Jake’s Del Mar may look unassuming from Coast Boulevard, but don’t be fooled; this classic is the consummate Southern California oceanfront grill. A prime location, ultra-friendly staff, and reliable New American coastal cuisine have secured it a spot among the most popular restaurants in Del Mar. A favorite among locals, you’ll enjoy its panoramic ocean views, relaxed atmosphere, daily specials, and buzzing happy hours. Jake’s has been a significant player in Del Mar’s culinary scene since opening in 1981, and diners have shown their appreciation for Jake’s food, location, and ambiance with numerous people’s choice awards on Trip Advisor, Open Table, and North Coast.
Jake’s Del Mar Ambiance
Jake’s has a relaxed beachy vibe that begins with its light blue walls adorned with gleaming surfboards, ocean wave paintings, and black and white surfing photo art. Rough exposed beams and ceiling rafters, hardwood tables and chairs, decorative pieces of driftwood, and colorful tropical plants combine to set the stage for the casual vibe. A mix of tables and semi-circular ocean-facing booths are spread across the two tiered indoor dining area. Several casual wood slat tables and chairs on a covered patio the full width of the oceanfront restaurant make you feel like you’re sitting on your own backyard deck overlooking the ocean. Salty, ocean breezes waft in through a bank of floor to ceiling windows that offer panoramic views of the Pacific. At Jake’s, every meal is served with a spectacular view.
Jake’s Del Mar Food
Jake’s menu is as casual as its ambiance. You won’t find pages and pages of complicated, fussy choices. Instead, the restaurant cooks up pleasing New American dishes with imaginative flair. Macadamia nut panko crusted crispy calamari served with sweet and sour sauce is a popular appetizer; the calamari strips are sans tentacles and rings, which makes them all the better. Herb garlic grilled salmon with roasted red pepper grits, grilled corn and mango relish, and sherry gastrique is an entrée favorite; so is the Kobe burger with bacon bourbon jam, gochujang aioli, and caramelized onion cheddar. You’ll find interesting twists on an array of simple, yet elegant, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, seafood, and steaks.
If you’ve been strolling along the beach, stop in at Jake’s Del Mar bar; dark woods, colorful tropical décor, big windows that open onto the beach, and tasty Sea Drinks welcome you. Try a pink grapefruit or sunset martini, or a spicy cucumber or orange blossom margarita. Dive in the deep end with Jake’s Seasonal Cocktail – koloa coconut rum, pineapple, lavender, and fresh lime juice. Jake’s bar also serves local craft brews, and several local and international wines. The short bar menu is packed with appetizers and bistro items, including Jake’s Cheddar Burger and Jake’s Pepper Jack Burger. Monday nights feature Thai Cajun Spice Chicken Wings and $2 draft beers; Wednesday’s are Duke’s Fish Tacos and Duke’s Mai Tais.
Jake’s offers a Sunday brunch with delectable breakfast entrees like lemon ricotta pancakes, langostino lobster omelets, and banana stuffed French toast. You can add a glass of champagne to brunch for $5. If you prefer your brunch leans more toward lunch, order the barbecue ribs or seafood trio from among other brunch menu choices. All Sea Drinks are available for brunch as well.
No matter when you decide to dine at Jake’s, regulars advise that newcomers save room for the Hula Pie. It’s a macadami a nut ice cream pie in a chocolate crumb crust. Slices are served with hot fudge topping and whipped cream. It gets serious props from everyone who’s tried it. If you’re not into ice cream though, there are several other yummy dessert items from which to choose.
Jake’s Del Mar Details
Valet parking is surprisingly reasonable at $4 and beats trying to find local parking. Considering nearby $10 self-pay lots or $3 per hour metered parking, you really can’t beat it. Happy Hour drink and food specials are early evenings Mondays through Fridays, and Saturday afternoons.
Each November, the restaurant hosts an annual Jake’s Del Mar Beach Fun Run through their Legacy of Aloha program. The annual fundraiser takes place on the beach with the starting and finishing lines in front of the restaurant. Proceeds go to the La Colonia Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Dieguito and Friends of Powerhouse Park.
Jake’s Del Mar Neighborhood
Del Mar has been a playground for the trendy since the days when Bing Crosby and Seabiscuit put the Del Mar race track on the map. The clear activities of choice in this neighborhood are thoroughbred racing, and enjoying neighborhood beaches. However, Del Mar is also a haven for shoppers. The extravagant Del Mar Plaza is bursting with elite boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. The European-style shopping area features designer clothing, upscale jewelry, gallery art, and home furnishings.
Powerhouse (next to Jake’s) and Seagrove parks are beachside and offer walking paths and a children’s play area, as well as substantial grassy picnic areas all fronted by beautiful beaches and the blue waters of the Pacific. Free Flight bird sanctuary on Jimmy Durante Boulevard provides visitors an opportunity to feed and interact with exotic birds. There are three annual Del Mar Antique Shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, so you may be able to catch one outside of racing season. There’s always something going on “where the surf meets the turf at Del Mar.”