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Staying at Marriott Del Mar

Sushi Otaku Mar 24, 2009 01:48 PM

I'll be staying here for a week for business but no car to drive around. Any recommendations within walking distance?

  1. n
    nosh Mar 25, 2009 06:18 PM

    I don't want to rain on your parade, but Arterra was a big hit when it first opened with a noted chef a few years ago -- recent reviews are much more mixed. The place got savaged for its Valentine's dinner, though that Saturday night was indeed the alltime amateur hour and not a good test.

    My favorites in the area are all a very short cab ride away, though I'm sure a lot of your cohorts at your meeting will have rental cars, all on Via de la Valle which is the exit from the 5 freeway next to the Del Mar racetrack and fairgrounds. The best place for food is Market, which is about a mile inland (very close to the famous Chino Farms) -- they offer a four-course price-fixe menu with a few choices for each dish. A great experience. Pamplemousse is a very nice, a bit darker and more formal, and indeed perhaps more expensive experience, just to the coast side off the freeway. Next to it is Red Tracton's, a wonderful oldtime steakhouse with servers who have been there for decades, great prime rib along with steaks and chops, and a really fun bar in the front that is amazing people-watching during racing season. I vastly prefer it to Ruth's Chris or other local renditions of national chains. Finally, Kitchen 1540 at the revamped L'Auberge is definitely happening, with a gorgeous new restaurant and a striking outdoor patio with fatastic lighting and cabanas -- a sparkling bar scene later in the evening -- unfortunately the dinner we had didn't measure up to the decor and service.

    5 Replies
    1. re: nosh
      sbritchky Mar 25, 2009 08:07 PM

      Recent reviews by whom, nosh? Can you give a reference so that those of us who admire Arterra can speak to specific issues? If the bad experience was just a matter of lousy service on a busy Valentine's Day, then I don't know why it's worth bringing up, except to warn people: Don't go there then!

      I've been to Arterra more than a dozen times over the last few years and have loved almost everything but the noise that rises if you get too close to the open bar at one end. The tasting menu is superb, and service has always been excellent. As I understand it, Bradley Ogden is no longer deeply involved in the place, but it still reflects the philosophy of artfully prepared, fresh -- much of the produce is from Chino Farm, a few miles away and one of America's best farmstands -- and delicious food that he's been known for since he put Campton Place in San Francisco on the national map more than a quarter-century ago.

      Perhaps we just have different tastes. I've been to Pamplemousse a couple of times and found their klutzy take on "high-end" food both boring and too expensive. And Red Tracton's has a menu similar to Bully's (a branch of which is a short cab ride into Del Mar) but is not nearly as good, in my opinion. (Neither one is great -- I'm just comparing.)

      On the other hand, I've heard good things about Market and look forward to stopping by sometime -- if I can tear myself away from Arterra! :-)

      Edit: I seem to recall a similar discussion with someone (you?) in the past, but I can't find the thread.

      1. re: sbritchky
        d
        daantaat Mar 25, 2009 08:22 PM

        If you liked Arterra in it's original incarnation w/ Carl Shroeder, then you'll like Market. Time to tear yourself away from Arterra and head up to Market!

        1. re: daantaat
          sbritchky Mar 25, 2009 08:34 PM

          How would you compare the two, daantaat? Similar emphasis on fresh produce and local products?

        2. re: sbritchky
          n
          nosh Mar 26, 2009 10:22 AM

          This thread references another which gave feedback about Arterra on and around Valentine's Day this year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596370

          1. re: nosh
            sbritchky Mar 26, 2009 11:31 AM

            Over the years, I've had no such experiences with either the food or the service at Arterra and agree with the person who said, "Your story is exactly why we have stopped going out to dinner on Valentines night and New Year's Eve (especially when they fall on Fri or Sat nights)."

            I haven't been in a few months, so I'll stop by again soon and report my findings here.

      2. Beach Chick Mar 25, 2009 11:23 AM

        Arterra is your best bet at the hotel and don't know if they have a courtesy shuttle service but you can head into Del Mar and go to the new Kitchen 1540 at L'Auberge Hotel..you can hit up the Roberto's Taco shop down the road on Carmel Valley..
        I like Tio Leo's and I think they still have a happy hour.
        Take a cab to Market which is excellent.

        1. d
          daantaat Mar 24, 2009 08:42 PM

          If you want more casual/cheap, Souplantation, Nico's Taco Shop and Subway are about a 5 min walk down the street. There's a Thai place in the same shopping plaza, Spices Thai Cafe. It's ok, not great Thai and too Americanized for me, but it's another decent option.

          o/w, Arterra is the closest and best. Ruth Chris' is next closest.

          1. w
            wanker Mar 24, 2009 03:48 PM

            Arterra is great with a lively patio and happy hour.

            Also Ruth Chris' is just up the road. It'd be a 15 walk or a 2 minute cab ride.

            1. happensatonce Mar 24, 2009 03:39 PM

              It's a bit of a walk (maybe about a mile), but the weather is supposed to be gorgeous this week. There's a tiny Italian restaurant on Carmel Valley Road called Trattoria Ponte Vecchio. We love it there. http://www.pontevecchiodelmar.com/home/ .

              Unless you're desperate you should avoid Pat & Oscars (a local chain) and Tio Leo's, which are temptingly close to the hotel.

              1. t
                The Office Goat Mar 24, 2009 02:30 PM

                I've never had a bad meal at Arterra. We even had it as room service on our wedding night.

                1 Reply
                1. re: The Office Goat
                  Sushi Otaku Mar 24, 2009 03:05 PM

                  See, now this is why I love this website!!

                2. SDGourmand Mar 24, 2009 02:02 PM

                  Arterra in your hotel is great especially if you are staying there.

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