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Animae, San Diego, CA

Animae

4.8
4.8
1431 Reviews
$50 and over
Contemporary Asian

ANIMAE’s eclectic West Coast cuisine, layered with Asian influences, comes to life under Celebrated Chef Brian Malarkey. Applying a California cooking style to ANIMAE’S traditional coal-fired oven and grill, Chef Malarkey’s menu is as thoughtful as it is refined, elevating local produce and seasonal ingredients to create a lively and progressive culinary program.

Make a reservation

2 people

June 2022
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7:00 PM


Booked 69 times today

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Fine Dining

  • Cuisines

    Contemporary Asian, Californian, Steakhouse

  • Hours of operation

    Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:30 pm

  • Phone number

    (619) 432-1225

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Executive chef

    Brian Malarkey

  • Private party facilities

    The Great Gatsby-meets-Madmen-meets-The Matrix interior is a fantastical futurist’s journey, transporting diners to the Shikoku firefly forest in Japan, an event venue that’s both ethereal and theatrical. ANIMAE is the perfect space to host and celebrate your special events.

  • Private party contact

    Jarrod Zimpfer: (619) 432-1225

  • Neighborhood

    Downtown / Gaslamp

  • Cross street

    Pacific Highway and West Broadway

  • Parking details

    Street Parking

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Popular dishes

What 1,431 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.8
4.8 based on recent ratings
  • 4.7Food
  • 4.8Service
  • 4.8Ambience
  • 4.4Value

NoiseModerate

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  1. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    4.0

    1 review

    Dined today

    overall4food4service5ambience3

    Service was excellent and food was very good. Temperature in restaurant was way too warm. Also, where we were seated the sun came between the blinds and was very uncomfortable I actually had to lean to one side to keep the sun out of my eyes.

  2. AS

    AnnalizaS

    Palm Springs

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Excellent structure and ambiance. Great service from valet to the waiters and waitresses. Food was excellent and got to meet the Chef to how our appreciation. will definitely recommend and we will be back. Worth the money and experience. thank you

  3. AC

    AlexC

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Blown away by the food and drinks! It’s such a fun menu and we’re looking forward to dining again. It’s pretty trendy feeling but also casual.

  4. CC

    CynthiaC

    San Diego

    11 reviews

    4.0

    11 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall4food4service5ambience5

    Let’s begin by saying Animae is very cool. Hip. Sick. Dope. So dope that an elegant and beautifully appointed space was slammed on a midweek evening with some of the most beautiful, diverse and sexy people in town. The majority of whom were under 40, and the majority of those were under 30. Celebrating our 30+ wedding anniversary among the youngsters put us in the minority to say the least. The service was super. We were greeted with welcoming smiles and promptly seated. Our server Matt was wonderful. Knowledgeable, helpful and instructional given the complexity of some dishes. He was attentive without smothering us. His recommendations were excellent. The cocktails were well made, fresh and creative without being trendy or ridiculous. Dessert was also delicious and perfectly portioned to finish off the meal. The actual menu has a variety of interesting and really yummy dishes from starters to sides to entrees to the all important Wagyu beef. We enjoyed the food very much, but it felt busy. Very good options - cold and hot starters, for example - but the menu felt like it was trying too hard. There weren’t a lot of options to rest from the volume of complex flavors and richness. Overall, Animae offers an excellent dining experience from the opening cocktail, people-watching and menu choices. Five stars for service, style and setting, four stars for an ambitious menu that could benefit from some quiet, simpler options to offset the big, bold flavors that dominate it.

  5. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Amazing as always! Chef Tara is a local gem

  6. C

    Caylee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Such a special experience dining at Animae. So many nostalgic elements from my childhood came out during this meal. Kudos to the chef for being a culinary voice to Asian Americans and bringing our culture to San Diego.

  7. MB

    MicaB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    A memorable meal! Loved the nod to art deco with a futuristic twist. Very happy to see Filipino food in fine dining executed well and unique. Chef was super nice and has great attention to detail. Cocktails were super tasty! Definitely have to come back and try more dishes! Thank you for an amazing evening!

