Wining & Dining in the Ranch

Wining & Dining in the Ranch

Brandon Hernández | Photography by Vincent Knakal

Morada

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s gourmet eatery offers inviting interiors, but given San Diego’s ever-temperate climate, it would be a crime to miss out on the primo al fresco dining option provided via an umbrella-equipped patio giving way to a view of the Ranch’s welcoming thoroughfare. Fare ranges from decadent and finger-licking (Kurobuta pork baby back ribs coated in ginger barbecue sauce, maple-glazed Hudson Valley foie gras on Sri Lankan spiced French toast, red wine-braised short ribs with onion marmalade) to lighter-yet-flavorful (local strawberry and spinach salad with Purple Haze chevre and banyuls vinegar, arctic char with chorizo and olive tapenade, Petrale sole with asparagus and cauliflower grits). (858.381.8289, www.theinnatrsf.com)

Wining & Dining in the Ranch

Honey-Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, forbidden-fried rice, baby bok choy, lemongrass vinaigrette from Morada

Veladora

It takes a blend of bravado and skill to fiddle with the central culinary destination of a property as widely lauded as Rancho Valencia. With the revamp of the resort’s fine dining room — something that went far beyond a mere facelift — a contemporary-casual atmosphere now awaits guests supping on decidedly West Coast Mediterranean cuisine, including grilled octopus with lemon, chilies and fennel jam; house-made rigatoni dressed in long-simmered, three-meat Bolognese; and halibut with razor clams in lobster-infused broth. The menu also sports outliers such as a vegetarian coconut green curry with kefir, and throwbacks like duck a l’orange and a chateaubriand for two.  (858.759.6216, www.ranchovalencia.com)

Wining & Dining in the Ranch

Heirloom Tomato Salad “Panzanella,” heirloom tomato, smoked burrata, petite basil, pistou from Veladora

 

Mille Fleurs

The list of positive adjectives for this Rancho Santa Fe standout are many — luxurious, sumptuous, warm, fine. Yet perhaps no descriptor is so accurate as venerable. Through its long lifespan, it has ruled the roost as one of the finest nouveau French restaurants, not only in the Ranch, but all of San Diego County. Nowadays, the dishes that are helping the restaurant maintain its quality reputation include lobster bisque with quenelles of rainbow trout; foie gras on brioche with green rhubarb and Cognac-flambéed shallots; swordfish in mustard-vermouth wine sauce, quail with Bing cherries and ginger-spiked orange sauce, and classic coq au vin. (858.756.3085, www.millefleurs.com)

Wining & Dining in the Ranch

Roasted Squab-saffron couscous, grilled baby corn, black figs, green beans, zucchini flower, lemon verbena from Mille Fleurs

 

Dolce Pane e Vino

In a community as intimate as the Ranch, there’s only one game in town for many regional culinary styles. For the most part, that’s true of cucina Italiano, but fortunately, the purveyor of such fare is this lovely RSF gem. Flatbreads cover traditional ground with a San Marzano tomato-topped Margherita while toeing outside the box with a truffled cheese and egg-adorned pizza and a pie sporting multiple forms of aged salumi. Eggplant Parmesan with smoked tomato sauce, lasagna with rabbit Bolognese, and gnocchi with house-made bacon and cranberries illustrate delicious liberties taken while staying true to what makes diners yearn for Italian in the first place. (858.832.1518, www.dolcepaneevino.com)

Wining & Dining in the Ranch

Cedar Salmon, charred asparagus, lemon, saba paired with Lewis Cellars 2013 Chardonnay from Dolce Pane e Vino

 

Rancho Santa Fe Bistro

When one’s mind is geared for a casual meal in a leisurely setting, there is no better spot in the Ranch than its namesake Bistro, wherein lunches and dinners match the passion and quality of more luxe neighbors without the dress code restrictions. Esoteric ingredients, exotic seasonings, and lexicon-stretching culinary terms are absent from a menu that offers straightforward and extremely fresh salads and soups along with an array of sandwiches and familiar main dishes including steaks, chickens both Picatta and Marsala, grilled salmon, and rack of lamb. And mid-day diners can’t go wrong with a classic tuna melt or modern salmon BLT. (858.756.1221, www.ranchosantafebistro.com)

Wining & Dining in the Ranch

Texas Quail, basmati rice, sour cherry sauce from Rancho Santa Fe Bistro