Growing up in North County, I ventured south of Del Mar very rarely, and only for themed school dance-inspired shopping sprees on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. In addition to taco shop hopping, for fun we local youngsters would spend many a night at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Buckets of fries at Red Robin, sneaking into R-rated movies, and Cold Stone ice cream for dessert; such was the weekend routine of an underage suburbanite in Del Mar circa 2001.
Though fond, my memories of entertainment in the Highlands are anything but sophisticated. So you can imagine my shock and excitement to discover that the spacious town center is undergoing a complete transformation this summer, welcoming a host of new restaurants, a celebrity-approved blowout hair salon, and the first boutique luxury movie theater of its kind in San Diego. Let the summer fun begin!
The New Del Mar: July 2011, Del Mar Highlands Town Center will begin to debut seven new restaurants, a luxury movie theatre, a variety of shopping and beauty boutiques, improved parking and traffic flows and outdoor gathering spaces for seasonal performances and private events. New Del Mar restaurants include Burlap, Mia Francesca, Rimel’s Rotisserie, Taverna Blue, The Counter, and Urban Plate; while old favorites Sammy’s and Champagne French Bakery Café will welcome modern makeovers. And if you prefer to watch your summer Rom-Com with mimosas and munchies, you’ll love the new Cinepolis Luxury Cinema. But before you play, you must pamper at Drybar.
Get to know the new Del Mar Highlands Town Center.
Burlap: “Top Chef” alum Brian Malarkey and nightlife entrepreneur James Brennan now collaborate on their second restaurant, high on the heels of the incredibly successful Gaslamp hot spot Searsucker (pictured). The Burlap menu will feature “Asian Cowboy” cuisine, a blend of meat and seafood with bold Asian flavors. Burlap is expected to open July 2011, just in time for Del Mar Racing season. For more information, visit Burlap in Del Mar.
Mia Francesca and Davanti Enoteca: Chicago restaurant owner and chef, Scott Harris was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, and now brings his talents to the San Diego dining scene. Mia Francesca will offer a diverse menu of classic Italian entrees made from locally sourced ingredients. Separate but equal, the Davanti Enoteca wine bar will offer a selection of fresh tapas and wine pairings.
Rimel's Rotisserie: The Rimel’s name is nothing new to San Diego foodies! The local favorite Rimel’s Rotisserie is now opening its third restaurant, and will continue serving the locally sourced meats, sustainable seafood and local produce we know and love. Rimel’s boasts two other San Diego locations, in La Jolla and Cardiff.
Taverna Blue: The proprietor who launched the popular Daphne’s chain will now open his first one-off boutique restaurant in San Diego that will offer a menu of fresh Mediterranean food.
The Counter: Now open, The Counter is a new go-to spot for delicious “Build Your Own” burgers, custom designed and served in a casual-cool atmosphere. The Counter offers over 300,000 possible combinations of proteins, cheeses, toppings, sauces and buns. The burgers pair well with specialty drinks and adult milkshakes.
Urban Plate: What will soon become your favorite fresh fast food in San Diego, Urban Plate is a casual dine-in or take-out eatery with an open kitchen concept. Pop into Urban Plate for hand carved meats, poultry, seafood, and high-quality soups, salads. The best part? Bread and desserts will be baked fresh daily on-site.
Cinepolis Luxury Cinema: Taking the San Diego movie-going experience to the next level, the former UltraStar 8 will re-open as a boutique luxury theater, featuring eight auditoriums with state-of-the-art and 3D technologies and high-back reclining chairs. Just a few of the high class perks include HD movie screening previews, reserved seating options, a full bar, in-seat food ordering, and gourmet and classic movie fare. Wave goodbye to the boring popcorn and Diet Coke combo; Cinepolis Luxury Cinema will pair your favorite film with the best of San Diego lifestyle.
Drybar: Drybar is a unique “blow dry bar” concept that was created around a very simple idea: No cuts. No color. Just blowouts, for $35. While you enjoy your blowout, relax with a complimentary glass of wine, champagne, tea or spa water. Celebrity-approved posh pampering in a chic atmosphere, for only $35? Yes please! Get details here.
Since 1989 the Del Mar Highlands Town Center has been the dominant community shopping center in the Del Mar / Carmel Valley area. Located at the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real, the Highlands center is currently anchored by Ralph’s Fresh Fare, Rite Aid, Ultra Star Cinemas, Barnes & Noble and Jimbo’s...Naturally. For more information, please visit delmarhighlandstowncenter.com.
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Pictured: Chef Brian Malarkey's Searsucker in San Diego