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Animae, San Diego, CA
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Animae

$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 71 times today
Experiences are available.

Why we love it

Executive chef: Brian Malarkey

  • Award icon

    MICHELIN Plate

    2022

Filipino American chef Tara Monsod takes fusion food to the next level at this groovy Art Deco space. Expect opulent riffs on classics like crispy pig ears and kare kare—Monsod is one of the few chefs in the country putting Filipino food on the fine-dining stage. The approach earned her numerous awards, including a prestigious MICHELIN Plate.

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Fine Dining
  • Price
    $50 and over
  • Cuisines
    Contemporary Asian, Californian, Steakhouse
  • Hours of operation
    Dinner Mon–Thu, Sun 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
  • 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
  • Award-winning
    1. MICHELIN Plate 2022
  • Neighborhood
    Downtown
  • 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

Experiences

  • Mother's Day at ANIMAE

    $110.00 per person

    May 12, 2024 only
    Celebrate your Mom at ANIMAE with Chef Tara's Mother's Day Menu! Prix Fixe menu to be released soon. $110 per adult, $42 per child

What 2,646 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

Loved For

  • San Diego

    Most Booked

2,646 Reviews
  1. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Highly recommend! Spicy sea bass is a must! Can’t wait to go back

    Is this helpful?

  2. Chelsea

    San Diego

    7 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    What an incredible culinary experience. Every single dish is thoughtfully assembled in such a beautifully unique way!!! The flavors will delight your tastebuds like no other. The service was outstanding, we felt like VIP. The cocktails are also better than any restaurant in the area. Highly recommend for date nights or special occasions!

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  3. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was delicious, excellent service, everything in great timing.

    Is this helpful?

  4. ConnieG

    Phoenix

    5 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined 3 days ago

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Wontons, crispy pigs ears, tartar and crispy rice very good. Beef cheeks under seasoned and brazina so so.

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  5. GonzalesC

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    crispy pig ears and shrimp fried rice so good. everyone was great. Tara is an artist and amazing at her craft! Will always be back

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  6. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 1
    The food was incredible. The noise level of the music was incredibly inappropriate for such a high end restaurant. We were literally yelling to speak to each other at a table for 4. Would not go back again.

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  7. jflajolla

    San Diego

    60 reviews

    3.0

    60 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 1
    Exremely loud environment, making conversation difficult, at best. Meal started off fine with excellent appetizers, but a requested main dish wasn't available and the replacement provided was not great. The Tomahawk pork was very good, but not worth the price. The wines by the glass were few and while the cab blend was fine, it was substantially overpriced and the pour rather small. All in all a disappointment.

    Is this helpful?

  8. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    34 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    34 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 5
    Animates food and ambiance is excellent. The service levels are iffy… our waitress was not as dialed in as she could be, but the food was good.

    Is this helpful?

  9. KrisnaR

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We always enjoy dining at Animae and love the filipino food!

    Is this helpful?

  10. Heatherl

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wonderful! The Porkchop and Brancino were amazing.

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  11. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Service and ambiance are exceptional. If you typically eat Asian food, the food here will be your typical fusion twist. That may be a good or bad thing. I would say much more exciting for people who don’t eat a variety of Asian dishes and not used to the Asian palate. I would recommend trying purely for the service and atmosphere.

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  12. ChrisH

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Amazing food, ambiance, and service. Will definitely be back.

    Is this helpful?

  13. Rossano

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 7 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Amazing place. Just went recently to celebrate a friends Bday and the vibe was amazing. The music 90's throwback hip hop created for a fantastic ambiance! The food itself was it's own unique experience. I am filipino so I was very familiar with certain dishes. I am speechless of how the chef was able to elevate something and add her own twist but still keeping the taste of tradition. This is my favorite restaurant in San Diego. Hand Down!

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  14. RachelA

    Los Angeles

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We were so excited to taste the dishes especially the Filipino inspired dishes. They did not disappoint! We are so happy to have dined at Animae

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  15. Christopher

    San Diego

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Outstanding as always! The flavors are mindblowingly good.

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  16. DaveG

    San Diego

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Beautifully designed interior. Organized and friendly stall. Drinks are way overpriced. Food was delicious.

