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Animae, San Diego, CA

Animae

4.7
4.7
1531 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

8:00 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 1,531 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

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

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

NoiseModerate

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  1. CB

    CristinB

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    2nd time here and the food was amazing again. We had the Hamachi crudo, tuna crispy rice, caviar toast, Taiwanese chicken, Hunan Lamb chops, short ribs, shanghai crab noodles and the malasadas for dessert. Favorites were the caviar shrimp toast and tuna crispy rice. Short ribs were alittle too fatty for me and I would prefer the malasadas with no filling but it was all delicious. Love the different flavors and the service was exemplary.
  2. R

    Runnergirl262

    Portland

    39 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    39 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent food, unique flavors, great preparation and presentation. Worthy of a date night or special occasion dining for work or fun.
  3. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Atlantic City

    1 review

    vip
    1.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall1food1service1ambience1
    Absolutely terrible experience
  4. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall3food5service3ambience5
    Great tasting food and quality! Service was not on the same level. Friendly staff however The restaurant was too warm, and water was barely refilled.
  5. MV

    MacVal

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food and service exceeded expectation for our first time there. The food was decadent but not overpowering. From the appetizers to mains and sides through dessert the whole dining experience was awesome! Our compliments to the chef and kudos to the staff.
  6. SS

    ShaneS

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent in every respect. A touch pricey, but worth it.
  7. m

    markf

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Best service
  8. N

    Nata22

    San Diego

    8 reviews

    vip
    1.0

    8 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall1food1service1ambience1
    Wow. I hate to write a bad review, but it's completely necessary. My boyfriend and I came here to celebrate our 3 year anniversary, we made reservations 2 months in advance thinking this was going to be one of the top restaurants in San Diego we had to check out. We had such high hopes, and we were extremely disappointed. The building was 86 degrees and they said the air conditioning was not working for over a year and they can't do anything to fix it. The sun was glaring into my eyes and they said if we need to move to a different table we could, but I tried to fight through it. The tables are inches from each other and very invasive, non private for such an intimate setting. It was so uncomfortably hot we couldn't have more than one cocktail each because we were burning up. The food was nothing special either, we had to send the beet salad back because we did not like it. The food was way overpriced and the music was blaring like we were at a night club. I thought this would be fine dining, the hostesses were not dressed appropriately, I was not impressed by how short and uncreative the menu was. We tried very hard to enjoy ourselves and we could not handle the extreme heat. I had to wait at the front while my boyfriend paid our bill because I couldn't take the temperature anymore. They also forgot to mention it was our anniversary we were celebrating, we definitely won't be back to try the food. :/
  9. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    WOW! Everything was absolutely delicious. This place is definitely not cheap and a splurge but SO worth it for a special occasion. Our waitress Mackensie was spectacular!
  10. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing service, food and cocktails!
  11. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    We had a fantastic dinner. The service was truly top notch. The atmosphere was lovely, with great music, but not so loud that we couldn't carry on a conversation. Our party of 4 shared 6 appetizers and 3 entrees, and we all had different favorites. I personally found the lamb chops to be overpowered by the seasoning, but they were tender and others liked the heat. My faves were the tuna kinilaw, short ribs and crab noodles. The one miss was the cabbage, which was tough. Overall, an amazing meal with creative flavor combinations and fantastic service. I would definitely return and recommend this place to others.
  12. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orlando

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Hands down it is in my top 5 favorite restaurants. The Japanese A5 wagyu tenderloin was delicious, especially with the side of pickled cucumber. The wagyu wontons were phenomenal and had so much flavor! I won’t forget to mention the bartenders and their great selection of drinks, especially the coconut one I had, YUM. Last, but not least, I had the Ube Sundae…wow…so creamy, light, and the crumbles and pineapple went perfect with it. Wish I had this place back home, I would come here at least 4 times a year. It’s pricey but well worth it!
  13. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall3food4service4ambience3
    The food and service were great, but they put us at this tiny two top that was crammed up against the wall and, honestly, shouldn’t exist. It’s “family style” dining but the table wasn’t big enough to hold more than two plates. It felt like an afterthought. There was even a curtain that could be pulled to cover the tables which were recessed into the wall. No one should have to eat a $300 dinner at a table small enough to be a belly bar. Lol.
  14. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The hostess stand graciously changed my reservation from 5:00 to 5:15 when I called about my confusion over the reservation time. But when we arrived, they seated us at one of the restaurant’s worst tables, seemingly as punishment for the time change. It was a tiny table shoved into the corner near the entrance to the kitchen, and the sun was always directly in our eyes which also made that area very warm. However our server, Matt, was turned the whole experience around with his professionalism and courtesy. He was fantastic, one of the best servers we have had in recent memory. The food was fantastic, especially the hot plate special, hamachi kama: it was the very best hamachi kama we have ever had! They also brought out a tasty birthday dessert for my husband. Overall, we had a wonderful time, despite our punishment by the hostess stand, lol!
  15. DV

    DeeV

    New York Area

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We visited twice during a 1 week trip to San Diego! The food was amazing both times! This is on my must do list.
  16. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Espectacular
  17. SA

