baked orecchiette with gorgonzola, pecorino and Parm) and a grilled steak with herbed butter that locals love. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 2171 Avenida de la Playa, 858.454.7373, barbarellarestaurant. Com $$<br /> <br /> George’s California Modern Trey Foshee has joined the likes of Per Se as one of the few high-end restaurants in the nation to offer a full vegetarian menu. Don’t worry—his stunning La Jolla Cove eatery is still an omnivore’s delight. Foshee’s new menu includes tearoasted duck with sesame-crusted foie gras and porcini-glazed bone-in halibut with lemon yogurt. Start at the bar with one of Frankie Thaheld’s bourbon-based cocktails (he’s got a fancy-pants ice machine specifically designed for ultrapure cocktail cubes). For those looking to experience the depths of Forshee’s expertise, he has recently begun offering a 12 to 14 course omakase tasting with an optional beverage pairing called TBL3. Dinner daily. 1250 Prospect St.,858. 454.4244, georgesatthecove.com $$$ <br /> <br /> The Marine Room At high tide, waves spray the windows at one of S.D.’s ultimate “rooms with a view.” And in the kitchen of La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s signature restaurant? Chef Bernard Guillas, a recent inductee into the Maitre de Cuisiniers de France (he’s kind of a big deal). Guillas and chef de cuisine Ron Oliver’s Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World won cookbook of the year honors with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. And now they’ve hired well-respected chef Amy DiBiase (ex-Roseville) for the property’s other dining room, The Shores. It’s worth a nibble as well. In other words, you’re in good hands. Dinner daily. 2000 Spindrift Drive, 858.459.7222, marineroom.com $$$$ <br /> <br /> Nine-Ten Locals rejoice! The beloved Nine-Ten is no longer dark on Sundays and Mondays. Chef Jason Knibb’s Jamaican jerk pork belly is definitely a star dish. Pastry Chef Jack Fisher makes the best molten chocolate cake in town. What else do we need to say? Don’t handcuff Knibb—go for a “mercy of the chef” and let the guy run wild. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 910 Prospect St., 858. 964.5400, nine-ten.Com $$$ <br /> <br /> Prepkitchen Now with two locations, the casual offshoot of Whisknladle specializes in sustainable farm-to-table fare. Favorites include the cutting board with cheeses and house-cured meats and the PK Brick Chicken with roasted fingerling potatoes, sautéed spinach and pancetta. Happy hour is pretty fantastic with $3.50 tapas and $20 pitchers of sangria from 3-6pm daily. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. 7556 Fay Ave. (La Jolla) and 1201 Camino del Mar (Del Mar), 858.875.7737, prepkitchen.Com $ <br /> <br /> Puesto Proprietors Eric and Allen Adler’s authentic Mexican street food is a welcome addition to the downtown La Jolla dining scene. Mexico City chef Luis Gonzalez churns out craft carne asada and shrimp tacos served with griddle-crisped shredded mozzarella and toppings that include grilled cactus and pineapple. Salads with jicama are a fave amongst the La Lolla ladies. Lunch and dinner daily. 1026 Wall St., 858. 454.1260, eatpuesto.com $ <br /> <br /> Roppongi This La Jolla staple is upping the ante with a revamped cocktail and happy hour menu to include Asian-inspired tapas and award-winning sushi rolls. With its Prospect Street patio, there’s no better place to sip signature cocktails like the lychee martini while nibbling the fresh fare. This tapasheavy menu has been updated with more than 30 tapas alone! Go for the crab stack, Hamachi forks, crispy quinoa cakes and interesting maki rolls. Happy hour daily from 3-6pm. Lunch and dinner daily.875 Prospect St., 858.551.5252, roppongiusa.Com $$ <br /> <br /> Tapenade With head chef Jean-Michel Diot, there is hardly a misstep at this Southern French bistro. Our favorite part is the olive tapenade delivered to your table as soon as you sit down: a mix of olives, garlic, capers and fresh herbs. Diot’s aged sirloin with cognac sauce will Sate the feral carnivore and his lobster bisque with crayfish tortellini is the call for seafarers. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner daily. 7612 Fay Ave., 858.551.7500, tapenaderestaurant.com $$ <br /> Whisknladle Whisk is now three years in and doesn’t show sign of slipping. Centered around chef Ryan Johnston’s housemade specialties (including a killer meat plate, pasta and ice cream), high-minded cocktails (London’s Burning has roasted jalapeño water, lime and gin) and owner Arturo Kassel’s well-curated wine list, this is one of S.D.’s top local-seasonal spots. The sneaker hit of the menu? Caesar salad with cabernet vinegar and a light spritz of lemon—it does the classic Tijuana dish supreme justice. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.- Sun. 1044 Wall St., 858.551.7575, whisknladle. Com $$ <br /> <br /> Torrey Pines/UTc A. R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines Executive Chef Jeff Jackson, a winner of the Bocuse d’Or Culinary Gold Cup, is a master. He and chef de cuisine Tim Kolanko have led the S.D. charge in using the whole animal. So, needless to say, their house-cured meat plate is fantastic. Another favorite among S.D. foodies? Their drugstore burger—a simple, classic moo-stack that other chefs continually try to mimic (tip: heat-seekers should order the off-menu “atomic burger”). Join the other gourmands Thursday nights at the artisan’s table dinners. Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Sat.