Tapenade
Tapenade

Tapenade

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.tapenaderestaurant.com/
  • Phone: (858) 551-7500 ext. 1
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Tuesday through Friday: 11:30pm -2:30pm Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, French, Contemporary French
  • Executive Chef: Jean Michel Diot
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Tapenade can accommodate any size event at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Darlington House or other places in San Diego and around, to small dinner parties at private homes For private functions at the restaurant and Buy out, Private rooms available from 6 to 130 guests. Additional large outdoor patio for receptions, lunch or dinner. Rehearsal dinner, birthday, anniversary and many other life's celebrations. Inquire with Tapenade. Please contact us with any inquiries.
  • Private Party Facilities: Tapenade Private Dining program features various room size possibilities. The Dining-Room (75),Bistro (45),Rotonde (18), Table 10 (6) are perfect for coporate or private lunch or dinner. The classic and creative upscale French Mediterranean fare menus are created by Chef proprietor Jean-Michel Diot.
  • Private Party Contact: Sylvie Diot 8585517500x101
  • Special Events: Special Event menus are available. Multi selection-menus, including gourmet vegetarian selections. Contact us for menus and budgets.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Pearl Street and Kline Street
  • Public Transit: Torrey Pines Road at Virginia Way
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Parking in the back of the restaurant and street parking.
A word from Tapenade
Located in the heart of scenic La Jolla on Fay Avenue, Tapenade Restaurant is the classic bistro atmosphere with enjoyable and savory food. Tapenade recalls traditional French Provençal gastronomy and fuses it with contemporary American cuisine to create quality dishes. Award-winning chef Jean Michel Diot uses only the finest and freshest ingredients in order to create exemplary and novel seasonal dishes. Chef-owner Jean Michel Diot has had success with previous restaurants, rightfully earning the nickname “the Baron of Bistros.” The atmosphere of Tapenade immerses the guest by paying tribute to the elegant Parisian bistro ambiance. Awarded by San Diego Magazine as Best French, Best of the Best, and Best Chef, Tapenade is the restaurant that will create a memorable experience. Tapenade is also highly acclaimed by critics who say “Diot’s cooking is lusty, satisfying and the precise opposite of cerebral” Christopher Petkanas. Tapenade has been named “Top ten great place USA Today.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFrench
Tapenade reviews from OpenTable diners
85 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.5
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
87% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (56)fit for foodies (54)neighborhood gem (46)romantic (39)notable wine list (24)great for lunch (13)good for groups (13)great for outdoor dining (8)hot spot (3)vibrant bar scene (2)kid-friendly (1)late-night find (1)great for brunch (1)scenic view (1)Show More
  • A little disappointing
    Meggle
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    Tapenade is a wonderful restaurant, but I was disappointed the last time I went there for lunch. I wanted to treat my friend to a delicious lunch, and Tapenade had advertised a special prix fixe menu that featured beaujolais nouveau. That is my friend's favorite kind of wine, which is why I chose the restaurant. When the time came to order, I told our server that we wanted the special menu. He said that they were saving the beaujolais for dinner. Later he mentioned that the wine hadn't yet arrived, but they were watching for the delivery. I realize that they couldn't serve the beaujolais if their shipment hadn't arrived, but I wonder about the wisdom of advertising a special meal when the arrival is iffy. I would have liked to have the rest of the prix fixe meal even if the wine hadn't arrived, but we were not given that option. I didn't want to make a fuss about it because I was with my guest, but it seems that we should have been given some consideration (a free dessert or at least an apology).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • They are stellar!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 11/11/2014
    Tapenade can be one of the best meals in La Jolla. They have also had off nights. The indoor atmosphere is quiet and serene, nice for a restaurant where one can actually talk to one's partner! The wines are excellent, the food classic, the service very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • That's French modern Food !
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    If you are looking for great tasting French cuisine, this is the place to go! A bit pricey, but worth having a chef prepared meal!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bravo !
