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Best of 2001: Best New Restaurant

Royale Brasserie Bar
224 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter
619-237-4900

If you've a yearning for the life of a moneyed fin de siècle Paris bohemian, then surely in some past incarnation you must have frequented restaurants that looked very much like the Royale Brasserie. Vast but sectioned into intimate boîtes, retro but shiny new, the restaurant is a mass of eye-filling and witty Art Nouveau artisan detail -- a multiroom reproduction of a world long gone. But amidst all the delicious retro detail, the heart of the action is a 21st-century gleaming, glass-walled exhibition kitchen of awesome scope. There, Hawaiian-born, San Francisco-raised chef Hans-Trevor Gossman turns out creditable and delicious versions of Gallic bistro classics -- with a few twists of his own, such as an enchanting tartare of dayboat yellowfin and a sophisticated, buttery cold terrine of foie gras served with rhubarb compote. But the star of the show -- it's like having a movie star walk in; you just have to get over it before you can concentrate on anything else -- is the "plateau de fruits de mer," a multi-tiered assortment of fresh, cold shellfish of many species, accompanied by many dressings. The portion options are huge and humongous. Share a plateau with a friend or three (or more for the large size), and it's guaranteed you'll be closer friends by the time you're done.

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Royale Brasserie Bar
224 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter
619-237-4900

If you've a yearning for the life of a moneyed fin de siècle Paris bohemian, then surely in some past incarnation you must have frequented restaurants that looked very much like the Royale Brasserie. Vast but sectioned into intimate boîtes, retro but shiny new, the restaurant is a mass of eye-filling and witty Art Nouveau artisan detail -- a multiroom reproduction of a world long gone. But amidst all the delicious retro detail, the heart of the action is a 21st-century gleaming, glass-walled exhibition kitchen of awesome scope. There, Hawaiian-born, San Francisco-raised chef Hans-Trevor Gossman turns out creditable and delicious versions of Gallic bistro classics -- with a few twists of his own, such as an enchanting tartare of dayboat yellowfin and a sophisticated, buttery cold terrine of foie gras served with rhubarb compote. But the star of the show -- it's like having a movie star walk in; you just have to get over it before you can concentrate on anything else -- is the "plateau de fruits de mer," a multi-tiered assortment of fresh, cold shellfish of many species, accompanied by many dressings. The portion options are huge and humongous. Share a plateau with a friend or three (or more for the large size), and it's guaranteed you'll be closer friends by the time you're done.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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