-Sun. 11480 N. Torrey Pines Road, 858.777.6635, arvalentien.com $$$ <br /> <br /> Cafe Japengo This trendy restaurant features Pacific Rim cuisine and creative sushi concoctions. Fusing Asian recipes with Western influences, Japengo’s dishes are often a delicious juxtaposition of the bold and the subtle. Reservations are strongly recommended. Lunch Mon.- Fri., dinner daily. 8960 University Center Lane, 858.450.3355, cafejapengo. Com $$$ <br /> <br /> Gaijin Another day, another noodle house. This one employs Stingaree/Campine chef Antonio Friscia as its lead noodle slinger. To give this Mike Reidy-owned space some late-night cred with the bar crowd, he has brought on the West Group boys (Bar West, Griffin) to manage operations. You’ll find housemade stocks, light noodles and spoons (unlike Underbelly, where slurping’s a must)! What more could you want? Snake Oil Co.-inspired cocktails? Done. They are consulting and serving up some traditional kakigori, which is basically an adult slushy. 627 Fourth Ave., 619.238.0567, gaijinsd.com $ <br /> <br /> Rancho Santa Fe Delicias One of San Diego’s most notable chefs, Paul McCabe, is at the helm of this RSF institution. Just in time for summer, the restaurant has unveiled a serious remodel—and chef’s new menu. Known for his inventive, fresh fare, McCabe doles out his takes on the classics: beet salad is ramped up with pistachio brittle, and a wood-roasted poussin is warmed over with potato risotto and roasted figs. Date night? Come dusk, this dining room flickers with romance. Lunch Mon-Fri., Dinner Mon-Sat. 6106 Paseo Delicias, 858.756.8000. deliciasrestaurant.com $$$ <br /> <br /> Mille Fleurs Riviera named this RSF institution one of the best French restaurants in 2010. Whether you go with surf (scallops with blood orange-ginger sauce) or turf (veal sweetbreads with hedgehog mushrooms), the menu is worthy of any celebration. Their tomato consommé is a guest favorite, prepared slowly over two days. With a three-course prix fixe menu for $40 (!) Sunday through Thursday, this next-level cuisine has never been so approachable. Lunch Tue.- Fri., dinner daily. 6009 Paseo Delicias, 858. 756.3085, millefleurs.com $$$ <br /> <br /> Pantry of Rancho Santa Fe A fresh, bistro-style addition to the RSF dining scene, Pantry offers an eclectic global menu along with a see-and-beseen patio. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. 6024 C Paseo Delicias, 858.756.1221, eatpantry.com $$ <br /> <br /> Del Mar Addison With an exclusive wine list, unparalleled service and a menu executed by chef William Bradley, this S.D. staple at The Grand Del Mar is second to none; and AAA and Forbes seem to agree, as they each have consistently awarded him five stars. That, as well as Bradley’s recent induction as a Relais and Châteaux Elite Grand Chef, easily make him the most decorated chef in the county. This temple of modern French cooking is all about highlighting amazingly fresh ingredients that are expertly prepared. Dishes are paired by advance-som Jesse Rodriguez (one of seven soms on property), whose previous stint was at Napa’s French Laundry. Bradley has also brought Anthony Secviar, another French Laundry alum (who was actually Thomas Keller’s sous!) Into his fold to serve as Addison’s new chef de partie. Dinner Tue.-Sat. 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, 858.314.1900, addisondelmar.Com $$$$ <br /> <br /> Burlap The newest project from Executive Chef Brian Malarkey, nightlife engineer James Brennan (Stingaree) and designer Thomas Schoos (Tao in Vegas) is absolutely Richter. The share plates are solid, especially the venison carpaccio, a fried-whole snapper with serrano chiles and the miso chowder with yams. But it’s all about the scene here—a raucous pickup joint where off-duty suburbia goes to toast and prowl. It’s the hottest game in Del Mar. By far. Lunch and dinner daily, weekend brunch. 12995 El Camino Real, Suite 21, 858.369.5700, burlapeats.com $$$ <br /> <br /> Flavor Chef Brian Redzikowski has taken the reins of this Del Mar Village staple, and has definitely stepped up its culinary game in doing so. His flavors have some serious Asian roots, but the presentation is decisively French—a style that can be traced back to his tenure working for chef of the century Joël Robuchon in Vegas and his previous gig as executive chef at L. A.’s now defunct Bond Street. Think ahi sashimi atop a wafer-thin lavage drizzled with white truffle oil, pickled potatoes served with an airy crème fraîche and well-prepared proteins.Come early to grab a drink and some house-cured charcuterie at Flavor’s new wine bar, Sip, next door. Lunch and dinner daily. 1555 Camino del Mar,858. 755.3663, flavordelmar.Com $$$ <br /> <br /> Jake’s Del Mar It’s been around forever because it’s simply one of the most memorable oceanfront dining experiences in Southern California. The wait staff is friendly, energetic and knowledgeable about both the menu and the city of Del Mar. The Jake’s Bistro Burger, served with cheddar, grilled onions and served on a Hawaiin bun, it is one the best in North County. Lunch and dinner daily. 1660 Coast Blvd., 858.755.2002, jakesdelmar.com $$ <br /> <br /> Kitchen 1540 L’Auberge has tasked chef Scott Dolbee launches his new menu (See this issue’s two-page review, “Sea Change,” on page 110 for the full story). Dolbee served as executive chef at the Four Seasons Whistler during the Olympic Games, launched BLVD at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and has cooked in the James Beard House. His new menu is heavy on seafood and surprises. