Top of the Market Continues to Exude Excellence After 25 Years | Landmark Restaurant Offers Seafood at its Finest with Views to Match

October 22, 2014

Top of the Market truly is one of those establishments that offers subdued elegance without pretense. It can be as casual or luxurious as you choose to make it with consistently amazing food and a staff eager to please. Nothing is overly complex or unapproachable, rather simply fresh and fine ingredients are prepared perfectly by a seasoned chef and well trained crew. We recently revisited this San Diego landmark for a four course tasting menu prepared by Executive Chef Ivan Flowers and thoroughly enjoyed one of the most delicious meals we've had in a long time. Get ready to salivate.

Located above The Fish Market, adjacent to the USS Midway Museum and the "Kiss" statue, Top of the Market has sat waterside overlooking Coronado and the San Diego Bay since 1989. The restaurant exudes old world charm, though, rumor has it, it will soon undergo a modernization of the interior. We cozied up on the restaurant's heated patio, watched as the sun dipped and boats sailed by and awaited what we knew would be a marvelous meal. Executive Chef Ivan Flowers prepared us a custom tasting menu from his open kitchen (with wine pairings!) and we came ready to eat.

Our dining experience began with a show-stopping amuse. A Long Island Blue Point oyster decorated with black truffle 'caviar,' champagne sorbet and Vietnamese chili drops sat atop a shot of creamy lobster bisque 'espresso.' We slurped the cool oyster then took the shot of soup. The umami earthiness of the truffle droplets, sweet chill of the sorbet, and spiciness of the chili intermingled harmoniously with the creamy bisque and super fresh oyster. Paired with a Moet & Chandon Imperial Epernay, the meal could have begun and ended with this dish and we would still have been beyond contented.
Chef Ivan then brought us an exceptionally seared New Bedford sea scallop perched on a stack of asparagus fritte and a base of rose lobster sauce paired with a Cakebread Cellar Chardonnay from Napa Valley. This was a no nonsense dish, plated beautifully, where the ingredients were left to shine.
The next dish was without a doubt one of the best we've had the pleasure of eating all year: surf, turf and earth, all layered and elevated. Fijian ahi yellowtail sashimi sat atop brown sugar and garlic-roasted pork belly, capped off with a black garlic tempura ball and paired with a Ramazzotti Estate Grenache. If you want to treat yourself, drop what you are doing, head to Top of the Market, and beg them to make this for you.
Although Top of the Market is known for its fresh seafood, caught and delivered daily by two of the company's own fishing boats (one in Chula Vista and the other up north near San Fran), the restaurant also excels in the meat department, as evidenced by our main course: a rack of lamb with garlic basil persillade, fingerling potato and artichoke ragout and aged sherry vinegar demi-glace served with Seghesio Zinfandel. Lamb chops have never really rocked my world, but these delectable babies had me gnawing at the bone like a starving mongrel.
We were nearing capacity, but of course couldn't leave without dessert. Though we adored the apple strudel crumb with Belgian chocolate, Tahitian vanilla gelato and Fleur de Sel caramel sauce, it was the chocolate and peanut bar that really struck the sweet tooth. Both were equally amazing, but the decadent mix of chocolate brownie cake, peanut butter feuilletine, chocolate mousse and rum glaze is nearly unbeatable.
Chef Ivan Flowers is a Harley-sporting, straight shootin', bad ass chef that made us one of our best meals of 2014. Top of the Market remains consistently fantastic in our book. It is a San Diego mainstay for a reason: it offers dishes more beautiful and satisfying than its views. Whether you want it casual, elegant or somewhere in between, Top of the Market has what you're looking for.

750 N Harbor Dr., Downtown
(619) 232-3474

Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 2:45 pm, 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 2:45 pm, 4:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 2:45 pm, 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm