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Oceanside dining suggestions?

I'm open to suggestions for decent places to eat in Oceanside. I'm familiar with most of San Diego having been raised here, and I just moved here from six years in Del Mar..so I know many of the "North County" places...but this is really "North"... Oceanside is closer to restaurants in Orange County than Greater San Diego. Anyway, just wondering about local favorites. Thanks.

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  1. Ahhh... that's a tough one.

    I recommend Teri Cafe, Beach Break Cafe, and Ocean Thai Cuisine.

    1. Mission Asian Market (half restaurant/half market) on Mission Avenue in the valley in the same strip mall as Yum Yum Donuts, Mission Animal & Bird Hospital and Ryder Truck Rental. Food runs out quickly so get there as close to lunchtime as possible (by 5pm, they are fairly wiped out).

      Lita's Fish Market (also in the valley; also off Mission Avenue but on the corner of Mission Avenue and El Camino Real) has really good freshly baked pan de sal (go to the register and ask for a bag from the back; those are the ones that are still warm). At this time, they only charge $1.60 for a bag of 10.

      Alberto's on Frazee Road and Highway 76 has excellent Huevos Rancheros and Arizona burritos.

      L&L Hawaiian Barbecue on Vista Way in Oceanside (just north of Hwy 78) is also a fave; they serve the usual L&L menu and Chinese food also (I've only tried their Wor Wonton Soup off their Chinese food menu but have been very happy with it). Don't mix up this location with the other L&L in Oceanside off Oceanside Blvd & College. Their rice is frequently either really mushy or undercooked, and the franchise owner herself once put OLD (withered and dark) lettuce on my friend's hamburger (we only discovered this after getting the food home and him taking it apart after eating half of it).

      Joey's Smokin' Barbecue in the Vons shopping center near El Camino Real and, I think, Alga is very popular, has some pretty good barbecue and is in Carlsbad (I know you specified Oceanside, but this isn't too far off).

      Island Brothers in San Marcos (now called Surf Brothers, I think) has pretty good steak and chicken kebabs (and really good rice, not to mention the cabbage salad). They're a little inland from Oceanside a few miles but worth it (they are on San Marcos Blvd. in the Vons shopping center across the street from San Marcos High School). There's a new location on Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad, but I've never been to that location so I can't vouch for it.

      Teri Cafe isn't as good as it used to be (and I used to LOVE going there and ate their at least once a week); they changed hands sometime in the past year (and you can tell the difference in their food and the fact that a place that used to be packed all the time at lunch was pretty dead the last time I went at lunchtime, which was about two months ago).

      10 Replies
      1. re: SoCalVal

        Thank you for the extensive post! I'm familiar with a few of those places but didn't know they have locations up here, so that great news. Where I am is near the beach about a block from the 101 Cafe on Coast so there are many Angelos's and other fast foods, but not many wholesome food places. Thank you again for the tips!

        1. re: Sandy Eggo

          You're pretty close to the Hill St. Cafe, too. It's worth a trip for breakfast/lunch.

          1. re: srk

            I've seen the place, but never thought of checking it out. I'll try it out and report back. Thanks srk!

            1. re: Sandy Eggo

              They've got a lot of vegan/vegetarian options on the menu, but it's not exclusively vegetarian. I like their breakfast sandwiches - reasonable prices, too. The service is spotty at best, though, so don't go in with high expectations for that.

          2. re: Sandy Eggo

            You're quite welcome. I forgot one other fave. If you're into authentic Mexican food that's good and also inexpensive (compared to going to a 'bertos), try Rodeo's Market & Deli in San Marcos on Vista Village Way (across the street from Burger King and one block south of the Vista Transit Center). The deli counter is in the back, and you can get a pretty decent shrimp burrito (PACKED full of shrimp, not just rice) for a fairly low price (I think they now charge $6 for it; when I first started going there a few years ago, it was around $4). They also have really good adobada tacos and chicharrones tacos. The rice used to be pretty good, but I've found it to be hit or miss in the last few months so I stopped buying it. The tacos are soft unless you order the tacos durados, and it helps if you know how to order in Spanish (I've observed many a non-Spanish speaker struggle to order; thankfully, I've been able to rely on my high school Spanish to get me by). Oh, and they also hae some killer salsa in the refrigerator next to the deli counter, which they make themselves every day (both kinds pack a severe spice quotient; I love it!). There IS a Rodeo's in Oceanside in the valley, but I went there once and their food isn't as good (however, they do make their own tortillas, which is pretty cool in itself).

