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San Diego California Restaurants

Because all of our rentals are located within a few miles of each other, we have compiled one restaurant guide, all approved by Beachfront Only.  Further down you will find some restaurant highlights a little outside of the North County Region, but worth the drive!

Prices (not including drinks): $: under 10, $$: 10-15, $$$: 15-25, $$$$: 25+

Skip To: Breakfast/Lunch  |  Casual Dining  |  Coffee  |  Ethnic/Asian  |  Healthy/Deli/Sandwiches  |  Italian  |  Mexican  |  Middle Eastern/Mediterranean  |  Pizza  |  Steak and Seafood/Upscale  |  Sushi  |  Bars/Sports Bars  |  Highlights outside of North County

Breakfast / Lunch

Hill Street Cafe & Gallery

524 South Coast Highway 101, Oceanside / 760-966-0985 / website

Hill Street Cafe includes organic and fresh fare, including Cajun chicken, tofu/spinach scrambles, and many other interesting varieties of tacos and burritos, sandwiches, wraps and soups.  Several vegetarian and vegan items on the menu.  One of my favorite items is the pesto chicken burrito, as well as the avocado burrito.  Located in an old historic house, now a landmark in Oceanside, the atmosphere is very inviting, and perfect for a morning or day relaxing over a good cup of coffee and delicious food. $$

Honey’s Bistro & Bakery

623 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas / 760-942-5433 / website

Sitting on Highway 101, the cafe provides a mouthwatering selection of breakfast and lunch foods, everything from fresh coffee and in house baked scones, to soups, salads, omelets, and granola.  $

Naked Café

300 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad / 760-720-7866 / website (Oceanside guests)

288-C N. El Camino Real, Encinitas / 760-635-7866 (Encinitas guests)

This is a breakfast/lunch, whole foods café with a healthy menu of great variety, sure to please any appetite.  All of their breads/muffins/tortillas/etc are baked fresh every morning.  They also make all of their own sauces and dressings.  May I recommend the Sesame Ginger Chicken Soft Tacos – amazing, the Transcendence Wrap, and for breakfast, the Soy Chorizo, Avocado & Egg White Burrito.  Reasonable portions and great prices. $$

Beach Break Cafe

1902 South Coast Highway 101, Oceanside / 760-439-6355 / website

Great place for breakfast or lunch. Huge portions, inexpensive. Best coffee cake in town. Service is great…very friendly.  Try their daily specials written on the whiteboard. $$

Potato Shack Cafe

120 West I Street (off South Coast Highway 101), Encinitas / 760-436-1282 website

American fries (served “All you can eat!”), French fries, potato patties, and baked potatoes with various toppings are the heart of the menu, along with eggs, omelets, biscuits with sausage gravy, and beer-battered onion rings made from sweet reds. If size counts, consider the daunting inch-thick “manhole” pancake that’s bigger than the plate. Lunch runs to “deli” sandwiches (with potatoes), or a hearty bowl of chili con carne. Arrive early on weekends. Open daily, breakfast to late lunch. $$

St. Germain’s Cafe

1010 South Coast Highway 101 (at I Street), Encinitas / 760-753-5411 / website

The food here is all-American. Omelets are the café’s best-known dish — 14 variations of three-eggers (or Eggbeaters by request) served with toast or a muffin, plus tasty herb-strewn “café potatoes” or fresh fruit salad. But don’t overlook the Belgian waffles, scrambles, pancakes, Louisiana sausages, or the three versions of expertly poached eggs Benedict with genuine hollandaise. They also serve tasty sandwiches and smoothies. Open daily, breakfast to late lunch.  Great prices.  Expect a line on the weekends. $$

Casual Dining

Ruby’s Diner

5630 Paseo Del Norte / 760-931-7829 (Carlsbad Guests) website

1 Oceanside Pier, Oceanside / 760-433-7829 (Oceanside Guests)

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Take a break from shopping at the Carlsbad Outlets, OR wander down to the Oceanside Pier and enjoy a shake and fries at the Ruby’s at the end of the Pier.  Ruby’s is a 40′s themed diner with red-leatherette and chrome booths, white walls, and portholes, old Coca-Cola signs, good sized servings, and inexpensive. $$