    ShadiA

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food was amazing and the portion size was good
  18. SD

    SDeating

    San Diego

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on August 5, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Very well designed space! Food is fantastic as well. The Ube sunday was insanely good.
  19. KF

    KeithF

    Las Vegas

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on August 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Appetizers were some of the best ever, entrees were good, but def could of just had the appetizers! Service was great.
  20. MS

    MargieS

    San Diego

    16 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fabulous food. The flavors dance in your mouth!! Quite ambiance, and superb service. Can't wait to return!
  21. TC

    TylerC

    London

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We were celebrating our anniversary and Animae lived up to expectations! Service was spectacular and food was out of this world! Taiwanese Chicken and A5 Potatoes were the stand outs along side the A5 Striploin. Received a special dessert as we were celebrating our anniversary which was both delicious and incredibly kind. Highly recommend !
  22. S

    Suave001

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on July 31, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    Good was good, a bit pricey. The big downer was eating hot food on a summer day with no air conditioning
  23. E

    Ember

    Denver

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food and great service. For apps, definitely recommend the wontons and bao. If you’re on the fence about the wagyu, get it! The sides are pretty big portions as well.
  24. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Phoenix

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Every bite and sip was an experience.
  25. N

    Nancy

    San Diego

    57 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    57 reviews

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everything abt this place is amazing. It is hip. It is clean. The food is amazing. The service is amazing. Its a great place for a special occasion. We got the wonton and crispy rice appetizers. We also got the wagyu steak, noodles, kare kare beef, both fried rices’, lechon appetizer, potatoes, cabbage. This place does their food and sauces to perfection. Not only is the food top quality and very tasty, but they then add these heavenly sauces to ea dish that just kicks it up a notch or 2!!!!
  26. S

    Sean

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Each plate that was put in front of us was better than the last! Go with the wagyu. It was the best steak I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot of great steaks.
  27. AM

    AndrewM

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I had an early dinner reservation. 6pm. I arrived ahead of my business guests around 5:30. The hostess welcomed me to sit at the bar and enjoy a cocktail while I waited for the rest of the party. The bartenders were great. Talkative and informative when asked about the menu. When the rest of the party arrived they immediately sat us and from there out the service continued to be excellent. We had 3 of the appetizers, one side, and 3 of the meals. There were 3 of us and we shared everything. It worked out great. We ate most all of it. It was a great experience.
  28. LC

    LindsayC

    San Diego

    14 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on July 28, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Dinner at Animea is always outstanding. The Wagyu steak melts in your mouth, crab noodles are divine and as always my favorite is the shrimp toast. Animea hires top quality servers so never a problem with service
  29. SP

    SarahP

    New York Area

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent food, excellent service!! Had the kinilaw, Taiwanese chicken, charred cabbage, Kare Kare, filet, malasadas, and ube sundae. Everything was phenomenal! Will be coming up with excuses to dine here again.
  30. TK

    TinaK

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food and service was fantastic! Waitstaff were attentive but not bothersome, perfect amount of "checking in". The sides were great and good way to try a variety of dishes. Definitely recommend!
  31. MC

    MarianC

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Overall amazing experience. Service and food top notch. Swanky upscale atmosphere.
  32. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Seattle

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 24, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    A bunch of friends and I went to dinner just to try the restaurant. The food was good and well presented. I’d say if your group isn’t to famished then the apps are definitely a shareable size. We got at least 4 apps between 5 people and nothing was left. The main course might not seem as big, but it’s more than enough for one person and the sides were definitely a shareable family style size. It’s was a little too dim at the time we went, but I can honestly say that was the only downside of the experience. We went a few hours before sunset so the blinds were half up and the lights were down low. The cocktails were definitely enjoyable and there was something for everyone.
  33. s

    sorci

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I had a marvelous time here
  34. j

    jeansie

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Loved the vibe, food, service, and whole experience here. Food was presented beautifully, servers were quick and very friendly, and found prices to be pretty reasonable. Great if you're looking for a fun but elegant night out!
  35. RH

    RobertH

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fantastic food and even better service staff. Animae is like being part of some fantastic fine dining dance.
  36. JR

    JacintoR

    Las Vegas

    14 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fabulous experience, the best restaurant in downtown. Excellent quality on the food and the service.
  37. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    It was my husband’s birthday and we had an amazing dining experience! Our food was fresh and absolutely delicious!!! 10 out of 10 would recommend, the staff was attentive and the food was out of this world!
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The hostess and the wait staff were friendly and accommodating. Our food was superb. We’re definitely coming back to try the other dishes.
  39. M

    Mikifoodie

    San Diego

    46 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    46 reviews

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Exquisite preparation. Creative fusion, flavorful with nice surprises with each nibble. Hats off to Brian Malarky again.
  40. SS

    SachaS

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Incredible food, excellent service by Drew and the team and exquisite desserts!! Truly wonderful experience.

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 4.7 stars by 1531 OpenTable diners.

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

Make a reservation

2 people

8:00 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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