          3. re: SoCalVal

            SoCalVal, how do you know Teri Cafe "changed hands"? I went there tonight and recognized all of the same employees I've seen before. Granted, I've only known about it for ~6 months, but it still seems good to me. All of the tables were full, too.

            1. re: srk

              Well, I don't KNOW for sure but since not a single familiar employee was there two months ago from the previous 5-6 years, it was a pretty safe bet that the place changed over (for one, Mikko, an Asian woman with medium length blonde hair who was ALWAYS there, no exaggeration, was not there; neither were a few of the other Asian people I'd always seen). Also, the decor was a little different. Again, every time I'd been there at lunch or dinner time, the place was packed (weekend or weekday), and the last time I went, it was a ghost town (and this was around 12:30-1pm). Finally, the quality of the food definitely wasn't the same.

              1. re: SoCalVal

                There was "an Asian woman with medium length blonde hair", the same one who's been there every time I've been there, working last night. Again, I've only been going for 6 months, not 6 years like you, but I haven't seen any drop in quality over that time. And the quality is still such that I would recommend it without hesitation.

                1. re: srk

                  Well, if you are correct and she is the same woman (again, Mikko, is her name -- not sure about spelling); she usually wears tennies with platform soles, I think. I hope, then, that Teri Cafe was just having an off day because, as I stated, I used to go there every week, and both my food and my friend's food were not up to the same quality as before (both of us had been going there for the same length of time and frequency previously).

                  1. re: SoCalVal

                    I agree with you, SoCalVal. There was a time when Teri Cafe was a 'must-stop' at least once a week. Now? Not so much. And maybe you and I have the same kind of myopia, since I haven't seen Asian gal with blonde hair in a SUPER long time.

          4. And you might want to try The Fish Joint next door... Inovative very FRESH fish ,rolls . Forego the miso soup. It's the only thing they don't do well,there. Do try the octopus(very thin)

            1. My favourite in O'side is Molcasalsa off the 5 @ Mission (east of the fwy). We order the chicken asada burrito.

              The Italian restaurant across the Regal movie theater is good (the service is better).

              1. Of the Thai places in Oceanside, I like Thai Garden the most of all. 4750 Oceanside Blvd # A18.

                2 Replies
                1. re: snort

                  What are the prices like? My father's always newly getting introduced to Thai cuisine and I want to give him some recommendations.

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    Prices are modest. Meals are generally under or around $10 for dinner; about $6 for lunch. What Thai Garden does better than other Thai restaurants in the area are the curries. I think the Panang Curry is their best curry dish. Pad Thai is not so good anywhere, maybe with the exception of Thai Pasta in Vista (my second favorite in North County, althought the atmosphere is more like a diner).
                    There is also Lotus Thai on Carlsbad Village Dr just north of the I-5 in Carlsbad (right hand side behind Shell station), but you've got to be more selective in what you order here. They do the best satay of any place I've tried anywhere in SD and also do some excellent "fresh rolls". Other items are really hit or miss.

                2. I like Thai Ocean on Vista Way (Ross and SteinMart shopping center off the 78). It is actually right next to the "preferred" L&L Bbq restaurant mentioned above.

                  I also used to go to GO-GO Japan for the revolving sushi bar but I heard the quality is sliding. It's on College and Oceanside (McDo shopping center, next to Coldstone)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ml22

                    We picked up some lunch specials from Ohzen Sushi (next to Killer Pizza From Mars) in the Stater Bros. shopping center at Mission/El Camino Real somewhat recently. For about $5.95 you get rice with choice of chicken, beef, or salmon teriyaki or mixed tempura and 3 or 4 (can't recall) pieces of California roll. They did use the fake crab stuff in the roll, but it was still decent. I got an eel roll on the side, and that was my favorite part.