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 1540 Camino del Mar, 858.793.6460, laubergedelmar.Com $$$ <br /> <br /> Market S. D. chef darling Carl Schroeder took over this renamed Del Mar staple, injecting signature flair and farmfresh sensibilities. Most legendary? Those cabernet-braised short ribs. But really, anything from Schroeder is fantastic—he’s one of the city’s best chefs, and his skills with fresh produce (almost exclusively from famed Chino Farm) are second to none. It’s a tough weekend table to get, especially since Schroeder was nominated for Best Chef in the Pacific Region by the James Beard Foundation, but worth every obsessive call to the hostess. Dinner daily. 3702 Via de la Valle, 858. 523.0007, marketdelmar.com $$ <br /> <br /> Mia Francesca This latest foray from Chicago restaurateur Scott Harris offers more rustic and traditional fare than its sister restaurant, Davanti Enoteca.<br /> <br /> Together they are certainly helping to make the Del Mar Highlands Shopping Center a foodie destination. Like any reputable joint found on the lower half of the boot, your meal commences with traditional antipasti, such as prosciutto and Parmesan and asparagus salad, before progressing to hearty pastas and Napoleon-style pizzas. It’s definitely somewhere to go now. Lunch and dinner daily. 12955 El Camino Real, 858.519.5055, miafrancesca.com $$ <br /> <br /> Paradise Grille Tucked in the Flower Hill mall, this has become a staple for locals, who can be found in the al fresco dining area with a buzzing bar and fire pit. A brick-oven pizza is a great item to share, but really, this is a good American restaurant: Get some beef and whiskey. Whether it’s the Angus meatloaf or the 8-ounce filet, this place does meat right. It’s also a scotch drinker’s paradise. The bar features more than 50 single malts, including a Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix and a Ben Nevis single malt. Lunch Tue.- Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. 2690 Via de la Valle, 858.350.0808, paradisegrille.com $$$ <br /> <br /> Solana Beach/cardiff Pizza Port Opened by brother and sister Vince and Gina Marsaglia in 1987, Pizza Port is the flip-flop hang for surfers and their sand-spackled offspring. The pizza’s decent (try the pizza dough pretzel, The Portzel), but it’s all about the beers here. Home of countless grand-scale festivals devoted to strong ales, Belgian beers and cask-conditioned quaffs, the threedeep chain is the reigning Large U.S. Brewpub of the Year. On top of that, several of their handcrafted brews have won gold medals as the best embodiment of their style in the world. Lunch and dinner daily. 135 N. Highway 101, 858. 481.7332, pizzaport.com $$<br /> <br /> Red Tracton’s Lovers of lobster bisque should drop everything and head to this classic East Coast-style restaurant, a longtime favorite for Del Mar Racetrack fans. The classic menu offers prime aged beef (standout prime rib), huge seafood portions and some of the best salads around. There’s grass-fed filets and pork chops for those who care what their food ate, and live music Wed.-Sat. makes the old-school bar even livelier. 550 Via de la Valle, 858.755.6600, redtractonssteakhouse.com $$ <br /> <br /> T’s Cafe The family-operated restaurant in Solana Beach is an institution, and for good reason. It boasts the best damn breakfast and Bloody Marys around. Highlights include killer potato skillets, a chorizo scramble loaded with chiles and cheese—and the Solana Sunrise, an eggs bennie with house-roasted turkey, avocado and Hollandaise. 271 N. Highway 101, 858.755.7642, tscafesolanabeach.Com $ <br /> <br /> Tony’s Jacal Famous for its turkey tacos and cabbage salad, Tony’s has been a staple for authentic Mexican food since 1946. It’s just seconds from the racetrack and the patio offers a great place to sit, chill and reminisce. Lunch and dinner Wed.- Mon. 621 Valley Ave., 858.755.2274, tonysjacal.com $ <br /> <br /> Zenbu Sushi This is the second dark, clubby sushi den (the original is in La Jolla) from Matt Rimel, an S.D. native who owns the fishing company Ocean Giant. Locals love the crispy fried whole rockfish and the salmon spider roll, a mix of salmon and crab. The largest attraction aside from the food is the 2,000-gallon fish tank, where diners often see their meal pulled moments before eating. It’s the hottest hangout in Solana. Dinner daily. 2003 San Elijo Ave., Valley Ave., 760.633.2223, rimelsrestaurants.com $$$<br /> <br /> Hillcrest/Bankers Hill/Mission Hills/Five Points/Old Town Avenue 5 At this Bankers Hill standout, chef Colin MacLaggan serves up straightforward yet detail-obsessed fare in a comforting setting. Favorites include wild mushroom tortellini and the lamb burger. Lunch Tue.- Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun., brunch Sun. 2760 5th Ave., 619.542.0394, avenue5restaurant. Com $$ <br /> <br /> Bertrand at Mister A’s Atop the 12th floor of the Mister A’s building, Bertrand offers magnificent views of the city skyline—eye-level with 747s landing at Lindbergh. The bar menu is perfect for an after-work bite, with specials like $7 sliders or truffle fries and $6 glasses of wine from 2:30-6pm on weekdays. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. 2550 Fifth Ave. (12th Floor), 619.239.1379, bertrandatmisteras.com $$$$ <br /> <br /> Cucina Urbana S. D. restaurateur Tracy Borkum turned this space (formerly Laurel) into a rustic gem where only one dish on the menu is more than $20. Atmosphere? Packed, lively, come-as-you-are. Fried squash blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta are a must-order, as are the brown butter gnudi with sage and their mushroomtruffle pizza. For lunch, it’s the porchetta and brie panini. Their in-house retail store stocks affordable, well-selected wines you can drink on the premises or take home. Dinner Tue.