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Dining room at Aubergine; chef Josiah Citrin of Melisse; King Crab Salad at Addison

The 2014 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue has been published! San Diego area restaurants honored include Addison on the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. and Cucina Enoteca on the Hot 25 Restaurants in the U.S.



The shuttered Top of the Cove, La Jolla’s landmark location with stellar ocean views, is set to be Duke’s in 2015. Named after legendary Duke Kahanamoku, the surf-themed chain with restaurants in Hawaii, Malibu and Huntington Beach, is owned by T. S. Restaurants. Family-friendly Duke’s will revitalize the iconic La Jolla spot, which has been empty since 2006. Duke's will be T.S. Restaurant's second venture in San Diego, as they also own Jake’s Del Mar. Look for Mai Tai’s and mahi mahi in fall 2015. Duke's, 1216 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037, no phone.
Freshly opened August 31, Bottega Americano is a European-style marketplace and chic restaurant with five interactive food bars, creative cocktails, gourmet gifts and an epicurean to-go market. The menu honors the culinary traditions of Italy, but also American regional cooking. Think wood-fired pizza, a pasta bar, paninis, a raw bar, salads, salumi, gourmet cheeses and an espresso bar. Executive chef David Warner (formely of JRDN) has partnered with chef Giuseppe Ciuffa and GM Greg Van de Velde (formerly of Mister A's) to create this innovative concept. Designed by Thomas Schoos (Searsucker, Puesto), the 8000-square-foot marketplace is a dynamic and inviting setting where diners experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the kitchen. Snake Oil Cocktail Company has further elevated the scene with clever potables like handcrafted syrups for the coffee bar, coffee-based cocktails and modern versions of classic Italian libations. Bottega Americano resides in the LEED-certified Thomas Jefferson School of Law, across from downtown's new library, and is a glorious step forward for San Diego's culinary scene. Bottega Americano, 1195 Island Ave., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-255-7800.
One of Tijuana's most celebrated chefs, Javier Plascencia, has announced plans to open a new restaurant on Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy. Named for the 1940s Bracero program, which brought in many Mexican agricultural workers to the U.S., the bi-level eatery will allow San Diego diners to savor the famed chef's modern Mexican fare, without crossing the border. The lower level will be a casual, no-reservations eatery, while the upper floor will offer a more formal dining experience. Plascencia also has Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro in Bonita, in addition to a slew of eateries in Tijuana (Mision 19) and Guadalupe Valley (Finca Altozano). Bracero: Cocina Mexicana de Raiz will open in spring 2015. Bracero: Cocina Mexicana de Raiz, 1490 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101, no phone.
Chef Jason McLeod has partnered with CH Projects (the masterminds behind craft cocktail venues such as Polite Provisions, Craft & Commerce and Noble Experiment) on Ironside Fish & Oyster. Set in Little Italy, once the tuna capital of the U.S., this fish-driven eatery hopes to reintroduce the oyster culture to San Diego, a nod to the seaport city’s past as a giant in the fishing industry. McLeod previously served as executive chef of RIA, a luxurious seafood-driven restaurant in Chicago's Elysian Hotel. This approachable raw-bar concept is set in a 4,500-square-foot, 1920s-era warehouse and hosts an in-house bakery and European-style open kitchen with a unique chef's table, and a five-foot live lobster tank. The menu spotlights seafood-heavy dishes like beer-braised mussels with Andouille sausage, a fried oyster po boy and lobster rolls. Look for more than 50 unique cocktails, craft beers, fortified wines and $1 oysters at happy hour. Ironside Fish & Oyster, 1654 India St., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-269-3033.
Rare Form has opened its doors in the East Village, next to Stone Brewing Tap Room by Petco Park. The deli and bar combo is the brainchild of CH Projects, the group behind Craft & Commerce, Neighborhood and Underbelly. Expect creative cocktails, groovy design and casual bites from chef Aldo Negrete, formerly of Whisknladle. Rare Form, 795 J St., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-255-6507.
Arturo Kassel and Ryan Johnston of Whisknladle Hospitality will open their Italian Coastal restaurant, Catania, in early 2015. Inspired by a road trip through Italy, Catania is the newest concept for this restarateur duo, who are also behind Whisknladle and Prepkitchen Del Mar. Designed by Bluemotif Architecture, the space will occupy 3,750 square feet on the top floor of La Plaza, which once housed Jack's La Jolla. Catania, La Plaza, 7863 Girard Ave., La Jolla, CA 92037, no phone.
Addison executive chef William Bradley serves as culinary director of Bijou French Bistro Bijou French Bistro has opened in the former space of Amaya La Jolla. Addison executive chef William Bradley serves as culinary director while his former sous-chef Shaun Gethin is chef de cuisine. Among the menu’s French bistro favorites are steak tartare, quiche, French onion soup, steak frites and coq au vin. Bijou French Bistro, 1205 Prospect St., La Jolla, CA 92037, 858-750-3695.
Chef Rob Ruiz (formerly of Harney Sushi) has a new passion project called The Land & Water Company. The forward-thinking Carlsbad eatery is set in the Twin Inns building, a Victorian mansion built in 1886 and once the home of the town’s co-founder. Dubbed a "French izakaya" (a Japanese pub), Ruiz presents a hyper-local focused menu with produce sourced from local farms and meat, including grass-fed beef, from ranches within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant. Think California cuisine with French, Hawaiian and Japanese influences. Ruiz, a master with sushi who was trained in Hawaii, is also dedicated to sustainability and takes an eco-minded approach to selecting his fish and preparing his delicous food. Lunch & Dinner nightly. The Land & Water Company, 2978 Carlsbad Boulevard, #110, Carlsbad, CA 92008, 760-729-5263.

