World Famous – “What’s In A Name?”

| June 2, 2013 | 0 Comments


Glass windows surround the exterior dining area on three sides, opening to breathtaking ocean views.

Glass windows surround the exterior dining area on three sides, opening to breathtaking ocean views.

Here’s the riddle for the day: Is “World Famous” a name or a description? When talking about the restaurant in Pacific Beach, both are correct. Just like Pink’s in Los Angeles and The Palm in Beverly Hills, people all over the world know World Famous. It is difficult to find anywhere a restaurant that offers the excellent cuisine and ambiance yet in a casual setting. World Famous can really be considered to be world famous.

Deiter May, the owner of the restaurant, told me that the interior had been recently renovated. The restaurant was founded in 1970, 43 years ago, and often is updated. The interior looked really good. But most people hardly notice it. Most eyes immediately turn to the glass windows that surround on three sides, opening to breathtaking ocean views.

The restaurant is located right on the boardwalk. If it were closer to the water, diners could catch their own dinners. But it is close enough to the sand for stunning daylight views of the many tanned and shapely bodies playing in the sun. And, at sunset, it often offers glorious views of the light and colors as the glowing orb of the sun extinguishes itself in the sea. The patio is actually enclosed for comfort but so much light streams through the windows during daytime that one feels as if one were dining outside. During the summer, it is a lot cooler.

In addition to the great ambiance, the cuisine is sensational. The chef is Chris Bates. That is, the recipes are by Chef Bates. He now spends much of his time cooking at the sister restaurant, Fat Fish, which is located just a few blocks away. He was the chef at World Famous for years and personally taught his secrets to the chefs now working. Chef Bates frequently comes by to make sure that his recipes and standards are being followed.

A self-taught chef who learned his craft by working under a number of well known other chefs, he is not constrained in his imaginative creations. His style is based on French ideas, with Pacific Rim overtones but his sauces are light and piquant. Many of his dishes come with distinctive sauces to amplify flavors.

“I like to combine flavors in my foods. So, I’ll add honey for a touch of sweetness where the overlying flavor might be tart. I’ll use jalapeno to create a sense of spice along with other tastes,” Bates added.

The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to midnight, long hours to accommodate the nearby hotel guests. The breakfast menu is another clear example of the creativity of Chef Bates. For example, omelets are more than mixed up eggs. The crab cake Florentine is a tasty version of poached eggs on potato crusted crab cakes with hand whipped hollandaise and fresh spinach. A plain veggie omelet is transcended by Santa Cruz pesto veg with pesto, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms and cheeses.

Creativity continues with lunch. There are traditional items such as California grilled chicken sandwich and famous beach burger. But wouldn’t it be more fun to start with nut-crusted brie and then bite into Sierra Mar grilled white sea bass, char-grilled cold water white sea bass served over fresh avocado?

Dinners can be enjoyed as day end until late at night. The restaurant is open until midnight. Menus are printed daily to reflect what is fresh. Only the freshest and finest ingredients are used. The emphasis is on seafood, although beef and pasta offerings are listed as well. Crunchy jumbo shrimp and pan seared scallops are great starters. The sesame coated shrimp come with a tangy chili sauce. The scallops are served on top of a delightful small potato pancake.

World Famous is deservedly “world famous” because of its location, ambiance and cuisine by Chef Bates. Yet prices are moderate. One can enjoy without breaking the bank.

Valet parking is available. Reservations can be made, although weekend reservations are taken only for parties of six or more. The restaurant is located at 711 Pacific Beach Drive. Call (858) 272-3100 for information, reservations or directions.

Tags: , ,

Category: Local News

About the Author ()