The Finest of America’s Finest: Indulging San Diego Restaurant Week Picks in North County

What’s better than indulging in some fine dining in America’s Finest City? How about two or three decadent courses for $10 – $40? Indeed you can, during San Diego Restaurant Week, where you can taste two-course lunches from $10-$20 or three-course dinners for $30-$40. Indulgence that’s kind to my wallet? I’ll raise my fork to that any day.

San Diego’s North County doesn’t just offer gorgeous beaches, expansive vistas and charming coastal communities. It is also home to some legendary fine dining establishments that celebrate everything from inspired Mediterranean fare, sumptuous French-inspired cuisine and the freshest fruits of the sea. So put on your finest threads, and venture out for an elegant culinary experience in San Diego’s North County.

Whole-Roasted Filet of Prime Beef Tenderloin at Amaya

Whole-Roasted Filet of Prime Beef Tenderloin at Amaya

Amaya at the Grand Del Mar

Dinner only – Three Courses for $40
Feel like whisking yourself away to Tuscany? Escape to The Grand Del Mar for an enchanted evening amidst rolling hills and Tuscan style architecture. Elegance, romance and indulgence await you at the Amaya, where executive chef Camron Woods creates artful Mediterranean-inspired American classics, such as the Whole-Roasted Filet of Prime Beef Tenderloin served with fragrant red wine jus and smoked onions (pictured above). Or try the Cider-glazed Hot-Smoked Salmon with roasted baby root vegetables and celery root puree. For $25, complete your Mediterranean dining experience with wine pairings for each course, selected from their collection of fine Spanish, Italian and French wines.

Sugar Spice Salmon at Pacifica Del Mar

Sugar Spice Salmon at Pacifica Del Mar

Pacifica Del Mar

Lunch – Two Courses for $20
Dinner – Three Courses for $40
Not only was Pacifica Del Mar the site of my wedding reception, but it’s also the place to I go in San Diego when stuck with a seafood craving. Their Sugar Spice Salmon (pictured above) is the stuff of legend, and is thankfully offered on both their lunch and dinner menu options for Restaurant Week. The overwhelmingly popular choice for guests on my big day, this perfectly grilled salmon filet is spiced with a glaze that is both sweet and succulent. Often imitated but never matched in its perfection, the salmon is just one of the many reasons to try Pacifica Del Mar. Go for lunch if you want to take in gorgeous sunny views of the Pacific Ocean, but go back for dinner if you want to treat your taste buds to their chocolate filled Beignets. Served with blood orange sorbet, these Beignets could be a dangerous start to a new obsession.

Mille Fleurs

Mille Fleurs

Mille Fleurs

Dinner only – Three Courses for $40
A San Diego establishment since 1984 and winner of numerous awards (including a designation by Food & Wine Magazine as one of America’s top 25 restaurants), Mille Fleurs is the original creation of legendary San Diego restaurateur Bertrand. Nestled in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe, Mille Fleurs offers a seasonal menu of French-inspired California cuisine, featuring the freshest ingredients available at local farms and markets. For the Restaurant Week menu, chef Woesle has whipped up delectable options that beg to be seen as much as savored. Always artfully presented, a meal here is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palette. With entrée options like the Quenelles of Trout and Grilled Shrimp with Brocco Flower Risotto finished with Nettle Leaf Champagne Sauce, or the Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Prosciutto, I may need to go back a few times to try every dish of each course. Then again, this just may be the perfect opportunity to brush up on my French while savoring all they have to offer.

Which Restaurant Week options will you try in North County San Diego?

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Aki

About Aki

After living in 8 cities in 4 countries, I adopted San Diego as my home town 10 years ago. Everything I love is here - the Pacific Ocean as my back yard, museums and galleries exhibiting world-class art, endless dining options, the coolest attractions, friendly people, a dynamic business community… the list goes on. And after a decade of living here, there is still so much more to see!

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

As a resident of coastal North County, my perfect San Diego Day always starts with a good surf session. Packing up the family, we’ll head to our favorite beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. After some fun in the sun and surf, we’ll head to Swami’s Café in Encinitas for their famous Acai bowl, then hit the road down south to any of the great San Diego attractions. Maybe a day at the Zoo, or check out some museums in Balboa Park? As an art lover and former gallerist, I love checking out new exhibitions at local galleries in La Jolla or Little Italy.

In the evening (if we can get a sitter), we love seeing live music at any of the great music venues in town. A concert at Spreckels Theater, a show at the Casbah, or an outing to the Belly Up in Solana Beach is always a treat. For dinner, we'll gather up some friends and head out to Stone Brewery Bistro & Gardens, or Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill. What's the best way to cap off a perfect day in San Diego? With perfectly crafted cocktails at Starlite, Craft+Commerce, or Noble Experiment.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Surfing & hiking. I also love yoga, which you can enjoy outdoors in San Diego. And shopping too, it’s officially an outdoor sport here.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

That’s an apples and oranges question... On most days, I’m a linguine and red wine kinda gal. But I’ll go for a good Kobe burger and wash it down with a Hefeweizen.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

Archade Fire, Bon Iver and The xx.

Follow Aki on twitter: @akimartinsd