It’s The Patio on Lamont Street when you’ve got a taste for something special
By Kelley CarlsonNaturally, there are patios on Lamont Street in Pacific Beach. But then there is The Patio. Located midway between two of the area’s busiest thoroughfares -- Garnet and Grand avenues -- the restaurant is unexpectedly found on the corner of a predominantly residential street. This casual neighborhood eatery is where urban chic meets the beach, shorts and flip-flops are as acceptable as formal gowns and heels, and age knows no boundaries.
“We want people to feel like they’re in their own home,” owner Gina Champion-Cain said.
Indeed, many guests find that it’s a cozy place to unwind. The walled outdoor patio provides protection from the street, yet patrons can still observe beach city life through the large windows that allow for ocean breezes. During the day, many find that it’s an ideal place to bask in the sun, with umbrellas and heaters to help with comfort levels. Dogs curl up next to their owners and thump their tails happily while feasting on 100-percent natural dog biscuits made from pork and lamb drippings. At night, the atmosphere becomes vibrant, as guests wine and dine underneath the stars.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Sundays, there’s live music from artists who perform in various styles. “It’s a happening place,” Champion-Cain said.
Much of the socialization takes place in the inside/outside bar, which is often bustling with activity. Three flat-screen TVs show major sporting events, adding to the buzz. The beverages of choice include “cool cocktails” such as the Mr. Chow, which mixes gin, Ty Ku, cucumber, lime and the chili-laced sriracha, and fresh “brunch imbibements” that include the Razz Champagne with an added touch of raspberry vodka.
The energetic vibe is also present in “The Hub,” an indoor dining area that features eclectic and “green” decor. Surfboards from a local shop hang above a brick wall that incorporates material from the previous restaurant. And like most of the furniture in other areas of the establishment, The Hub’s booths and chairs are repurposed.
But for a more subdued experience, restaurant-goers can head to “The Loft,” an elegant, earth-toned room with chandeliers and mirrors. Guests can dine and relax in quiet intimacy, yet still keep an eye on the lively patio below.
Executive Chef John Medall presents a menu filled with worldly influences, including Mediterranean, Asian and French, for late morning through late evening. Brunch features dishes such as the Jack Daniels Dutch Pancakes, topped with caramelized bananas and apples, berry compote and Chantilly cream. Some of the light fare for lunch and dinner includes The Patio Salad, a colorful plate of strawberries, chevré (goat milk cheese) and candied walnuts sprinkled over mixed baby greens that are lightly tossed with strawberry vinaigrette, all resting on house-made ciabatta; and Champion-Cain’s personal favorite, the Deconstructed Ahi Poke with wakame salad, cucumber salad, soy ginger sauce and avocado cream.
Among The Patio’s popular flatbreads are the Beef and Bleu with sirloin, Gorgonzola, mushrooms and roasted garlic sauce.
For a heavier entree, one of the go-tos is the tender Braised Pork Shank, stationed in a bed of bacon and asiago risotto, and accented with cracklins and roasted shishito peppers.
Among the unique desserts is the Twisted Elvis, a “twist” on singer Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich that incorporates banana bread, caramelized bananas, peanut butter and foster’s sauce.
“Grommets” have their own menu with Burgers & Fries, Pasta & Marinara Sauce and Pasta & Butter Sauce as the main selections.
Also, guests who want to bring in their own bottle of wine may wish to take advantage of the no-corkage fee on Tuesdays.
To get a full taste of The Patio, Champion-Cain recommends sampling all of the small plates. And regardless of the time a patron wants to dine at the restaurant, reservations are “definitely” recommended, as seating sells out, even during weekdays. But even if there is little parking to be found on the street, there’s no need to fret over spaces -- valet is available for $3 after 5 p.m. daily.
“It (The Patio) really stands by itself in feeling, atmosphere, level of quality and the menu,” Champion-Cain said.
The Patio on Lamont StreetAddress: 4445 Lamont St., Pacific Beach
thepatioonlamont.comThe Vibe: Casual, vibrant, chic, intimate
Signature Dishes: Jack Daniels Dutch Pancakes, flatbreads, Twisted Elvis
Open Since: 2012
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m. daily
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday
On The Menu RecipeEach 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.
This week: T
he Patio’s Braised Berkshire Pork Oso Bucco with Asiago and Bacon Risotto