-Sun. 505 Laurel St., 619.239.2222, urbankitchengroup.Com $$ <br /> <br /> Hane Sushi This is the sister location of famed San Diego sushi house Sushi Ota. Chef Roger Nakamura studied under master chef Ota for 10 years, learning the intricacies of turning raw fish into art. Whereas Ota is traditional, Hane adds a little modern flair for creations like the Kitchen Sink Roll—a massive juggernaut of sea creatures (tuna, octopus, salmon, etc.). Lunch Tue.- Fri., dinner Sat.-Sun. 2760 Fifth Ave., 619. 260.1411 $$ <br /> <br /> The Range This Guggenheim styled garage building is flooded with natural light through its glass walls and certainly appears to be more sports bar than gastropub. Fear not, David Schiffman’s (Whiskey Girl and Double Dukes) first foray into the culinary arena is a success. Brunch on chicken and waffles paired with affordable breakfast cocktails or check out their elevated, organic, free range pub fare later on. Notable selections include: chicken tenders breaded in house made potato chips, slow smoked brisket and whiskey infused bread pudding. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 1263 University Ave. 619.269.1222, therangesd.Com $ <br /> <br /> The Red Door Chef Daniel Manrique has replaced Brian Johnston to take the Red Door in a more farm-focused direction (including some stuff from the resto’s garden). It’s a fun, carnivore-centric menu with shrimp Creole, lamb meatballs and pork schnitzel in lemon-caper brown butter. Dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., brunch Sun. 741 W. Washington St., 619. 295.6000, thewellingtonsd.com $$<br /> <br /> Saffron San Diego’s first authentic Thai restaurant opened nearly 25 years ago and led the way for healthy options— from “brain foods” to an option of organic red rice for every dish. Owner Sui-Mei Yu has become a nationally known chef and cookbook author. The menu changes seasonally, but Thaigrilled chicken is a signature dish, as well as pad Thai and healthy noodle dishes. Lunch and dinner daily. 3731-B India St., 619. 574.0177, saffronsandiego.Com $ <br /> <br /> Starlite Where do hipsters go when they trade dive bars for dining dens? Starlite, the hippest slow-food lounge in town. Though known mostly for The Mule (organic vodka, ginger beer and lime, served in a copper mug), the fare is very respectable slow-food. Try the organic mac ‘n’ cheese, the all-natural Brandt Beef burger or a simple take on grilled octopus. Then stay a little longer and order the ice cream sandwich for dessert. Dinner daily, brunch Sun. 3175 India St., 619. 358.9766, starlitesandiego.com $$ <br /> <br /> North Park/South Park University Heights/Kensington Alchemy Chef Ricardo Heredia presides over this neighborhood hang that has become known for its sustainable efforts (Heredia was even honored by the Humane Society). The fare is all about global tapas inspired by street foods. His braised pork belly-stuffed taro tacos are on point, his dahl’s authentic and he offers perhaps the city’s only traditional Russian burek… and it’s a damn good one. Dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. 1503 30th St., 619. 255.0616, alchemysandiego.Com $$<br /> <br /> El Take It Easy This offshoot of The Linkery is a collaboration with acclaimed Baja chef Jair Téllez (chef/owner of Laja in Guadalupe Valley). It’s daring gringo-Mex food, like octopus tostada, rabbit taquitos, micheladas and an entire menu of mezcal. Lunch Sat.- Sun., dinner daily. 3926 30th St., 619. 291.1859, eltakeiteasy.Com $$ <br /> <br /> Farm House Cafe This tiny, one-room bistro is one of the top French restaurants in S. D. Chef Olivier Bioteau’s pâtés are foodie catnip, and his escargot risotto is a local favorite. You must make reservations, or plan to wait on the sidewalk. Special nights include Sausage Thursdays (house-made links like pork sausage with fennel seed, tarragon and orange zest paired with local beer flights) and Duck Confit Sunday. Dinner Tue.-Sat. 2121 Adams Ave., 619.269.9662, farmhousecafesd.Com $$ <br /> <br /> Jayne’s Gastropub Jayne’s is one of the first British-style gastropubs in S.D., with black and white décor and a charming patio. Try the white bean crostini or the fish and chips. Their burger (Niman Ranch) with Vermont cheddar and pickled onions is moan-inducing. Dinner Tue.-Sun. 4677 30th St., 619.563.1011, jaynesgastropub.Com $$ <br /> <br /> The Linkery S. D.’s super-progressive, super-local meatery is no longer changing its menu every single day, allowing metro-centric feeders to chug down cask-conditioned beers and rare bottled numbers from around the world... or just up the freeway. But fret not—they still have sausage on order and their pastureraised, chicken-fried veal cutlet is a treat. Lunch Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. 3794 30th St., 619.255.8778, thelinkery.com $$ <br /> <br /> Sea Rocket Bistro Chef and partner Chad White may no longer be tending the kitchen of this quant seafood house, but Tommy Fraioli has definitely stepped up to the plate. The small menu, which showcases excellent uni and smoked fish tzatziki preparations, is supplemented by an ever changing selection of daily specials. Fresh, well-prepared cuisine with a nouveau American spin—’nuff said. Dinner nightly. 3382 30th St., 619. 255.7049, searocketbistro.com $$ <br /> <br /> The Smoking Goat Chef and owner Fred Piehl’s little bistro that could is expanding into the larger space next door, and the demand justifies the move. Just smell the duck fat and truffle fries. Oh, yeah. If you call ahead, be prepared to get there in 15 minutes (max hold time at this bustling spot), then reward your rapidity with crispy sweetbreads with Madeira sauce or the outrageous seared banana bread and whiskey ice cream dessert. Dinner Tue.