Sol del Sur: Inventive Cuisine Hiding In San Juan Capistrano

Categories: Local Eats
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Sol del Sur Bistro
San Juan Capistrano, you've been holding out on us. About a month and a half ago, I polled the readership to find out what's new down in South Orange County. There were a surprising number of suggestions, but reader 1000steps mentioned a place in San Juan Capistrano called Sol del Sur and, upon investigating the menu online, it seemed like a good place to start our investigations south of the El Toro Y.

Just finding the place is difficult; it's on a road that seems to exist only as a frontage road to the 5 freeway north of Ortega Highway. It's toward the back of a plaza with no signs visible from the road; you'll want to turn west (toward the freeway) at the traffic light at Golf Club Drive. Once in the plaza, you'll see it; last night the plaza was nearly devoid of cars. Not only was mine the only party, I think I may have been the only party in any of the restaurants in the plaza.

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Dave Lieberman
Inside, the place is charming, informal and done up in light wood, with somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty seats inside and a good-sized patio outside. Given chef-owner David Emery's Tweets and blogging, I expected the soundtrack to be trance ("Sol del Sur" is the Spanish translation of a Paul Oakenfold track, "Southern Sun"), but it was smooth jazz. (Trance would have been more fun.)

The menu is a schizophrenic trip around the world, filled with dishes from hither and yon, anywhere the chef has been and learned to cook the food. German-style pork knuckle with apple-fennel slaw sits in the same menu as an Andean pastel of quinoa, yams and black beans with millet cakes. The small-plates list includes raclette over potatoes, a quintessentially Swiss dish, as well as crostini with bacon jam, oxtail marmalade and pear confit (I see what you did there) and boquerones, that quintessentially Spanish tapa. The restaurant's food cost must be insane; there are sixteen small plates, twelve mains and five desserts on this week's menu.

Location Info

Sol Del Sur Bistro

31115 Rancho Viejo Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA

Category: Restaurant


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