In the heart of the fabled Gaslamp district in downtown San Diego, Lionfish is an unusual eatery. One of only two James Beard Foundation laureates in all of San Diego, the restaurant located within the Pendry Hotel, is an excellent mix of fabulous cuisines, from sushi and seafood to steaks and other entrees. Rest assured that there is truly something for everyone. Under the precise direction of Chef Jose “JoJo” Ruiz, this well-oiled machine produces a memorable culinary experience set in a beautiful, moody, and sophisticated décor, which is perfect for a romantic date, a special event, or just a great night on the town.
Recently recognized again by the James Beard Foundation as a Smart Catch Leader, (in addition to Lionfish, his other San Diego establishment, Seréa, at the Hotel Del Coronado, also received this distinction from the prestigious organization.) Chef Ruiz is one of the new young chefs who matter in Southern California. (only 20 of the more than 76,000 restaurants in California are recognized as Smart Catch.) To be verified by the James Beard Foundation, restaurant menus must meet or exceed 80 percent sustainability, and restaurants must submit to three assessments per year. Further, “red” items, or seafood that is overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life, can only appear twice on menus and must total 8 percent volume or less.
Yet another smash hit from hospitality leader Clique Hospitality, Lionfish, has become the place to be in the historic Gaslamp district, where the eclectic cuisine from the youthful Ruiz has been a hit for both locals and travelers to this dynamic area. The menu has something to please everyone and draws heavily on its seafood offering. In addition, a fantastic bar, with knowledgeable and enthusiastic mixologists serve a variety of hand-crafted cocktails, as well as a large selection of premium wines. Whether you are looking for a bite while strolling downtown, or waiting to go to a Padres game right around the corner, Lionfish more than fits the bill.
Words by Yves Le Sieur