This Week’s Featured Restaurant – Stingaree in the Gaslamp Quarter
Trendy, sophisticated, sexy – these are all words that have been used to describe the Gaslamp’s hottest restaurant and nightclub – Stingaree. Known as “the” place to be seen, Stingaree has also made a name for itself in the culinary world under the direction of Executive Chef and Advanced Sommelier, Antonio Friscia.
Friscia credits his love for cooking to his dad’s side of the family who were all great cooks. His father was a wholesale seafood distributor in San Francisco who also introduced him to some of the city’s best chefs. Antonio found inspiration and eventually went on to become a chef and trained extensively in Italy.
Luckily for us, Chef Antonio brought his inspiration and culinary talents to San Diego. He is the Executive Chef for EnDev Enterprises, the mastermind operation behind some of San Diego’s coolest nightclubs – Side Bar, Dish at Universal in Hillcrest and of course the flagship nightclub and dining venue, Stingaree.
To say the menu is “fresh” doesn’t really capture the essence of Chef Antonio’s style. He plans the menu by the seasons but actually changes it up each week based on what fresh produce he has found at the local farmer’s market. I won’t tell you which one he likes to frequent since he likes to keep some secrets to himself. Sustainability is very important as well and he tries to use local vendors like Chino Farms as much as he can.
The menu is a fusion of influences. As Friscia puts it, “I like to say that I’ve created a new ‘hybrid’ cuisine in my restaurants. The flavors are not just Italian or French, but combine influences from different cultures to create a unique taste.”
Highlights from the menu include the green garlic and porcini bisque with roasted garlic croutons and truffle oil, the wild mushroom risotto and the pork loin chops served with a calvados demi-glace and caramelized pink lady apples.
Stingaree’s lounge menu offers some serious and frisky appetizers such as the ménage a trios – a threesome of calamari, scallops and prawns accompanied with a chili aioli. Pimped out nachos, beer battered onion rings and serious mac-n- cheese are all definitely worth the calories.
If you haven’t been “stung” yet, head downtown to Stingaree for an amazing dinner and then chill in the nightclub or take in the view atop the classy rooftop lounge. Stingaree is not just a restaurant but also a complete destination.
454 6th Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter
Here’s a side note for you history and trivia buffs:
For most people the word “Stingaree” doesn’t have any significance except to refer to the nightclub with the funny name. But true to its Gaslamp location, the nightclub Stingaree gets it unique name from an old historical reference to the actual neighborhood that was just south of Broadway.
From the late 1800s until about 1916, the neighborhood we refer to now as the Gaslamp, used to be called the Stingaree. At that time, the neighborhood was home to the “undesirables” of the city such as prostitutes, drug dealers, etc. Eventually, the term Stingaree was lost and with all the redevelopment efforts, the neighborhood went from “seedy to sublime.”