Cobweb garnish, anyone?


Barbarella takes its Halloween decor seriously

Under normal circumstances, Barbarella fills to capacity. Every Halloween, however, restaurant owner Barbara Beltaire extends the welcome mat a bit farther - to the undead. Barbarella’s ghosts aren’t real, of course, but they do currently possess the restaurant’s motif.

“I do it because it makes people happy,” Beltaire said. “It puts a smile on their face.”

The gregarious restaurateur has been converting her quaint bistro into a haunted restaurant for eight years. It is now an October must-see spectacle in La Jolla.

Today, the patio is haunted by ghouls and draped with thickets of cobwebs. Inside, portraits of the undead hang on the entrance wall. Paper ghosts seem to float over every inch of the swarming diners, while a snarling wolf peers in their midst.

“We just put that one in this year,” said Beltaire, who buys most of the decor at Party City.

While Barbarella’s seasonal decor certainly commands your attention, it doesn’t take away from the restaurant’s trademark homey motif. In fact, the pronounced decor adds to it. After all, this is the same restaurant that serves corn with little ceramic cob stems protruding from its bottoms. Most everything about the restaurant exudes a distinct “all of its own” vibe.

The menu stays true to the restaurant’s cozy atmosphere. Here, diners sample comfort foods from all over the world.

Beware: the “ghosts” sample whatever they like.