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Bety's, Karina's and more! - Encinitas

Bety's
Great quesadillas on home-made oblong corn tortillas.
I had hongos and epazote with cotija cheese and a cheese and epazote one. Epazote was fresh and the tortilla really made the difference! I can't wait to get this again! Guests had milanese torta and fish tacos. I think the Baja style fish tacos here are the best so far, sorry Juanita's. Torta was decent, only complaint was the bread - too gringo style.
1464 Encinitas Boulevard
Encinitas, CA 92024
760-632-1512

Karina's - Thanks to chowhound PommeDeGuerre for this great rec. I believe I have located the best ceviche in North County so far. My SO and I had shrimp ceviche, D.F. guest had Campechana style (shrimp, octopus, and white fish), al pastor taco and chile relleno. Both ceviches were topped with diced avocado and served with several limes and the ubiquitous saltines. The shrimp ceviche was marinated raw, the Capechana the shrimp were precooked. Not sure why the Capechana was not raw, but our shrimp were delicious! Beware the portion is large, ample enough for lunch. I did not try the relleno, but it looked good, very similar to Juanita's (not deep fried). Al pastor was passable, he was expecting the meat to be coming off of a vertical spit like in they do in Mexico City, oh well. The shrimp ceviche is a winner here!
916 N Highway 101
Encinitas, CA
(760) 633-3300
Hours: Tues-Sunday: 8 am - 10 pm; Monday closed.

Crazy Burro in Carlsbad - D.F. guest saw this place and wanted to try. Unfortunately, the Crazy Burro is horrendous. I would say Fidel's is better than this place and that isn't saying much since I put Fidel's on par with Taco Bell. Chips and salsa were ok. Fish tacos were pathetic, Rubio's beats the Burro hands down. I won’t even comment on the rest, it's just not worth it.

Las Olas - Few comments as i have commented before on this place, the margarita's are good, the lobster plates looked great, but the grilled fish taco was less than stellar this time. A miniature piece of fish was nestled in a cabbage stuffed tortilla, hardly worth the 3.95 per taco. Roasted chile rellenos are decent.
2655 S. Coast Hwy. 101
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007
(760)942-1860

We also hit Yu Me Ya Sake House, love this place. They had a specials list this last weekend: fabulous ika sansai (so good I ordered two to go) and whitefish with shiso. I didn't get to try the crab special, maybe next weekend. Yuka said on Tuesday, not sure if the last or next they will be serving their Winter menu including shabu shabu.
1246 N Highway 101
Encinitas, CA
(760)633-4288

One last note, I hear the former Matsuoka space is going to open as Sushi Bar Blue Fin. It's going to be tough to beat Kaito. If anyone goes please post.

Campechana Ceviche at Karina's:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sushiman...

Karina's chile relleno and al pastor taco:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sushiman...

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  1. Fantastic Report Pablo!
    I hope I don't burden you with this barrage of questions:

    Do you have any pictures of the oblong tortillas (can you watch them being made)?

    Between Karina's, Bety's, and Juanitas which is your favorite?

    How would you rate each in terms of service, food, ambiance (taco shops I know but still--'character,' maybe better) and tortillas?

    Any outstanding salsas?

    Do any of these places have other very unique offerings such as the roasted-only rellenos and the use of epazote?

    What were your friends from DF opinions/reactions to the dishes? Even a comparison to DF?

    Is a roasted-only chile relleno pretty rare? Those I have had have almost always been roasted and fried? Has your favorite changed?

    Do you have any other leads on chow-worthy mexican in this area? (theres a restaurant on carlsbad village drive called restaurante familiar - i think - that advertises mole negro).

    Thanks for taking the time to post!

    2 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      kare raisu, had an hongos and epazote quesadilla to go last night. Here's a pic.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/sushiman...

      Fish tacos here:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/sushiman...

      BTW, Bety's is next to one of the best sushi bars around: Kaito
      Be sure to check out Morita-sans great work there!

      1. re: Pablo

        Youre awesome Pablo! I didnt know how far it was up Encintas Blvd and I kept walking and walking. Finally gave up near the crest of the Mountain -- had to get going as my car was parked on Jasper near El Torito and I had just walked back from the KRishna temple!

