I recently visited a quaint restaurant nestled in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County. Mille Fleurs opened its doors more than 30 years ago, and has since remained a viable member of the downtown area. The restaurant serves predominantly French cuisine, however, the menu often features selections from neighboring European countries, including Chef Martin Woesle’s homeland of Germany.
I am seated in the back room with its royal blue and bright yellow hues, allowing diners the feel of dining in the quaint and cozy atmosphere of the French countryside. During lunch, the menu offers an eclectic selection with something to appease everyone.
Authentic Bavarian Pretzel ($3.50) catches my eye, and it arrives warm and ready to sink my teeth into. I dip it into the accompanying Dijon mustard and happily munch on it while I peruse the menu further.
I wanted to try a soup, and while there are two on the menu, it is the Chilled Cauliflower Soup ($11) on the daily Spontané menu that sounds most appealing on this rather hot day. The smooth cauliflower soup is served in a glass with a very light sprinkling of curry powder, chives and pretty lavender garlic flowers. I enjoy this tremendously and absolutely love the bursts of garlic from flowers. The curry powder, though adding gorgeous color to the mix, is rather subtle and overshadowed by the other components.
Pickled North Sea Herring ($24) is one of the first items which jumps out, and is a sight for sore eyes. It is absolutely stunning! The boneless pickled herring is delicious, with a tantalizing tartness that I love. The accoutrements of cucumber, dill, red onions and purslane are perfectly balanced when eaten with the herring. It is served with a shot of Linie Aquavit which I do not care for, however, the dish itself is simply sublime.
If you’re looking for a fish dish, Sauteéd Lake Superior Whitefish ($26) is a solid offering. The fish is well-executed, moist and fork-tender, served with a piquant saffron sauce.
I highly recommend trying Pork “Schnitzel Holstein” ($25) as it is one of the best schnitzels I’ve experienced. The caper sauce possesses enough acid to balance the pork. Anchovies boost the savory element, arugula adds brightness, and the fingerling potato salad is spot on. The only item which seems out of place is the fried hen egg, which does not add anything to the already splendid dish.
Mille Fleurs is a true reflection of how a restaurant stays relevant for three decades and is still going strong. A respectable menu in a delightful atmosphere, with attentive service, these are the key to a successful restaurant.
6009 Paseo Delicias
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067