Michelin meals in La Jolla: A tour of the top tastes 

La Jolla is not short on delicious places to dine, and several of them consistently take it up a notch, earning a coveted place on the Michelin Guide.

Here’s our roadmap to discovering Michelin Guide restaurants in La Jolla – start your engines for a tasty tour!

Inclusion in the Michelin Guide

A restaurant’s appearance in the 104-year-old Michelin Guide comes down to quality: a team of anonymous Michelin inspectors visit eateries over the course of a year, at various points, checking for consistency and outstanding dishes time and again. 

The best of the best earn Michelin stars, and while there are no such starred restaurants in La Jolla – yet – five eateries are currently included in the Guide, eligible for that lofty distinction:

1. A. R. Valentien

Executive Chef Kelli Crosson currently heads A. R. Valentien, a cozy but elegant Craftsman spot with an inspirational view anchored in The Lodge at Torrey Pines at 11480 N Torrey Pines Rd. 

Michelin considers A. R. Valentien’s “boundless harvest of local ingredients” a scrumptious component of the restaurant’s place in the Guide, impressed with the “elevated comfort foods” offered. 

The menu at A. R. Valentien changes frequently based on what’s available seasonally, so we’re sure you’ll need more than one reservation!

2. Catania

High above The Village at 7863 Girard Ave., Catania’s “artfully designed dining room” earned its Guide spot with modern, “lovely flavors” found in Neapolitan-style pizzas, decadent pastas and more, according to Michelin.

The result of a two-week Italian road trip by owners Arturo Kassel and Ryan Johnston, Catania’s menu offers coastal Italian fare like arancini with saffron risotto, a duck sugo orecchiette and more, with dishes changing seasonally following Johnston’s culinary direction.

3. Himitsu

A small, exclusive-feeling pervades at Himitsu (1030 Torrey Pines Rd. G), where a seat at the sushi counter offers a prime view to the chefs’ “admirable knife skills,” the Guide writes. 

Omakase is the way to go, according to Michelin, and we’d agree, but don’t miss the Japanese-style tapas like the shishito peppers with bonito flakes and more.

Himitsu’s chef Mitsu Aihara’s menu of traditional sushi rolls, nigiri and special plates boasts the highest quality ingredients, along with a curated sake list to complement the food.

4. Paradisaea

The Bird Rock neighborhood has a Michelin Guide stop at 5680 La Jolla Blvd., where Paradisaea’s “upscale tropical theme” extends to “simple, contemporary cooking featuring local ingredients with Asian and tropical inflections,” the Guide writes.

Recently opened in 2022 and now helmed by Executive Chef Jeff Armstrong, the kitchen plates up dishes ranging from a Brussels sprouts hummus to an Ora King salmon, with an extensive cocktail menu that tickles the tiki.

5. Nine-Ten

Nine-Ten, anchoring the historic Grande Colonial hotel at 910 Prospect St., serves up what Michelin says might be the best “way to end a day of watching the seals and surf.”

Calling out the Jamaican jerk pork belly as a star, the Guide also highlights Nine-Ten’s pastry program from brunch to dessert.

Executive Chef Jason Knibb has led the Nine-Ten kitchen for about 21 of its 23 years, cultivating a culinary reputation with creative farm-to-table elevations like a lamb loin with a citrus and pistachio relish and more.

Michelin mentions

While only the above five spots earned a place in the current Michelin Guide, La Jolla isn’t short on Michelin-quality talent. 

Marisi

It’s worth mentioning that Cameron Ingle took over the Marisi kitchen at 1044 Wall St. in August, bringing with him years of experience working for Michelin two- and three-star chefs at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Napa Valley’s Bouchon Bistro. Check out his additions to Marisi’s unique take on the best of Italian cuisine.

Ambrogio by Acquerello

Another elevated reframe of Italian in La Jolla is Ambrogio by Acquerello at 7556 Fay Ave., where Michelin chef Silvio Salmoiraghi offers two different eight-course tasting menus nightly, blending in culinary traditions of Japan, Korea, France and California in a concept that veers from trendy in favor of traditional.

Lucien

With plans to open in early 2025, eyes are on Lucien, coming to 7863 Girard Ave., a project of chef Elijah Arizmendi, whose resume includes Michelin two-star spot Restaurant Daniel, among other top establishments, and Brian Hung, who worked with Arizmendi at Michelin star restaurant l’Abeille. Stay tuned for their take on fine dining.

Explore more restaurants in La Jolla here.

Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Picture of Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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