Tip Top Meats

6118 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad  / 760-438-2620 website

The meat deli is great for picking up your own meat to cook up at the butcher counter.  Or stop in for a delicious meal.  Tip Top offers German and American dishes like bacon pork-link sausage, bratwurst, ham breakfast, home fries, and more! Very reasonable, very knowledgeable butchers. $

Joe’s Crab Shack

314 Harbor Drive, Oceanside / 760-722-1345 website

Serving additional locations in Mission Valley, Pacific Beach, and Downtown, here you can order buckets of crab or fried or grilled seafood in raucous, kid-friendly atmosphere. Steampots of crab include the Ragin Cajun, the Orleans, the Bean town Bake, as well as others.  For the non-shell fish lovers (like myself), there are also plenty of other options including burgers, chicken dishes, steak, salads, nachos, and more.  Great Harbor experience! $$

Cafe 101

631 South Coast Highway 101, Oceanside / 760-722-5220 website

This is the oldest li’l eating establishment in Oceanside. Cooks have been flipping burgers here since 1928. The café is named after Route 101, the Pacific Highway. Open daily, three meals until midnight. Cash Only. $$

Coffee

Pannikin Coffee & Tea

510 N. Highway 101, Encinitas, CA 92024 / 760-436-0033 website

This cafe is home to a refurbished old train station. The ambiance is everything here. Coffee and baked goods are excellent. They also serve a range of gourmet breakfast items as well as lunch. They make homemade soups daily which are all excellent. Great outdoor patio – on the weekends, sip your coffee and watch all of the bikers go by on South Coast Highway.  Kitchen for food closes at 2pm. $

Vinaka Café

300 Carlsbad Village Dr, Suite 211, Carlsbad / 760-720-7890 / website

Great local coffee shop, with espresso, organic coffee and teas, 100% natural ice cream, pastries, cakes, pies, fresh fruit smoothies, and a great lunch menu with fresh sandwiches and salads!  This place is always filled with a younger and seemingly hip crowd, all on their laptops or in some deep conversation.  Type of place you could spend hours at. $

E Street Cafe

128/130 West “E” Street, Encinitas, CA 92024 / 760-230-2038 website

Full service Cyber-Cafe with Dell workstations connected via high-speed fiber optics. They  offer a wide selection of beverages, featuring organic fair trade coffees, and a wide selection of loose leaf teas. Both vegan alternatives and the standard cafe fare are there to tempt you. $

Ethnic / Asian / Fusion

Calypso Café

576 N. Hwy 101, Encinitas / 760-632-8252 website

Great neighborhood restaurant with an eclectic menu and atmosphere.  Food is a fusion of Moroccan, Spanish, and French, with a variety of meats and seafood.  There is live music every night, which could be anything from reggae to jazz.  Happy hour is from 5:30 to 7:30pm Sun-Thurs.  Be sure to try the House Sangria. $$$

Le Papagayo

1002 North Highway 101, Leucadia / 760-944-8252 website

Perfect for a romantic date or family dinner, the menu is extensive with fresh seafood, meat, pasta, vegetarian dishes, and salads, borrowing the best influences and flavors from all over the world.  Choose from butternut squash raviolis, ahi crusted crab cakes, veal macaroni & cheese, and curry coconut scallops, just to name a few dishes! There is live music every night, from Blues to Island. $$$

P.F. Changs

5621 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad / 760-795-0595 website

Even though this is a chain, I still thoroughly enjoy every meal here.  The fresh Pan-Asian fare is always tasty and consistent.  Great if you want something not too casual, but not too fancy.  Excellent service, and a nice size bar as well. $$

Siamese Basil

527 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA  92024 / 760-753-3940 / website

This place has been a hole in the wall for years, and it is some amazing Thai food. It is authentic, affordable and delicious. If you are a spice lover, you can order your food on a spiciness scale from 1-10. I have heard anything higher than an 8 is an “outer body experience”. I wish you luck.  Great for take out. $$

