San Diego’s beloved for its beaches and tacos and sunsets, but one area of expertise we don’t get a lot of credit for is our cafes. There are so many established, innovative, design-minded spots in the city — Coffee & Tea Collective and Cafe Moto come to mind — and this summer has brought so many more to the roster. There’s the new Influx in North Park, The Curious Fork in Solana Beach, Lofty’s new Encinitas Roasting Works, and most recently, Cafe Cantata in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade.
The space was designed by the talented Betsy Ginn of Smid, an interior design consulting studio based in San Diego. After growing up in South Carolina, living in New York City, and settling down in Southern California, Betsy’s background is clearly eclectic, and that aesthetic is reflected in her work. At Cafe Cantata, you’ll find mismatched furniture, an eggplant-colored Chesterfield couch, a bike used as lettering, handwriting by the talented Taryn Sutherland, and plants galore. (There’s actually an old school metal desk with drawers filled with plants.) The whole space is inviting and light-filled, a bit like a European cafe set in a garden.
Truth be told, the latte I had wasn’t all that, but with decor that fun and charming, I’d happily come back…and back…and back. Check out Cafe Cantata and get ready to drool: