Restaurant Review: Think there’s no haute cuisine in the South Bay? Think again. Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro was voted Best Chef and Best of San Diego Food and Drink in 2014. San Diego Magazine also voted Romesco one of the top ten San Diego Restaurants of 2013.
The press about this place goes on and on. Yes, San Diego local media outlets hail Romesco’s, but the restaurant and its renown chef, Javier Plascencia, has also been discovered by Zagat, the Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker.
Like most of the excellent dining in the South Bay, Romesco’s outside facade is unassuming. It opened its doors in the unincorporated town of Bonita across the street from the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center. The restaurant is on the corner of an outdoor mall glutted with stores, a Vons grocery store and even a gun shop. Beware, however, of its humble exterior. This place has been “discovered,” so make sure to call for reservations beforehand if you plan to dine on a Friday or Saturday.
The restaurant has two opulent dining choices: the main dining area whose decor looks very much like the famed Cesar’s Restaurant in Tijuana (and of the same family). There’s also a tapas bar, if you plan on going for the lighter side.
The New Yorker will tell you all about this chef and how hot he’s become as the quintessential creator of our Baja cuisine, but it’s worth every bite to explore the menu yourself. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a tribute to the South Bay’s multi-cultural history, combing traditional Spanish cuisine such as paella with familiar Mexican tacos along with a tribute to the Italian immigrants who brought their cuisine to the Pacific. That might be a mouthful for a description, but here are some examples of what I mean:
Cesar’s Piquillos Rellenos de Salmon: A Southeast Asian-Italian-Mexican cold tapa, it’s made with salmon stuffed sweet piquillo peppers, topped with mango basil vinaigrette.
A classic from the Yucatan Peninsula is the Cochinita Pibil Yucateca made with Mexican slow-roasted pork in spices served with tortillas and habanero chile.
They, of course, serve the classic Tijuana Original Ceasar’s salad, tossed at your table.
There’s also the multi-cultural choices of Duck Breast & Roasted Fig Risotto, Sea Food Fideua, Scottish Salmon, Chile Poblano de Mariscos and Greek Taveryn style calamari.
Take a look at just two of the dishes, posted by Zagat, because my photos just simply wouldn’t do this restaurant justice, but see Zagat for many more photos and luscious descriptions!
Tostada de pulpo: tender cuts of sautéed octopus, topped with mustard and bell pepper ailoi, chipotle and cotija cheese.
And this Mexican delicacy: fresh habanero and chile de arbol with fried parsley inside bone marrow, which sits on top a delicately fried sope.
For their full menu, go here!
Address: 4346 Bonita Rd, Bonita, CA 91902