Lotus Thai Bistro

3050 Pio Pico Drive, Suite B, Carlsbad / 760-730-3345 / website

I stumbled across this place recently and have only eaten lunch here.  Everything I have tried I have loved.  Food is fresh, not too heavy and all dishes are extremely flavorful.  Great lunch specials. $$

Rim Talay Thai Cuisine

508 Mission Avenue, Oceanside / 760-435-2007 website

This place has recently opened (March 2010), and I could not be more pleased with the quality of the food.  All ingredients are incredibly fresh, prices are reasonable, and the restaurant has a charming and quaint atmosphere.  Lunch specials also available. $$

Q’ero (Peruvian)

564 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas / 760-753-9050/ website

I have not had the opportunity to try this place, but I have heard from many reputable people that this food must be tried.  Quaint street-side restaurant on the old 101, perfect for a romantic night out.  Menu items include Platain chips and yuca, Quinoa crusted scallops, Flat iron steak, and cumin and cilantro seasoned lamb, among dozens of other mouth watering options.  I can’t wait to eat here! $$$

Healthy / Deli / Sandwiches

Naked Café

300 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad / 760-720-7866 / website (Oceanside guests)

106 S. Sierra Ave, Solana Beach  / 858-259-7866 (Encinitas guests)

This is a breakfast/lunch, whole foods café with a healthy menu of great variety, sure to please any appetite.  All of their breads/muffins/tortillas/etc are baked fresh every morning.  They also make all of their own sauces and dressings.  May I recommend the Sesame Ginger Chicken Soft Tacos – amazing.  Reasonable portions and great prices. $$

Board & Brew

2675 Gateway Road, Carlsbad / 760-929-2739 website

Hand down my favorite sandwich shop in San Diego! Open in Del Mar for years, the Carlsbad location is a newer addition.  All sandwiches are prepared with the best and freshest ingredients.  My favorite is the chicken club – a fresh grilled chicken breast on a french baguette with bacon and melted jack cheese. For the no meat eaters, the Vegi Supreme is another favorite. $

Mozy Cafe

698 N. Coast Hwy , Leucadia, Ca 92024  /  760-944-9168 / website

Amazing gourmet burritos. Try the Erin Burrito…Rice, Beans, Chicken, Avocado, Jack Cheese and Plantains all wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla. Yumm. The menu is mostly organic with a lot of vegetarian fare and tofu.  Great smoothies and fresh squeezed juices as well. Grab the food to go and take it to the beach, or sit at their garden and vine covered patio. $

Swami’s Café

1163 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, / 760-944-0612 website

Named for the beach, it’s about beans, tofu, rice and fresh vegetables — and serenity. $

Cream of the Crop

2009 S. Coast Hwy, Oceanside / 760-433-2757 website

One of the few organic and natural food markets in Oceanside, this place will not disappoint.  While it is great for groceries, the best part is their fresh juice bar and deli.  They have a full selection of “ready to go” salads, soups, wraps, etc, plus a full sandwich and juice menu.  One of the best sandwiches in Oceanside – reasonable and amazingly fresh, pick one up to go and take it to the beach! $

Italian

Firenze

162 South Rancho Santa Fe Road, West Village Center, Encinitas / 760-944-9000 website

Firenze is a beautiful restaurant with a cozy interior and romantic fire-lit patio. Multiregional Italian cuisine, portions are huge, reasonably priced wine list. Plenty of vegetarian selections. $$$

I Trulli Trattoria

830 South Coast Highway 101 (between G and H streets), Encinitas / 760-943-6800 website

An enduring hit in Encinitas (where there’s no shortage of Italian restaurants), I Trulli serves modern Italian food with fashionable new ingredients. Best bets are the daily specials, which offer the greatest chance for fresh ingredients and creativity. Always busy. Reserve for dinner on weekends or expect an hour’s wait. Open daily, lunch and dinner. $$$

Vigiluccis Trattoria Italiana

505 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas / 760-942-7332 website

Authentic Italian dining, great atmosphere.  Menu offers more than 20 fish, veal, beef and pasta creations, all at reasonable prices.  Reservations are recommended on weekends.  If it is a nice night, eat outside on the charming sidewalk patio. $$$

