Gillies Knafo makes his home in Leucadia, CA while surfing his local break, Beacons, on a west swell. Gino's family Henri and Yvette are local residents. His brother Guy still lives in France with his wife, Brigitte and their daughter, Louise. Gilles and his family are very at home here at the beach. "Encinitas and the rest of the beach cities are a lot like coastal towns in other parts of the world. I think the ocean affects us and makes the coastal residents more relaxed and aware of their surroundings. It always seems like there is someone willing to help when the need arises. I think the locals here have a special generosity that is hard to find in other places."
Owner Gilles Knafo's background is as eclectic as the cuisine and decor of the Calypso cafe. He spent 2 winters working for a web enterprise selling trash bags and other cleaning supplies before returning to cuisine. "Each and every experience contributes to my abilities to prepare meals - even if it's not obvious how!" Gilles (pronounced "zheel") came to north county via Morocco (where he was born), Spain (where his family moved after years of operating a nightclub in Casablanca) and Paris (where his father, Henri, opened the restaurant that gave Gilles his hands on training as a restaurateur.
Henri Knafo moved to north county and opened Chez Henri in Del Mar Plaza nearly ten years ago. But Gilles stayed on in Paris to run the family restaurant In the City of Lights for a year before Joining his parents at Chez Henri, which specializes In classic French cuisine.
Gilles Knafo worked at the family restaurant for a couple of years before branching out on his own. He renovated the former Beach Cottage at 576 N. Highway 101 to reflect the eclectic concept of his restaurant.
The French, valuing their stomachs and rightly regarding cooking as a performing art, bestow considerable esteem on those youths who pursue careers in the kitchen. Gilles has a knack for marvelous Marseilles collation of shellfish, vegetables and aromatics, doubtless learned while toiling alongside his father the gruffy charming Henri Knafo. The brightivresentalion and flavorful displays are enhanced with a dash of Leucadran sun. Bon Appetit.