George’s in La Jolla, CA is a multi-level joint, with options for a smooth, jazzy, fine-dining atmosphere below or a breezy, oceanside rooftop terrace above.
The terrace is an open air world of its own, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The terrace kitchen is lined with high top tables, leaning against the subway tiled wall with sand showers as light fixtures. Diners are able to hear waves crashing, seals barking and ice crushing for cocktails at the tiny but busy bar.
Our spot along the glass-lined terrace edge was perfect, feeling the salty breeze and the heater keeping me warm. I was so excited to be dining at George’s because it has gained accolades such as:
- World’s Hottest Rooftop Restaurants- Travel + Leisure 05/01/11
- Golden Dish Award- GQ Magazine
- America’s Ten Best Chefs - Food & Wine Magazine
- “Most Popular Restaurant in San Diego”
We chose to indulge in two starters because
we are gluttons we wanted to experience as much as possible…
The first starter we chose: Summer Watermelon Salad. A shallot vinaigrette harmonizes heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, onion, mint, olives and feta cheese. Ignoring that it was literally the Fall Equinox (September 23, 2011), we enjoyed this last plate of summer.
The second starter: Grilled Zuchinni Bruschetta, unique with a choppy mousse-like blend of ricotta, goat cheese, grilled zuchinni, mint and crushed almonds accompanied by oiled baguette. Commoners’ wouldn’t expect the mousse given the dish’s name, maybe that was Chef intended. As a reviewer, the blend was a creative idea to push the diner out of their comfort zone while remaining in-bounds of a baguette + veggie bruschetta concept.
The featured entree of the evening was a Halibut, served on a bed of smoked corn, green beans and topped with marinated cherry tomatoes.
As expected and based on appearance, the fish was cooked perfectly and flavors aligned in harmony. My only negative was that smoked corn and green beans are just boring! Something more intriguing like asparagus, hearts of palm, cucumber, eggplant, or broccolini would have made the dish more complete. It felt like the chef was making an outstanding fish with perfect technique but then pairing it with a safe combination of commoner vegetables.
Cooked perfectly again with a more creative pairing, served on top of farro salad with cucumber, carrots, radish, asparagus and a lemon vinaigrette. The pesto on top really cinched it for me even though this wasn’t my entree-I had ordered the featured halibut, reaching outside of my comfort zone.
death by raspberry chocolate layer cake and buttered pecan gelato.
George’s was solid. The entree fish was of superior quality and cooked to perfection. The starters were delicious, smaller portions, and creative. The atmosphere is phenomenal and unique, the restaurant design is interesting. $12 for the Watermelon Salad was a little unrealistic, taking into account California being more expensive in general. I made a Kiwi Watermelon Salsa and an Heirloom Summer Salad , near identical concepts to that Watermelon Salad, both are ridiculously inexpensive in comparison. Recently I have put more effort into the entire aspect of meals at restaurants in particular and I can’t help but say that I’ve been to better. I should say, I have experienced concepts, flavors, food, and combinations that were superior to George’s and also, service that was far superior.
However, I loved hearing the seals and the waves. It was definitely a good meal and wonderful ambiance., especially for my birthday dinner. The food was good, not outstanding, but interesting and cooked well. Presentation was excellent, timing exquisite. The view and the experience coupled with good food would definitely put George’s high on my “return to” list.
What is your absolute, best-dining experience that you have enjoyed ?