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News Bytes

Juniper & Ivy team to Open Second Little Italy Eatery
Top Chef All-Stars winner and owner of San Diego hot spot Juniper & Ivy, Richard Blais, has announced he will open a second, more casual eatery in the lot adjacent to his successful restaurant. Blais and Michael Rosen of Juniper Hospitality are partnered on the next Little Italy project. Meanwhile Blais continues to stay in the national spotlight with appearances on Top Chef Boston and the new Food Network show Hungry Games. Juniper & Ivy, 2228 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-269-9036.
San Diego Restaurant Week Returns
The California Restaurant Association presents the twice annual San Diego Restaurant Week, held again September 21-26, 2014. Featuring prix-fixe menus from more than 180 San Diego restaurants, guests can opt to dine for lunch or dinner. Three different price choices are available for the two-course lunches and three-course dinners. Select a $10, $15 or $20 menu for lunch and $25, $35 or $45 menu for dinner. For more information, visit

Chef Shuffle

Chef Dan Saito has landed in San Diego after a long, illustrious culinary career. He graduated from La Serre Culinary Academy in Paris, France and then went on to apprentice at Maxim's de Paris. Upon returning to the United States, he joined the team at the original Spago in Hollywood under Wolfgang Puck, and then went to Stars of San Francisco, working with to Jeremiah Towers, the “Father of Pacific Rim” cooking. Saito ended up as the head chef at Manele Bay Hotel and Resort on Lanai, Hawaii, where created dishes for Bill Gates' epic wedding. The seasoned chef has also shown off his culinary chops at world summits and The White House. Now he's helming Hotel Indigo Del Mar's colorful restaurant, and his "Euro Pacific with a Mid-West Twist" menu will debut in October. Look for his signature banana cream pancake, alone worth the trip to Oceanview Bar and Grill. Oceanview Bar and Grill, Hotel Indigo Del Mar, 710 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014, 858-755-1501.
Executive chef Greg Fry has left BlueFire Grill at the Omni La Costa Resort. A replacement for the resort's signature restaurant has not been named, but for now the menu remains the same, featuring farm-to-table, seasonal Califonia Cuisine. Fry has taken on a new position at the Golden Door. BlueFire Grill, Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, 2100 Costa Del Mar Rd., Carlsbad, CA 92009, 760-438-9111.
With the departure of Nicolas Bour from Rancho Bernardo Inn, a new culinary team has been set at the rustic property. A young and passionate chef, originally from Argentina, Tomás Baistrocchi has taken over as chef de cuisine. Baistrocchi worked under Bour and has a stellar background with stints at Fearrington House Restaurant and Inn and other fine restaurants. Executive chef Carissa Giacalone will oversee all culinary operations and banquets for the hotel. Previously, she worked at the Hilton Bayfront. The cuisine at AVANT continues to be seasonal California fare that's ingredient-driven and fresh from the garden. AVANT, Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., San Diego, CA 92128, 858-675-8550.
Chef Sam Burman has landed as chef de cuisine at The Grant Grill in the historic US Grant Hotel downtown. After 10 years naviagting the Chicago culinary scene, Burman came to San Diego and served as executive chef at Quality Social, and then as corporate chef at Whisknladle Hospitality, where he spent two and a half years overseeing the success of both Whisknladleand Prepkitchen Del Mar’s culinary programs with chef Ryan Johnston. Burman plans to showcase the flavors of the hotel's rooftop garden in his seasonal dishes, which include veal sweetbreads with Andy’s Orchard cherries, shaved celery and blue cheese, as well as a fresh hamachi starter with spiced corn, sea asparagus, finger lime and peppadew pepper purée. The Grant Grill, The US Grant, 326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101, 619-744-2077.


Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for San Diego to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from the past. Mr. Tiki Mai Tai Lounge, R.I.P.

After nearly 30 in business, St. Germain’s Cafe & Bistro has closed its doors citing rising costs. St. Germain’s Cafe & Bistro, 1010 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas, CA 92024, no phone.

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Check out the 2014 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue, which features the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., Rising Chefs and more.

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