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San Diego/La Jolla - Anything new and wonderful?

Will be in La Jolla for one night this weekend and are wondering if there is anything new and wonderful. We like Tapenade in LaJ, as well as Market and Blanca. Is there someplace new that is really excellent. Prefer American, French, California cuisines, and a nice, reasonably peaceful ambiance.

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  1. I would try...Kitchen 1540 at L'Auberge Del Mar..Nine-Ten at the Grande Colonial hotel..
    A.R. Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pines..Addison at the Grande Del Mar..
    Cavaillon restaurant in Santa Luz/Fairbanks Ranch area.

    1. My vote would go to Addison and Kitchen 1540

      1. It's not new, but have you ever dined at Trattoria Acqua? Excellent Mediterranean.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Dagney

          Have you been recently?

          I always remember that place being very up and down.

          1. re: stevewag23

            You are right, it does seem to be up and down. Lately, I would say up.

            1. re: foodiechick

              Cool, good to know.

              1. re: stevewag23

                I have not dined there in over a year, so it's possible they have slid a bit. The last time I was there the service and the food were excellent.

                1. re: Dagney

                  Lately, as in last week, I would say down. Particularly the service. In one evening, they lost our reservation, refused to seat us next to the window claiming it was reserved when for our entire meal including appetizers and for 20 minutes after we left while we walked the cliffs below, the table remained empty, water glasses were never refilled, and the busboy removed our plates before we were through with them. The food was good, not great, with one exception. Interestingly enough, especially for a Mediterranean seafood restaurant, they served the best meatloaf I have ever tasted in my life.

                  1. re: sdnosh

                    I have heard many stories like this.

                    Food average, service terrible.

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      I am so sorry to hear that about Acqua. They used to be such a wonderful gem in San Diego. Is Mike McGeath still the owner?

          2. re: Dagney

            I agree, I have had nothin but good meals there. I don't know what this pasta dish is called but its rigatoni I think with tomato cream sauce, bacon and eggplant. Its absolutely amazing. I've also had there pasta with meat sauce that was a special and it was made perfectly. There salads are not that great but their bread is really good.

          3. Addison needs to be on your list. Blanca seems to have slipped a bit recently, as a recent meal at Market left me wanting to go back the next day and Blanca's dinners left me feeling "ok" but not craving to return. My one dinner at Kitchen 1540 left me feeling unsatisfied, although it seems that others say the call-ahead tasting menu is better than the set menu items.

            4 Replies
            1. re: daantaat

              Has anyone tried French 101 in LJ? (where Hard Rock used to be). They have a little pastry area there, I bought a loaf of French bread and it was disappointing. So I haven't got the motivation to try a meal there.

              1. re: keena

                I heard somewhere that one of the owners was an owner of St. Tropez Bakery and Cafe. If that is true, it might explain the quality of the bread. Nothing at St. Tropez has really worked for me.

              2. re: daantaat

                We have just had the reverse experience re Market and Blanca. We had a very nice dinner at Blanca a few weeks ago and a very disappointing meal at Market this past Saturday. Our food was mixed (one entree great, and one entree very much oversalted, and overly rich...admittedly a matter of taste), our service just ok. Also disturbing was the fact that the restroom was very messy and obviously not recently cleaned when the restaurant first opened at 5 PM.

                Kitchen 1540 sounds interesting. Has anyone reviewed it?

                1. re: josephnl

                  I've been once and thought Market, Addison and Blanca were better. The best parts of the meal were the charcuterie and cheese plate and dessert. My app and entree were interesting, but the flavors weren't melded together enough and/or had enough range of flavor for me. I can't recall my app except that I think it had nettles or fiddlehead ferns in it. Entree was roasted or grilled whole branzino w/ shishito peppers and honshimeiji mushrooms. Branzino was excecuted well, but the flavors were lacking the extra edge. A sprinkling of salt didn't do it either. Other posters have said the tasting menu is better.

              3. Whisk n Ladle is great if you have not tried it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: stevuchan

                  Yes! I am dying to try Whisk n Ladie, as I understand they have marrow. I read "Service Included" by Phobe Damrosch, and I have had a craving for marrow ever since.

                2. Really enjoying everyone's suggestions, but they seem to all be in La Jolla or Del Mar, which I don't think is in our future this weekend. Any new + wonderful suggestions in San Diego itself? Downtown/Gaslamp/etc.? Thank you!!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: steviejoe

                    Grant Grill at the US Grant Hotel
                    Jsix at Hotel Solamar
                    Cafe Chloe
                    Bertrand's at Mister A's
                    Candela's in Coronado
                    Roseville in La Playa/Point Loma
                    Chez Loma in Coronado
                    1500 at the Hotel Del

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Thanks so much for the Candela's recommendation. Went here over the weekend and it was outstanding. In fact, we ended up at Candela's two nights in a row - first for happy hour (all drinks and appetizers half price!), then for dinner.

                      1. re: AllPhoenix

                        Awesome that you had a great time!
                        It was a gorgeous weekend too..