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Animae, San Diego, CA

Animae

4.8
4.8
1643 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

8:30 PM


Booked 57 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 1,643 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
  • 4.8Food
  • 4.8Service
  • 4.8Ambience
  • 4.4Value

NoiseModerate

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  1. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Every single time I eat at Animae the food is always AMAZING!
  2. C

    Capybaralover

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food4service5ambience5
    The overall vibe of the restaurant is super unique and the servers and staff were all very friendly. Cocktails were great and the starters were amazing. Highly recommend the hamachi, soft shell crab bao and the waygu wontons. For our main plate we got the crispy noodles with scallops and were a bit disappointed considering the starters were so amazing. We would go again without a doubt but would order different main plates.
  3. RH

    RoyH

    London

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Outstanding food and highly professional service. Very high prices.
  4. t

    timcat

    Seattle

    32 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    32 reviews

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall4food4service4ambience3
    Food is really great, and exceeds expectations; we recommend it highly. Every dish is novel and memorable. We split two steaks, an American strip loin and a Japanese Wagyu filet. The strip was perfectly cooked and very nice, but the wagyu steak was indescribably delicious. This is the best wagyu I’ve had, and I have it several times a year. They have a nice setup of pickled treats to go along with the steaks - spicy kimchi, marinated bean sprouts, pickled sliced cucumber, and a really tasty little dish of sweetened soy sauce with an egg yolk in it to stir up and use as a dipping sauce. Really a nice setup and such a novel Asian-style approach, a great departure form the standard American steakhouse. Sides were cucumbers, potatoes (large chunks fully cooked then deep fried in wagyu fat for a crunchy shell, with Chinese sausage bits and a creamy sauce - super good), Brussels sprouts (nicely cooked through with bacon bits and a nice dressing) and caulini (some sort of cauliflower sprout with a gingery lemony sauce, really nice). They have a short but well designed wine list. Our server was very well educated about fine dining and wine, and overall service was excellent. The decor was really great as well, sort of an Art Deco approach dominated by a huge glowing painting of a robot floating in a fishing village. Fun place. Downside was the horrible electronic dance music, which in addition to being horrible, was too loud. This is also a very popular place with a lot of well dressed men and women, who were all drinking heavily at the bar and at their tables, so the sound level got pretty high. And the pricing is stratospheric, even for the veggie sides (it is admittedly a very expensive looking building so their rent must be pretty steep). If they chose to reduce the noise level and use a more suitable ambient music, this place would have a Michelin star the same year. Well worth a visit for the food, and the people watching isn’t bad.
  5. R

    Raymundo

    New York Area

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Unbelievable EVERYTHING. The combination of exotic flavors are matched and balanced so well. There isn’t a single item of the menu that we did not like.
  6. LB

    LilBuc

    San Diego

    73 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    73 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We tried a variety of items six to be exact. Additionally, the specialty cocktails were very tasty. Everything was cooked to perfection. Service was attentive and prompt. The only complaint is with the noise level; there was a lot of noise pollution. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t plan the acoustics appropriately.
  7. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everything was delicious, from the appetizers to the main course. We had one who was gluten free in our party and our waiter let her know everything that was available for her, loved it.
  8. R

    Rocko

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Incredible flavors, lots of food, I want to come back. Chef is a genius!!
  9. L

    Lovms

    Tucson

    15 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on September 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Per usual, always a great experience. If I had to knit pick, it would be that the front staff this time was very serious rather than the inviting type as usual. Overall great experience. We continue to come her and share our great experience with our friends and family.
  10. SS

    SashS

    Baja California

    1 review

    vip
    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 24, 2022

    overall2food2service5ambience3
    Our server was great. Food was okay, chicken was very hard/weird texture. We were charged for a couple items we didn’t receive, our fault for not double checking receipt. AC was not working well, and music was too loud to hold a conversation without shouting. We love the place, eat and order out frequently, it feels like the quality of food has gradually decreased. Hopefully things improve.
  11. H

    Hannah

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food and service. I enjoyed the very knowledge waiter and they were very helpful with the menu. I enjoyed the great food it was out of this world. Loved the decorations and the setting. Great place and good times.
  12. AW

    AnnabelW

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on September 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great experience! One of the best restaurants in San Diego. If you want your palate to experience explosive and different flavors then this is the place for you. Menu Items that stood out are: - Tuna Kinilaw - Caviar Shrimp Toast - Short Rib Kare Kare - Roasted Cabbage - Ube Sundae ( to die for) All the above was great but my favorites are the tuna, shrimp toast and Ube Sunday. We are going back in a few weeks to try other items on the menu. Finally a restaurant that didn’t change their quality because of COVID.
  13. O

    Ohdredredre

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on September 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing as always!
  14. MD

    MDW619

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing experience. Each time I visit I take new friends, they’ve all loved it!
  15. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Baja California

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    cena antes de concierto
  16. m

    meljane

    San Diego

    21 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    21 reviews

    Dined on September 22, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Animae expresses food as art. There were four of us and we had the beet salad, montau (little dumplings) duck fried rice, steak, crab noodles with sides of crispy potatoes and cauliflower. Everything was magnificent. For desert these sugar sprinkled donuts filled with some mysterious green custard. The ambiance was inviting and our waiter superb. I cannot say enough about how unique and good the food was. It is very expensive but worth every cent.
  17. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 21, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    We had a great client dinner at Animae! Taylor was our amazing server and food guide for the night! The space Is beautifully designed, great seating and bar! The round Booths were lovely! The food was superb, just like the service! Really great music for a fabulous evening! You must try everything on the menu, we did!
  18. TG

    TannerG

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 21, 2022

    overall5food4service4ambience5
    It was just a celebration of my friends 31st
  19. S

    Stessij

    Seattle

    2 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 21, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience4
    The food was good; but not all of it was great. Kind of disappointed in the lackluster of some of the dishes. I would recommend a friend going just to try it. But likely wouldn’t go back myself.
  20. DA

    DemetriusA

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 18, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    We chose Animae for my Filipino wife's birthday because of it's Filipino fusion and we were not disappointed, in fact it pretty much blew us away. The Tuna Kinilaw, Short Rib Kare Kare, Wagyu Tartare and Puncit Lulug were all to die for. Even the cabbage dish was mouthwatering. It's bit out of our regular price range, but will definitely come back for another special occasion.
  21. CP

    ChiefPaduke

    Central Coast

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Service and food were excellent. Definitely plan to return.
  22. E

    Emily

    San Diego

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The food was out of this world. The best experience!
  23. JB

    JayB

    San Diego

    27 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    27 reviews

    Dined on September 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This is my youngest daughter’s favorite restaurant, so we came here for her 20th Bday dinner. The food was amazing and the service on point. Chef owner Brian Malarkey made my foodie daughter’s night by stopping by our table to chat for a bit about Animae and the San Diego food scene. Chef Tara was able to say hi as well even though it was a very busy night. We’ve been here a few times now, and it never fails to deliver a wonderful dining experience.
  24. MM

    MichaelM

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Tailored perfectly for a fine dine in experience. Truly exceptional among the finest in San Diego.
  25. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Anniversary
  26. RP

    RominaP

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall4food5service3ambience4
    Great food. Slow service
  27. e

    ellilinn

    Central Coast

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing and attentive staff with delicious food!
  28. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing food with an elegant yet fun atmosphere. Best Wagyu we’ve ever had! Also highly recommend the Yuzu Yu cocktail and the side of crispy potatoes. I’d give this place a 10/10!
  29. C

    Chachi

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall3food4service2ambience4
    Natalia at the front desk was extremely rude and unhelpful otherwise the entire experience was fantastic. Our waitress was amazing as was the food
  30. RS

    RussellSD

    San Diego

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    Wow. Just wow. Every dish was amazing. Music was a tad loud, but other than that an incredible dining experience. One of the pricier meals I’ve had, but no regrets.
  31. JN

    JuliNmark

    Las Vegas

    12 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on September 16, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    Celebrated hubbys birthday and had a beautiful center booth waiting for us! Enjoyed both cold and hot appetizers but would definitely recommend the cauliflower side dish and the wagu rib cap entree. Both to die for! Beautiful restaurant and lovely service.
  32. F

    Freida

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing food and service! our server, Drew was knowledgeable when it came to the menu and super polite! The ambience was relaxing, my boyfriend and I enjoyed the music/ playlist that was playing. I would recommend this place to others and would come back here again :)
  33. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    My husband and I celebrated our 3rd Wedding Anniversary
  34. SK

    ShawnaK

    San Francisco

    11 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on September 15, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    Our service was stellar. Food was great! Didn’t see any wagyu in the wagyu fried rice but it was still very tasty!
  35. MJ

    MJ64

    San Diego

    11 reviews

    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on September 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    What an amazing experience! One can never be quite sure if the "in" place is where you should dine. Animae lives up to ALL the hype, from the ambiance, to the service, and especially the food!!!
  36. AD

    ADNMCG

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on September 14, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience5
    This place was awesome. The food was very good with unique takes on a lot of dishes. Ambience is great, drinks were top 3 I’ve had in San Diego for sure. I was really really impressed with this place.
  37. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 11, 2022

    overall4food5service4ambience5
    Late date night
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Las Vegas

    16 reviews

    vip
    1.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on September 11, 2022

    overall1food3service3ambience1
    Bad bad experience! I had asked for a nice table as we were celebrating a special birthday. When we got there, the table they gave us was right next to a large party of 10 women that were so loud that we couldn’t wait to leave as soon as we were done with dinner. I had asked if they could give us a booth when we first got there bec I daw empty booths and they said that those were reserved for larger groups. And since there were only 4 of us they couldn’t give us one. I could tell our table was in a bad location, but it didn’t seem to matter to them. The food was ok but the whole experience was horrible as my husband couldn’t even understand what my daughter was saying and she was sitting right next to him because it was so so loud. We’ve gone to many restaurants and it’s never been this loud. I had a headache by the time we left. A total waste of money.
  39. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This place is so great! Beautiful atmosphere, great food, love it!
  40. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Such an amazing experience! Food, service- the whole night was magical.

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 1643 OpenTable diners.

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

Make a reservation

2 people

8:30 PM


Booked 57 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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