Sky Deck Rendering
Architect’s rendering of the Sky Deck, with is nearing completion. Courtesy Del Mar Highlands Town Center

A new dining concept offering nine full-service restaurants clustered around a giant central bar in an architecturally unique hall will have a soft opening in Del Mar on June 11.

The Sky Deck restaurant collection, a 26,000-square-foot culinary center built atop the Jimbo’s organic market in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, is modeled after the renowned El Nacional gastronomic center in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

Each restaurant is locally owned and features its own kitchen and full-service seating area, but diners can also order at the central bar.

The roster includes Glass Box, Ambrogio15, Craft House, Kiin Extraordinary Thai, Marufuku Ramen, Understory, J, URBANA Mesican Gastronomy and Zizikis Street Food.

Pat Donahue, former chairman and CEO of the Donahue Schriber development firm, hailed the Sky Deck as the culmination of a $120 million investment in the shopping center over a number of years.

He described the architecture as “maritime industrial design” with boats hanging from the ceiling, a giant mural and sculptures of tuna fish assembled from driftwood. On a separate “Brewers Deck” are three local craft breweries, which will open earlier than the rest of the center on May 28.

Sky Deck is far removed from the archaic food court concept, and Donahue expects most traffic to come at night to dine and drink into the evening.

“We really think this will be very dinner-centric,” he said, with the ambiance of being “served in small local restaurants.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.