Mexican

Norte

3003 Carlsbad Boulevard, Carlsbad / 760-729-0903 / website

Sit down Mexican where you can order pretty much whatever you want (as long as it is Mexican). Whether you try the chicken-and-rice soup with fresh cilantro and avocado chunks (my favorite), fluffy chile rellenos, a crab enchilada, carne asada with all the trimmings, or a lonely à la carte chicken burrito, you’re going to be a happy camper. Add a reliable margarita or a beer and you’re set at this popular North County mainstay. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. $$

Juanita’s Taco Shop

290 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas / 760-943-9612 / website

Enticing aromas of fresh tortillas and fragrant frijoles greet you as you enter this busy little taqueria. Quick and good, open daily, three meals until 2 a.m. Very Inexpensive. $

La Especial Norte

604 North Coast Highway 101 (at Leucadia Blvd.) / Leucadia , 760-942-1040 / website

This big, brightly lit roadhouse sports highly whimsical decor and boasts a five-page menu, including a page of a dozen regional soups and another full page for seafood. The soups are superb.  So are the margaritas. Open daily, breakfast through dinner. $$

Las Olas

2939 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad / 760-434-5850 / website (Oceanside / Carlsbad guests)

2655 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff by-the-Sea / 760-942-1860 (Encinitas guests)

Delicious and fresh Mexican fare.  Great happy hour menu available until 6pm, lunch combos and specials, and weeknight deals.  My favorite are the Azteca tacos for lunch, or something from their “lighter” menu, including a vegetarian burrito in a whole wheat tortilla.  Can also order pitchers of margaritas for the entire group. $$

Middle Eastern / Mediterranean

Bird House Grill

250 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas / 760-944-2882 / website

This is a family owned place serving up amazing Turkish food (think gyros, kebabs, yogurt sauce). Hummus here is amazing.  If they have any lentil soup or baklava, be sure to order it, you won’t be sorry!  Service is great…be ready to chat. Open Monday through Saturday. Belly dancers on weekends. Very Inexpensive. $$

The Armenian Cafe

3126 Carlsbad Boulevard (at Pine), Carlsbad / 760-720-2233 website

Menu offers Armenian specialties cooked with a Lebanese accent as well as generic Middle Easter crowd pleasers, including gyros made from scratch. Don’t miss the garlic dip. Belly dancers on weekends put on quite the show.  Remember to bring your dollar bills. $$

Pizza

Knockout Pizza

2959 Carlsbad Boulevard, Carlsbad / 760-434-4468 website

It’s New York pizza only here. If you want a gourmet, California style pizza, you’re out of luck. They make the pies with traditional thin, crisp crusts and toppings like pepperoni, meatball, and garlic. Open daily. $

Pizza Port

571 Carlsbad Village , Carlsbad, CA 92008, / 760-720-7007 website

Excellent gourmet pizzas and home brewed beer. Order a pizza anyway you like it.  Don’t miss the beer buddies. $$

Leucadia Pizzeria

315 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas / 760-942-2222 website

This place has everything from traditional Italian dishes to California contemporary style pizzas.  Open for 20 years now, this is a local favorite.  If you are in the mood for eating in, they do deliver (for our Encinitas guests), and this is definitely the place to order from.  Every topping imaginable is available, and pizzas come in 6 different sizes to choose from. $$

Oggi’s

305 Encinitas Blvd, Encintas, CA 92024  / 760-944-8170 website

If you want Pizza, Beer, and Sports, Oggi’s will not disappoint. $$

Vigiluccis Ristorante & Pizzeria

534 N. Coast Hwy 101, Leucadia / 760-634-6753 website

Vigilucci’s Ristorante and Pizzeria features authentic thin-crust pizzas hand tossed and baked in a wood-burning pizza oven, as well as traditional Italian favorites like pasta, veal, chicken, and fresh seafood. $$