- Sun. 3408 30th St., 619.955.5295, thesmokinggoatrestaurant.com $$ <br /> <br /> Super Cocina Yes, it’s in an edgy part of town. But once inside, you’ll find the secret jackpot of Mexican food in San Diego, a favorite of the area’s top chefs, food writers and mole connoisseurs. This is no taco-burrito-flauta by-the-numbers joint. Here, Mexican mamas serve up over 150 recipes, which rotate every day. The owner’s son, Juan Pablo, is an affable translator who will let you sample any of the day’s dishes before making a choice. It’s a San Diego institution. Lunch Fri.-Sun., dinner daily. 3627 University Ave.,<br /> 619. 584.6244, supercocinasd.com $ <br /> <br /> Vagabond Conceived from the travels of owner Jerome Gombert, the menu at this South Park establishment encompasses North African, Caribbean, South American, European and Asian cuisine. The kung-pao calamari is the app of choice. For entrées, it’s the achiote-braised short rib or the aquatic bonanza known as the Brazilian moqueca (seafood stew with shrimp, white fish, clams, coconut milk, bell peppers, ginger and cilantro). Lunch and dinner daily. 2310 30th St.,<br /> 619. 255.1035, vagabondkitchen.com $$<br /> <br /> Wang’s A trendy Palm Spring Chinese expat filling a Big Lots-esque space in hipster North Park? Yes, and it kind of works. Definitely more of an urban ultra-lounge than a formal restaurant, the bar packs in an eclectic crowd, while diners sit in the high-ceilinged room with cheeky décor—think banners with a cat proclaiming support for “Chairman Meow.” The fare is what you’d expect from an Americanized joint, but the service and scene make it worth a visit. Dinner nightly. 3029 University Ave., 619. 291.7500, wangsnorthpark.com $<br /> <br /> Wine Vault & Bistro Hands down the best gourmet deal in San Diego, known for doing threecourse meals—with wine pairings—for $36 (!) On Thursdays and Fridays. Yes, total. We’re not talking chicken breasts and Sysco-based coleslaw, either. Roasted bone marrow, New York strip loin, Lecano kale, Bartlett pear salads, etc. The tucked-away spot isn’t going to win a Michelin star, but it wins our award for most affordable gourmet in town. Dinner Thu.-Sat. 3731 India St., Suite A, 619. 295.3939, winevaultbistro.com $ <br /> <br /> Little Italy Anthology S. D.’s first and only true supper club attracts an eclectic range of talent from Estelle to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The room has impeccable acoustics and is filled with an energetic crowd. Chef Todd Allison orchestrates a fun menu that takes playful twists on American staples. Think dressed-up kimchi sliders and mahi topped with a pumpkin puree. Ticketed reservations are highly recommended. Sun. brunch, dinner Tue.-Sat. 1337 India St., 619. 595.0300, anthologysd.Com $$ $$ <br /> <br /> Bencotto This modern Italian gem is cranking out fresh tagliatelle, gnocchi, lasagna, pappardelle and ravioli 12 hours a day. The freshness is strikingly apparent. The menu is made for sharing with cheese and salumi plates, saffron fried rice (with Bolognese dipping sauce) and a pasta menu that lets you choose from homemade noodles and sauce, including a pink cream with sliced pancetta. The burrata mozzarella with thinly sliced salad of fennel and lemon is a good start to any meal, while the handmade squid ink gnocchi in lobster bisque sauce and the pork cheeks are standouts. If stopping by for an alfresco lunch, try their porchetta sandwich, a simple wonder of fennelspiked pork belly on a substantial roll. 750 W. Fir St., 619.450.4786, lovebencotto.com $$<br /> <br /> Buon Appetito A cozy gem in the heart of Little Italy. For lunch, try the salmone alla griglia, a healthy portion of grilled salmon over chive risotto. Lunch and dinner daily. 1609 India St., 619.238.9880, buonappetito.signonsandiego.com $ <br /> <br /> Craft & Commerce The team of arty food nerds behind Neighborhood, Noble Experiment and El Dorado strike again. C&C is essentially a combo of all three— elevated pub grub (hot dog trio!), craft cocktails and super-crafty beers. It’s Little Italy’s hottest hangout, with punch bowl cocktails (yes, served in a bowl, with granny-friendly teacups to share with friends). Lunch and dinner daily. 675 W. Beech St., 619.269.2202, craft-commerce.com $<br /> <br /> UnderBelly Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton’s (Craft & Commerce, Neighborhood Noble Experiment and El Dorado) ramen bar has already become a neighborhood staple—we could go three times in one week. It’s clearly not your average “cup of noodles.” The belly of the beast comes complete with short rib dumplings and char-su belly—yes, pork belly! Both feature an exquisitely runny egg and all the requisite accoutrements. You can even kick it up a notch with their house-made ghost chili paste if you dare and wash it down with one of their many cult beers. As with any Tafazoli space there is always a “no something” and here it’s no spoons. As in Asia, feel free to slurp up every last drop. Chopsticks are provided from noon to midnight daily. 750 W. Fir St., 619. 269.4626, godblessunderbelly.com $ <br /> <br /> Point Loma BO-beau Restaurateur David Cohn’s cozy offering, housed in the former Thee Bungalow space, goes for a Bohemiameets- French-countryside vibe, and with the help of chef Katherine Humphus, he definitely succeeds. The space has become so popular with locals that we strongly suggest arriving as close to opening as possible to avoid a lengthy wait. Standouts include crispy Brussels sprouts, which have just the right amount of oakeyness; a roasted beet, goat cheese and jalapeño flat bread prepared in a wood-fired, stone oven; a pork bellyand fried egg-topped burger; and some wicked moules preparations. Dinner nightly. 4996 W. Point Loma Blvd.,619. 