Delicias put down roots in Rancho Santa Fe about 20 years ago, and has since blossomed into an award-winning, cutting-edge establishment. A recent recipient of the Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator Magazine, the restaurant has recently introduced the iSomm application, created and trademarked by Delicias owner Owen Perry. The entire wine list — which consists of 1,200 labels, according to floor manager Branden Rinker — can be accessed via an iPad. A sommelier is also on staff to assist with selections.
Other changes have occurred recently at the establishment. Patrons will find more pizzas and pastas on the menu, such as the House Smoked Salmon Pizza, Mac & Cheese with black winter truffle and Serrano ham, and a Risotto of the Day. Some prices have also been lowered, according to executive chef Michael Knowles, and a full tapas menu is now offered.
There are theme days as well. Thursdays is Burger Night, which actually commences with grilling on the patio during lunchtime, but extends into the evening with specialty patties. In addition, there’s Fiesta Friday, in which street tacos are offered for $3 at the build-your-own taco bar.
Despite the changes, Delicias still retains the influence of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, who developed the original concept and design of the site. Knowles worked directly with Puck at other restaurants, and continues to provide the casual comfort California cuisine Delicias has been known for offering.
Tomato Salad with House-Made Mozzarella
“The approach on food is from farm to table,” Knowles said. “I try to know where the food comes from, whether it’s pig, chicken, (etc.).”
He added that they try to make as many items in-house as possible, such as ketchup, cheese and charcuteries.
Along with the pizzas and pastas, there are plenty of other delectables: appetizers such as Monterey Bay Crisp Calamari; specialty salads; entrees such as Rinker’s favorite, Miso Glazed Halibut; sandwiches, including the Colorado Lamb Burger; and house-cut steaks. Desserts vary from cheeses to Carlsbad Strawberry Short Cake.
Children have their own special menu, and can color while they wait for their food. The kids’ menu has everything from Cheese Pizza to Grilled Prime Flatiron Steak. For dessert? Root Beer Floats.
“That’s a big draw … adults order them, too,” Rinker said.
When enjoying the dishes at Delicias, customers have several seating options. The patio near the entrance is shaded by green umbrellas, with two fire pits offering warmth and ambience. Patrons can observe passers-by strolling along Paseo Delicias.
Just inside the front door is the dimly lit, full-service bar, where a guest can enjoy happy hour or an entree from the main menu while watching TV on a set high in a corner.
Chino Farms Chopped Salad
The main dining room, with its Mediterranean decor and light brown theme, features banquet tables with white tablecloths, a large fireplace and French doors providing views of the patio. There are plants in the corners, several black chandeliers overhead, and skylights to provide a soft glow.
Toward the back of the restaurant is the courtyard, which has a fireplace, heat lamps and a retractable awning overhead to allow for plenty of sunlight or a view of the stars. Rinker said entertainment is occasionally provided by the jazz band, Joe Satz Trio.
The best way to get to know Delicias is to do the food and wine tasting menu, Knowles said. “You get to try a little bit of all the dishes on the menu … and you experience the sommelier as well,” he added.
The busiest times at the restaurant tend to be Thursday through Saturday nights, with reservations highly recommended on Thursdays, Rinker said. For those who choose not to dine in or take out, Delicias offers delivery service to residents of the Covenant area.
Address: 6106 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe
The Vibe: Elegant, relaxed
Signature Dishes: Chino Chopped Vegetable Salad, House Smoked Salmon Pizza
Open Since: About 1991
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; Dinner 5:30-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Phone: (858) 756-8000
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday