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San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Carmel Valley

The polished suburb is now a hub for trendy desserts, slick spin studios and a highly anticipated retail project


Amici’s Ristobar | Photo by James Tran

Carmel Valley This Month

Trivia Night, Searsucker, third Monday of every month

Magic Hour matinee shows, Cinépolis, Mondays–Thursdays through April 24

Amici’s Ristobar

Formerly Dolce at the Highlands, this date-night spot got a 2018 makeover that brought a name change, Southern Italian fare, and fruit-forward cocktails like kiwi mojitos and citrus sangria. Dine on lasagna with Bolognese sauce, pink sauce gnocchi, and weekend brunch with a stuffed French toast and veggie frittata.amicisristobar


One Paseo

Reminiscent of the Malibu Country Mart, this mixed-use complex is made up of retail, restaurants, workspaces, and residences. Trendy tenants are opening on a rolling basis, such as Pigment (home decor) and Marrow Fine (jewelry), plus big names like SoulCycle, Salt & Straw, and Shake Shack. onepaseo


Copa Vida

Copa Vida

The coffee shop opened its fourth cafe in Carmel Valley, where their signature self-serve bar uses the honor system for payment and baristas make cortados and cappuccinos. copa_vida



This spin studio is bright, bold, and intense, but the community is welcoming. Their Performance classes include a leaderboard (you can opt out), while the monitor-free Connect classes are perfect for the competition-shy. Also, look for themed rides like Flashback Friday or Kanye West vs. Lady Gaga. cb_carmelvalley


Sidecar Doughnuts

Sidecar Doughnuts

The Costa Mesa–born café has unveiled a shiny new outpost with rotating monthly flavors, gluten-free options, and mainstays like huckleberry. sidecardoughnuts


The Barrel Room Wine Bar & Bistro

The Barrel Room Wine Bar & Bistro

This second location (the first debuted in Rancho Bernardo in 2007) offers elevated bar eats like Moroccan-spiced lamb chops, charcuterie boards, arugula-topped mushroom pizza, and Sunday brunch alongside vinos, barrel-aged cocktails, and draft beers. thebarrelroomcv


The Sky Deck

This summer, Del Mar Highlands Town Center will unveil the start of a 120,000-square-foot expansion, beginning with a larger Jimbo’s grocery store followed early next year by Sky Deck, a restaurant collective inspired by Barcelona’s El Nacional. The space will house 8–10 eateries, a cocktail bar, and an outdoor beer garden. delmarhighlands

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