224.2884, cohnrestaurants.Com $$<br /> <br /> Gabardine Brian Malarkey has just debuted his fourth S.D. restaurant in just two years, and No. 5 is out later this month. Here the ubiquitous chef proffers Portugueseinspired seafood out of a nautically Inspired Point Loma space designed by Thomas Schoos. The preparations executed here by chef Chad White (Sea Rocket Bistro) focus mostly on products sourced near San Diego. Expect more formally composed dishes compared to the plates served at Malarkey’s other outlets, in addition to a cold bar with oysters, uni (including uni gelato), clams and spot prawns. Other interesting selections include swordfish bone marrow, octopus asada, black cod foie gras, squid and chorizo sauage, abalone fritters and shark corn dogs. Paging Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern... 1005 Rosecrans St., 619.398.9810, gabardineeats.com $$ <br /> <br /> Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern This Point Loma hotspot from O.C. restaurant czar David Wilhelm boasts one of the best patio dining experiences in S.D. Overlooking the super-yachts in the harbor and housed in an Orchidwinning reclaimed wood haven, JFAT specializes in behemoth burgers, old-school cocktails and Southernized Americana food. Show up on JFAT Tuesdays when they show diners their N’awlins classics like jambalaya and gumbo. Wash it down with a Hurricane or an icy Dixie Beer to add some ragin’ to all that Cajun goodness. Lunch Mon.- Sat., dinner daily, Sun. brunch. 4990 N. Harbor Drive, 619.226.2103, j-fat.com $$ <br /> <br /> Sessions Public This is the hotspot in the no-man’s land between Point Loma and Ocean Beach (we’re calling it O. Loma). Longtime local Abel Kaase hired top designer Michael Soriano for the space, with Mason jar lighting, a huge honeybee mural and reclaimed décor. The food? Surprisingly good. Standouts are the beet salad with arugula and short rib sliders. They’ve just added a fried green tomato sandwich (holy Southern food!) And a Session Dog with Gruyère and bacon relish. On Grilled Cheese Tuesdays, the namesake and duckfat fries are just $10. Dinner daily, lunch Fri.-Sun. 4204 Voltaire St., 619. 756.7715, sessionspublic.Com $$ <br /> <br /> Downtown/Gaslamp Bice Ristorante Chef Mario Cassineri was born and raised in kitchens across Milan and his roots show in the food. This is Italian food done right. For an appetizer, try the orzotto with Maine lobster chunks topped with a mound of buffalo mozzarella. A main course standout is the cedar wood-smoked Mediterranean sea bass. Their coveted cheese bar just launched a seasonally themed happy hour. Look for custom cheese boards with black truffle chevre and organic blues, served alongside homemade jams, Sicilian olives and Italian prosciutto. Wine and cheese pairings starting at $35. Dinner daily. 425 Island St., 619. 239.2423, bicesandiego.Com $$$ <br /> <br /> Café Chloe This adorable East Village bistro offers cozy French cuisine—some of the best in San Diego. Chef Katie Grebow is a local-seasonal-organic nut, serving a daily special depending on what looks good in the larder. Standards are steak tartare Sundays and cassoulet Thursdays (plus a delicious steak hache burger for lunch on Mondays). Start with the cheese plate (Grebow has featured more than 500 artisanal selects in her tenure, from Camembert au calvados to fromage des cimes) and move onto the moulles madriléne. For dessert, try the apple tart with sweet pastry dough, crème fraîc and some sugar crunch. Every Sunday they offer a three-course prix fixe menu for $30. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 721 9th Ave., 619.232.3242, cafechloe.Com $$ <br /> <br /> Cowboy Star The steakhouse (Meyer Natural Angus) and butcher shop in East Village does high-end cowboy fare. The porterhouse for two is a meat-lover’s dream, and the bison burgers (with roasted Anaheim peppers and toasted cumin mayo) are the call for lunch. At the bar? Absinthe and specialty bourbon drinks. Happy hour runs from 4-7pm, and it includes their killer burger (not on the HH menu... ask for it). Their Supper Sundays include a childhood fave dish from chef Victor Jiminez, including fried chicken on the second Sunday of every month. Lunch Tue.- Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. 640 Tenth Ave., 619. 450.5880, thecowboystar.Com $$$<br /> <br /> Donovan’s No steak will taste the same after you’ve dined at Donovan’s. All the meat is 100 percent aged USDA prime beef, and the preparation is 100 percent fantastic. This luxurious restaurant is all about pampering old-school style—meaning big, big, sophisticated and big. Their chilled seafood tower is a mammoth, Flintstonian collection of ocean delicacies: Australian cold water rock lobster tail, Alaskan red king crab legs, Canadian snow crab claws and Mexican white Gulf shrimp. Dinner Mon.-Sat. 4340 La Jolla Village Drive, 858.450.6666, donovanssteakhouse. Com $$$<br /> <br /> Donovan’s Prime Seafood This year-old seafood den serves up some seriously pretty food created with a California-modern approach. And we would expect nothing less from the restaurant’s new chef, Kemar Durfield, given his tenure as a souschef to S.D. darling William Bradley at Addison. The service is top-notch and the entrées are definitely the highlights here. Think caramelized, brown-butter poached lobster with gnocchi and seared scallops over risotto with a verbena zest. Free fish tacos and wraps are also on offer during their daily happy hour. Dinner Mon.