Food to Make You Sing

Opera Cafe & Patisserie is La Jolla Patch’s Bites Nearby pick of the week.

It’s a French cafe and patisserie delicately decorated and quite adorable – yet set in a deceptively not-so-quaint shopping center wedged among towering office buildings in food-deprived Sorrento Valley. What began in 2002 as a wholesale frozen dessert company, blending French technique with American ingredients, burgeoned six years later into a sweet spot to grab coffee, tea and a selection of simply prepared French dishes, while retaining the wholesale side of the company.

First thing’s first. Opera Cafe & Patisserie serves a heck of a Croque Madame: France’s answer to the ham and cheese sandwich and, oh by the way, topped with a fried egg. Few places in San Diego serve decent ones and Opera’s is above the curve.

Then there’s the Salad Nicoise, veering from the traditional canned tuna preparation topped, instead, with a larger than life helping of rare ahi tuna, sans anchovies, a common substitution in Southern California. Few places dress theirs as well as Opera’s and still fewer use true Nicoise olives and green beans as crisp and delicate. All this for $8.95.

Pastries? Yes, sir, ma’am or child. All handmade, in house. Unlike neighboring lunch spots, which rely on disposable utensils, Opera uses fine dishes and real silver, without the relative price point. A full steak topped with black peppercorn sauce, served with frites and a salad costs $11.50.

With more locations slated to open elsewhere in the county in 2012, San Diegans living and working less centrally are in for a treat. For now, however, the wee nook is frequented mostly by 8 to 5-ers shedding hours in the aforementioned work spaces and weekend brunch-goers privy to its allure.

Opera Cafe & Patisserie is located at 9254 Scranton Rd., Ste. 101, San Diego.

Find other bites within a 30 minute drive .

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