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    We return to this restaurant year after year and always find it to be the best restaurant in San Diego / La Jolla. Superb in every way.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Conventional French Fare
    EJKSFAreaVIP
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    If you were to get into a time machine and travel back 20 or 30 years to see what "fancy" French restaurants used to be like, this is what you'd find. The menu is standard, the prep conventional, and a look around the room shows the patrons are regulars who have been going there for a long time; I would say the average age of the diners was 70, which says a lot of what could be expected. The service was excellent but anachronistic to the point of being silly: I was called Monsieur and my wife Madame. The food ranged from good (Tournedos of beef, Coquille St. Jacques) to mediocre (coq au vin: gummy sauce, dry chicken, and where were the lardons of bacon?) but overall unimaginative. If you want predictability, though, this place is for you.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014VIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Everything was perfect!!! Definitely recommend it to everyone.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mussel Evening
    MrsC
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    I just love this restaurant and always refer to it as my favorite place to eat out. Unfortunately the mussels were a bit of a disappointment as they were very small and the gorgonzola sauce not as good as last year (to my recollection). Otherwise the service was first class and we still had a very enjoyable evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always a great dining experience
    Foodie
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    We have been going to Tapenade for ten years. Ambience, service, food and the ability to actually be able to have a quiet conversation rare in today's dining scene. Tspenade has it all.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Best restaurant in La Jolla - consistently excellent food, fresh, service is impeccable- have both bistro and regular menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • brnxguy
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    I was particularly impressed that the restaurant remembered our anniversary and acknowledged it. The waiter was very efficient and took steps to alert the chef that the lobster bisque was, for my taste, a bit too salty.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Just average
    sashacat
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Menu was quite traditional. My husband's escargot lacked the customary punch and was quite bland. My pate came baked in a clear glass mini pot and was rather thin and dry and only adequate in composition and taste. My husband's fish was nicely cooked. My divers scallops with risotto with English peas, snap peas and asparagus: scallops were a bit undercooked as was the risotto. We each had a glass of wine with the meal- my husband's Trefethen chardonnay was excellent, my white burgandy was very disappointing- it was bland, lacked structure. Both were served much too cold. Given our experience with our starters and entrees, we passed on dessert or cheese. We dined at 7pm on a Thursday evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • review
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    I really like the manager and staff, but the quality of food is not great. I had overcooked sea bass, not good, asked myself why do I bother to go to a restaurant in the SD are?!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Well worth the trip!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    Tapenade is a slight bit off the beaten path, meaning...NOT on Prospect... but the food is terrific and the service was impeccable! Highly recommended!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Used to be our favorite
    kevinf
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    Our family has eaten at Tapenade about 10 times in the past few years. Usually we go at restaurant week. On our last visit, for restaurant week the food was not as good as usual. We went on a Monday night, which might've been part of the problem. I hate to not recommend this restaurant, because they normally do such a great job.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Bar needs
    mick1
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    Just to be clear. This was another magical night at tapenade, I feel that my experience could've been even better if I could've been accommodated by the bar a bit more. I study 250-year-old classic cocktail and don't expect to be able to get the last word or a boulevardier or a veux Carrere just anywhere however, a better selection of scotch,bourbon and rye whiskey's would more than appreciated by most gentlemen. Lastly at the end of my meal I always prefer I digestive such as a amaro or a fernet. I only say this because from a business standpoint and you could've at least made another $40 $50 off of me on the night because I would've drank much more whiskey and I definitely would've had a fernet or two with my wife.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The best in San Diego
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Tapenade is probably the best restaurant in San Diego.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • delish
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    The food was excellent. Service was outstanding. Down-side was that we were in a corner of the room where there was no circulating air, so it was quite warm leaning toward uncomfortable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • AMAZING
    MiCoJ
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    The food was impecable!! My wife got the Lobster with corn and Valinna foam (INSANE) and I go tthe English Pea Risotto with Diver Clams (AMAZING). I highly reccomend this hidden gem to all foodies. We were with our small children and was amazed at their quality and technical abilities. You do not want to sleep on this place!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent food and service
    Luvgoodfood
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    We thought the filet was great, but were disappointed that neither the wild boar nor venison, which we were looking forward to, we're available.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great food, great service
    breeze
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    we enjoyed a wonderful evening of food and service. The young lady serving us was informative, friendly and made a real difference. I will go back again when in the la Jolla area.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing
    Sdeats
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    This is a fabulous restaurant sure to take your taste buds back to France. While there aren't breathe taking views of the ocean here, the food justifies the cost, which is in line with La Jolla. We started with the Maine Jonah Crab, which was light and flavorful. My wife had the scallops, which turned out to be the best scallops wee have ever had. Moist, perfectly browned and full of flavor. I had the duck, which was again cooked to perfection and full of flavor. We had two deserts, Crepes Suzette and Meyers Lemon Tartlette. If you only have room for one and like a tart dish go with the Suzette, otherwise the Tartlette is light and refreshing! Either way you can't go wrong.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Back to a Gem
    SaintGabrielRusty
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Having moved far away from La Jolla, we don't get to dine at The Tapenade routinely any more. So, it was a special treat to return to the Tapenade for dinner recently. The food was exquisite. The servers were friendly but not obsequious. The decor had been changed since our last visit and is even more chic than it was before. I had the mushroom-filled raviolis as an appetizer and they were even better than I remembered and better than those I had enjoyed in Paris. My wife and I have never been disappointed at this gem of a restaurant and we were delighted to return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best of the Best
    VictoriaVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We have some excellent French restaurants in this town but Tapenade is consistently fabulous. Great service and the toughest part of the evening is trying to decide what to order because it's all so delicious and perfectly presented. Great wine list.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Left wanting at Tapenade
    Francophiles
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Food dull & unimaginative at best. Not French! Not even close!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    Service was attentive and unobtrusive. Food well-done French classics. Perfect for an Anniversary dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • At Last, Fine Dining
    Ambrosia
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    And I thought the good old days of fine, QUIET, dining were gone forever. Thank heavens for the atmosphere at Tapenade, a real place for grown ups who want to talk to each other during the meal and not have to shout across the table. Thank you, Tapenade, for not having loud music that you think must reach every corner of the dining area, thus forcing the conversations to grow louder to be heard over the music. A heavenly place with heavenly food and a polite staff that did not interrupt our conversation every five minutes. Please, wait staff everywhere: stand at the table and the guests will interrupt their conversation at the end of a sentence or thought. Really, they will acknowledge you in a few seconds.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • JAWilson
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Tapenade is consistently the best French restaurant in San Diego. The food is excellent, the service, however needs polishing. It is no worst than other San Diego restaurants, but does not compare to the top restaurants in major cities. Until that is accomplished San Diego will still be considered a " second Class" restaurant dining destination. The service is too casual. I'm tired having my party being addressed as "You Guys".