  8. AM

    AlexM

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Great anniversary dinner started off with complimentary champagne. The chef came out and went over the dishes and the food and drinks were amazing. Little pricey but the quality of the food and service makes it worth it.

  9. EA

    ElaineA

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    It was amazing! We loved it!

  10. C

    Carol

    Houston

    1 review

    vip
    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 16, 2022

    overall4food3service3ambience4

    Very good for a group dinner The only down side for me: every food we ordered was heavy.

  11. f

    foodie

    Washington DC

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on June 16, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience3

    vacation dinner

  12. L

    Luis

    Los Angeles

    15 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Very cool place to impress your friends from out of town! Walking distance within downtown San Diego. Drinks were very good and while we only got appetizers, they were all great as well. It is on the pricier side but I feel you do get what you pay for. Cheers!

  13. WA

    WilliAM

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience5

    Great atmosphere all around. Attention to detail at the bar, fantastic. The table service could be improved but this comment is stemming from the amount of money you are paying; the service and experience should be on par with prices. Our party (4) sampled quite the variety of dishes all good with the exception of the bone in ribeye. Don't waste your time or money on that dish. All others fantastic.

  14. A

    Apparition

    San Diego

    41 reviews

    4.0

    41 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience3

    Food and service were excellent. It was very warm in the restaurant being there right around sunset. Not all the items from listed on the web menu were available so don't have your heart set on something before you get there. We had a party of 5 and the music over our booth was very loud so it was difficult to have any conversation. We did appreciate the round table. Wish more places would have these.

  15. KS

    KaraS

    New England

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Excellent service and outstanding food! The only drawback is that is was very warm in the restaurant, but every table was full so I know it’s hard to keep a room full of people cool.

  16. GB

    GinnyB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Wonderful place for a special occasion. Great food, great service and the decor and ambience is fantastic. We will be back!

  17. VP

    VeronicaP

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Impeccable service, for the style of restaurant it didn't feel snooty or pretentious. Everyone was just so kind and attentive. I spent an obscene amount of money but it was wagyu everything and one of the best meals I've ever had. Plates are good for sharing, which at a place like this you will want to! Even valet was quick, efficient, sent us a text with a warning of when it was closing so it was just a great night!

  18. C

    Chris

    San Francisco

    25 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    25 reviews

    Dined on June 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Awesome good!

  19. e

    erics

    Denver

    10 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on June 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Bruh.... Don't go anywhere else.

  20. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Seattle

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Beautiful and spacious with high ceilings and staff was very attentive, helpful, and gracious. The lamb was tender and flavorful and I loved the crispy rice as well. Great diverse cocktail list.

  21. CM

    ChefsMomma

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 9, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Food was interesting and delicious. The shrimp toast was a meal in itself. The crab noodles were great with a little heat to them. Creative cocktails! The crispy potatoes were also a winner.

  22. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 8, 2022

    overall1food3service1ambience4

    The environment is cool, the food is okay and the service disappointing. The whole time I fell they were rushing us. In less then 1 hour we were out of there, I could not even enjoy a second drink.

  23. LH

    LindeH

    Los Angeles

    6 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on June 8, 2022

    overall3food3service4ambience5

    The food was interesting but did not wow. Some of the flavor combinations were confusing. Definitely not a steak house, but the wagyu was amazing. The parsnips with the steak meh. The green beans a little more than spicy. Ambiance was fabulous. Value not there. Drinks seemed weak.

  24. B

    Bobby

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 8, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Animae. Definitely order the Caviar Shrimp Toast - wow! We also enjoyed the Bao Bun, Hamchi, Duck Fried Rice, and Half Chicken. Avoid the Coal Roasted Cabbage - it was a salt bomb and we could not eat it. Overall, I highly recommend Animae for a great night out.

  25. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 8, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Delicious menu and excellent service, most definitely a repeat customer! Definitely on the pricier side, but well worth the money.