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  17. sabrae

    San Diego

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    From the moment we sat down it was fantastic. Try midnight in Manila. Such an amazing cocktail. The wagyu wontons melted in our mouths. We shared lemongrass chicken tender and moist, beef cheek with the right amount of spice, and Ginataang Mussels in a delectable coconut curry. Add to that a side of fried potatoes in wagyu fat and wagyu fried rice and needless to say we left with our belly full of some of the best food I've experienced in quite a while. Take it from this foodie.. this is a place you MUST EXPERIENCE!

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  18. RobertB

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 23, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    A luxurious, sophisticated and fun atmosphere created by a modern interpretation of art deco design accented by keenly placed whimsical elements sets the stage for high end Asian fusion food that perfectly balances elegance, flavors, and textures without becoming pretentious and presented by world class waiters.

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  19. KaiD

    Chicago

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 22, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was amazing, service was great and fast!!! Definitely would recommend.

    Is this helpful?

  20. Will

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on February 22, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Every thing was outstanding. The service we received from Drew, the pace at which the food and drinks came after we ordered (with a proper clean and reset of the table prior to the entree and hot sides arriving), the ambience, dessert, etc. Must try the Wonton, Wagyu fried rice and the Apple yuzu sorbet!

    Is this helpful?

  21. JasonH

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 22, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food, wonderful service, a nice lighting level and great sound control. I could see them trying for a Michelin star at some point in the future.

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  22. Paola

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 21, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Espectacular! Recomiendo el martini de lychee y los dumplings

    Is this helpful?

  23. MeganB

    San Diego

    10 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on February 21, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    So very very delicious - we couldn’t decide what we liked the most - the Taiwanese chicken, waigyu fried rice or the Ginataan - everything was just perfect - I had no notes!

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  24. ShaunF

    Greater Boston

    11 reviews

    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on February 21, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    My wife’s 40th birthday dinner. From apps to entrees everything was consistently excellent! The service complimented the excellent cuisine !

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  25. MARIBELN

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 21, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Omg food is amazing, American steak melts in your mouth and the crispy potatoes were insane!

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  26. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 20, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Really friendly service, great food and drinks ! !

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  27. AaronL

    Greater Boston

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 20, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Preface: I have a fish allergy (not shellfish), so the menu was limited in that regard. However, our server Tessa was kind enough to bring over a menu showing exactly what I could and could not have- the first restaurant I’ve attended to do so. Overall. If you’re looking for a fancy night out for a date, this is a hip, sleek, fine dining spot. The ambience and air of the restaurant brings me back to a Sinatra, 1950’s type of feel. Sitting in one of their circular booths gave me the illusion that I was a mob boss attending his favorite restaurant. I attended with two other patrons. Food and $$$$ We had about 7 different appetizers, split 2 entrees, split 3 desserts and we also consumed 6 glasses of wine and cocktails total. Our price for the meal was $522.00 before tip. We dined on everything from lamb chops to wontons, crispy potatoes, beet salad, crispy chicken, A5 waygu and more and more. The portions were respectable. Taste That being said, the food was quite tasty with unique, well developed flavors. I had bites where I went, “wow, I’ve never had anything like that before.” I do feel that most dishes left a little something to be desired. My favorite dish was the crab fried rice. Phenomenal. The A5 tenderloin was decent, I expected more to be honest. Service The service was incredible. Polite, respectful, efficient. Claire was not our waitress, but one of the staff working the entire floor. She gifted us a gracious smile each time she cleared our table. Tessa was a very knowledge server. Very respectful and cordial. I do feel there was times where she delivered food to us and then left promptly without asking if we needed anything else. I’m splitting hairs at this point, but again, this is just my review. Quickfire. Hostess stand was proper and polite. Valet was a breeze to use. Bathrooms were clean. A little loud with music, but it was a “seductive” and intriguing playlist. All in all, would recommend. 8/10

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  28. Dyce

    San Diego

    13 reviews

    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Amazing service and delicious menu. I am a repeat customer because there is so much attention to detail at this restaurant.

    Is this helpful?

  29. OpenTable Diner

    St. Louis

    8 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food, ambiance, service…everything was amazing! Highly recommend for date night.

