Del Mar, the latest venture from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, opened in late December in the former Café Lurcat location at 494 Fifth Avenue South, Naples. The restaurant specializes in light, flavorful Mediterranean cuisine with influences from Greece, Southern Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, and Turkey.
General Manager Rick Giannasi is already known to local diners as the manager at Ocean Prime since 2016. The kitchen is led by executive chef David Vilchez, who was inspired by the flavors and techniques of his grandmother’s cooking and trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles. Vilchez supervises an extensive menu that begins with an assortment of Middle Eastern dips and spreads. Main courses include oven-roasted shellfish, grilled whole fish, duck confit agnolotti, and lobster spaghetti.
“Our Mediterranean menu reflects the way people are eating in Naples right now,” says the chef. “They want healthier fare, and the Mediterranean diet is perfect for that. We spent four months developing the menu with a team of chefs, so each dish is a collaboration of ideas and cooking techniques. My personal favorites are the octopus appetizer, flown in from Spain and braised for four hours, as well as the veal chop with Ibérico ham and the show-stopping lamb tagine,” he says. “Everything is designed to be shared, family-style.”
The cocktail program is equally robust, featuring such classics as the Brooklyn and Hibiscus Mule as well as new creations like the Mykonos Dream (silver rum, strawberries, citrus, and baking spice).
Cameron Mitchell himself began his restaurant career in high school as a dishwasher in a local Columbus, Ohio, steak house. Today he operates 39 restaurants in a true “dish room to boardroom” story. His concept of VIP hospitality is best summed up in his classic quote: “The answer is yes. What is the question?”