Rancho Valencia- Pony Room and Veladora

A fun atmosphere with delicious food at Rancho Valencia!

“There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

Rancho Valencia

My fiancé and I had a date night last week at Rancho Valencia, a luxury resort and spa. It is an enchanting place, hidden in Rancho Santa Fe, only about a 15 minute drive from our home! For a lot of people in San Diego, it may be a bit of a drive, but going to Rancho Valencia for dinner or drinks is totally worth it! (The bathroom sinks are even beautifully artistic!) Patrick has eaten many times at their different casual and formal restaurants, but tonight we were heading to Veladora, the formal restaurant. I have been to Rancho Valencia once, to take some photos for our Favorite Mexican Restaurants article. (Read it here!) We didn’t eat there that day, so last week I couldn’t wait to finally try some of the food!

First Impression

Rancho Valencia

When we stepped out of the car, the first thing I noticed was a huge, lit up tree! The lights must’ve taken hours to put up, but what an incredibly outstanding first impression! There were small decorated Christmas trees everywhere and garland hanging above us outside as we walked down the pathways. The whole resort was so festive and bright, it made me warm and happy!

Rancho Valencia


Rancho Valencia

We tried a few cocktails at The Pony Room before dinner, and it was better than I thought it would be! Everywhere I looked there was something creative catching my eye. They did a wonderful job decorating, and they named some of their cocktails with fun names, which I love! I had a drink with rum in it (I usually look for any creative cocktail with rum to try!) and it was one of the best cocktails I have ever had in San Diego! This resort doesn’t skimp on anything let me tell you!


Rancho Valencia

Once we were feeling good from The Pony Room, we headed across the hall to Veladora and they sat us in a nice comfy booth right away. The corkage fee was $35, which is pretty high for San Diego. (Most other places range from $15-$25.) The service was very attentive but not overly attentive. The waitress we had knew exactly when to come over and check to make sure we were doing wonderfully but she never bothered us when we were eating or enjoying the ambiance.

The corn soup we had as an appetizer was a little bit sweet for my fiancé but I really enjoyed it. It was luscious and a perfect beginning to a wonderful dining experience. For dinner my fiancé had the filet. He said, “I’m not crazy about sauces on my meat, but this sauce is pretty good. This is melt in your melt filet. It is a beautiful piece of meat. It doesn’t have the charr on it like other places such as Donovan’s, but for steak in general it is great!”

I ordered the fettuccine carbonara, and it was velvety and luscious! The noodles were cooked to perfection and the pork was almost like thick slices bacon. There were large pieces that I could cut easily and add to my carbonara bites. I wish I could go back right now just to order that dish again.

For dessert we ordered the apple crisp. It was so good, I couldn’t even take a photo as it was gone too fast. They also brought out truffles with our bill, so even though I didn’t get chocolate for the real dessert, the truffles were a perfect touch. In fact, I couldn’t even finish the two small bites. I was SO stuffed, and fulfilled!

Rancho Valencia

Rancho Valencia

If you’re in San Diego visiting, or if you’re a local, check out Rancho Valencia. Have a drink at The Pony Room, or a full 5 course meal at Veladora, and experience all that Rancho Valencia dining has to offer! Have you eaten there before? What did you try and how did you enjoy it? Let us know by commenting below!

Amanda Henry
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Amanda Henry is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, photographer, web designer, mom, and freelance blogger living the luxury and active lifestyle in San Diego.