The once vibrant Pickwick Hotel and Piccadilly Lounge of the 1940s has been reimagined and revived into today’s Sophia Hotel and Currant American Brasserie. Ducking into Currant from Downtown’s busy West Broadway Street feels like you’ve been transported into the magic of old Paris. The intimate dining area with its black and white checked tile floor is reminiscent of the popular traditional French cafés of days gone by. Sitting by a sunny window, you can enjoy the buzzy energy of the restaurant over eggs benedict, espresso, and their famous bottomless mimosas.
Currant American Brasserie, located downtown at the corner of Front Street and West Broadway, is a classic French brasserie with a modern American twist. Currant has combined antique furnishings – including comfy sofas, marble tabletops, sparkling chandeliers, floor to ceiling columns, a gorgeous curved bar, and contemporary artwork to create a space that is both old European elegant and contemporary American. Dramatic windows let in ample light by day; soft lighting offers a romantic glow by night. The skillful weaving together of the two styles is reflected not only in the restaurant’s ambiance, but also in Chef Manikowski’s expertly created American French menu.
Chef Manikowski has conceived a menu that specializes in classic French cuisine infused with American soul and created with fresh seasonal ingredients. You should most certainly try the housemade French doughnuts with choice of sauce at least once during your stay. If you’re around for lunchtime, a good bet is everyone’s favorite grilled cheese sandwich with fontina cheese, tomato, and mushroom confit served on French bread with a cup of creamy, lightly seasoned, homemade tomato soup. For dinner, Braised Lamb Belly, Moules Frites Brasserie – steamed mussels in Kona Longboard Lager, or one of the other House Specialties are excellent choices.
Weekend brunch shines brightest at Currant American Brasserie, which is wildly popular with the local crowd who come back again and again. One favorite that diners rave about is the almond encrusted French toast topped with powdered sugar, orange shavings, and blueberries. Another delightful brunch entrée is the chef’s eggs benedict with potatoes or fruit. Bottomless mimosas and an extravagant Bloody Mary bar where you add your own garnishes – bacon, celery, pickles, or pearl onions, are an added splash to the weekend fun.
Happy Hour comes to the French Connection Lounge twice daily, after work and again after dinner. Nine-to-fivers often enjoy the signature Popcorn of the Moment, thyme fries, or garlic and chive tots with habanero ketchup. This is the time to mingle with the downtown crowd. Late night at the French Connection might find you sipping wine in a quiet, darkened corner and enjoying a classic French cheese plate with a special someone. There are also reduced-price specialty drink nights you won’t want to miss; Martini Mondays, Wine & Whiskey Wednesdays, and Absinthe Minded Fridays.
It’s easy to see why Currant American Brasserie has been voted best French restaurant in San Diego by San Diego Union Tribune readers. The restaurant is popular with guests from the Sophia Hotel, Downtown nine to fivers, the nighttime theater crowd, and passersby discovering Currant for the first time. Either casual attire or being dressed for a night out are welcome at Currant. The restaurant also offers outdoor dining along the front sidewalk, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week. Expect both street and valet parking, or you can find public parking at nearby Westfield Horton Plaza. The restaurant offers diners free Wi-Fi. If you check-in on your smartphone with Yelp, you receive a complimentary basket of Popcorn of the Moment.
Looking to the left as you exit the restaurant, the unique shops of Westfield Horton Plaza are across West Broadway Street, and it’s a short three block walk along Broadway to the Gaslamp Quarter where you’ll be entertained day and night. Walking several blocks down West Broadway in the opposite direction leads you to the San Diego Harbor, the famous USS Midway Museum, Seaport Village, the Embarcadero, and the ferry to Coronado Island. The convenient downtown location, just blocks from the San Diego Civic Theater, Copley Symphony Hall, and Balboa Theater, also makes Currant American Brasserie the perfect choice to start a night out on the town.