Steak and Seafood / Upscale

333 Pacific, Steak+Sea

333 N. Pacific St., Oceanside / 760-433-3333  website

This place has gotten nothing but rave reviews.  As the newest addition to the Cohn family of restaurants, 333 does not disappoint.  Whether its lobster you are craving, kobe sliders, or calamari and oysters, the steak and seafood here has an all-around quality of only the highest standards.  Breathtaking views of the ocean, innovative California cuisine, and a stylish design aesthetic. $$$$

Argyle Steakhouse

7447 Batiquitos Dr, Carlsbad / 760-603-6908 website

San Diego’s premier steak and chop house overlooks the eighteenth green with astounding panoramic views.  Indoor or al fresco seating, perfect for casual fare and cocktails at sunset. $$$$

BlueFire Grill at La Costa Resort and Spa

2100 Costa del Mar Road, Carlsbad / 760-929-6306 website

Chic dining at its best.  Menu filled with local produce, fish, and meats, everything light, flavorful, and fresh. There is live music every Thurs-Sat from 6pm to 10pm, and happy hour is from 4:30-7, daily. $$$$

Chart House

2588 South Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff / 760-436-4044 website

Front row seat to crashing waves and panoramic SoCal sunsets.  Ideal fine dining experience with fresh seafood, steaks, and decadent desserts (lava flow).  Reservations recommended on the weekend. $$$$

Bistro West

4960 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad / 760-930-8008 website

Everything from pizzas and pastas to burgers and paninis, braised meats and rotisserie-cooked prime rib to the freshest fish, the food is delicious. $$$$

Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse

3878 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad / 760-434-2580 website

Luxurious and sophisticated.  180-degree ocean views.  The menu features certified prime steaks and the freshest seafood, all paired with an award winning wine list.  There is a private dining room for larger groups. $$$$

Fishhouse Veracruz

417 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008  / 760-434-6777 website

Amazing selection of fresh seafood. Over 20 different fish to choose from, have it cooked anyway you like it. If you want seafood close by, this is the place. $$$

Sushi

Sakura-Bana

1031 South Coast Highway 101 (Suite A), Encinitas  / 760-942-6414 / website

The sushi here is fresh and reasonably priced. The key to this place is its happy hour. You must order between 5pm and 6pm. Rolls start at under $3! And If you don’t feel like sushi, there are several tables, and standard Japanese appetizers and entrées are available. Lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner Tuesday through Sunday. $$

Harney Sushi

301 Mission Ave, Oceanside / 760-967-1820 website

A classy and hip restaurant with several interesting sushi choices, and for those who do not like sushi, there are plenty of other Japanese dishes on the menu.  Perhaps a bit “Americanized” (as are most sushi places in the states), the food is still delicious.  Great lunch specials as well. $$$

Hon Sushi

1733 South Coast Highway, Oceanside / 760-529-0255  website

Excellent atmosphere in a Japanese style dining room, as well as a sushi bar.  Famous for the “All you can Eat Menu”, with all foods and sushi FRESHLY prepared for each individual order.  Also has great lunch specials. $$$

The Fish Joint

514 South Coast Highway 101, Oceanside / 760-450-0646 website

If you are in the mood for a fresh spin on sushi, try this place.  Very laid back atmosphere with some interesting art on the walls.  The guys working there are friendly and love to talk.  From classic sushi rolls to crazy concoctions, you can pretty much order whatever your heart desires.  And prices are reasonable. $$

Sports Bars / Bars

The Saloon

546 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas / 760-753-1366 website

Dive bar, cheap drinks, pool table, live music

1st Street Bar

656 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas /  760-944-0233

DJ, dancing, cheap drinks

Beachside Bar & Grill

806 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas /  760-942-0738 / website

Great food, great drinks, large outside patio with fire pit, 11 hi-def TVs

Tony’s Sports Bar and Grill

274 South Harbor Drive, Oceanside / 760-433-8466 website

PCH Sports Bar and Grill

1835 South Coast Highway, Oceanside / 760-721-3955 website

Pier View Pub

301 Pier View Way, Oceanside / 760-757-2827

Beachside Grill

215 North Coast Highway 101, Oceanside / 760-433-8850 / website

Firewater Saloon

406 Pier View Way, Oceanside / 760-722-2216

Bar, Dance Club

Highlights outside of Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Encinitas

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