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Restaurants & Bars 6

Is the SD Aventine Jinxed? Another restaurant bites the dust.

Jim Strain | Jul 30, 200312:31 PM

It was only in January that Aquarella opened to quite a fanfare in the east-of-I5 Aventine complex near La Jolla. The cuisine was described as sophisticated, upscale Mexican, and the photos in their ad in San Diego Magazine made me want to go right away. In fact, I only managed to get there once -- for lunch, but I thought it was quite marvelous.

Next, I read somewhere (here?) that the place had shifted gears. The sophisticated D.F. cuisine hadn’t caught on, so the menu was now more generic “continental” with some “Mexican-inspired” touches. Less interesting, according to the report, but still very good.

Last week, I got my new San Diego magazine and read that the owners had folded Aquarella, redecorated the place, and reopened as an Italian joint.

All that in less time than it takes to make a baby.

The unhappy reality is that the restaurant complex at the Aventine has been a movable feast ever since the place opened, with Cafe Japengo the only long-term survivor. Maybe the rent is just too high, since it seems that if a place isn’t an instant hit, no restaurateur can afford to try to grow it into a success. I sincerely wish the current tenants (808, Japengo, Fleming’s, and the newly minted Italian place) the very best, but I’m sort of becoming resigned to recommending restaurants that disappeared when I wasn’t looking.
. . jim strain in san diego.

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