While foodies love to discover new places and restaurants, at the same time they like to come up with top lists of their favorite ones for different cities. We are no exception to this typical “foodie behavior”: there are certain places that we love to go to over and over again, and because we visit them so often and get to know the people there quite well, they start to feel like a second home or living room to us.
In San Diego we were fortunate enough to have two of those “second living rooms”: the Better Half Bistro in Hillcrest and Cafe Chloe in East Village. With quite some substantial pain to us, the Better Half Bistro unfortunately closed its door last June – but happily we still have Cafe Chloe which we never get tired to visit. On so many occasions have we ended a long and tiring week at work with a nice dinner at Cafe Chloe, and it is always amazing that within just a few hours we are reenergized to start into a nice weekend.
Cafe Chloe was founded by Tami Ratcliffe and couple Alison McGrath and John Clute about five years ago, and even though East Village might not look like some touristy place in Paris (but some arrondissements in Paris don’t look that inviting either) once you step inside the restaurant, a lot reminds you of a bistro somewhere in France. Cafe Chloe has a nice casual and relaxed atmosphere with its wine bar in the center, and several small tables and bistro chairs throughout the cozy room. One of our favorite places is the elevated gallery which is a quieter place for two people, and which has a nice view throughout the restaurant. They also have a few tables outside; a nice option on a beautiful summer night (of which, of course, we have plenty in San Diego). We also admire their great taste in desiging the whole place, starting from the two stone dogs greeting you at the entrance, over beautiful paintings and other decorations, such attention to detail is rare to find elsewhere – and again adds to our feeling of “being home” at this place.
As already mentioned above, Cafe Chloe recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. We started visiting them shortly after their opening, and over the years we got to know many of the wonderful staff at Cafe Chloe by name. By now they also know many details about us, e.g. our preference for a slow pacing of the meal etc. which makes all of our visits even more relaxing.
Cafe Chloe’s Chef, Katie Grebow, creates a wonderful menu with her own interpretation of French (American) bistro dishes. We also enjoy that they don’t make the same mistake of many other restaurants with a small menu to not change their menu often enough for their regular visitors. They always have two daily specials, one meat and one fish entrée, and even their “regular” dishes have small seasonal changes. We have to yet have a dinner at Cafe Chloe which disappoints us, but at restaurants as Cafe Chloe which consistently deliver great food, there are still those special nights when somehow everything works together, and you have another “perfect” night, like the one we had recently:
Mimosa with house-made peach sorbet
Cafe Chloe doesn’t take reservations (except for one table for parties of five) so that sometimes you have to wait for a table, but that is an excellent “excuse” to start the evening at the bar with a mimosa with house-made peach sorbet.
Pork meatball with small salad
This was a new addition to their Small Plates section and reminded us of a German “Frikadelle”
Chicken Pate with grilled bread, pickled carrots and mustard
Cafe Chloe has an always changing Charcuterie du Jour plate with outstanding house-made charcuterie by Sous-Chef Jacob Rodriguez.
Pinot Noir - Domaine Henri Delagrange, Hautes-Cotes De Beaune, 2007
The Pinot Noir had a nice acidity and gentle tannins with a berry taste. A simple but elegant wine which paired nicely with the different courses.
Cider-braised Wild Boar with sautéed apples, braised red cabbage and buckwheat Spaetzle.
One of the best main dishes we had at Cafe Chloe and perfect “German comfort food” on this rainy night. We wished they would put it on their regular menu !
Cheese plate with kumquat compote, wine gelee and honeycomb
We still had some wine left and decided to have some cheese instead of dessert.
This was a wonderful evening at one of our most favorite places in San Diego – thank you, Cafe Chloe, for being here for us!
721 9th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101