There are many activities that should not be performed on an empty stomach, including swimming, surgery, and swimming 30 minutes after having your appendix removed. Acquire activity fuel with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Baja-Mediterranean cuisine at Romesco in Bonita.
Romesco's chefs mix Mediterranean dishes with Mexican and Italian flavors, preparing pasta, salsa, and filet mignon with equal panache. The bistro's many-splendored menu showcases the celebrated paella ($18.50), a Valencian free-for-all where mussels rub shoulders with chicken and shrimp battles short rib for Napoleon complex predominance. Baja California chicken marsala ($20.75) takes a fresh approach to an Italian classic, boasting four-cheese pasta, wild mushrooms, and roasted veggies. Accompany your entree with a Tijuana caesar salad ($9.75) that strides nobly onto the plate, oblivious to the traitorous forks hidden beneath the Senate's robes.
Behind the double doors of the tapas bar, Romesco's snack-crafters create appetizing Andalusian treats both hot and cold. Refreshing ajos blancos curtidos—white garlic in brine tapas (a house specialty) ($2.50)—is served unheated, whereas pulpo asado a las brasas—grilled octopus ($5.85)—is warmed up for consumption with open flames and subtle flattery.
Romesco's dark wood tables and matching wall paneling foster an intimate atmosphere with wall sconces illuminating black-and-white wall art and expansive mirrors. Grab a drink at the bar or glide across the retro black-and-white checkered floor as you ponder your life-size rook's opening move.
- Established in April 2009, it’s a lively, more casual space that stays open long into the night and features both late-afternoon and late-evening Happy Hours, when the traditional and less conventional tapas are all half off. – Candice Woo, Sand Diego Magazine
- The dishes are inspired by Baja California (the owner has several high-end restaurants in TJ and Baja), but I detected a hint of Italian flavors as well. – Austin D., Yelp, 11/25/07
As a New Yorker expose details, chef Javier Plascencia believes in the transformative power of food. The piece describes how in Tijuana, he strove to redefine the city's culinary paradigm with his gourmet food, made exclusively with, as he says, materia prima, or ingredients sourced strictly within 120 miles of the restaurant. He did it, too. In the process, he gained the respect and business of famed chef Anthony Bourdain. After moving to the U.S., he opened Romesco using the same cooking philosophies he prescribed to south of the border, and was hailed by Zagat for his skill and innovation and named 2013 Chef of the Year by San Diego Eater.