By Peijean Tsai
Poway’s newest restaurant, The Terrace Restaurant and Bar, has diners looking up for locally sourced gourmet cuisine.
Located at 12240 Poway Road, the restaurant uniquely sits atop a hill, offering an expansive view from central Poway that diners won’t find elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Guests can enjoy creative New American dishes here seated on the heated outdoor terrace, which offers lounge seating as well as dining tables for over 30 guests. Plenty of indoor seating is also available.
“We’re the only place that has this type of view,” said chef and general manager Michael Mitchem. “It’s absolutely beautiful here.”
The Terrace Restaurant and Bar is owned by Kunal Sikand with his parents Happy and Renu, who have owned the restaurant property and the Ramada hotel next door for 13 years. The Sikands previously leased the space to the House on the Hill restaurant, which closed its doors this summer after seven years. When it closed, the Sikands took over and redesigned much of the restaurant, adding modern touches such as a cozy lounge area inside with couch seating, an indoor fireplace and a full bar.
The menu at The Terrace offers inspired cuisine that’s typically found in downtown San Diego or La Jolla, but at an affordable price in a laid-back setting, said Mitchem, who has 25 years experience in the restaurant business.
“You can come dressed how you want and have a fine dining experience,” said the chef.
The Terrace, which opened mid-October, emphasizes local seafood, meats and produce with nearly all ingredients obtained from local farms and vendors within a 100-mile radius, according to Mitchem. There’s locally sourced seafood from San Diego, Jidori Farms chicken, Niman Ranch beef, and duck from Ramona Duck Farm. The restaurant also uses other California farms such as Rutiz Family Farms, McGrath Family Farm and Weiser Family Farms.
Most of the herbs used to prepare the dishes are grown at The Terrace in two on-site gardens, said Mitchem. The restaurant obtains handmade artisan bread from Sadie Rose Baking Company in San Diego.
“I’m trying to make this a very community-friendly menu,” said Mitchem. “Local, small farmers really need this boost to themselves, especially in this economy.”
The Terrace serves both lunch and dinner seven days a week, and plans are in the works to add a weekend brunch menu soon. Daily from 3 to 7 p.m., the restaurant also features a Happy Hour menu with upscale bar fare such as sliders, hummus and bruschetta alongside discounted beers, unique wines and drinks.
Signature main courses from the restaurant’s dinner menu include the seafood pasta with diver scallops, Carlsbad mussels, and clams lightly coated in a sundried tomato, artichoke cream sauce with linguine, garnished with asparagus and Parmesan. Also popular is the mango barbecue half chicken (grilled semi-boneless chicken with house-made mango barbecue sauce, mashed red potatoes and vegetable of the day).
“We’re doing an eclectic mix of all types of American food,” said Mitchem, who noted that San Diego is a “melting pot” of cultures, so the menu features tastes from Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, Thailand and others.
For appetizers, the Poway calamari is prepared with a flavorful combination of spices. The Sonoma Delight salad is tossed in a vinaigrette dressing made in-house with honey and freshly grown lavender, said Mitchem.
Desserts include white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and a sweet and savory polenta cake with lemon curd. The Terrace also plans to make its own ice cream soon, Mitchem said.
While the menu offers a variety from grilled fish and steak to pasta, burgers, salads and more, guests are invited to ask the chef to prepare a custom dish if they don’t see something they want on the menu.
“One of the things I firmly believe in is to put my guest first,” Mitchem said. “We want to bend over backwards to make our guests happy.”
The Terrace Restaurant & Bar (858-748-3484) will celebrate its grand opening mid-November, serving free hors d’oeuvres to guests.