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.
Frites Grill Menu at Mimi's Cafe
Chef Katie Sutton, the head of the culinary team at Mimi’s Cafe restaurants, spent two months in France perfecting her version of the French frite that’s crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The results can now be found on the Frites Grill menu, offering steak frites, grilled salmon & frites, grilled chicken & frites, mussels & frites, and roasted chicken & frites. For more information and locations, visit www.mimiscafe.com
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.
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.
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