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still a classic
    Pickspicks
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    It had been a few years since our last visit to Tapenade and we hoped it would be a good as we remembered. It wasn't just as good, it was better! The service was impeccable and the food delicious, from the appetizers to dessert.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome as "toujours"
    Sophia
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    We had an awesome dinner at Tapenade, again! The service is top notch, "brillantissime", Kara, Hadrien, Ludo and everyone else working there contributing to make this place one the greatest places to eat if not the greatest, THANK YOU for the attention hat you have. Tapenade is French "oui" so what? The food is marvelous.. "Oui, bien sur" and it is not only due to the fact it is French because there are mediocre French restaurants.. Tapenade has a consistency in greatness that is rarely found and that not everyone can perceive. If you do not perceive this, then you are missing the "substantifique moelle" Rabelaisienne of Tapenade. In our opinion, Tapenade is THE French restaurant of San Diego.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Celebratory Meal
    LoveFood
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Celebrating our anniversary at Tapenade. Great meal. Great service. Lovely extra touches. We'll be back soon!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Always pleases
    FoodieFreakVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    This restaurant is a favorite of ours and we are always pleased with the food and service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 54 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 29, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.4
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 807 reviews are from the Tapenade reviews archive.
  • Typical French snobs
    amccVIP
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    used to love this place. they have gone off the deep end with an empty restaurant inside not letting you sit at another table at 6pm. the typical french refrain "we are fully booked". we were out of there in 1 1/2 hrs and the table we wanted was still empty as were many of the other tables. go for the food but definitely not for the service or the french attitude. it is annoying.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The place is amazing
    cesium
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    This is not a romantic place, but it was still nice having a dinner date there. Food was delicious, service was excellent. Definitely worth it.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Mackey
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    This restaurant won't last much longer. THE QUALITY has gone downhill. They didn't have 3 drinks we wanted. Lobster bisque was terrible. Ravioli mediocre. Over all it was a very disapointing experience. Used to ve much better 8 years a go
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Absolutely Delicious
    luv2dine
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    Loved tapanade.... my meal was dvine and the service was stellar!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Loved lunch at Tapanade
    janemilyd
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    Three friends and I met for lunch - we all loved our various selections. Recommend this restaurant highly!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointing
    LuvgoodfoodVIP
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Tapenade has zero ambience. Two elderly women and their voices, at separate tables, dominated the sounds in the restaurant. My wife's dinner was acceptable. My lamb was so tough it couldn't be eaten. I was still charged for the returned dinner. The menu hadn't seen any recent creativite modifications for at least several decades. One might suspect it's resting on its reputation of years gone by. Certainly, nothing about either the atmosphere or the food warranted the high prices charged. La Jolla has many excellent restaurants, I wouldn't include Tapenade among them.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Stunning
    EatingAround
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Thoroughly enjoyed our evening here. It's unusual these days to find a place with such classy ambiance and quiet enough to really enjoy the company of your dining partner. The wait staff was friendly and offered excellent suggestions. One of my new favorites in La Jolla.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • CHAS
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Tapenade brings a touch of France to the village of La Jolla without being pretentious. The menu is a perfect mixture of seasonal offerings combined with regular favorites, such as the Mushroom Raviolis and other first course choices. And there always is a remarkable soup selection. The wine list is a sampler of French and California wines with a nice balance between decent wines at moderate price points and more expensive choices for the congnoscenti. I have never had a mediocre meal at Tapenade, and I am looking forward to my next return visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • CalceeVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Always just the best! Tapenade is consistently wonderful: food quality and taste, service, ambiance. It is just a special restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet