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“Great dinner experience”
Review of AVANT Restaurant

AVANT Restaurant
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Ranked #169 of 5 479 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$60
Cuisines: Mediterranean
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Pomerado Road
Description: Venture forward with bright new flavors, fresh from the sea, farm and garden. Savor cocktails, wines and beers uniquely created with an artisan's touch. It's lively and sophisticated with a dash of daring. AVANT, come and experience what tomorrow tastes like. AVANT focuses on unpretentious, approachable cuisine with homegrown culinary touches paired with handcrafted classic cocktails, local craft beer and limited production wines from around the world. AVANT draws on the best of wine country dining - inspired culinary exploration, leisurely socializing, and the freshest of seasonal ingredients - and moves it forward with a contemporary California mindset. Our culinary team serves up vibrant, creative dishes and artisan libations that embrace items foraged, farmed, hunted or fished. An inviting setting defined by its indoor-outdoor design, dynamic spaces and social settings, you need to try this. Complimentary valet parking available.
Reviewed 28 June 2018 via mobile

This is the second time we enjoy the delicious food and service at this restaurant! Krista (I hope to write her name right) our waitress was friendly, super attentive and enhanced our experience! We enjoyed the humbold fog and bresaola charcuterie to start and you can’t skip it! Bone in Ribeye and duck breast were just delicious. We love the decoration and the patio sitting looking at the golf course. Also a big thank you to Joe, wine director for such an amazing wine list and for the perfect recommendations. We will be back!

Thank PatrickF1483
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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13 - 17 of 197 reviews

Reviewed 28 June 2018

In May, we had a quick trip to Rancho Bernardo shoe horned into an already busy travel schedule. My wife had a 1.5 day meeting there, and we were staying at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. I researched, and booked Avant, on-property.

That turned out to be a very good choice.

While I know the general area, I did not know the property. Still, with meetings on-property, and our stay at Rancho Bernardo Inn, this would work.

My wife was in a meeting in the lobby, when I came down. We headed to Avant, at about our seating time. We had not but arrived, when other members of her team drifted in. I only wish I had known, as I would have booked a larger table. The staff was excellent in seating the late arrivals, with no reservations, with us. The table was getting a bit crowded, but nothing that we could not handle.

With folk sort of “trickling in,” due to different flights, the staff was great at dealing with our “dinner meeting in flux,” and I applaud them. Even when Main Courses had been served, and folk arrived late, the staff did not blink an eye. They were very, very flexible.

I had begun the evening with the wine orders (wish I had known how many diners we might have), and the limited wine list was easy to navigate. Had I known how many might join us, I would perhaps done things a bit differently?

The restaurant is basically downstairs from the lobby, with a bar, and then the restaurant proper, with distinctively different seating areas, as it serves as a breakfast restaurant in the morning, and then a fine-dining venue in the evening. There is also a slightly more casual “raw bar” area, with shellfish on display. I loved the lamps on the bar! The character of the restaurant changes from the bar, to the more formal dining room, and I loved walking past the wine “display cellar.” I knew that I was going to have fun, just reading a few labels. We were seated off into a corner of the ample main dining room, and fortunately at a large enough table, to accommodate the folk, who wandered in. I mean, who knew that we would need an 8-top, before the night was over? The staff never complained, nor did they bat an eye. They just made things happen, as we needed them.

I started our initial group off with the some wine from the “reserve list.” Be sure to ask to see that, as while the “regular list” has some interesting wines, with few of “the usual suspects,” things get even better with the “secret list.”
Faiveley Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er Cru ‘05 (a favorite vintage of mine, but one which is starting to fade a bit. The Morgeot was still drinking nicely, but started out a bit too cold. I had to ask that it not be submerged in ice water, and instead, placed on the table, to warm up a bit.
DuMol Ryan Russian River Pinot Noir ‘14
Hirsch Vineyard San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir ‘10
All of these were served in very nice stemware, which always impresses me.

At about that time, the bread arrived, and in a cute little bag. It was a Sourdough baguette, and quite good. The bag was a tad more work, than it should have been, but the presentation of a “bag-O-bread” was nice.

We did a bit of a mix-n-match, starting with:
Spring Pea Salad w/ buttermilk dressing, lime pearls, mint and pea shoots – In the “From Our Chef’s Garden” section – I was not enthusiastic about this dish, when my wife ordered it, but one taste changed my mind. Very tasty, with several well-executed, and different textures, plus layers of flavor – a winner!
Dungeness Crab w/ avocado, gaufrettes, cucumber, crême fraîche and roe – From “Small Bites Menu” – very good Crab Salad (of sorts), and again, so many flavors. I had inquired whether this was actual Dungeness Crab, and was assured that it was. I found it to be, just as described, and very tasty!

