One of the most exclusive and beautiful neighborhoods in San Diego, Mission Hills, welcomes a newcomer to the neighborhood, Farmer’s Bottega. Situated right on Washington Street, Farmer’s is a breath of fresh air amidst the time-tested restaurants surrounding it.
Farmer’s Bottega comes about right at the height of the farm-to-table trend (which, frankly, is not a “trend” in that I think that it will simply be the norm soon enough) with an eclectic menu of gourmet favorites. It’s Southern California comfort cooking, and yes, I just invented that phrase, but it’s the best way I can sum up the menu.
The feel of the restaurant is casual chic, with candlelit tables and loads of wood. The staff is very friendly, and any worry about pretention is vanquished upon the nice greeting from the hostess. The servers were very nice about making sure that my daughter had everything that she needed, which was wonderful.
Gazing at the sumptuous offerings, we decided to start with the fried green tomatoes, a long-time favorite of mine, and a dish that is making a frequent appearance with comfort food menus. It’s just the best of fresh and indulgent, with sweet tomatoes dipped and breaded, then lightly fried to perfection. This version was very crispy, not at all greasy, and served with a spicy remoulade for extra flavor. The perfect appetizer – takes the edge off of your hunger, but doesn’t fill you up to miss out on the entrée!
For a salad course, we decided on the burnt carrot salad. I’ve had loads of fried green tomatoes, but I’ve never had anything like this salad! It was composed of such simple ingredients, but it was all in the preparation. The salad was a mix of sweet carrots charred, mixed with salty goat cheese. The flavor combination was excellent, and the texture of the carrots was still crunchy. Definitely something to order again!
When on the farm, eat the farm animals! Just kidding...kind of. I grew up on a roadside farm, and I have fond memories of gathering eggs and picking vegetables. The earthy offerings of the entree menu reflect the theme of the restaurant. Steve was into the flat iron pork with butternut squash and kale. I don't know why, but eating pork in the fall is just...right. It absorbs the cinnamon, maple flavors, and just tastes so good when the weather is crisp and chilly. The flat iron pork was very tender and flavorful from a good bit of charring, and the vegetables were amazing! Such a great autumn dish paired with a Buehler zinfandel.
My selection was the oxtail ravioli, recommended as one of the top menu items. I can definitely see why. The ravioli were served on the longest plate in the world (maybe not, but it was really long), and it made for a beautiful presentation. Topped with a homemade red sauce and goat cheese, this dish was savory goodness. The oxtail very closely resembles short ribs, so if your squeamish about non-grocery store meats...don't be. Paired with a Russian River Valley pinot noir (The Calling vineyard), the dish was a true winner, and easily something to order again.
To finish, we split the ricotta berry tart, which was much like a very light cheesecake. It was a light dessert, perfect to compliment the sumptuous entrees.
And...my daughter had Cheerios... She's in a picky phase, and probably will be for a few more years!
I think that Farmer's Bottega is off to a great start! Farmer's Bottega also serves up a prix fixe date night menu as well as a delicious breakfast and brunch menu, which I'm eager to check out!