Breakfast and lunch are served Spanish-style at Adobe El Restaurante in La Jolla

Steak Benedict is served with a variety of Spanish-American ingredients. Photos by Kelley Carlson
Steak Benedict is served with a variety of Spanish-American ingredients. Photos by Kelley Carlson

By Kelley Carlson

Just a stone’s throw from busy Torrey Pines Road, Adobe El Restaurante is ensconced in the peaceful oasis of Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. Breakfast and lunch are served in this Spanish-themed dining establishment that overlooks the resort’s courtyard.

The open-air balcony is often in high demand, especially during the morning hours, as guests sip java to clear the fog in their heads and become further invigorated by the ocean breeze.

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Steak Benedict is served with a variety of Spanish-American ingredients. Photos by Kelley Carlson

“Most guests on decent days love to sit on the patio,” said Danny Fancher, director of food and beverage at Estancia. “San Diego has great weather, which is always helpful. It’s beautiful (the patio). You don’t see any roads. Here, it opens up, there’s a fountain and it’s lush and green everywhere.”

While the patio offers natural beauty, the spacious indoor dining room has its own allure. It features a dark-wood ceiling, brick and paintings of flowers along cream-colored walls. Multi-paned doors permit a glow of light to bathe the tables. And there is a horse stall-style door near the entrance — a nod to the property’s history as a former equine estate.

Once seated, patrons are presented with rustic, copper-hued menus containing an assortment of foods, from classics to specialties.

According to Fancher, guests gravitate most toward the sizable Blackhorse Breakfast with two eggs any style, roasted poblano hash, blue corn pancakes and a choice of meat. Another popular selection is the Egg White Frittata, which looks like a big breakfast pizza with shiitake mushrooms, arugula, tomatoes, chicken-apple sausage, avocado and queso fresco.

The morning specialties have more of a Spanish influence and are presented with house-made salsa. These include the Huevos Rancheros with cheese quesadilla, parmesan, tomato sauce and black-bean puree; and the Chilaquiles, created with scrambled eggs, roasted-tomato chile negro sauce, crispy tortillas, cilantro, sour cream and queso fresco.

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The open-air balcony provides a view of Estancia's courtyard.

Lunch takes more of a farm-to-table approach, mainly consisting of sandwiches, salads and soups. The healthy fare is especially favored by neighboring Salk Institute and UC San Diego employees, and the majority of people dining at that time of day are not in-house guests.

Among the light favorites are the Smoked Salmon Nicoise Salad, which incorporates Belgian endive, frisee, fingerling potato, haricot vert, Bermuda onion and crispy capers with the thinly sliced fish; and the Grilled Free-Range Chicken Salad garnished with Julian apples, Medjool dates, candied walnuts, Manchego cheese and whole-grain mustard vinaigrette.

Other lunch entrees include the Portobello Burger with butter lettuce, feta cheese, balsamic aioli and olive tapenade that is sandwiched in a buttermilk bun.

Children have plenty of selections on their menu, as well, with everything from Silver Dollar Pancakes with sweet cream butter and maple syrup to the Honey Mustard Turkey Pinwheel.

The desserts can appeal to patrons of all ages, as there are temptations such as the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee and orange-almond biscotti, and the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake and malt ball gelato.

Those who prefer to order a la carte may consider a visit to Adobe’s breakfast buffet, which has an omelette station and ever-changing offerings. It’s currently open from 6 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, but operates during those hours daily during the summer. Additionally, specialty brunches that consist of seasonal offerings are held on Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s

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