The newest entry on Rancho Santa Fe’s dining scene is aiming for a casual ambiance with an air of sophistication.
Ponsaty’s, headed by Chef Patrick Ponsaty, will open for business July 28, offering a formal dining room, bar, front patio and courtyard for a range of dining possibilities.
The new eatery is owned by Escondido-based Grand Restaurant Group, and will occupy the space on Paseo Delicias in the Rancho Santa Fe Village formerly occupied by Delicias restaurant.
“We’re offering a lot of different dining experiences the Ranch has been without for a while,” said Derry Van Nortwick, vice president of operations for the restaurant group, who will manage the “front of the house” at Ponsaty’s. “We hope to earn a seat at the table in this community with what we’re doing.”
Sandra DiCicco, founder of the Grand Restaurant Group and a Rancho Santa Fe resident, said her team wants Ponsaty’s to have a family-friendly atmosphere, fine for children and even four-legged friends on the patio.
“We want people to be comfortable and feel very welcome,” she said.
When the restaurant opens July 26, it will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Ponsaty said the menu will feature French cuisine with a Basque influence, similar to what can be found in southern France and northern Spain.
Ponsaty will continue to be involved with Bellamy’s, a Grand Restaurant Group establishment in Escondido, as he launches his namesake eatery in the Village. A fifth-generation chef, Ponsaty gained his first kitchen experience working with his father in the family’s restaurant near Toulouse, France.
The new restaurant will feature fresh ingredients such as locally grown vegetables, seafood and salads, prepared simply, Ponsaty said. The lunch menu will include paninis, sandwiches, salads and pizzas baked in the new pizza oven in the gleaming kitchen.
As examples, on a recent evening Ponsaty and his staff prepared appetizers with smoked sturgeon, caviar and blini, or tiny pancakes, and two types of cold soups – yellow corn with stone crab and melon gazpacho. Pansaty said the restaurant will offer a variety of cold soups during the summer and hot soups in the winter.
Ponsaty’s will also offer a selection of signature cocktails, nearly 50 different scotches from around the world and more than 300 wines.
Ponsaty said he is looking forward to greeting residents of Rancho Santa Fe who have dined at Bellamy’s in Escondido and another restaurant where he previously worked in Rancho Bernardo. Ponsaty is one of two San Diego chefs who currently hold the designation as “master French chef,” bestowed by a French culinary organization.
“I’m very excited to be in Rancho Santa Fe for sure,” he said. Ponsaty said he is a “friendly chef,” and enjoys interacting with diners. “To run a restaurant is not only about cooking, but it’s about fun.”
Ponsaty’s will be the sixth restaurant that Ponsaty has opened, and he said he enjoys starting with a blank slate guiding the concept of a new restaurant into reality.
“Every day is a different challenge for the chef,” he said.
Along with its cuisine, the restaurant will feature live music by select performers in its rear courtyard, said Van Nortwick.
The design –overseen by Lawrence Solc – includes custom faux alligator chairs, maple burl tables and a serpentine chandelier from Portugal that resembles dangling icicles.
For more information, visit ponsatys.com, Like Ponsaty’s on Facebook, and follow Ponsaty’s on Instagram.