Ocean views and a new menu delight diners who stop by The Shores restaurant in La Jolla



Living in paradise has its advantages and one of them is the opportunity to frequent The Shores Restaurant — a beachfront restaurant in the truest sense. Sandy beaches and waves reaching the shore are steps outside its picturesque location at La Jolla Shores Hotel.

Though located inside La Jolla Shores’ Spanish-style hotel, open since 1970, the restaurant bills itself as a “neighborhood American” eatery. Comfort food is served gourmet style with local ingredients and seasonal menus by Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Amy DiBiase.

DiBiase joined the restaurant in late summer, and since then, she and Guillas have developed a new menu that “brings out the cuisine” at The Shores Restaurant to give the establishment its own experience, said Guillas, who is also executive chef at the acclaimed Marine Room located next door at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.

A lighter and healthier approach on some of the new dishes brings out the flavor of the ingredients, said Guillas and DiBiase, who both have a love for farmers markets and keep in touch with local suppliers for seasonal crops and the latest catch.

The number of items on the menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a la carte Sunday brunch have been simplified, ensuring the kitchen staff maintains consistency in preparation and presentation. For instance, the dinner menu has been reduced to seven appetizers and eight main courses, while still covering its bases.

“But it’s not a small menu because we have also created a Sip & Savor menu that changes every month, and it has been so well received,” Guillas said.

November’s Sip & Savor menu, called “Autumn Treasures,” is a three-course dinner for $30, or $45 with wine pairing, available nightly. First-course choices are Three Citrus Cured Sea Trout, Farmers Market Rutabaga and Ginger Soup, or King Oyster Mushroom Baklava.

Second-course options are Sangiovese Braised Meyer Ranch Short Rib, Seared Albacore Niçoise, or Preserved Fruit Stuffed Pheasant Breast. Dessert is a Three Tastes Platter with Hazelnut Pot de Crème, Gingerbread Donut, and Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream. In particular, the gourmet Gingerbread Donut is extra tasty without being too sweet or overly decadent.

Among the new appetizers, Steamed Carlsbad Black Mussels (with fennel, leek and Italian salsa verde) is a top seller. “The Black Mussels are to die for; this is a really good dish. It sells like crazy for lunch, dinner and in the bar,” Guillas said. Upon arriving at one’s table, the heaping stack of large, local mussels appeals to the senses with its big aroma from the Italian Salsa Verde topping, made of garlic and a wide variety of fresh herbs, orange zest and extra virgin olive oil. A touch of white wine is also added to the broth.

Guillas also recommends the Farmers Market Roasted Beet Salad, and Natural Beef Carpaccio.

For entrees, some of the most popular items are Parsley Leek Crusted Butterfish, Aromatic Vegetable and Fish Stew, 1855 Angus New York Steak or Filet Mignon, and Oil Cured Black Olive Braised Lamb Shank.

If undecided on picking an entree, the Crispy Skin Salmon (served with crème fraiche, Brussels sprouts, and pinenut Parmesan froth), is highly recommended. The salmon skin is light and crunchy; the filet is flavorful without being overpowered by its spice rub, but the pleasant surprise is the accompanying Brussels sprouts, cooked with garlic and shallots. “Amy makes the best Brussels sprouts; when you taste them, it’s just wow,” Guillas said.

DiBiase added that many guests have requested her recipe, which has changed the mind of a few who previously disliked the vegetable. “They’re cooked quickly, unlike the usual mushy kind people are used to eating,” DiBiase said.

The lunch menu includes salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, along with five entree choices, like a gourmet macaroni and cheese, Humboldt Fog Macaroni Gratin, which some find big enough to share.

Even with a new menu, the neighborhood restaurant has kept a popular sandwich named after a La Jolla Shores resident and longtime restaurant patron: Judge Harelson’s Tuna Salad Sandwich (with Boston lettuce, apples and walnuts on wheat bread). “So many people love it; that’s one of the items we could never get rid of,” Guillas said.

For the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day buffets will be served.

— The Shores Restaurant, 8110 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla

• Located inside La Jolla Shores Hotel with validated parking available for restaurant guests

• Phone: (619) 236-0467

• Website:

• The Vibe: Scenic, casually elegant, comfortable

• Signature Dishes: Crispy Skin Salmon, Steamed Carlsbad Black Mussels, Parsley Leek Crusted Butterfish, 1855 Angus New York Steak and Filet Mignon,

• Reservations: Yes

• Patio Seating: Yes

• Take Out: No

• Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday

• Breakfast: 7-11:30 a.m. Daily

• Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday

• Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Daily

• Bar: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Daily

• Sunday Brunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

••• On The Menu RECIPE: Each week, you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant at This week: The Shores’ Barbecued Short Rib with Stuffed Portobello Mushroom (Includes accompanying recipes for Sun Dried Pear-Currant Chutney and Spinach Frisée Salad). Serves 6.

— Sun Dried Pear-Currant Chutney:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup minced leeks, white parts only, washed, pat dry

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

1/2 cup diced sun dried pear

1/4 cup sun dried currants

2 lemons, juiced

1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice

1/4 teaspoon cumin

pinch cayenne pepper

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Sea salt

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and mustard seeds. Cook without browning 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except pine nuts. Season with cayenne pepper and salt. Simmer over low heat 30 minutes, until chutney has thickened. Fold in toasted pine nuts. Set aside. Cool.

— Portobello Mushroom:

6 portobello mushrooms, 5-inch cap

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375-degrees F. Clean mushrooms thoroughly with damp towel or soft brush. Remove stems. Remove black gills from underside of cap with spoon. Combine remaining ingredients in mixing bowl. Whisk well. Marinate mushrooms 15 minutes in

mixture. Remove from marinade. Place on baking sheet stem side up. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool. Serves six.

— Caramelized Shallots:

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup shallots, peeled, slice

1 teaspoon silver thyme leaves

1 lemon, juiced, zested

2 tablespoon honey

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme. Cook until golden. Add lemon zest, juice and honey. Cook to a deep golden brown. Set aside.

— Assembly:

1 pound boneless BBQ short ribs, shredded (purchase at your favorite deli)

1/2 cup Winchester cumin gouda, shaved

Pre-heat broiler. In large mixing bowl, combine shallots and short ribs. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide mixture into 6 portions. Fill mushroom caps. Top with 1 tablespoon of sun dried pear currant chutney and shaved cumin gouda. Bake under broiler 3 to 4 minutes, or until melted.

— Presentation:

3 tablespoons pistachio oil

2 tablespoons verjus

1 cup spoon spinach, washed, patted dry

1 cup frisée, washed, patted dry

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together pistachio oil and verjus. Season with salt and pepper. Combine with greens in large mixing bowl. Gently toss. Mound salad in center of serving plate. Lean baked portobello mushroom against salad. Top mushroom with 1 tablespoon pearcurrant chutney.

Recipe courtesy of The Shores restaurant