Race Day Revelry
From before the first post to long after the last, these dining destinations perfectly complement a day at the races
For those starting out north of the track who need a little time to study the racing stats, a convivial, casual atmosphere makes Pacific Coast Grill and Solace & The Moonlight Lounge both ideal spots to grab a quick apéritif before heading to Del Mar. Closer by, The Brigantine offers gorgeous views of the fun that is yet to come, and fish tacos that are always a winner.
Keep the Party Going
When the races end, it doesn’t mean the fun has to end along with them. Take advantage of one of the primo dining options within a couple minutes of the race track. Beachfront neighbors Jake’s Del Mar and Poseidon are a quick drive up Jimmy Durante Boulevard, where Jake’s Waikiki Wednesdays $7 Mai Tais and Poseidon’s Thursday mini taco nights provide ample reason to head to the beach.
In what’s quickly become the go-to area hotspot, Cucina Enoteca entices the well-heeled with Italian-inspired fare that can be shared over the communal bar with horse figurines suspended overhead. Crush in Solana Beach is hosting an Opening Day after-party at 7pm on July 15, and offers a late night menu Wednesday through Saturday from 9-11pm. And the cantina at Casa Sol y Mar in Del Mar Highlands takes margaritas very, very seriously, in a very good way. North up the coast, the fun continues at Union Kitchen & Tap, where Uncorked Wednesdays offer 50 percent off wine bottles all day.
A stone’s throw from the race track, chef/owner Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille wows guests with Ahi and Crab Lollipops, Lobster, Avocado & Pamplemousse Salad, and Braised Short Rib ‘Osso Buco’ Style. East on Via de la Valle, Market Restaurant + Bar’s award-winning chef/proprietor Carl Schroeder dazzles diners with dishes including Crispy Soft Shell Crab & Shaved Green Papaya, Duo of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and Cabernet Braised Prime Beef Shortribs. And in the heart of the Ranch, Mille Fleurs’ chef Martin Woesle offers “Wiener Schnitzel” of Strauss Farm Veal and Whole Dover Sole “Meuniere,” among other standouts.
Before or after those wagers are placed, The Fish Market’s Baked Oysters Rockefeller and assortment of fresh fish, Fidel’s Little Mexico’s delicious — and massive — combo plates, and Pacifica Del Mar’s coastal fare and ocean views keep regulars and visitors alike returning time and time again for cuisine, cocktails, and camaraderie — a perfect trifecta.
A wildly successful day at the track calls for a celebration of the finest caliber. Addison’s Chef’s Tasting Menu features 12 courses designed around seasonal ingredients and Chef William Bradley’s current inspirations, and may feature such dishes as sake-cured kampachi, bouillabaisse with baby fennel, salmon au beurre salé with beet, and coffee-roasted canard with koshihikari rice and candied peanuts.
Stay & Play
To fully unwind and recharge, consider dinner, a nightcap, and an overnight stay. While rates vary depending upon availability, L’Auberge Del Mar’s Seaside Luxe package includes a $150 dining credit and a $150 Spa L’Auberge credit — perhaps to be put to use towards the Day Boat Catch and the Signature Massage? The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s Hats, Heels and Hooves Opening Day Party Package includes a two-night stay and two general admission tickets to the July 15 Opening Day After-Party. Savor Rancho Valencia’s new menu selections including The Pony Room’s Seafood Cobb, Crispy Octopus Tostada, and Broiled Swordfish, and Veladora’s Salted Caramel S’mores Tart — a perfectly sweet way to end the night. Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s over-the-top “Race Day Ready” package includes two nights in a luxurious suite, daily breakfast, private limo transfer to and from the race track, private riding lessons at the resort’s on-site equestrian center, mint juleps, an in-suite custom hat fitting by milliner Jill Courtemanche, a personal consultation with Neiman Marcus style advisor Alex Yanez, Turf Club tickets, a barn tour with a trainer, meet-and-greet with a jockey, and more.
Cucina Enoteca, Crush, Pamplemousse Grille, Mille Fleurs, Market Restaurant + Bar, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe: Photography by Vincent Knakal; The Brigantine: Photo by Bob Stefanko; All other photography: Courtesy Photography