Four years after the Italian-born chef came to San Diego on sabbatical, he opened up the now-local-favorite causal eatery Come On In! Cafe in the heart of the La Jolla Village. He then went on to expand Giuseppe Restaurants into the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Museum of Art in Balboa Park until he sold Come On ! to start his fine catering business which serves over 300 events annually.
Now, 21 years later, he’s returning to the restaurant business and Come On In!’s original space at 1030 Torrey Pines Road.
"Candor is located at the very site of my first solo restaurant project in La Jolla Village, so to be back in the same space after 20 years is a full-circle moment,” he said. “Candor is the neighborhood restaurant that I’ve always dreamed of opening; I wanted to create a menu inspired by the influences that shaped my palate growing up on my family’s farm outside of Rome.
"As a La Jolla local, I wanted to do something in my own neighborhood. Since I also wanted to be able to manage my own business closely, the space itself was a perfect match.”
San Diego-based Ocio Design Group gave the 1,200-square-foot space a complete renovation, which included an enclosed patio, an open kitchen and a dedicated wine bar serving unique flights, wine-friendly canapés and a daily aperitif menu. Sommelier Sandro Mezzetti, a long-time friend of Ciuffa’s, curated the bar with over 50 selections by the bottle and an extensive menu of by-the-glass offerings.
"Candor is very relaxed and approachable with a cozy ambiance,” Ciuffa said. "Also, our location is unique — it’s the very first restaurant you see when you drive into the Village. Whether you’re dining for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Candor is a great first stop before exploring all of La Jolla."
And customers can enjoy exploring some of La Jolla’s locally produced food on Candor’s seasonal menu. Favorites include appetizers such as hot and crispy tomato bread with whole roasted garlic and cold pressed olive oil, and entrees such as whole “loup de mer” with lemon herb stuffing, marble potatoes, red pepper tapenade and salsa verde alongside housemade pastas such as orecchiette with pork fennel sausage sugo, spicy shrimp bucatini and vegetarian tagliatelle with squash, cauliflower, corn, asparagus, Parmigiano, pea tendrils and green garlic pesto.
The weekend brunch menu includes freshly baked pastries and Chef Ciuffa’s personal favorites like cornmeal pancakes with berries and bananas and Candor French toast using Bread & Cie challah.
"At Candor, our culinary approach is to source as much as possible from San Diego’s local area farmers, fishermen and purveyors,” he said, adding, "I hope people have a great experience, filled with delicious and straight-forward cooking all served in a relaxed environment.”
Candor is open for lunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and dinner 5-9:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and for weekend brunch from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Happy hour is from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays. For more information, visit dinecandor.com.