Located on the bustling Pacific Beach Boardwalk for over 50 years, World Famous is an old-fashioned restaurant that has become a favorite with college students, young families, seniors, singles and seasonal tourists.
Every seat in the house offers a panoramic view of the tranquil Pacific Ocean, but it’s also the mix of fine ingredients and home-cooked dishes, and a warm and welcoming ambiance that draws crowds even during the pandemic.
Dieter May, owner of World Famous for 26 years, was just 6 years old when his family transplanted their roots from Salzburg, Austria to San Diego, embracing the Mediterranean climate.
Want to visit?
• Address: 711 Pacific Beach Drive, Pacific Beach
• Telephone: 858-272-3100
• Website: WorldFamousPB.com
• Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
• Good to know: Brunch is available from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., while the lunch menu is from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Reservations are accepted and catering is available.
His daughter, Nicole May, brings excitement and energy to the restaurant, while continuing the family business as the restaurant’s General Manager.
“It’s iconic but fashionable,” Nicole May said. “We treat everyone as if they come into our own house. It is important to make customers feel welcome and comfortable, and to provide excellent and accessible food.
Vendors make daily deliveries for the freshest ingredients possible, including a treasure trove of locally sourced fish (except for the mouth-watering Maine lobster, of course).
Alas, “with COVID still looming, it’s hard to depend on regular supplies, so the restaurant is constantly rotating the menu,” she said.
This includes hearty yet elegant dishes inspired by Northern and Southern California flavors with a robust European twist. To warm the cockles to your heart, start with a bowl of lobster bisque or a San Francisco cioppino, a tangy tomato-based Sicilian seafood stew with a mother lode of mussels, clams, Maine lobster. , local fish and andouille sausage.
Pescatarians can also feast on light comfort foods like a potato-wrapped Northern halibut fillet or a combination of roasted salmon harpoon, seared sea scallops and langoustine shrimp with crispy Arborio rice cake.
Those who prefer meat can sink their teeth into roasted prime rib crusted with sea salt and herbs, or braised Angus ribs with whipped potatoes and asparagus tips.
Or guests can simply sip a glass of house wine on the beach deck with stunning ocean views, or relax in a plush leather cabin inside with rich warm wood accents throughout.
For a change, try the weekend brunch offerings, especially the popular Benedict surf and turf of lobster, steak and eggs drizzled with Hollandaise sauce, which pairs well with the restaurant’s award-winning Bloody Mary. To the lips, to the gums, these Mary’s are a house secret recipe garnished with an impertinent tomolive (a marinated olive) that won “The Best Bloody Mary” at the Reader’s Choice Award.
There were even more accolades.
World Famous was featured in the food section of the Los Angeles Times, which paid tribute to lobster bisque. World Famous also won the “Old Town Salsa Contest” for its salsa roja and was honored with the “Best Lobster Taco” award at Downtown Taco Fest.
World famous recipe
World Famous Bread Pudding
This bread pudding can be a brunch treat or a comforting dessert, especially when topped with a generous dollop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
2 tbsp. of milk
2 T. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 C. vanilla extract
1/3 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 loaf challah bread – cut into pyramids
3/4 C. frozen blueberries – these need to be frozen to release moisture
1 C. pecans for garnish
5 strawberries for garnish
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a saucepan over low heat, heat the milk, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until the butter is melted, then let cool.
3. Butter a 4-6 cup baking dish and fill it with challah bread pyramids.
4. Whisk eggs into cooled milk mixture and add frozen blueberries (or substitute raisins to make your own), then drizzle generously over bread.
5. Bake for 35 minutes or until milk mixture is set but still a little runny. Let the edges of the bread brown.
6. Top with Strawberry Topping and Caramelized Pecans (see recipe below).
2 cups raw pecans, halved
1/2 C. real maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 C. American Whiskey
1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir frequently with a spatula until the pecans are evenly coated.
2. Once light bubbles appear, reduce the heat to medium/low and stir the mixture occasionally.
3. Keep stirring until the liquid has evaporated and the sugar has crystallized.
4. Lay the pecans out on a flat surface with parchment paper to cool. Use a spatula to break up the clumps and evenly distribute the pecans.
Recipes courtesy of Chef Sean Hartigan