Located in the heart of the Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego, you will find Candelas. Upon entering the restaurant, this incredible feeling of warmth and comfort surrounds you. Dimmed lighting and candlelight, provide a beautiful romantic glow to the space. Chef Martin San Roman has been running the kitchen of Candelas for a little bit less than a year now, but many of you have probably known of him for years. Whether you watched him on “Del Chef a Usted”, or visited his restaurants in Tijuana, his Franco-Mexicano food is truly unforgettable. Otherwise known as the “House of Baja Wines”, it only makes sense that the wine list at Candelas is full of wines from south of the border. In fact, this is the only restaurant in San Diego, that boasts such a list.
There couldn’t have been a better backdrop to set the tone for our evening dining at Candelas. Our table was surrounded by wine bottles, and a candle lit gate. Before I knew it we were being presented with our first course, a machaca taco. Now this isn’t your ordinary taco, instead of a corn or flour tortilla, the tortilla was made of thinly shaved jicama. The last time that I had a jicama “tortilla” was at the LA Street Food Fest last year, and since then I keep telling myself to try and recreate it. It is amazing how much texture just that bite of crunch brings to the taco. The tiny taco was covered in a Champagne and dried tomato sauce, that I couldn’t help but eat up every last bit.
Following that was one of the most beautiful presentations of Ahi Tuna Tartare that I have ever seen. The raw Ahi tuna is marinated in lime, sesame seed, roasted apples, garlic, and soy sauce, then placed on top of a piece of avocado. This placement of the avocado, ensured you that you would get just the right amount of creaminess with the tuna. Drizzled over the dish was a balsamic reduction, that tied in quite well with the side of sweet chopped mango. A crunchy tortilla chip topped with the beautiful colors and flavors of the tartare, was just magnificent. I can guarantee that when I do return to Candelas, this will be on our table.