- Sat. 333 Fifth Ave., 619.906.4850, donovansprimeseafood.Com $$$ <br /> <br /> Grant Grill This is one of S.D.’s original society hangouts, and the old-school sophistication just oozes. Located in the heart of U.S. Grant Hotel (100 years and going), nostalgia comes in every dish cooked up by chef de cuisine Chris Kurth, from gems of yore like rich, sherry-laced mock turtle soup to modern-day classics like lamb roasted in hay with veggies grown on the hotel rooftop. Everything washes down well with cocktails from Jeff Josenhans, including his signature barrel-aged Prohibitionstyle Manhattan. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 326 Broadway, 619. 744.2077, grantgrill. Com $$$<br /> <br /> Jsix Restaurant This restaurant in Hotel Solamar has a star in Christian Graves. Everything is seasonal and local, and Graves’ housemade charcuterie plate is phenomenal. Graves just launched a new menu highlighted by a half-branzino with castelvetrano olives and almondmint pesto, plus the crispy butterfish Dungeness crab with new potato hash and guanciale in red wine sauce. Locals with a 92101 zip code on their license get 10 percent off their lunch bill. A $15 prix fixe lunch menu is one of the better deals in town. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 616 J St., 619.531.8744, jsixrestaurant.com $$$<br /> <br /> Katsuya The Andaz’s Quarter Kitchen has been completely transformed into a chic, Philippe Starck-infused, 6,000-squarefoot indoor/outdoor two-story eatery. SBE hospitality group is well known for its sceney, social dining in L.A. and for putting out some amazing food, and its S.D. locale is no exception. With robata, traditional Japanese and sushi, options abound. Notables include lobster dynamite, grilled kobe with seared foie gras, baked crab hand rolls, albacore sashimi with crispy onions and spicy tuna over crispy rice. Wash it all down with a house sake. Dinner nightly. 600 F. St., 619.814.2000, sbe. Com $$$ <br /> <br /> Lincoln Room There are makeovers and then there are rebirths. When the Gaslamp’s Confidential space shut its doors and reopened as a Disney-esque log cabin, our jaws dropped. Thankfully, chef Chris Walsh’s new menu is all about childhood nostalgia, with delicious small plates like bacon-wrapped dates. Expect salad dressed with a creamy and herbaceous Green Goddess dressing followed by classic steak Diane in a bold, girthsome gravy rife with green peppercorns. During the $5 happy hour, all you need is a greenback with Lincoln’s mug on it to get a copper mug filled with a most satisfying Moscow mule. Lunch and dinner daily. 901 4th Ave., 619. 696.8888, thelincolnroomsd.Com $ <br /> <br /> Lions Share This is easily one of the greatest spots to open in some time. Owners Roy Ledo and Hassan Mahmood craft some seriously good cocktails that pair magnificently with chef Lhasa Landry’s game-heavy fare. Standouts here are pretty much everything on her imaginative menu. You certainly can’t go wrong with the exotic sausage plate, duck confit flatbread or antelope sliders. Service is great and the décor is practically medieval. It’s an absolute must. Dinner nightly. 629 Kettner Blvd. 619.564.6924, lionssharesd.com $$ <br /> <br /> Neighborhood This casual hangout in the East Village is dedicated to well-done pub grub and craft beers. Regulars go for the neighborhood Burger, topped with caramelized onion, Gruyère and green peppers. Just don’t ask for ketchup—they don’t stock it. Reach for a beer instead. Their suds supply is the best downtown, bar-none. Now they’re offering grilled cheese sliders from local fromage shop Venissimo, plus a kielbasa sausage with braised pork belly, mustard molasses glaze, Gruyère and caramelized onions— topped with a quail egg and brioche bun (holy delicious heart attack). Drafts are buy one/get one from 4-7pm on weekdays, and Wednesday is half-off wine. Lunch and dinner daily. 777 G St., 619. 446.0002, neighborhoodsd.Com $ <br /> <br /> Nobu International celeb chef Nobu Matsuhisa chose the Hard Rock Hotel for the 17th location of his famed sushi house. Four words: black cod with miso. Whether it’s that signature dish, a yuzu-slathered specialty or the live San Diego sea urchin (for the adventurous), Nobu lives up to its hefty reputation. Their newest addition is duck ishiyaki served over hot river stones with cilantro pesto. Happy hour daily from 5-7pm and all night on Wednesday. Dinner daily. 207 5th Ave., 619. 814.4122, noburestaurants.Com $$$$ <br /> <br /> Saltbox Formerly Suite & Tender, the renamed and re-concepted dining room at the $400 million Palomar Hotel (formerly Se Hotel) is worth a revisit. The phenomenal décor is still there, but now well-respected boutique chain Kimpton is running things. They’ve brought down one of their star chefs, Simon Dolinky, to run the kitchen. He’s a super-sustainable slow foodist, offering up standouts like short rib grilled cheese with roasted peppers on multigrain bread and killer seared scallops over corn hash and tarragon pesto. Dinner daily, breakfast and lunch Sat.-Sun. 1047 5th Ave., 619.515.3003, saltboxrestaurant.com $$$ <br /> <br /> Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza Sami Ladeki’s casual dining spot (he was the first with a wood-fired oven in S.D.) isn’t the same old pizza. They recently added a line of rustic Neapolitan pies (Caprese, Sicilian, Diavola and Tuscan), kosher-style hot dogs and Kobe beef chili. But their O. G. creations (arugula and pear pizza, Szechuan beef noodles) are still pretty great. Recently, they hosted a variety of Meet the Brewer dinners with local artisan alesters like AleSmith, Ballast Point and Stone, featuring five courses matched with a quintet of beers selected by brewers. It was such a success that there’s talk of ordering up another round in the coming months. Lunch and dinner daily. 770 4th Ave., 619. 