By Will Parson
The fireplace at Brockton Villa is perhaps the most apparent hint to the beach bungalow’s storied past. It’s decorated with massive abalone shells that were collected at a time when they were plentiful in local waters and could easily reach a large diameter — long before overharvesting and current laws against their collection.
Cemented in place over the original fireplace, the shiny shells represent a decorating fad that was widespread locally in the 1920s. It has since become harder to find. With many similar homes not lasting through the decades, the La Jolla Historical Society honored the renovated Brockton Villa in 2006. It remains one of the few glimpses into a bygone era.
The restaurant is celebrating 20 years since the former site of Pannikin Coffee House was renovated and renamed Brockton Villa — a name first given to the former residential cottage more than 100 years ago. A recent refresh has brought an updated feel to Brockton on its special anniversary, and this summer is the second in a row in which the restaurant is offering a dinner menu.
Chef Mareyja Sisbarro points to the Ginger-Chili Glazed Natural Salmon that she served for the first time at Brockton Villa last year, as a point of pride. Among the abundant array of seafood options, on a menu with a generally Mediterranean feel, the BBQ Pork Ribs also deserve a look. For an appetizer, try the Summer Shrimp Butter Leaf Wraps. Sisbarro says, “It fills you up but doesn’t make you too stuffed. It’s really fresh and summery.”
And with summer approaching, the cottage above Coast Boulevard seems like an excellent way to take in the ocean breeze. With its airy main room and wrap-around porch, the original builders knew what they were doing back in 1894. At that time it was perfect for weekend getaways from the fledgling city of San Diego. And the current dining experience adds to a lingering charm from those early days.
Address: 1235 Coast Blvd.
The Vibe: Scenic, Rustic, Casual
Signature Dish: Ginger-Chili Glazed Natural Salmon
Open Since: 1991
Hours: Breakfast 8 a.m. to noon; Lunch noon to 3 p.m. Dinner 5-9 p.m. Monday-Sunday (Breakfast to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)
Phone: (858) 454-7393
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: No
Happy Hour: No
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
Brockton Villa’s Truffle Red Bliss Potato Salad