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Mar 10, 2009 11:28 AM

Amaya at The Grand Del Mar

Last year was the first time I dined at Amaya. It was during restaurant week of all times. I remember food and service being exceptional for a casual restaurant. Fast-forward to a year later and you wouldn’t believe it’s the same restaurant.

The dining room of Amaya has a strange layout; a lot of the tables make you feel like you are dining in a hallway or just in an empty room. It’s not welcoming at all.

The servers were friendly but were not knowledgeable about the food or wine. They were also very slow on clearing plates and silverware. After each course the plates sat stacked on the table waiting to be picked up. They also cleared half the silverware and forgot to bring fresh ones back. Between my guests and me we probably took all the silverware off the unoccupied table next to us by the end of the meal.

This although annoying, was just the beginning. During our first course they sat two adults with two children at a table to our left. These inconsiderate people let their children run around the restaurant the entire time screaming and just being unruly. The parents never once reprimanded them and when we talked to the manager he said they were guests of the hotel and he couldn’t do anything about it. I was appalled that a restaurant in such a prestigious resort would allow this!

This brings us to the food, which was another disappointment. There was only one dish that I didn’t have any issues with, and that was the mushroom risotto. The lobster bisque didn’t have one piece of lobster in it, not even for garnish. The lobster pappardelle came to the table with cheese already grated on it. Which looked like it had been melted under the heat lamp. The special of the night was the sable fish. It was pedestrian at best. The short ribs we sent back. They were completely inedible, tough, chewy, flavorless, and just flat out bad. The veal chop was a good portion chop and cooked well but the problem was with the mushrooms. This is a huge issue with me because mushrooms are one of my favorite foods and I want them prepared correctly. These tasted as if I spent a day at the beach. There was so much grit on them I do not think they were ever cleaned.

My overall experience was four courses of disillusionment. I cannot see Amaya lasting much longer the way it is currently running. I for one will not be returning again!

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  1. And Amaya would be where? based on your screen name I'm guessing San Diego, but San Diego covers a lot of territory, please help us narrow it down :-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      I'm guessing this is the place:

      Amaya Restaurant at The Grand Del Mar

      1. re: nileg

        Oh sorry about that. NileG is correct.

        1. re: SDGourmand

          we ate there last thanksgiving, and it was definitly a mixed bag. I agree that the room is kinda strange, oddly open and seems cold. The bar is so nice and cozy. I think the patio would be best for lunch on a nice day. Yeah you can't judge restaurants by holiday seatings, but I will compare it to other restaurants I have been to on holidays. It was kinda hit or miss, the staff while efficent, did not seem very warm or friendly, My comps would be El Biz, AR Val and 1540. The food was uneven. While some things were perfect, others were over/under seasoned. My s.o. did go back for lunch in Jan, she sat out on the patio with her friends and she had a lovely time and the food was great. We had such a nice dinner on Christmas at AR Valentine, even though we were at a tiny table, The waiter was freindly and knowledgeable without being cloying. The food was perfect. Maybe Amaya would be better with a bigger group,Where problems with the room would not be so evident. Of course on a holiday, we got the short end of the staff. One last thing, The same family must have been staying at the Grand over Thanksgiving as well. There was an unruly family there that night as well, and with all of the hard surfaces in the restaurant, the noise really carries.

    2. We spent a lovely long weekend at the Grand Del Mar Resort a couple of months ago and found all the restaurants to be outstanding..with that said, did you speak to the manager?
      This is totally unacceptable and I would let the GM of the resort know what you had experienced..just because you are not staying there as guests, doesn't give the people who are, have priority over you.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Beach Chick

        Spoke with the manager and he said what I stated in the review. He didn't even send over a free dessert. They would at least do that at Denny's. However, I love the resort and would go for Addison or just to have a drink in the bar. I'm all set with Amaya.

        1. re: SDGourmand

          I would contact Tom Voss the GM of the resort and let him know.
          Totally unacceptable..

      2. We also had a great weekend at Grand Del Mar, and dined at both Amaya and Addison. We enjoyed Amaya, and are more likely to return there than Addison. Addison's not bad or anything, but it's just SO over the top for a simpleton like myself. Sorry you had a bad experience, and I'd feel the same way if those things had happened to me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fake Name

          If anyone is interested I have pics of the courses on my blog.

        2. Critics, etc. spend so much time fawning over fine dining at Addison, I didn't even know that Amaya existed! Maybe the resort should put more resources into their casual dining rooms.