Luxury cinemas are no longer a rarity and some cities now have multiple companies to choose from. Though they all put a classier spin on “dinner and a movie,” many of them seem to put more of an effort in the latter, often forgetting about the cuisine. The Lot in San Diego takes dinner a lot more seriously than an afterthought and as a result, their restaurant can easily stand on its own.
Owner and CEO Adolfo Fastlicht used to work with Cinepolis, taking what worked and making it better. The Lot’s marble lobby and indoor dining room would look right at home in a hotel, while the al fresco space makes use of the city’s sunny weather and ocean breezes. Designed by SMS Architects and interior designer/architect Ezequiel Farca, the building makes use of audio-visual technology in the main dining room with a large screen against the back wall (I wish there had been old movies playing during my visit, instead of advertisements).
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the cuisine is dominated by Mediterranean and Mexican-inspired dishes. If you visit before noon, check out Chef Alejandra Pitashny’s café, which includes fresh pastries and locally-sourced and roasted coffees. Or if you want a more substantial breakfast, take a seat in the outdoor dining area and try the Open Faced Sandwich with avocado mash, prosciutto and a poached egg on rustic bread. Standouts on the lunch menu include the Crackling Chicken Sandwich, while the dinner offerings shine with the Ricotta Gnocchi and Tomato Margherita flatbread. Though the Crispy Calamari was cooked perfectly, the taste was a little underwhelming when we visited, calling for some self-seasoning.
Our favorite dish was by far the Banana Cream Pie, which looks nothing like one expects a pie to look. The sliced fruit is accompanied by a light parfait, baked into a phyllo dough cup and topped with whipped cream. The bar has a pretty expansive menu as well, offering 16 beers on tap, eight house-made cocktails and a wine/Champagne program that includes offerings from France, Chile and Napa Valley.
Personally, we’d rather enjoy dinner before catching a flick, but if you’re short on time, the theater menu is pretty far-reaching. It features everything from grilled street corn with cilantro aioli and Spanish chorizo flatbreads to salmon burgers and vanilla crème brûlée.