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Animae, San Diego, CA

Animae

4.7
4.7
1445 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

7:00 PM


Booked 63 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 1,445 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. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Animae was a wonderful experience. The Art Deco vibe was like being in the movie Great Gatsby. The food was Asian Fusion and delicious. Definitely would like to repeat the experience
  2. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    4.0

    4 reviews

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall4food5service5ambience4
    The food was really quite good. The Filipino influence was very distinct, but not overpowering. The choice of bagoong oil instead of thr condiment itself was inspired. You knew it was there, but even for someone totally unfamiliar with it, it was not a slap in the face. Service was great. Attentive but not hovering. Knew the menu and the dishes well, and gave us some really good advice. We’ll be back.
  3. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall5food5service3ambience5
    The food was amazing !! We had the Lechón, crab noddles and duck fried rice .. all AMAZING. Drinks slightly over priced.. but over all very good. We will be coming back for the food ! Service was great at first, we were greeted by the hostess and sat promptly, we were served water promptly as well .. but the waiter took maybe 20 min to get to us walked passed us several times .. I had to call up one of the waitstaff to see if we had a server .. he was not attentive at all through out the diner service. But good thing the food made up for it !
  4. DA

    DebA

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Loved the look as soon as we walked in. We had reservations at 6:15 and were seated in the back where basically all the tables were empty and it was alot cooler. We were greeted with 2 glasses of bubbles to celebrate our anniversary. We both started with the old fashion which was delicious, although the pour could have been a little bigger. The food was amazing, we started with the Tuna crispy fried rice which I highly recommend followed by the bao bun, yummy. We had to try the Waygu fried rice which might have been my favorite and shared the short rib Kare Kari which was very flavorful. We finished with the pandan malasada which was so good. Overall a very nice evening. By the time we left not a single table was available.
  5. RJ

    RickyJM

    San Diego

    41 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    41 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Quite an experience but go when you have lots of excess money....highly recommend.
  6. MM

    MayaM

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Wow! Animae exceeded expectations on all levels. The ambiance, the service, the food, the drinks....all were phenomenal. I definitely will be back and can't wait to bring/recommend to others too!
  7. a

    apalacios

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Dinner was so good and even though I’m vegetarian, I still had enough to choose from their delicious sides :)
  8. OY

    OhYumm

    Nashville

    83 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    83 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The service, drinks & food was all outstanding. We especially enjoyed the dumplings, grilled cabbage, fried rice with Wego, KOJI SAUSAGE & CLAMS, SHORT RIB KARE KARE all excellent.
  9. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great service, great music
  10. AL

    AlanL

    New York Area

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing food in an energetic, club-like atmosphere.
  11. C

    Camokilo

    Hawaii

    15 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    15 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    Excellent service. Very interesting Asian Fusion menu offerings. We usually enjoy the flavors of Asian fusion! Animae offered luxurious Art Deco interior & loud fusion music. We ordered the Bao buns, Tuna crispy rice, Duck Kim Chee fried rice, Taiwanese chicken, 38 oz aged ribeye steak med. rare and Seared Branzino. Aged ribeye steak & Taiwanese chicken are the only selections we would order again. Other selections were just ok. We normally love a seared Branzino dish but not Animae’s preparation with the tomato sauce. At $150 per person before tip we were slightly disappointed with the taste and flavors of most of our selections
  12. T

    Tara

    Los Angeles

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Went for a friend’s birthday and it was a great experience. The wait staff was so kind and helpful With explaining the menu and how to get a good value. The food was amazing! The Kare Kare short rib was sooo worth it. Also love the pandan malasadas for dessert!
  13. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    Exquisite dining experience with a delectable A5 wagyu stake.
  14. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    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.
  15. AS

    AnnalizaS

    Palm Springs

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on June 24, 2022

    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
  16. AC

    AlexC

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 24, 2022

    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.
  17. CC

    CynthiaC

    San Diego

    11 reviews

    4.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on June 23, 2022

    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.
  18. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing as always! Chef Tara is a local gem
  19. C

    Caylee

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 19, 2022

    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.
  20. MB

    MicaB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 18, 2022

    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!
  21. AM

    AlexM

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on June 18, 2022

    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.
  22. EA

    ElaineA

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on June 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    It was amazing! We loved it!
  23. 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.
  24. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Sacramento

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We celebrated our wedding anniversary at Animae because we wanted to try something different. My only regret is not trying more appetizers. Our entree came a bit longer than expected so I was very hungry by the time we got our food. Overall, the service is great, the food is superb and the vibe is perfect for the occasion. Would definitely come back here and bring some friends next time!
  25. f

    foodie

    Washington DC

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on June 16, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience3
    vacation dinner
  26. 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!
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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!
  31. 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!
  32. C

    Chris

    San Francisco

    25 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    25 reviews

    Dined on June 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Awesome good!
  33. e

    erics

    Denver

    10 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on June 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Bruh.... Don't go anywhere else.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.

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 1445 OpenTable diners.

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

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 63 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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