The flag is a permanent feature according to former New Yorker and fourth-generation restaurateur Randy Gruber, who migrated to California in the late 1990′s and designed Americana as a dual-purpose eatery. It functions as a casual breakfast and lunch café in the daylight, and becomes atmospheric after sundown when the pace slows, tables acquire cloths, and votive candles in miniature tin buckets flicker across oil portraits of jazz musicians in full cry.
The menu progress from buttermilk pancakes and sandwiches stacked with roasted-on-premise beef listings of top-quality American ingredients infused with Mediterranean flavors.
Garlic is used plentifully, to the point that Gerber remarks “this is not a date-friendly restaurant.” But garlic and fresh, locally grown herbs create terrific effects in such dishes as the explosively flavorful entrée of Greenlip mussels steamed in crisp pomme frites; these unusually delicious French fries also star alongside a New York steak with pungent Argentinean chimichurri sauce. Salads include a robust tumble of roasted beets and goat cheese with bitter endive and radicchio, but the nicest starter may well be the trio of grilled baby lamb chops arranged over a superb roasted eggplant. The parade of bold flavors continues with seared duck breast with raisins, dried cranberries and pine nuts, and sesame-flavored salmon atop “summer succotash” of vegetables, diced bacon, and potato.
The menu offers seven desserts and six dessert wines, and it’s a pleasure to pair the plate of gingersnap cookies, Stilton cheese and fruit preserves with a glass of port. And the caramelized banana tarte Tatin, served with warm dulce de leche ice cream almond brittle, melds international flavors in a way that is both uniquely American and typical of Americana.
Take a fourth-generation New York restaurateur, place him in a casual eatery on a prime corner in Del Mar, and the result is a recipe for success. Add an organic vegetable restaurant garden and a fine-dining dinner menu, and the outcome is Americana Restaurant- the realization of Randy Gruber’s dream.
“The restaurant business is in my blood”‘ says Gruber whose path led from his father’s restaurant through Tulane Business School to the French Culinary Institute. After working for notable chef Lydia Shire at Biba in Boston and managing Pamplemousse Grille locally, Gruber opened the Mediterranean-influenced Americana in 2000. He’s been immersed in the community-and his passion-ever since.
“It tastes good when you’ve worked hard to start your own restaurant,” he says. Now Gruber works to ensure San Diegans enjoy the tastes-and charm-Americana offers.
“I like people to feel welcome in a friendly atmosphere,” he states so they can’t wait to come again.
Americana’s specializes in reflecting rustic, home-style American comfort food with an edge. Americana serves breakfast, lunch, and a quality dining experience for dinner.
Directions from the North
Take 1-5 South to Del Mar Heights Rd. Make a right onto Del Mar Heights Rd. Continue for 1.10 miles. Make a right onto Camino Del Mar. Continue for 0.8 miles. We are on the corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street.
Directions from the South
Take I-5 or I-805 North to merge. Continue north to Del Mar Heights Rd. Make a left onto Del Mar Heights Rd. Continue for 1.10 miles. Make a right onto Camino Del Mar. Continue for 0.8 miles. We are on the corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th St.
There is plenty of street parking available on Camino Del Mar and nearby side streets.