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Fireplace Seating
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Whenever we bring up Sami Ladeki’s fabulous Roppongi in La Jolla, the only argument we get is where is the best place to sit? We prefer the indoor fireplace in the main dining room, which is clearly not a bad choice since that is where you’ll often find Sami himself enjoying his creation. Others swear by the booth under the in-wall aquarium near the sushi bar. We’ll agree that it’s a lovely spot, but the fish are clearly nervous and with good reason. The outdoor patio with it’s grand fire pit overlooking South Prospect Street is just as relaxing, and that still leaves you with plenty of room to select the café area near the bar. Enough said about where. It’s the “what” that keeps Roppongi on everyone’s culinary radar after 11 years in the same location with the same chef.

Stephen Window is the oft selected “Best Chef” that keeps Roppongi full of satisfied patrons. Classically trained as a European Chef, Window easily makes the transition to “Asian Fusion” almost as if he invented the culinary style himself. The décor of the restaurant is equally and naturally Asian with a true “Zen” feel emanating from the dining room replete with ambient lighting, graceful sculptures and subtle colors.

Crab Stack Tapas
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Tapas are the name of the game here with some of the most creative selections you’ll find anywhere in town. The Hamachi tacos ($12.95) are fiery and sweet at the same. Arriving in their own custom designed vessel, the taro root and seafood bites of heaven are served with a delicious fish sauce and self described “Asian love”. Among dozens of favorites is the Thai coconut milk and corn soup ($7.50) with the creamy consistency of a chowder and flavors that are vibrant and true to any classic Asian offering. Top it off with the included grilled shrimp and you have a real winner.

An absolute must try is the “Hot Rock” ($15.95) which is literally that. A smooth, blazingly hot softball sized rock is placed on your table radiating approximately 500 degrees Fahrenheit. No reaching over for a quick touch of this baby. Thinly sliced New York steak with a chili ponzu sesame sauce accompany the stone, and you actually place the beef on the surface to cook it to your liking. It only takes a few seconds on each side, but it is truly a fun way to enjoy a delicious treat. Interactive dining at it’s best!

"Hot Rock" Steak
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.

Scallops perfectly cooked and served on a potato pancake ($14.95) are wonderful, and be sure not to miss the Polynesian crab stack ($18.95) which is a colorful and gorgeous combination of plentiful crab, mangos, avocados, red onions a with a spicy ginger lime dressing. You do see these all over the place nowadays in their architecturally perfect cylindrical presentation, but we do believe that Roppongi was the first in San Diego to do it this beautifully and this well. Not the usual fare, but try the quail which is fall off the bone tender with a lobster sauce and crisp green beans ($17.95).

The sushi bar turns out an array of marvelously fresh and creative plates for dazzled guests as they enjoy one of Roppongi’s many libations from its full bar and extensive wine list. Roppongi has something for everyone. You will certainly be back to try another round as there are just too many offerings to partake in at one sitting. Not inexpensive, you may want to give it a whirl during happy hour from 4 to 6 daily when you can enjoy tapas at half price in the café and patio areas.

Roppongi scores highly on all counts and we look forward to revisiting again for a refresher write up in five years or so. They are sure to still be here, charming guests young and old with delectable treats you just aren’t going to find anywhere else in San Diego. Enjoy!

The Good – extensive selection of unique and delicious taste combinations get you every time.

The Bad – Not sure we can come up with too much other than the same old story about parking in La Jolla. The restaurant does have valet and we always seem to find a spot, so let’s just call this one a perfect 10.

Details »
  • City: La Jolla
  • Phone: 858-551-5252
  • Name: Roppongi
  • Address: 875 Prospect Street