Just in time for warmer weather and hopefully sunnier days, a new rooftop hangout has emerged on the pool deck of Gaslamp hotel Kimpton Alma San Diego. Called Leave of Absence, the all-outdoor bar and restaurant joins the Café at Hotel Alma and the Desmond as the third space at the property to be led by acclaimed chef-restaurateur Jason Neroni.
Besides owning the Rose, a Venice Beach icon, Neroni is very serious about pizza. In addition to serving wood-fired pizzas at the Rose, he’s a partner at a pizzeria in New York City and is gearing up to open Best Bet, a pizza-focused restaurant, in LA’s Culver City.
So you can safely bet that the wood-fired oven at Leave of Absence will be baking up primo pizzas and flatbreads, from a white pizza topped with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and pecorino to a squash blossom flatbread with fennel sausage, cheese, and pickled chilies. Neroni’s menu also includes patatas bravas with garlic aioli and almond romesco, Greek salad, a smash brisket burger with smoked cheddar, and a mezze plate with various dips like hummus and yogurt with pomegranate molasses.
The rooftop’s stone oven will also be used to cook up chicken shawarma meatballs and baked rigatoni bolognese as well as weekend brunchtime dishes ranging from a frittata with local vegetables to baked eggs with French Bayonne ham, gruyere, and black truffle béchamel.
Cocktails pull inspiration from far-flung destinations: the Taiji combines sparkling yuzu gin and ginger shochu tea while the Belo mixes cachaça with falernum, pineapple, and coconut.
The hotel group’s “Off the Record” live music series will be making a stop here next month on Thursday, May 4 with a concert from the Aces, an all-female band, and ticket proceeds going to its non-profit community partners.
Other events are planned throughout the summer, from more live music and DJ sets to water aerobics and poolside yoga and Pilates classes.