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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.