By Frank Sabatini Jr.
The most talked-about restaurant to open Downtown in a while is Animae, a $5.5 million architectural wonder combining sexy Art Deco elements and heavy draperies with an abstract interpretation of an ancient cedar forest on Japan’s Yakushima island.
Launched by the Puffer Malarkey Collective (Herb & Wood, Herb & Eatery, and Farmer & the Seahorse), the pan-Asian menu begins with various crudos and extends to black garlic udon noodles with lobster; butter dumplings with escargot and beef carpaccio, roasted duck with pineapple; wagyu porterhouse steak with miso butter, and more.
The dishes were conceived by San Diego restaurateur Brian Malarkey, and Joe Magnanelli, who previously served as executive chef for the Urban Kitchen Group.
Located on the ground floor of the new Pacific Gate luxury condominium complex, Animae’s full bar spotlights single malts and gins, as well as sake and Japanese whiskey.
The restaurant opens for dinner at 5:30 p.m., daily. Happy hour is held from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 969 Pacific Highway, 619-432-1225, animaesd.com.
Brewmaster Benjamin “Benny” Shirley of 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is basing some of his fall/winter beers on the 2004 American cult film, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” Fans of the movie, which is set in San Diego, will easily make the connections to the names of the debut beers.
The series kicks off with a session IPA called “Afternoon Delight,” which is made with an experimental hop. Later this fall, look for a pungent black IPA named “Sex Panther,” followed by another session IPA, “Rich Mahogany,” and concluding with the lightly spiced “Scotch Ale.” 1501 E St., 619-578-2311, 10barrel.com.
Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to Downtown San Diego as the chain spreads it wings throughout San Diego in the coming months, with properties in Hillcrest and La Jolla as well. The Downtown spot will reportedly be a step above the smaller drive-through operations. It will offer indoor seating, take-out foods and a tap system for iced teas and cold brews. 605 C St., dunkindonuts.com.
A Los Angeles-based French cafe and wine bar has nudged into Little Italy within a new mixed-use structure on Kettner Boulevard.
The 3,000-square-foot Zinque greets with a chic design featuring wrought iron, wooden tables, a fireplace and central bar. It was founded in 2012 by restaurateur Emmanuel Dossetti, who currently has three locations in the LA area.
The bill of fare centers on French classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner such as house-made croissants, sandwiches using bread imported from Paris, various tartines, ratatouille, steak frites, and more. 2101 Kettner Blvd., 619-915-6172, lezinque.com.
Bobboi Natural Gelato has set its sights on Little Italy for launching its third and largest San Diego location. Due to open by late fall, Bobboi has attracted gelato lovers with its vegan options and unique line of flavors since opening in 2014 in La Jolla.
They include “quattroberry,” grape nectar, and charcoal-vanilla. The gelato shop also added a satellite operation in the Little Italy Food Hall, although its newest spot will feature ample seating, weathered-wood accents and windows that open to the street. 2175 Kettner Blvd., 858-255-8693, bobboi.com.
Over in Coronado, a spacious all-day restaurant known as The Henry is stealing the show with an inviting design that combines midcentury appointments with industrial elements — and with menus that cater to many tastes.
Founded in Phoenix by Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts, the Coronado kitchen offers dishes unique to this location, such as fish and chips, tuna over crispy rice, and shrimp cocktail with a Southern California spin.
Established entrees include spaghetti Bolognese, rotisserie chicken, Scottish salmon and more. There is also a full bar that runs along the roomy front patio. 1031 Orange Ave., 619-762-1022, thehenryrestaurant.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.