When retired stockbroker Dan Sbicca decided to follow his passion for food and wine, he imagined a place in Del Mar where friends would meet for a relaxing meal after the races and linger over a glass of wine. That is the vision behind Sbicca, a comfortable neighborhood restaurant where diners feel at home. It has been the force behind the Sbicca dining experience since 1998. The New American bistro features California cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant has received accolades from Wine Spectator, Trip Advisor, and Open Table, and is a Gold Medallion Recipient for best neighborhood restaurant from the California Restaurant Association.
Sbicca is a New American bistro with a relaxed vibe. The contemporary wood and glass structure is wedged between concrete and stucco neighbors on 15th Street, a few doors down from iconic Coast Highway 101. Patrons are greeted by a bustling scene with a wraparound outdoor patio that leads into the restaurant’s front bar. Inside, red brick walls and a dark grey marble bar surrounded by red leather high top barstools reinforce the contemporary style. A bold triptych of an abstract interpretation of Sbicca hangs near the entrance.
The main dining area in the back features neutral tones, and dramatic sweeping booths separated by a glass-tile fireplace and fronted by tables covered in white linens with light wood bistro chairs. More tables and chairs are scattered about, accommodating a total of 50 guests. The private wine room features a custom wine rack display system and casual wood top tables with bistro chairs seating up to 16 guests. The ambiance in the restaurant is quieter, more subdued, and intimate. The expansive second level terrace has tables covered in white linens with dark chocolate woven patio chairs, and offers views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a tranquil place to dine and to capture a stunning California sunset on your smartphone.
Sbicca’s New American menus rely on organic produce, locally sourced sustainable seafood, sustainable meat, and other local ingredients. The eclectic menu is bursting with tantalizing starters, but if you’ve never been to Sbicca, a cup or bowl of the wildly popular lobster and shrimp bisque is the way to go. If you need something a little lighter, try the classic iceberg wedge salad with shaved red onion, bacon, heirloom tomatoes, and buttermilk Gorgonzola dressing.
A favorite entrée among regulars is the maple-roasted pork prime rib with vanilla yams and a bourbon demi-glace and Chantilly cream sauce. Diners also rave about Sbicca’s mac and cheese dish from the extras menu with lobster, scallops, and shrimp, English peas, corn, and roasted red peppers in a rich mix of cheeses including Havarti, pecorino ricotta, and truffle. Top your lunch or dinner off with something sweet and tasty from Sbicca’s dessert menu. Vanilla bean crème brulee with fresh strawberries or chocolate chip bread pudding with vanilla gelato are two yummy choices backed by diners’ recommendations.
Sbicca’s popular wine list will help you become familiar with the best California wines. While selections heavily favor California, there are also a few wines from Oregon and Washington, as well as vintages from Italy, France, New Zealand, and Germany. The 2012 Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon comes highly recommended by other guests, or ask your server for a pairing suggestion with your order and try something new instead. Sbicca makes it easy with half-price bottles Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Guests can bring their own bottle of wine to dinner with a corkage fee. There are no corkage fees on Sundays and Mondays. Tuesdays and Thursdays all bottles of wine are half-price. There is also a full bar and domestic, import, and craft beer selections. The restaurant is ADA accessible. There is street parking and bike parking. Sbicca is dog-friendly. They have a big-screen TV in the bar, but there is no Wi-Fi available. The crowd is adult with an emphasis on good food and good wine. They open before lunch and close well after the dinner hour seven days a week.
Del Mar and thoroughbred racing are almost synonymous. Sbicca invites you to experience the seaside Del Mar Race Track, a symbol of its host neighborhood since Bing Crosby personally greeted the first fan through the gates on Opening Day in 1937. Opening Day for the Del Mar racing season is in mid-July and runs through the beginning of September. The new Bing Crosby Season is a post-summer 15-day elite Thoroughbred racing season in November.
Del Mar is also a haven for shoppers. The European-style Del Mar Plaza is a block away and is bursting with elite boutiques, designer clothing, upscale jewelry, gallery art, and home furnishings. Powerhouse and Seagrove parks are a block away in the opposite direction. They offer walking paths, a children’s play area, and substantial grassy areas all fronted by beautiful beaches and the blue waters of the Pacific.
L’Auberge Del Mar, a luxury boutique hotel, is conveniently located across the street from Sbicca. They offer 120 estate-style guest rooms, of which the Coastal King Fireplace is the most sought after of their accommodations. From the seaside resort to Del Mar’s nearby shopping and dining mecca to the beautiful beaches, you’ll think you hit the trifecta on your Del Mar vacation. There’s always something going on “where the surf meets the turf at Del Mar.”