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Exclusive First Look: Rumorosa

The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina's new restaurant debuts fine-dining Mexican fare with a side of SoCal chill
Rumorosa, San Diego

For years, high-end Mexican food was a hard sell in San Diego, where diners seemed frustratingly unwilling to let the cuisine out of the taco shop. Not anymore. Now, if the city’s big-deal food scene has a signature, it’s without a doubt Cali-Baja—the multinational food of our mega-region.

Opened on Feb 18, Rumorosa brings a new face to that scene. Technically, it is the signature fine-dining room of the new, $100-million remodeled Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. But the hotel’s exec chef Marcos Seville knows purely upscale menus can be intimidating for those of us who don’t know our mousses from our mignonettes. He hopes executive chef Cesar Oceguera’s homegrown Baja dishes will eliminate any high-end hesitation. There will be Valle de Guadalupe wines and fresh Baja oysters, but there will also be nachos. 

“Rumorosa can be anything that you want it to be,” Seville says of the all-day restaurant. 

Oceguera has roots on both sides of the border, and Rumorosa is a tribute to the flavors and ingredients he grew up with. Born and raised in San Diego, he grew up working for his father’s Tijuana catering company. So he knows Baja-Cali cuisine, and he knows this property. His first job out of high school was here, as the cafeteria attendant. Seventeen years later—after working with Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill and Brian Malarkey at Searsucker—he’s back with a bit more experience, and more expectations. 

“When I create menus, I go pure nostalgic memories,” he says. “It’s the food I like to eat and cook but presented in a way that’s approachable for everybody. I don’t want to say it was easy, but I had a good idea of what I wanted to do.”

For example, the aguachile. In Sinaloa, where Oceguera’s family is from, the lime-heavy crudo dish is served spicy. But here, he’s tweaked the recipe by marrying the tequila-cured salmon with a silky, spicy-sweet sauce that uses an unexpected San Diego staple: Carlsbad strawberries. Unexpected could be the theme of this contemporary restaurant named after a two-lane mountain bypass that is as challenging to drive as it is picturesque. Usually, a restaurant picks a lane: casual or upscale. By design, Rumorosa swerves between them both.

There’s a private, 16-person dining room for invite-only occasions and communal bar seating for last-minute plans. There’s a massive illuminated tree structure you’ll want to Instagram and waterfront views that nudge you to put your phone down. There’s a 24-ounce grilled bavette steak for dinner, and street tacos for lunch.

Rumorosa is the first of four new dining concepts to open as part of the Sheraton’s big unveil. Brewery X Harborside, Sunglow Pool Lounge, and Strada Marketplace are also slated to open this year.

By Emily Blackwood

Emily Blackwood is a freelance journalist based in San Diego, CA. She covers entertainment, wellness, travel, home, food, culture—all the things that make life interesting, tantalizing, and just the right amount of weird. Her work has been published in SELF, HuffPost, and YourTango. You can learn more at

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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