We continued to mix things up a bit, with our Main Courses:
Roasted Duck Breast w/ rhubarb, duck liver parfait, Cipollini onions and radishes – I love great Duck Breast, and have had a few wonderful preps by some world-class chefs. I try to give a brief example of how I like mine done, and our server, plus the kitchen, did a fine job – crisp skin, fully-rendered fat layer, and medium-rare breast meat – very good, and the whole dish might have suffered (for me) a bit, with the duck liver parfait. While I love Foie Gras, in most preps, this was just too much of a counter-point to the sweetness of the breast meat and skin. Short of excellent, on my palate, but still very good, and prepared exactly as requested.
Olive Oil Poached Turbot w/ peas, living seaweed, red potatoes and nori beurre blanc. Note: Clams were omitted for my wife, at our request – Excellent fish, and the prep was excellent. This dish went well with both the big Chardonnay, and then both Pinot Noirs.

We finished with a Cheese Course of Cabot Cheddar, Humboldt Fog and Roquefort, to which I added a glass of Dow’s 20 Year Tawny Port, from the Dessert Wines List. I was glad that I had a bit of the Montrachet left, for the Cheddar.

The service continued to be excellent, and the fact that folk were coming and going from our table caused no issues. Two very late arrivals (delayed flights) were served quite late into the evening, and the kitchen came through for them easily – no limitations.

After a bit, everyone had wound down, and we headed off to our rooms, quite full.

I was impressed with the fresh ingredients, and especially from the Chef’s Garden, the source of most of the vegetables and herbs. Such freshness shines, and in this case, it did, and did so nicely. Wonderful touch, and greatly appreciated.

The next morning, I passed on breakfast, as I was planning on an early lunch, before we headed off to meetings in Orlando, and then a bit of vacation at The Ocean House, in Watch Hill, RI. The bar, and less formal dining area took on a totally different look and feel, when I walked through. It felt much more casual, than our dining area, the night before.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank The_Loup_Garou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2018

We hadthe most decadent, delicious, inspiring dinner we've ever had in our lives at Avant. We asked the kitchen to choose our meal for us, and they sent us a 3 course meal paired with a delicious white wine for our appetizers and a beautiful red for our entrees and desserts. I had a spring pea salad and my fiance had green curry mussels for appetizers and they were both incredible dishes. My olive oil poached fish with potatoes and clams were so smooth and delicious! My fiance had their 45 day aged steak, and he was in heaven! The wait staff, the chef, and the hostess were all AMAZING in terms of service. Knowing it was our anniversary and our engagement, they really treated us like a queen and a king, even giving us a card at the end. I wish I had that card with me right now as I write this review so I could shout out everyone who worked on that excellent meal!!!!!!!

Thank Carol C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2018

Great seasonal menu with efficient, courteous service. Good wine list with very good seasonally crafted cocktails.

Thank HerculesGolfer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2018

I truly love the way chefs are using unusual ingredients (often things you've never heard of or have not eaten) in very creative ways. As lovely as the restaurant is and the staff is charming, polished and beautiful to look at, I felt the food was a trifle contrived, which I know and regret sounds snobbish. By that, I mean when I read the menu and tried to figure out what I would actually be eating, I could literally sense the effort that went into making each dish unique and different, and I ended up feeling uncertain about the offering. I've eaten in enough high end designer food restaurants to know that that probably isn't how you want your patrons to interpret your menu. Maybe it's just me. I dislike giving reviews with much negative criticism and usually avoid making such a critique, but I was prompted for a review by Trip Advisor so I must be honest. My mother and my friend ordered the Dungeness crab which came in a stunning presentation and both said was delicious. My husband ordered the duck breast and I sampled a few bites and thought it was good. Since I always like mussels I ordered them in what was, to me, a unique preparation (unfortunately a few were gritty). It was fine, but memorable only as unique. The warm bread was outstanding and the dessert menu features 5 or 6 extremely creative things all priced at $14.00 each. We passed on that. There is a huge amount of pressure on chefs to be over-the-top innovative today, especially in $$$$ places. Some seem to pull it off with more facility than others and you don't notice any deus ex machina going into the construction of each dish. To me, that's the way it ought to be or it could come off as, well, contrived.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Janet1215
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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