InterContinental Hotels, the world’s largest luxury hotel brand, recently launched its first San Diego outpost on the downtown waterfront; located near the Embarcadero, the 400-room hotel sits on the historic grounds of former Padres stadium Lane Field. Its anchor restaurant, Vistal, is smartly perched on the hotel’s third floor, where part of its appeal is an obstructed panoramic view of the sparkling San Diego bayfront.
Another smart move was to hire two well-established local chefs to run all things culinary. Both Paul McCabe and Amy DiBiase have logged considerable time in some of San Diego’s best kitchens, and actually overlapped briefly at Top of the Cove in La Jolla. McCabe is overseeing the hotel food and beverage operations while DiBiase will manage all in-room dining. At Vistal, the InterContinental’s new signature restaurant, they’ve come together to create a menu that is distinctly representative of their individual cooking styles but united by a singular approach to sourcing of ingredients. Working with Catalina Offshore, the Vistal seafood’s comes exclusively from the waters between California’s Central Coast and Baja. The produce is local, as is the bread, and the chicken and pork come from regional farms. Virtually the only thing that isn’t hyper local is the salt; the restaurant only uses Himalayan pink salt because of the microplastics prevalent in sea salt.
In addition to the main dining room, 29-seat bar and the outdoor terrace that spans the length of the restaurant, Vistal also features two private dining areas and another outdoor lounge that faces the bay. But its prime spot might just be a 14-seat chef’s table that looks into the huge exhibition kitchen.
The hotel will officially grand open on September 15, but the chefs will still be working through the end of the month on refining operations and rolling out their full menu. But in the meantime, it’s a swell place for fans of McCabe and DiBiase to be reminded of their talents while enjoying a well-made cocktail and of the best views in San Diego.
And there’s more to come — the first California branch of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse will open on the property this October, and a local restaurant and bar group is prepping a cocktail-focused project on the 19th floor rooftop that’s slated to debut in early 2019.