By Kelley CarlsonThe French countryside can be found among the rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe. Nestled in the heart of the village is the romantic Mille Fleurs restaurant, named for the floral pattern on the rare blue-and-white Portuguese Delft tile inlaid in the walls. The entrance to the establishment is through a courtyard framed by numerous flowers. Guests are greeted by the sight of bright yellow umbrellas shading about a dozen tables, as a fountain bubbles in the center.
Inside the restaurant, patrons can opt for an intimate or casual experience, with several seating areas from which to choose.
The Fountain Room, which has French doors that provide views of the courtyard, is adjacent to the bar. Music is softly played from the piano in the far corner each night, although after 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, the tempo picks up and guests begin to dance, according to owner Bertrand Hug.
A less-expensive, casual menu -- the Petits Plats — is offered in this part of the restaurant; small plates may range from a simple Garden Salad to Lobster Bisque, while entrees may include Black Mussels “Au Gratin” and Confit of Maple Leaf Farm Duck.
Several rooms in the restaurant are semi-private, decorated in blue, pink and golden hues to complement the prominently displayed Mille Fleurs, or “thousand flowers,” Delft tiles. The centerpiece in The Celebrity is the constantly crackling fireplace, while The Flower Basket has a large rectangular table and a long, cushioned seat along a wall. Foliage and flowers can be seen by day from The Terrace, which has plenty of natural lighting due to the numerous glass panes in its doors.
Upstairs is the private Delft Room, with golden tones and skylights. It accommodates up to 20 guests and has media viewing availability.
Chef Martin Woesle varies the menu daily, and bases his decisions on the availability of ingredients from nearby Chino Farm, according to Hug.
Appetizers and entrees that might be offered include Burgundy Escargots, Yellowfin Tuna and Green Bean Salad, Lamb Prepared Two Ways and the Prime Beef Cheese Burger.
For dessert, a patron might find Pear and Goat Cheese Tartlet, Frozen Cherry Nougat or Truffles of Belgian Chocolate.
Reservations are recommended at Mille Fleurs — the restaurant’s busiest times tend to be during the Del Mar racing season and holidays, Hug said.
“We are modern, yet quaint,” he said. “We serve the freshest food, and we change the menu every day. The people who work here have been here forever. ... We have so many regulars coming in, they know they will find a friendly face.”
Mille FleursAddress: 6009 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe
The Vibe: Romantic, Intimate, Dressy Casual
Signature Dish: “Wiener Schnitzel” of Veal Loin
Open Since: 1985
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; Dinner 6 p.m. to close Sunday-Friday, 5:30 p.m. to close Saturday
(858) 756-3085Reservations: Recommended
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: No
Happy Hour: 3:30-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
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: Mille Fleurs’ Yellowfin Tuna and Green Bean Salad.