Not actually a hidden gem considering the name of the restaurant tells you the name of the street it is located on, but I still think of it as a hidden gem to me. I have been wanting to try the Madison on Park for months after reading about it in the San Diego Magazine and never realized how close it was to my house. Right up Texas in University Heights and poof! There is was! Has it really been right here this whole time?!
I immediately recognized the blue building from their Instagram and got a little giddy trying a new brunch spot! The front of the building is sleek and trendy with the garage door windows. Instead of going thru the front door like you would think, you actually enter the Madison from the alleyway. It smells of fresh wood and has artwork all along the side of the building. Thinking it was leading me to an indoor restaurant, it actually takes you to the dining area that is outside and inside! Their half-hexagon, vaulted ceiling is built over the dining room. My first impression is that the Madison on Park is very trendy. The decor and colors of the restaurant give it a 1960’s vibe. Although trendy, it doesn’t exclude age groups as I noticed people of all ages enjoying brunch.
After looking over the menu, I quickly noticed their extensive cocktail selection (more drinks than food)! Everything looked delicious, but after speaking with our waiter for recommendations & house favorites, we finally narrowed it down to a few drink and menu choices.
- Black Magic Mimosa (organic lemon, apple, alkaline water, blood orange agave, with activated charcoal) Keeps it fun! Could definitely taste the water and lemon, but lacked the blood orange agave which I really wanted to try.
- The Motorbike (El jimador blanca tequila, watermelon, Aperol, ginger, lime) – the white tequila and the watermelon were the front flavors of this brunch cocktail and was so good! It reminds me of mornings spent in Puerto Vallarta during my 30th birthday trip.
- Hollyhock (Tito’s vodka, strawberries, lemon, basil, and champagne) – Any cocktail that includes champagne is calling my name and this did not disappoint. My favorite of all three and absolutely amazing! I could smell the strawberries & basil the moment it arrived. Fruity, bubbly, and refreshing. Could I please have this everyday?
Besides their deliciousness, my favorite part of this cocktail list is that the prices don’t vary from drink to drink like other restaurants. They have five different types of mimosas and they are all $8. Brunch Cocktails – all $10. This is a big win! They also have pitchers available!
- Waffled Churro Sticks (Cinnamon & sugar coated waffle pieces with maple cream cheese sauce, jalapeno-blackberry jam and fresh fruit) –
Three letters and one word to describe these waffled churro sticks: O M G ! Amazing! It was the first thing I noticed on the menu and knew I had to try them. Thank you Madison for introducing these to my life! Perfect crunch with a soft inside and the right amount of cinnamon sugar. These are a must-have during brunch. I would come here just for these! For the dipping sauces, the cream cheese was my favorite, the jam had good flavor, not spicy, and gave it a little something extra. There is also maple syrup on the table and berries I ate by themselves.
- Skirt Steak Benedict (asparagus, spinach, avocado sauce and poached egg on rustic Levain toast with potatoes)
The presentation wasn’t the best, but don’t let that fool you. So much food with so much flavor! The hollandaise sauce was so creamy and deliciously paired with the poached egg and steak. The levain toast was different than the usual English Muffin Benedict, but in the best way and this gave you multiple ways to eat the dish.
- White Bean Shakshuka with Carnitas (poached egg in a bed of onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and white beans sauteed with Mediterranean spices and topped with carnitas and cilantro. Served with pita bread)
Just look at this beauty! I almost didn’t want to touch it! After traveling to Israel a few years ago, I like to try and make shakshuka at home. When that fails, I always order it at restaurants when it is offered. Madison on Park did a fantastic job at delivering these Mediterranean flavors! I have never had carnitas with shakshuka before & probably wouldn’t have thought of it, but it paired very tasty together. Loved it!
I had made reservations at 10:15am and would recommend it as it got pretty busy after 10:30am. Definitely looking forward to coming to brunch here again to try other menu offerings. I also would love to come back in the evening to try all of their famous cocktails. The Madison on Park has won ‘Best Design 2017’ and ‘Best Cocktails 2017’ in the San Diego Magazine.
Check out more from the Madison by going to their website here -> Madison on Park