Blanca in Solana Beach
I am new to the site and have been reading through the May threads. I have not seen a mention of Blanca in Solana Beach as one of the top "money no object" SD restaurants. Is it too new? What have you all thought about it?
We went there in October and had a fantastic meal. I am considering going back for a special ocasion but was also looking for other comparable options near Del Mar. I have been seeing mention of Cavaillon in Santa Luz.
Our normal go-to fancy go to restaraunts are:
Market (used to go to Arterra but followed Chef to Market)
We were not terribly impressed with El Bizcocho when we tried them for Restaurant week this year. It was our first and probably last time going there.
Have always heard about Delicias in RSF but have not been there since sometimes I have heard there is a "local factor" there (meaning if you are not from RSF, the service is not as good).
Any thoughts are appreciated!
Went to Blanca about a month ago and the food was good, much better than last summer when they just opened. I had the Maui sweet onion soup, chicken with an excellent mac and cheese and butterscotch pot du creme. All three courses were very good. The only ding was that the soup was just barely on that side of a little too salty for me, but I am splitting hairs on this one. The chicken was juicy, flavorful and large enough for a 2nd meal. I am not a big butterscotch fan but this dessert really impressed and was delicious. A smooth, NOT sickly sweet pot of butterscotch with a thin layer of dark chocolate syrup and crumbled dark chocolate cookie crumbs (think a better version of the Oreo cookie w/o the icing) on top. I was really glad I chose that dessert! Can't really say about the money to food value, because it was on someone else's tab.
I think if you're in the Del Mar/Solana Beach area, Blanca is a good option, although I would pick Market or Cavaillon over it. Mostly because I've been to the latter two more often and had consistently good meals there.
The problem we had was actually with the service - food was wonderful. We had heard how fabulous El Biz is for service but felt rushed. We do not know if this was because it was Restaurant Week or if it was normal. For example, all plates were not removed at the same time, we were never offered coffee with our desserts, and in general did not see our waiter too often (it seemed just when we first ordered and then for the bill).
Another person had the same experience at Mille Fleurs so it could be an issue with the format of Restaurant week. The issue is if that is the first time someone has tried the restaurant, that will be a lasting impression. I DO think restaurant week is a great idea - don't get me wrong - it just needs to be handled delicately!!
It was most likely a function of the Restaurant Week factor - too many bookings. El Biz is on my list to try and I hope to get up there soon. Blanca is also on the list, but I can echo some of the comments from PGB as far as what I have heard. Good but not outstanding, and highly priced. I agree that it's silly to turn the parking lot into valet. Solana Beach is not Los Angeles.
While I've not been to Blanca, I've spoken to several that have. The general consensus is it's overly expensive for very good food, but no one thought it was a good value. All preferred Market. And most objected to their turning the free parking lot into a paid valet area.
I've been to Cavaillon twice and it was excellent both times. It's a small restaurant with excellent ambiance and excellent food at more moderate prices. Service was terrific. My only complaint is the two times we were there the menu hadn't changed very much.
Lastly, Arterra has continued to be excellent even with the changes.