    2. kare raisu, forgot the camera for Bety's, so no pics, maybe tonight! You cannot see the tortillas being made, this is a small place with a few tables, menu is large.
      Karina's, Bety's, or Juanita's... I have only had ceviche at Karina's and it is the best. Bety's tacos and now quesadillas are superior to Juanita's.

      Karina's
      Service: Counter service
      Food: ceviche was excellent
      Ambiance: taco shop style like Juanita's, some outdoor seating
      Tortillas: Looked good on the al pastor
      Salsa: squeeze bottle red. Good.
      Chips: none

      *D.F. guest commented on the horchata as being pretty tasty here.

      Juanita's
      Service: Counter service
      Food: chile relleno and fish taco are my choices here
      Ambiance: taco shop style, few more tables than Karina's, some outdoor seating
      Tortillas: not home made as far as i could tell
      Salsa: squeeze bottle red and green. Good.
      Chips: none

      *Tamarindo drink was pretty sweet.

      Bety's
      Service: Table service, not sure how it goes if it's busy!
      Food: quesadillas with hongos and epazote
      Ambiance: taco shop style like Juanita's
      Tortillas: Wow! or maybe I'm just crazy or tortilla deprived.
      Salsa: two red salsa's, one roasted style, nothing hot.
      Free Chips at the table: good, not sysco brand

      *Beer is served here. Tamarindo was better than Juanita’s.

      DF friends enjoyed Karina's mariscos and Bety's quesadillas.
      They also commented on the torta at Bety's would have been great, except for the bread. Overall they had a great time, we agreed that Chilango's serves up the best DF style food.
      I enjoy roasted chile relleno's more now. The pepper has always been fresh and the flavor shines without the batter encasing it. And I have to add it's the healthier option. As far as other recs, if you haven't been to El Callejon on Encinitas, you should give it a try, they have good tamales (Oaxacan stlye), cebollitas cambray, rajas con crema, not to mention a rather huge selection of Tequila’s. Check out there menu: http://www.el-callejon.com/Encinitas_...

      1. Sorry to hear that Matsuoka has gone. I only got to go once because I now live in LA.

        Glad to hear you gave Karina's a shot. After I had written my rec to KR a while ago, I started thinking that they didn't technically have al pastor, but instead adobado, but I digress. I do like Bety's as well, but go for different things. Have you tried El Nopalito on Santa Fe? I think that the restaurant is still open though I know that the market burned down a while back. I loved their food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PommeDeGuerre

          PDG, Karina's was great, will satisfy any ceviche cravings from now on. El Nopalito, isn't this pretty much carnitas only? Never been. Matsuoka closed at the end of spring. Haji told me the rent was very high and we all know he didn't have enough customers. His food was great and who knows, he may open again somewhere. Need to see what he has been up to this summer other than surfing!

          1. re: Pablo

            As for El Nopalito, I thought that they offered more, but that was when the market was open. Thanks for the update, Pablo. Bummed about Matsuoka.

        2. Pablo, I am so loving you and your love of food and the time you take to share here.

          We ate at Karina's today per your recommendation.

          That ceviche is delicious.

          We are also loving Bety's

          1 Reply
          1. re: Enorah

            I was really happy when I found that ceviche. You will notice in the multitudes of "Mexican" places around here (North County), Karina's ceviche and campechana can't be beat! Try to hit "Jorge's" for some to-go one day, I like the relleno's and supposedly they have great soups. Let us know if you do!

          2. Thanks to enora (sp?) and her Encinitas posts, we finally made it to Bety's and loved it! Chef-husband has good friends from Mexico City and was thrilled to find tinga on the menu. I, the tex-mex lover, found the cheese enchilada with green sauce the best enchilada I've had in San Diego. The burnt chili salsa was excellent. My fish taco was made with fresh tilapia. The beer was cold, and the service (outside in a very pleasant patio) was prompt and attentive. When we thanked Bety herself as we were leaving, she shared photos of dishes she had eaten on a recent vacation in Teloloapan Mexico. We liked it much better than Juanitas-- or really any other taco place (aside from those in Barrio Logan) we've been to. Thanks to all you who posted on Bety's. Not sure how often we'll get there-- today we were returning from the Oside Farmer's Market to get bee pollen and honey-- but it will be our Encintas lunch spot for sure.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pickypicky

              Yea for you pickypicky. I am so happy to know you had such a delicious meal at Bety's.

              I love the fish tacos there.