Bernini’s Bistro — A Local’s Favorite

| June 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

Locals usually know the best places to eat in their neighborhoods. The first question many concierge in hotels often receive is “where are the secret places to which the locals go?” In La Jolla, a frequent answer is “Bernini’s Bistro” on Fay Avenue.

The restaurant has an inviting exterior, with a comfortable patio just off the sidewalk that is decorated with plants and flowers. The interior rooms are intimately dark and are decorated with paintings and graphics, many created by one of the owners. Be sure to check out the portraits of George Clooney and Mick Jagger.

The restaurant is named appropriately, then, after one of Rome’s great artists and sculptors of the 17th century. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s works in Piazza San Pietro and St. Peter’s Basilica are gorgeous and moving.

The owners of Bernini’s Bistro began their culinary careers with several restaurants in White Rock, British Columbia. Just outside of Vancouver, this little community juts out on a small peninsula that runs almost parallel to U.S. territory. It is only minutes from the U.S. border and has become a significant tourist and retirement area.

But frequent rainfall (after all, it is rain that keeps the northwest so green) finally got to them so, in search of “paradise,” they moved to San Diego. They have operated Bernini’s Bistro for 17 years.

From the outside, one would think that the restaurant is expensive. Surprise!!! It is very affordable. Most dinner entrees are less than $20. As such, it is a good venue for families and for private parties.

Bernini’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open until 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on weekends) for late evening diners. Breakfast is served all day until 5 p.m. for those who can’t start their days without eggs and such.

The menu is an eclectic array of cuisines ranging from American to Mediterranean, scrambles (eggs) and batters (pancakes) to ribeye steak to salmon livornese. There are also “south of the border” dishes, including carne asada tostada and shredded chicken tostada.

Reyhan Gumustekin, one of the owners, explained, “We have guests who come three or four times a week. We’ve created a menu that allows them to always find something different and interesting to eat. ”

Pancakes are available with a good selection of toppings, including white chocolate raspberry and a “back to heaven and back” waffle with kiwi, strawberries and chopped walnut.

Scrambles are baked in a cast iron skillet for unique texture and flavor. Try the “meatball”‘ scramble with all-beef meatballs and goat cheese.

Lunch dishes feature a variety of salads, including a cobb salad that has everything it should have and more — chicken, bacon, avocado, gorganzola, etc. The grilled chicken breast sandwich is served with brie, to give it an unique good taste, served on a tasty grain bread.

Dinner at Bernini’s patio can be wonderful, as the air cools and lights come on. Mozzarella caprese, with kalamata olives and roma tomato, or sweet walnut salad with caramelized walnuts, cranberries and apples are both excellent starters. Chicken parmigiana or salmon alla griglia, with a honey dijon glaze, are two excellent entree choices to follow.

Capping off the meal with a fine dessert is always rewarding. Bernini’s offers tiramisu, creme brulee, gelato and an exciting budino (dark chocolate genache, whipped cream and strawberries) to send diners off to gustatory bliss.

All this and at reasonable prices? No wonder locals love it —- and want to keep it secret. But now readers are onto it.

Bernini interiorBernini’s Bistro is located 7550 Fay Avenue in La Jolla. On street parking is available as well as a large grocery store lot across the street. Call (858) 454-5013 for information and reservations.

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