                    Anyhow, it was a good little stop in for lunch. Lots of interesting rolls on their specials menu, but we didn't have too much time to explore.

                    Kurando is diagonally across the intersection from here, but they are not open for lunch, at least during the week. I'm hoping to try them this weekend.


                  2. Pelley's Fish Market in Carlsbad is small, well patronized, and a great spot for good quality seafood.

                    1. I also like Ocean Thai. I have had better food from the original on Mission than the location in the shopping center. And, for some reason, lunches are less consistent than the the takeout I regularly get in the evening. I always get drunken noodles, money bags, and rotate through the curries (the new green bean curry is very good). Haven't tried Thai Garden.

                      1. Just got back from Cafe de Thai in Oceanside. While it also fancies itself as a sushi joint, I thought I'd focus on the Thai food. My father and I split the green papaya salad, an order of yellow chicken curry, and beef rad na. All in all, pretty good, especially for a neighborhood joint so close to my parents' house.

                        On the way, we passed by a Mr. Pho on Oceanside Blvd. I'm always jonesing for Viet food (beyond just pho), so I'll have to see what they've got to offer.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                          Just getting into sushi myself, so I'm still on a California Roll binge (I know...don't laugh). At any rate, thought I'd stop in to Cafe de Thai for some drunken noodles and Cali rolls at lunch. Needless to say, I enjoyed my Japanese beer better than my food.

                          Anybody heard anything about Love Boat Sushi off 76 in the Lowes/Ralphs/McD's shopping plaza?

                        2. BTW, it's a bit more inland on the 78, but for Pho check out Pho Lucky off of Sycamore Ave. in vista (in the Stater Bro's shopping area) -- you know it's good when you come in before noon and you are the only non-vietnamese folks in the restaurant! very quick and cheap too.

                          1. Pretty much seconding all of the top picks already given - Beach Break for breakfast and lunch (spinach bacon salad) , Fish Joint has great sushi and rolls, Hill Street for organic (the turkey soup is one of my favorites), while probably not on any afficionados' lists I also like Colimas Mexican food for pure quantity. The new lone star (?) barbecue by the old Star theatre is pretty decent (and BBQ is surprisingly hard to find in Oceanside). I'm also surprised someone else mentioned Lucky Pho by Staters Bros on Sycamore in Vista. Best spring rolls and noodle soup anywhere although I don't particularly care for their other offerings).
                            Shameless plug for website: www.osidealive.com - you can post reviews and vote for your favorite Oceanside restaurants without even registering or logging in.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: OsideAlive

                              I might also recommend "mariscos ensenda" on the sw corner of oceanside blvd/El Camino real. My wife and I ate there recently and we'll be going back. Not much on atomsphere but the seafood burritos and taco options where varied. I had a combo plate featuring a langostino/carne asada burrito and shrimp taco, both we're really really tasty.

                              1. re: Luigi1963

                                There's also Casa de Marisco #1 just about a block west of El Camino Real on Oceanside Blvd. Similar style Mexican seafood, and pretty good. The octopus and shrimp cocktails seem to be really popular there, but I'm a fan of the "lobster" (it's langostine) burrito.

                              2. re: OsideAlive

                                BBQ - we recently tried Enzo's BBQ in Oceanside, which is on the south side of Oceanside Blvd. a bit west of College. It's hard to see from Oceanside Blvd., it's sort of in a corner of other restaurants, behind a car wash and across from an Ace Hardware.

                                Anyhow, there are about 4 tables in the place, but they seem to do a roaring takeout business. They do side dishes surprisingly well for a BBQ joint (bakes beans, coleslaw and cornbread were all great). Appetizers were not such a hit, stick to the meat and normal sides, I guess.

                                Ribs and especially the pulled pork was very good, and as mentioned above, the sides were several steps up from the usual quality at bbq joints. I don't even like coleslaw normally and I took seconds of the coleslaw at Enzo's.