    Is this helpful?

  30. food1st

    San Diego

    113 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    113 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    New fave!! Wagyu fried rice, Taiwanese chicken, crispy potatoes, beet salad, red bean tart and profiteroles were all delicious, beautifully prepared and presented!! We can’t wait to return.

    Is this helpful?

  31. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Came here for anniversary dinner. Food was delish. Service was great. How ever while choosing this restaurant over others for a special dinner they did not do anything special for our anniversary dinner. Usually restaurants will do something to make it special…

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  32. OpenTable Diner

    Dallas

    8 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Appetizers and desserts were delicious. Short rib entree fell short. A little too greasy and sauce was overwhelming.

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  33. MaryB

    Chicago

    22 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    22 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Food was excellent as well as the service! Large proportions!

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  34. OpenTable Diner

    Nashville

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    My boyfriend and I came here for our anniversary dinner while on vacation, and it was truly a perfect experience! It’s a beautiful place and the food was without a doubt the best that we had in San Diego. At first, I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the prices (since it’s rather expensive), but the food was definitely worth the cost. Service was great; the waiters were attentive but gave us enough space. At the end of the night, I would have been more than okay accepting a large bill given the quality of our experience, but we ended up only spending around $200 for plenty of food and cocktails (which is a lot of money, but far less than we expected the bill to be). I cannot recommend Animae enough for an upscale, delicious dining experience!

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  35. Vichy

    San Diego

    11 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Terrific food, terrific ambience. Every dish distinctive. But tis pricey.

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  36. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    This restaurant has everything you need to have a good time on a date or with friends/family. I was just expecting more on the food. The place deserves better food.

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  37. valpal

    San Diego

    25 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    25 reviews

    Dined on February 16, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    The food and service was divine. The noise level was loud, and the music was way too loud and not to our taste.

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  38. OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    vip
    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 1
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 2
    First off, I’m not a Karen…I’ve been to this restaurant over the past five year several times and absolutely loved this place. But unfortunately I have to say this was one of the most tragic restaurant experiences of my life. Went here for Valentine’s Day..And it was HORRIFIC ! Felt like a canteen restaurant, super loud, uncooked food, gooey meat… we literally left after the second dish, yet I was still charged close to 200$( for one gyoza and some beetroots ) Full price would have been 400$! I wouldn’t even pay 50$ for this! I’m still in shock. Matt the manager told me that they “graciously” only charged me 200$ for the the starters and bread. Thanks Matt and his “Boss”. I hope nobody ever has the same experience again. Ps: I talked to my accountant. Looks like we spent over 9000$ here over the past years. You will never get another dime from me again.

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  39. OahuBoy

    Hawaii

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 2
    Valentines night seem to be squeezed in. Tables were too close. Felt like a speed dating session. Food was okay but not for the value. Especially on valintines night! I would not go back again on a special occasion and if the the dinner table configuration doesn’t change I would not recommend to eat here.

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  40. OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 15, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 5
    Let me start off by saying the food was absolutely amazing. I came here with a date for the Valentine’s Day 4 course meal. The food was excellent and left me astonished with every bite. At one point I told my partner that I felt as if I had put a 9v battery to my tongue, but in a good way you know? This was a new sensation it was awesome. The two things that upset me was the service from our waiter was not what I was expecting at all. I just expected her to be friendly and inviting, or at least helpful because this was my first and now probably last time at a restaurant so nice. Lastly one of the forks I was given has two prongs that were badly bent up so that when I took my first bite of the third course it had hit my tooth in a very unpleasant way.

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Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

FAQs

Animae is rated 4.8 stars by 2646 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 71 times today
Experiences are available.
Google Map for Animae

969 Pacific HWY, San Diego, CA 92132

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Award-winning
    1. MICHELIN Plate 2022
  • Cross street
    Pacific Highway and West Broadway
  • Neighborhood
    Downtown
  • Hours of operation
    Dinner Mon–Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:30 pm
  • Price
    $50 and over
  • Cuisines
    Contemporary Asian, Californian, Steakhouse
  • Dining style
    Fine Dining
  • Dress code
    Smart Casual
  • Parking details
    Street Parking
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • 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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