Happy Hour in La Jolla: The Hake

Tried Award-Winning Cocktails in La Jolla? Happy Hour at The Hake

La Jolla, California is a beautiful coastal community. Right on the water, it offers amazing opportunity for the freshest of seafood. A La Jolla restaurant that is the epitome of such fresh catches? The Hake. Meaning a type of fish in Spanish, the name is indeed ideal.

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With origins in Mexico City, this city inspired the traditional family-style way of serving food. Most customers order several of the portioned, tapas-like plates and revel in trying some of each. This is especially popular during happy hour, in which select wines are $10, signature cocktails $3 off and “Snacks” are 20% off. If you haven’t gone yet, here’s just some of what you can look forward to.

Drinks to Start

The Mandarin Mule is made of Hangar1 Mandarin, Lime and Ginger Beer. All of that served in a copper cup? Far too hip not to try. Good is not strong enough term for how unique, delicious and refreshing this signature cocktail is. Mind-blowing. Applause-worthy. Those descriptions are more appropriate for this invigorating drink.

There’s a variety of high-quality wines on special for $10 each. The Miraval Rose, normally $17, was recommended specifically that day because it was quite warm. On a hot day, the light flavor and low tannins of this wine is so refreshing.

Want something award-winning? The creator of the Grand 5 Masts won the Grand Marnier’s Grand Master Competition and was flown all the way to France for this cocktail. His invention consists of Malahat Spiced Rum, Malahat Ginger Rum, Grand Marnier and Lime. Served in a tall grass with carefully placed garnish, it’s definitely Instagram worthy.

For those who like something bold, the bourbon-based Two-Twelve is a good option. Made of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Cynar, Ancho Reyes and Angostura Bitters, you’ll find that as you sip the martini glass, each taste gets a stronger flavor of orange as you reach the peel on the bottom.

Snacks

The staff and management here are all incredibly knowledgeable about the food. Not only that, they were happy to make suggestions and honest recommendations. Based on their feedback, we found ordering from an entirely amazing looking menu easy. We tried:

Rib-Eye Lettuce Wraps

Highly recommended by the manager, these lettuce wraps packed with rib-eye, finely prepared scallions and house-cured pickles arrived colorful and promising. Topped with a sweet-soy marinade, they fulfilled their promise by being delectable. The contrast between the hot, savory rib-eye and cool, crisp butter lettuce makes you want to take each bite slow so you can fully appreciate it.

Rosarito Shrimp Tacos

As with the rib-eye, the shrimp tacos offered a great mixture of textures and flavors. The battered shrimp were crisp on the outside, while succulent and soft on the inside. Covered in chipotle mayo, they stimulate taste buds with hearty flavor. The cool avocado and butter lettuce, however, keep things from being overly heavy.

Ahi “Tacos”

These are one of the hands-down restaurant favorites. The ahi tuna is placed onto the “tortillas” which are actually thin, carefully prepared slices of jicama. Avocado and cucumber are set on the tuna, which the jicama is then folded over, giving the taco appearance. Siracha and sesame seeds pack a punch of flavor on top, even more so when the ponzu sauce is added. Each bite makes you close your eyes with satisfaction. And, because you’re likely sharing the dish, you can turn to your fellow dining partner(s) and exchange understanding looks of “Wow!”

Overall

The entire happy hour experience was highly enjoyable. Upscale, yet relaxed. Service that was incredibly prompt, but in no way rushed. A team that was incredibly helpful and lovely to chat with. Exquisite when it came to both food and drinks.

Drinks-wise, the Grand 5 Masts is wonderfully refreshing, but the Mandarin Mule is the cocktail that will have me recommending The Hake over and over again. After a day of work, shopping in the village shopping or sun-laden beach activities, it makes you sit back, place focus on the flavors and simply relax.

It doesn’t seem you can go wrong with any of the appetizers here at The Hake. On a cooler day or chillier evening, however, I’d have to order the Rosarito Shrimp Tacos because the hot, succulent shrimp are just so satisfying and belly-warming. On a warmer day, I’d definitely select the light, cool ahi “tacos”.

If you’re a fan of ahi in general, La Jolla is the right place to try more of it. Check out the Top 4 Ahi Dishes At La Jolla Restaurants.

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