The newest addition to San Diego’s growing lineup of boutique lodgings officially opens this morning. Part of the Hilton Curio Collection, alongside its 246 guest rooms and heated saltwater pool, the LEED Silver Certified Carté Hotel also features three food and beverage venues, including a full-service restaurant, rooftop cocktail bar, and dedicated wine bar and spirit tasting room.
Helmed by executive chef Cesar Oceguera (Mesa Grill, New York and Searsucker, Las Vegas) and executive sous chef Stephanie Armenta, sea-to-table fare will be the major focus at signature restaurant Watercolors with produce sourced from father-daughter fishing duo, the Kastlungers, and well-known fishmonger Paddy Glennon at Superior Seafood, among other local purveyors.
Spanning breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu highlights include a mezcal-cured hamachi crudo, seasonal aguachile and kosho, and fish banh mi with mahi mahi, pork asientos, pickled vegetables and a toasted baguette. Watercolors will also offer a weekly whole fish special, based on the catch of the day and seasonal produce from the Little Italy Farmer’s Market. A filet, served with chimichurri, smoky cauliflower puree and sautéed local mushrooms, and a spicy chicken kebab-style dish served alongside tandoori yogurt, cucumbers, shallots, lime and mint, will also feature.
With nods to Little Italy’s former fishing port heritage and San Diego’s coastal location incorporated throughout, the space includes geometric wall art inspired by fishing nets and flooring reminiscent of an oceanfront boardwalk. Interior design firm The Manchette Studio installed wooden pendant lights, a live-edge communal table, and mixture of seating configurations, including velvet banquettes, across the 90-seat dining room.
From its 16th floor perch, rooftop bar Above Ash Social will feature a customized cocktail menu alongside a comprehensive list of wine, beer and spirits. The menu here will focus on shareable appetizer style dishes with seasonal ceviches and crudos, including Peruano, a Peruvian-style ceviche served with leche de tigre, sweet potato, spicy corn nuts and charred corn. A wide a variety of seating options afford city and San Diego Bay views, including west along State Street towards the Embarcadero from a communal fire pit table.
Serving as a communal hub, the airy ground floor Lobby Bar, which currently has local beers on tap, including Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, and Thorn Brewing, will also feature craft cocktails and has an exciting collaboration in the works with a leading local distillery.
Also located on the ground floor is wine bar Fonte di Vino. Slated to open in October, it will showcase 70 wines and spirits from Italy, plus regional wineries and distilleries across Southern California, Northern Mexico and Baja California. In addition to dishes from the Watercolors menu, cheese and charcuterie boards will also be available here.