I finally had the opportunity to visit the newly re-opened El Paseo, and what a beauty it is! It oozes charm and really well thought-out design detailing that has a wonderful consistency of character. The patio is perfectly situated between the bar and dining rooms and along the walkway that meanders through this magical building. It opens up the whole restaurant to the sky, the fresh air, the light and the warmth of the sun. It is the perfect spot to end a day or start an evening.
It was opened by two stars – Tyler Florence of the Food Network and Sammy Hagar of rock-n-roll fame. I think the combination of the amazing ambiance of the physical surroundings and the celebrity draw of the owners (especially since one of them seems to know a bit about cooking) will probably ensure that the restaurant is a success. And, judging by the early crowd I saw, it’s off to a strong start.
The plaque on the brick bench that I found myself sitting on has a commemorative plaque from the new owners to Edna Foster, who is credited as the creator of El Paseo in 1936. From what I could find out, she and her husband took an “ugly old building”, a complex of gardens, courts and buildings linking Throckmorton to Sunnyside Avenues, and made it into the Spanish Mission style adobe brick and clay roof tiled masterpiece that survives today. (read more about it here)
I had drinks with a friend here on the patio tonight, but haven’t actually sat down for a meal, so that report will have to wait for another day!
Where: 17 Throckmorton Avenue or mid-block on Sunnyside Avenue between E. Blithedale and Miller (map)
Hours: Open 5:00 nightly for drinks/dinner