By Kelley CarlsonAt Crepes & Corks in Del Mar, guests get a taste of Europe — delicately thin pancakes from France, Italian paninis, the occasional offering of Spain’s classic paella dish, and wines from all over the world. Chef Nicolo Becucci — who is also co-owner, along with Lana Blackwell — is instrumental in providing the international flavor. Everything is made in-house, Becucci said; patrons can observe him preparing crepes in the kitchen, just behind the front counter, or catch a glimpse of Blackwell baking Red Velvet Cupcakes or another culinary delight.
There are a number of crepes to choose from, savory to sweet, and they can even be made gluten-free upon request. One of the lighter entree choices is Asparagus, which also includes prosciutto, Brie and romaine lettuce, with a drizzling of rosemary olive oil.
A more filling option is C3: grilled chicken breast, artichoke hearts, smoked bacon, sweet red onion over mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil with pesto mayo.
Got a sweet tooth to satisfy? Coco-Choco-Nut features Nutella, banana, coconut and whipped cream.
Paninis are also a mainstay, there are selections ranging from Black Forest Ham and Prosciutto & Brie to Veggie Delight.
Every couple of months, the Paella Valenciana rice dish and Spanish wine are served during the restaurant’s popular Paella Night.
Although there is no specific children’s menu, all items are customizable, Becucci said. The most popular entree for kids is the grilled cheese-and-chicken crepe, with a Jack-and-cheddar blend.
Not only can patrons enjoy a meal at Crepes & Corks, but they can also sample wines and order a glass to complement their meals. At the bar (part of the restaurant’s recent expansion into the former RE/MAX space) a flight of three wines is offered daily for tasting, featuring different labels each day and discounts on Thirsty Thursdays. Becucci emphasized that he and Blackwell showcase area vintages as much as possible.
“It’s good for locals to know wines from this area that they may not know about,” he said.
Labels represented include Wiens Family Cellars from Temecula, Orfila Vineyards & Winery of Escondido, and Carruth Cellars in Solana Beach.
More than 45 labels are for sale in the establishment’s wine shop (resting on racks just inside the entrance) with more than 40 offered by the glass.
Patrons who order bottles are welcome to leave the corks on the table and sign them; Becucci and Blackwell glue them on a red brick wall at the front of the restaurant.
Along with the food and beverages, the atmosphere of the restaurant itself is decidedly European.
“We’re all about relaxing and enjoying what we have,” said Becucci, who hails from Switzerland and speaks several languages.
On the dog-friendly sidewalk patio, which allows for people-watching along Camino del Mar, a chocolate-brown umbrella shades each wrought-iron table. Tiny white lights twinkle on the railing around the area’s perimeter.
Inside, paintings and photos of such subjects as wine bottles, actors, the ocean and racehorses, hang along golden and red brick-hued walls.
Patrons may engage in conversation with friends and family or enjoy the benefits of free Wifi while seated at a table, or relax at the bar with a glass of wine or a beer on tap. A private room in the back seats eight to 10 people.
Reservations at Crepes & Corks are highly recommended for special events and monthly wine pairing dinners, but are not needed as much during the week, Becucci said.
Whenever a guest chooses to visit, Becucci recommends starting with a glass of wine and asking for recommendations; then order a light appetizer to share. Next, select one of the savory crepes for the main course. But be sure to save room for dessert.
Crepes & CorksAddress: 1328 Camino del Mar, Del Mar
The Vibe: Casual, Relaxed
Signature Dishes: Parisienne Crepes, Lox & Brie Crepes, The Del Mar Crepes, Nutella Delight Crepes
Open Since: 2007
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
(858) 847-3382Reservations: Recommended for parties of four or more
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m. Thursday and 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: Crepes & Corks shares its recipe for Basic Crepes.