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“Impressive from beginning to end”
Review of Herringbone

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Ranked #17 of 1,236 Restaurants in La Jolla
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Wall Street
Description: Located in the coastal community of La Jolla, Herringbone offers "Fish Meats Field" cuisine by Top Chef Season 3's Brian Malarkey.
la jolla
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
“Impressive from beginning to end”
Reviewed 6 August 2014

The nine of us, family and boyfriends, celebrated my twin daughters birthdays at Herringbones recently. It was my first time to dine there. I had not even noticed the restaurant before, so I was very pleasantly surprised that when we entered it was as if we went somewhere far away. The decor is charming and comfortable, with a beachy, sophisticated feel. We sat among trees inside the restaurant- so cool! The meal was ordered with appetizers and main courses. One of the twins is lactose intolerant and her pizza had to be modified. I ordered the same pizza, as was on the menu. When the food came the pizzas were very different, not just the cheese less part. I mentioned it to our waiter, she apologized, and with in minutes the manager, Brian Lee, was at my side. Without disrupting our meal and in minutes a new pizza came to our table, followed by several amazing desserts we did not even order. The meal far exceeded what I expected, and the desserts were a sweet end to a wonderful experience. Thanks Herringbones and Brian Lee for making us feel so special!

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank NicoleGLaJolla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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413 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
San Diego, CA
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2014

Herringbone in La Jolla opened two years ago to great fanfare. Its location on Herschel Avenue in the heart of La Jolla Village practically guaranteed success, and Chef Brian Malarkey was on a roll with highly successful Seersucker downtown, and popular spin-offs in Del Mar, Point Loma, and La Mesa. The dramatic, soaring space, complete with silver-sage olive trees, lends itself perfectly to the casual/chic style of dining that Malarkey's establishments favor. I attended the Grand Opening party and was very impressed with the decor and vibe.
Since its opening, I've been back several times. With each trip, my enthusiasm has dampened. Upon my most recent visit, it was entirely extinguished.
Arriving shortly after noon for Sunday brunch, I quickly found my friends where they were seated at the nearly-empty bar. My friends were imbibing in Herringbone "Bottomless Mimosa," so I joined the festivities. My friend told the bartender that we liked our Mimosas light on the orange juice,with just enough OJ to take the edges off the ubiquitous cheap "champagne" that restaurants use for Mimosas. This poor girl just could not seem to get the concept! She either poured WAY too much OJ, as in half a glass, or she added a few drops (literally). I mean, it's just NOT THAT HARD to make a decent Mimosa!
Ok, so one of their bartenders is a dope, wouldn't be the first time, right? On to the food.
One of my friends ordered the quiche of the day, which turned out to be a small wedge of quiche with a side of salad and house potatoes. FIrst of all, it was barely lukewarm. Secondly, it had a rubbery texture and was practically flavorless, and the asparagus in it was undercooked, nearly raw.
My other friend and I got the Chilaquiles, a dish I always order at another restaurant in town because it's just that good. Well not THIS Chilaquiles! There was no choice in how the egg was cooked, it came fried rather than poached, as I would have preferred. I could live with that, but the dang thin was nearly solid with no runny yoke, as it should be for this dish. In addition, the chips were soggy and heavily doused with a red sauce that tasted like thickened hot sauce, and not a very good one at that. There was no complexity in the flavors, no contrast in the textures, and none of the chips retained any body or crispness, as they should. Booooo!
On to the bacon. It's not easy to cook bacon properly. That being said, I truly have no idea what they did to this bacon. It was obviously high-quality bacon, thick slab cut and a generous serving. However, they somehow managed to cook it so that while it had the taste of cooked bacon, and appeared to be cooked, it lacked crispness and retained a great deal of grease. I like my bacon cooked through, not charred, but above all, it should be both toothsome and crunchy. Their bacon, while it had a wonderful smoky-sweet flavor, completely lacked crunch. Mystifying!
Did we perhaps just experience a terribly bad day? I'd wonder, were the restaurant not mostly empty between noon and 2 on a Sunday in La Jolla when most nearby establishments have lines with 15 to 45 minute waits. I think locals have figured out that this fish is past its prime.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
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1 Thank anastasiab695
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, TX
Level 6 Contributor
135 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“No matter what, the food is outstanding!”
Reviewed 25 July 2014

The décor is amazing... old brick warehouse with a vaulted wood ceiling, following a theme of sea fishing. They have brought in 6 old Russian olive trees that began a serious discussion of whether they preceded the building (they didn't).
House specialty cocktails pleased all 4 of us; I found the Snake in the Grass to be very refreshing. Prawn appetizers were well seasoned but a bit under cooked. While waiting for our salads, suddenly the whole fish our friends ordered appeared, along with the sides of brussel sprouts and corn. One of two orders of scallops came shortly after, and then they started bring out the salads. We had tried to cancel the second order of scallops and the salads, because there was no more room on the table. It still came. I would never have ordered the whole fish, but our friends shared a bite and the flavor really captivated me! My scallops, which can be risky in how well prepared they are, were perfect! If we had only ordered the brussel sprouts and corn we could have been happy! We finished with a slice of the chocolate raspberry cake and were perfectly satisfied. We also enjoyed a pricey wine for half off on Tuesdays!
Our waiter was charming and worked hard to please. I suspect they were understaffed, and the timing was a mixup in the kitchen. The manager apologized profusely and comped us 1 entrée. We will eat here again.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ihatefakenames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
682 reviews
347 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 248 helpful votes
“A Meal That Got Of To A Great Start .... But...”
Reviewed 24 July 2014

This is a very beautiful and unique restaurant. It combines an indoor and outdoor ambiance perfectly and on the night we ate there the place had a real buzz about. It started off wonderfully. Our waiter was very attentive and we shared a ceviche appetizer that was just delicious. For a main course we split the whole roasted sea bass and it too was perfectly prepared and delicious.
My wife is gluten free so we ordered a side of brussel sprouts. Again delicious but when we asked what was in the dish the waiter told us it had panko and we then got into a weird back and forth where he was insisting that it's only wheat so it's gluten free. Obviously he didn't know what gluten is and he had earlier reassured us the dish was gluten free.
Then we ordered desert. !0 minutes later he came back and asked us if we wanted desert. We had to remind him we'd already ordered. When the deserts came out they were wrong and not what we ordered so he agreed to take them off the bill. We didn't eat either of them. This marred what started out to be such a promising night. I would go back because the food was very good and the place is so nice but I hope our experience was just due to a server who was either inexperienced or just not on his game.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Thank bccrab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Eat, be seen, enjoy”
Reviewed 22 July 2014

Love this place. Great food, good service, and a good crowd. A bit loud and always busy--but great people watching. You have to eat the whole fish ceviche. you have to. Amazing. I have had the best ceviche from around the world (Columbia, Peru, Ecuador) and this is right up there with those. Go with a couple of friends and you will have a great time hanging with the beautiful people that frequent Herringbone.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Globespinnerfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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