  26. M

    Molly

    New Mexico

    3 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on June 5, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience3

    Great food, good ambiance, a little pricey for the amount food. It was literally freezing inside. Made enjoying the dinner difficult.

  27. J

    Jessica

    Los Angeles

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on June 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    I loved this take on Asian fusion and the inclusion of a lot of Filipino -inspired dishes! Everything we ordered was so unique and delicious. I especially enjoyed the Wagyu Tartare and Tuna Kinilaw from the appetizer menu. Honestly, all of it was a pleasure to taste. The head chef stopped by to say hello and she seemed so cool! The interior is a grand, classy somewhat art deco-inspired vibe that definitely adds to the dining experience.

  28. J

    Justin

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Wagyu steak was awesome. Food was good. Service was great

  29. SM

    SherylM

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    We went here for a 14 year anniversary. We were running late and called ahead to let them know. They were very accommodating. The food and service when we arrived felt very personalized. The server was quick to ask about our food interests and allergies and provided thoughtful recommendations. The wagyu was delicious and the duck kimchi rice was a great side complementing the beef and the fish entree. I want to go back with a bigger group so I can try more combinations!

  30. RD

    RobertD

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 4, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5

    The restaurant is a good mixture of Asian cuisine and it brought a good balance of flavor and style. The food came quickly and was able to keep the conversation simple with the rest of the table.

  31. GL

    GraceL

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 4, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5

    Food is great, interior design & decor fantastic !

  32. LW

    LaurenW

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    The soft shell crab bao was wonderful and the Vietnamese chicken was the best fried chicken that I've ever had. Bar staff was wonderful. I definitely will return.

  33. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Seattle

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 3, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience4

    Amazing food

  34. BJ

    BlakeleyJ

    San Diego

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 3, 2022

    overall3food3service4ambience2

    The tables are to small for plate sharing and we were told to order twice what we needed. The birthday dessert was a scope of ice cream....if I'm spending almost 700 before tip....it could have been more...

  35. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Fantastic dinner and service. We celebrated our anniversary and it did not disappoint! I forgot our servers name but he was great!

  36. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 2, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    My wife’s birthday

  37. RS

    RobertS

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 2, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    This our 4 th time back in the last two months. Staff was terrific. The food is consistently wonderful. Best of all the environment is beautiful and the noise level is very comfortable . The Asian fried chicken was to die for!

  38. RZ

    ReuelZ

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 2, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    You get what you pay for and this place is worth it. The staff was spectacular, the ambience was fantastic and the food was genuinely more of an experience than a meal. Brian Malarkey and executive chef Tara Monsod knocked it out of the park with this place. We did appetizers, sides, entrees, desserts and cocktails and everything was awesome. (The caviar shrimp toast absolutely lived up to all the hype surrounding it)

  39. CF

    ChristinaF

    San Diego

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on June 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Superb! Loved everything about this restaurant. Great service, easy parking, incredible flavors and beautiful presentation. ❤️

  40. DV

    DaveV

    Los Angeles

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on June 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Great food, great service!

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
  • Physical distancing

    • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Protective equipment

    • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
    • Staff temperature check required

FAQs

Animae is rated 4.8 stars by 1431 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

June 2022
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7:00 PM


Booked 69 times today
Google Map for Animae

969 Pacific HWY San Diego, CA 92101

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Pacific Highway and West Broadway

  • Neighborhood

    Downtown / Gaslamp

  • Hours of operation

    Dinner Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:30 pm

  • Cuisines

    Contemporary Asian, Californian, Steakhouse

  • Dining style

    Fine Dining

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Parking details

    Street Parking

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Brian Malarkey

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (619) 432-1225

  • Private party facilities

    The Great Gatsby-meets-Madmen-meets-The Matrix interior is a fantastical futurist’s journey, transporting diners to the Shikoku firefly forest in Japan, an event venue that’s both ethereal and theatrical. ANIMAE is the perfect space to host and celebrate your special events.

  • Private party contact

    Jarrod Zimpfer: (619) 432-1225

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