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Aug 9, 2006 09:57 PM

Taking the MetroLink to either San Juan Capistrano or San clemente...dinner suggestions

Our kids are taking us via the MetroLink down to San Juan Capistrano or San Clemente. There will be 7 of us plus 3 babies. Any suggestions for dinner to celebrate a birthday and close enough to walk from the train station?

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  1. Haven't been to any of these for a while, but here's what I know is within walking distance and appropriate for birthday with babies:

    Fisherman's on the San Clemente Pier, which is right where the train stops.

    In San Juan, there's a Ruby's near the train station, or El Adobe (Mexican), or the place right at the Depot, or Cedar Creek Inn, and probably a few others.

    1. Which day of the week?

        1. In SJC there are a lot of good options. Try:

          Sundried Tomato Cafe. They have a nice room and tasty food. Their tomato soup is great but REALLY rich so just get a cup (even if a cup-sized serving portion is not on the menu it's available). Nice wines by the glass.

          Napa Valley Wine Bar - I was there when it was Mission Wine bar. Hip atmosphere, interesting wines available either by the glass or in various flight configurations (whites made with the chardonay grape from Caifornia, New Zealand, and Chile for instance). I've only been there once and I will be going back. The food was surprizingly tasty. When I was there only one woman was working the room and making food and did it with dexterity.

          Ramos House Cafe - Open for breakfast and lunch, Old California meets Southern comfort food. Unique atmosphere (sit outside under a large rustic pergola). Well regarded by foodies.

          Rendevous. I haven't been there yet but I 'd like to go. It's in the train depot itself and looks impressive. I've only heard positive things in passing but nothing in-depth. It might be dinner only.

          L'Hirondelle is, I believe, Belgian. Never eaten there but it has quaint atmosphere and is generally held in positive regard locally. They're open for Sunday brunch and lunch & dinner other days. You can sit outside on the patio or inside.

          There's always Cedar Creek. It's a small, family run chain. The SJC location has a large patio (all the locations have outdoor seating I think). Usually have some live music there. Full bar. Generally a well-run place. They have lunch and dinner M-Sa and brunch & dinner on Sunday.

          Also, right across from the mission is a casual, eat on a table on the curb place, Pedro's Tacos. We're not talking gourmet, grilled mahi mahi, health food. We're talking REALLY goopy, fried, junk food fish tacos that make those others pale by comparison.

          Here's a link to SJC's restaurant options:

          If you go to SJC you MUST go to the mission. It is beautiful, and peaceful, and historic. The gardens are extraordinary. You feel the presence of God in Father Serra's Chapel. It would be a crime not to see it if you get all the way down there and don't pay the $6 entrance fee.