230.8888, sammyspizza.com $ <br /> <br /> Searsucker Gaslamp nightlife impresario James Brennan (Stingaree) teamed with celeb chef Brian Malarkey (Top Chef ) and super-designer Thomas Schoos (Tao) for innovative, semi-casual fare in a truly inspiring, reclaimed atmosphere and business is booming! They just launched lunch counter service, with a killer pulled pork sammy (braised pork butt, baconnaise, apple slaw, and orange ancho-chile barbecue sauce, served on ciabatta). Work your way into the spacious yet constantly packed Searsucker and get your fill of dishes like pork butt with grilled peaches and a sinful bacon emulsion (because you can never have too much pork). Save room for a Sucker Bar, pastry chef Rachel King’s take on a homemade Twix. Lunch and dinner daily. Brunch Sun. 611 Fifth Ave., 619.233.7327, searsucker.Com $$$ <br /> <br /> The Westgate Room This elegant classic is decorated in ornate white wood and floral patterns galore. Chef Fabrice Hardel is one talented French classicist, so you know you’re safe with his saucier numbers. But he’s also launched a new all-day menu that includes a Monte Cristo, Mexican white shrimp club sandwich with piquillo pepper and a pulled barbecue pork sammy with pickled cabbage. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 1055 2nd Ave., 619. 238.1818, westgatehotel.Com $$$$ <br /> <br /> coronado 1500 Ocean at the Hotel del Coronado Oh-my-god views and first-rate service are every bit the trademarks of this fine dining venue as the charm and celeb-spotted history of the iconic landmark it’s nestled within. There’s a new culinary team in tow, and it’s high time you checked ’em out. New chef Aaron Martinez is a former pupil of Addison’s William Bradley, and he’s serving up coastal cuisine like local grouper with Spanish chorizo and the ridiculously opulent lobsterstuffed young chicken with harissa butter. Wine Director Joe Weaver (ex-Quarter Kitchen) has been one of the mainstays of S.D.’s highend wine outposts. Dinner daily. 1500 Orange Ave., 619.522.8490, dine1500ocean.Com $$$$ <br /> <br /> Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort Chef Patrick Ponsaty has just garnered the S.D. dining scene some serious cred by being dubbed a Master Chef of France (there are only 45 in the US). The food is on point and more modern Mediterranean coastal than French provincial, which is understandable given Ponsaty’s tenure at Alain Ducasse’s Louis XIII in Monte Carlo. Standouts from the sublime tasting menu include calamari steak over squid ink risotto topped with lime caviar zest and Hickory-infused tenderloin with chestnut, cardamom and poivarde sauces. Pre-dinner drinks are also a MUST. Look for equally contemporary liquid creations such as aspic martinis and kicked up, jalapeno infused mojitos. Dinner Tue.- Sat. 4000 Loews Coronado Bay Rd., 619. 424.4000 dineatmistral.com $$$ <br /> <br /> Encinitas Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria Each S.D. neighborhood seems to boast that their local pie is the area’s best. Well, these artisan-crafted, thin-crust creations may very well be—especially judging by the routine hourlong wait for a table on a busy night. Proprietors Wade and Kristi Hageman feature fresh, organic, local, sustainable ingredients and offer a mean burrata and salted caramel budino to respectively start and cap your meal. The bar also offers a nice by-the-glass and beer program. Lunch and dinner daily. 897 S. Coast Highway, 760.634.7671, blueribbonpizzeria.com $ <br /> <br /> North county Black&Blue Steakhouse Valley View’s signature steakhouse is the best bet when it comes to regional casino dining. Recently added Executive Chef Ashley Archer, who won a Mobil Four Diamond Award at Westin Salishan, is finding her feet and her groove. His surf and turf with port reduction is tasty and The Cowboy, an 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye served with shoestring onions and a peppercorn sauce, is a study in welldressed heft. Dinner Wed.-Sun. 16300 Nyemii Pass Road, 760.291.2130, valleyviewcasino.com $$$ <br /> <br /> El Bizcocho The grand dame El Bizcocho recently hired Nicolaus Bour as their executive chef. Bour was last seen at Georgia restaurant The Farmhouse, a national attraction for farm-to-table cuisine. Thus, his ingredients? Garden-fresh. Standouts include a butternut squash soup with truffle crème fraîche espuma, mapleglazed bacon and maple powder. Or try the seared pheasant breast with cherry polenta, asparagus and a fig compote. Dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, 858.675.8550, ranchobernardoinn.Com $$$$ <br /> <br /> Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens The numbers are in and Stone Brewing Co. Has grown to become the 14thlargest craft brewery in the U.S. Yet when it comes to their home base in Escondido, beer is only half the story. Their restaurant overlooks an extensive and beautifully landscaped garden oasis. Add in the farmy cuisine of chef Alex Carballo and you have all the fixings for a one-of-a-kind San Diego experience. Try their “Fresh! Dinner” series, a farm-to-table dinner that includes a pour direct from a fermenter tank and beers that were tapped the day before. Lunch and dinner daily. 1999 Citracado Parkway, 760.471.4999, stoneworldbistro.Com $$ <br /> <br /> West Steak & Seafood This is a fine steakhouse tucked into Carlsbad, where locals go for prime cuts of beef at more than reasonable prices and local, seasonal produce grown on chef Eugenio Martignago’s farm down the road. Though business travelers abound, locals show up on a regular basis for their Dinner in the Bar, where during happy hour a beef bourgignon and a martini will run you less than $20. 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