Marine Room Restaurant
2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla
With Bernard Guillas as its top toque, the Marine Room has become the quintessential fine San Diego restaurant, with awesome food to match the view. Guillas goes one-for-one with the ocean: His high-adventure cuisine stands with one foot firmly rooted in France and the other dipping into the Pacific -- while a finger or two stretches toward the Sea of Cortez. Who else in San Diego but Guillas would put together diver sea scallops, foie gras, duck prosciutto, sweet Thai rice, and a port-plum wine reduction -- and make it work? Or call a dish "oyster surprise" and actually surprise you with a jolt of gingered apple and the crackle of tobiko (flying fish roe) under the bivalve? Guillas's bold signature dish is called "Trilogy," an ever-changing combination that always contains precious proteins from air, land, and sea -- quail, rabbit, and lobster is one typical trio. On the menus (both the printed one and the page of handwritten daily specials), each dish reads like a whole tasting dinner (or a parody of an overprecise California menu) -- but when you taste your food, it all comes together into a lyrical dance of flavors.