Few find their passion early in life, but for Executive Chef and Co-Proprietor Colin MacGlaggan a love affair with cooking formed at a young age. And it was this deep-rooted affinity for creating in the kitchen that ultimately inspired Colin and his business partner Yohei Kitazawa to open Ave5 Restaurant & Bar in 2007 in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego.
Once a white linen, fine-dining restaurant, Ave5 recently received a complete makeover and what has resulted is an eclectically chic and classically cozy atmosphere accented by the Surrealism-inspired artwork and the building’s rich black and red color scheme. It is this warm environment that makes Ave5 the perfect place for both midweek Happy Hour with friends and Saturday date night with your sweetie.
Speaking of my sweetie, he and I chose to spend our most recent date night at this Banker’s Hill eatery and were treated to some of the most innovative (both in the preparation and the flavor combinations themselves) cuisine we have ever tasted.
Although Ave5 fashions itself as a restaurant specializing in “modern American cuisine with a French flair,” one glance at the vast menu and it’s evident that Colin and his culinary team look to additional cultures for inspiration as well. Seemingly disharmonious flavor combinations on paper create a sweet symphony when executed in real life. Their signature Vegan Chili is proof of that as it takes the traditional elements of a classic chili but marries them with flavors traditionally found in Asian cuisine. Similarly, Ave5 takes the humble Caesar Salad and stands it on its head–romaine hearts are grilled prior to being drizzled with the restaurant’s homemade Caesar dressing and sprinkled with fresh parmesan, adding both a smokey element to the dish and a welcomed interpretation of an old standby.
Because the restaurant uses locally grown and seasonal ingredients, Ave5′s menu options change monthly, making every trip back to the restaurant a new experience. In addition to offering appetizers and entree dishes, Ave5 boasts an entire page of small plate options, allowing diners the opportunity to sample an array of portion-controlled dishes that won’t over-fill their stomachs or under-fill their wallets. None of the tapas are priced over $7!
But the magic and innovation doesn’t conclude when dinner ends, the dessert menu is also filled with offerings of intrigue, including their version of a campfire favorite the S’more -deconstructed and served with peanut-crusted chocolate ice cream and peanut butter dust. They also offer a dish that plays on the elements of hot and cold–chilled espresso is offered alongside a warmed mascarpone cheese custard meant to mimic ice cream in design.
And while the food offerings may take center stage, Ave5′s inventive cocktail menu deserves an equal of a place in the lime light. The restaurant creates all of the homemade tonics and flavor infused syrups on site. These elements provide the background flavors to some of the most deliciously unique libations around. Craving something playful and sweet? Sip their signature Cotton Candy Cuban, served with, you guessed it, a big helping of your favorite childhood treat! The restaurant offers an extensive beer and wine list as well.
From the first sip to the last bite, to experience a meal at Ave5 Restaurant & Bar is to taste what years of hard work, raw talent and pure passion have cultivated–an eatery with a chic vibe that provides its patrons with classic, yet inventive, cuisine and cocktails at an attainable pricepoint for any of its neighborhood residents.
Ave5 Restaurant & Bar
2760 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Dinner Daily: 4 p.m. to Close
Brunch Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Happy Hour: 4 p.m.- 7 p.m.