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Jul 13, 2006 08:21 PM

Anniversary gift for my niece/Oceanside

My niece, who is like a second daughter, and her husband will be celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary in a few months. As I did for my daughter and her husband, I'd like to give them a lavish, by their standards, gift certificate to a fabulous restaurant that they, themselves, would never spend the money on. (I sent my daughter and husband (who were poor med students in Seattle) to a restaurant called Cannlis...elegant & romantic; living meagerly this was a great treat for them on their special day.) My niece & husband are not struggling med students but rarely treat themselves to fine dining. Their idea of special meal out is to Samurai (in Del Mar, I think) for sushi. Is there any restaurant in their area, North San Diego county, that willsimply knock their socks off and give them a memorable anniversary meal? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Mille Fleur in Rancho Santa Fe. One of the top 5 restaurants in SD:

    1 Reply
    1. re: honkman

      Thanks for that tip. What are the other 4 top restaurants in SD? I don't think SD is too far for them to go...especially for an incredible celebration meal....maybe a nite stay in the city.

    2. There are no good restaurants in Oceanside or Carlsbad either. Encinitas is OK, but if you want knock your socks off good, the closest place is Pamplemousse in Del Mar. It is on Via de la Valle, near Interstate 5.

      Mille Fleur is probably better. I have never eaten there because it is such a hassle to get there from here.

      1. Yup...nothing high end/nice in O'side/Carlsbad

        I'd second PAMPLEMOUSSE GRILL in Del Mar; it's worth the 20 minute drive down the 5.

        Also nice is GEORGE'S AT THE COVE in La Jolla, another 10-15 minutes south of Del Mar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: OCAnn

          I forgot to add that Pamplemousse is where my husband and I celebrated our first anniversary earlier this spring. The chilean sea bass melted in my mouth; and my husband enjoyed his trio of game. The service and ambiance were both very, very nice. The restaurant felt upscale without being too full of itself.

        2. Mille Fleur is overated

          Jeffery Straus's Pamplemouse is awesome, top4.

          Jean Michel Dio's Tapenade in La Jolla is top 4 and fabulous

          Tony DiSalvo of Manhattan's Jean Georges fame Just opened The Dining Room at Jack's in La Jolla and I just reviewed it at

          Lots of food and decor pictures, Jack's La Jolla is the top newcomer for sure.


          1 Reply
          1. re: jkress

            Different tastes, different opinions.

            Pamplemouse is very overrated and way too much hyped.

          2. Top places in SD County

            Tapenade in La Jolla
            George's on the Cove in La Jolla (downstairs dining only)
            Arterra in Del Mar (they just changed owners, so don't know how it is now)
            AR Valentien in La Jolla at the Torrey Pines Lodge and Golf Course
            Mister A's in downtown SD--sister restaraunt to Mille Fleurs and has 180 degree views of the city from the dining room

            Mille Fleurs is good, although I prefer the above places more.

            Pamplemousse overcooked my lamb the last time I was there.

            6 Replies
            1. re: daantaat

              Overcooked anything is no good at this level. An important feature in any high end restaurant is consistency. A good friend and foodie was surprised when I mentioned Pamplemmouse as a favorite. I will try to do a full review before the end of summer to see what old Jeffrey is up to down there these days.

              1. re: daantaat

                My understanding was that Arterra didn't change the owner (but I might be wrong about that) but the chef de cuisine Carl Schroeder left but was now replaced by the former sous-chef Brian Pekarcik.

                1. re: honkman

                  Hi Honkman.
                  What do you not like about Pamplemmouse? I intend to get to the bottom of this. My recomendations are my cred and if a place has slipped I want to know. I dinged Mille Fleur for small portions and snobby service but the food was always top notch for San Diego. I respect your opinion.

                  1. re: Captain Jack


                    I think the Pamplemousse is a good restaurant but I also think that they have pretty high prices for their food. I am not cheap and are more than willing to pay much more for good food but at a certain point I expect a restaurant to deliver something special for a certain price. You don't find much entrees below $30 at Pamplemousse and they are very well executed but I don't think that they have that special something I find at some other restaurant, e.g. Veal Chop Milanese, with Arugula & Tomatoes for $39. (That reminds me very much at the restaurant at the Rancho Valencia Resort where I had a steak for $50 but was completely unimpressed). So your recommendation are still still very good but it looks like that we have different expectation with Pamplemousse.

                  2. re: honkman

                    Carl Schroeder is now at the Blackhorse Grill. I think it was sold to him and Tony Hawk.

                    1. re: honkman

                      honkman, you are correct. my error.