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Vaga Restaurant: Delightful Food in a Heavenly Setting

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Looking for a great place for dinner or brunch? VAGA Restaurant at Alila Marea Beach Resort is a must! VAGA by James Beard Finalist Chef Claudette Zepeda at San Diego’s newest oceanfront hotel features a locally sourced, sustainable seasonal menu.

You can enjoy coastline views of Ponto Beach and Batiquitos Lagoon while dining alfresco.

outdoor seating with coastline views

During our stay at Alila Marea Beach, we ate at the restaurant three times, once for dinner, and twice for breakfast.

VAGA Daytime Menu

daytime menu at VAGA Restaurant Alila Marea Beach Resort

Vaga’s Daytime Menu is offered from 7 am to 3pm daily.

Pro-tip: If you’re a World of Hyatt Globalist, your free breakfast benefit includes an entrée, a side, and a non-alcoholic beverage from the entire Daytime menu.

I love how Alila Marea Beach Resort focuses on the guest experience. The hotel realizes that people have different dining preferences.

You can sleep in your vacation or staycation and enjoy a breakfast or brunch at the restaurant instead of having to order pricey room service.

If you’re intermittent fasting, you don’t have to ruin your diet and still have your first meal at noon. And it can include breakfast food!

Alila Marea has also taken into account guests with special dietary restrictions. Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Dairy Free options are clearly indicated on the menu.

Eating at Vaga won’t leave you hungry. Portions are reasonable. They aren’t large lumber jack diner sized nor are they nouveau cuisine miniscule sized. Servings are what you would serve at home.

Except for the burger. That thing is colossal!

We stayed two nights and were able to try many items. I had to get the assorted pastries and fruit because sweets are my kryptonite.

Assorted Pastries and Fruit

assorted pastries and fruit

My pastries were a sticky bun, mango coconut tart/cheesecake, and a monkey bread mini bundt cake.

Pastries are baked fresh daily with a different offering each day. This means, that yes, you can enjoy Chef Zepeda’s tasty carb-loaded pastries every day during your stay because they are never the same!

Side of Bacon

chunks of crispy pork belly

If you’re a meat eater and eat pork, the side of bacon is the one item on the daytime menu that you absolutely must order!

Because it’s not thin or even thick strips of bacon. It’s crispy chunks of oh, so yummy pork belly!!!!

And yes, we ordered this twice!

Jeff ordered a side of bacon to put on his VAGA Burger, thinking it was bacon trips but our waitress clued us in. And were we so glad she did. Believe me, you want to order a side of bacon.

VAGA Burger

burger with fries, leafy greens and tomato slices on black pate

The VAGA Burger topped with parmesan fondue is one giant burger. Prepare to bring your appetite. The burger comes with shoestring fries and big leafy greens and tomato slices.

Poblano Curry Braised Lamb Shoulder

green curry braised lamb shoulder

The spicy hearty Poblano Curry Braised Lamb Shoulder will start your day off right. The lamb was so tender and easily scoopable with the freshly made tortillas.

Beans have a large role in this dish so if you don’t like beans, keep that in mind.

Side of Grilled Chicken

I wasn’t sure if I would like the lamb so ordered a side of grilled chicken as a backup. Turns out, I didn’t need to because the lamb was delicious.

The grilled chicken is a great option if don’t eat pork and want more protein. There is a light marinade that resembled teriyaki sauce.

Red Risotto

red risotto topped with pieces of crab in white bowl

The Red Risotto with crab and plantains was creamy, perfectly cooked, and one of the tastiest risottos I’ve eaten. If you like risotto, you have to try this dish.

Wood Fired Sea Bass

Pescatarian or not, you’ll enjoy the Wood Fired Sea Bass. The boneless grilled bass was moist and flaky. Be sure to drizzle the Coconut and lime leaf broth over the fish to bring out the flavor. I didn’t care for the charred cabbage.

VAGA Dinner Menu

dinner menu at VAGA Restaurant at Alila Marea Beach Resort

We had dinner at VAGA the night we arrived.

Saraspe Blue Fin Tuna Crudo

thin slices of tuna sushi on black page

As sushi lovers, we started with the Saraspe Blue Fin Tuna Crudo. The delicate thinly cut slices of tuna were buttery soft. The diced raw peppers added a nice contrast to the tender tuna.

Bagna Cauda

olive oil based dip with slices of sourdough bread and picked vegetables

Dining at the resort for dinner? You need to order the Bagna Cauda. This hot briny buttery garlic dip was amazing!

Pro-tip: If you don’t like fish or the taste of fish, you’ll want to skip this. I’m calling this a poor man’s caviar. Not in looks but in taste because of the fish and saltiness.

Crispy Gnocchi

If you’re looking for a hearty comfort meal, get the crispy gnocchi. The Crispy gnocchi is the perfect chilly temperature to fill and warm your belly.

This is not your Italian grandma’s gnocchi. VAGA’s gnocchi is tasty, soft, light, and smooth. The herb coated breadcrumbs sprinkled on top add flavor and texture.

While the gnocchi is the main feature, the understudy stole the show. The mashed celery root was phenomenal. VAGA needs to offer this as a side dish. 

Seared Scallops

The Seared Scallops with plantain puree were perfectly cooked. Cooking scallops is tricky. You either overcooked them to get a perfect sear or undercook them. But the chefs at VAGA had a delicate hand on those scallops.


The Sourdough with cultured butter was the only disappointing thing on the menu. Technically, we didn’t have the sourdough because they ran out and brought us a brioche.

The freshly baked brioche was buttery, soft, and fluffy. But not worth paying $8 for a 3 inch piece of bread. For $4, yes.


Whether you’re dining out for a special occasion or just enjoying a meal, you’ll love everything at Alila Marea Beach Resort’s VAGA Restaurant.

The open kitchen restaurant by James Beard finalist Chef Claudette Zepeda offers a seasonal menu featuring local, sustainable ingredients.

Everything we ate from both the daytime and dinner menu, and we ate a lot, was delicious. I would highly recommend a side order of bacon during the day and the Bagna Cauda at night.

What are you going to order at VAGA Restaurant?

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Thursday 22nd of April 2021

nice overview!!


Wednesday 21st of April 2021

Sounds like such a wonderful place to eat and relax too. I haven't been out to eat lately and would really enjoy this one.

Kita Bryant

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

I love going to new restaurants. The beach always has some awesome places to eat.


Wednesday 21st of April 2021

OMG! I want to live there in this restaurant! :) What a beautiful view and I am drooling over this food!


Tuesday 20th of April 2021

These are really great food love that burger and risotto.

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