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Carlsbad Restaurants

I'd like recommendations for Carlsbad restaurants, especially downtown. Has anyone tried any of the following?:
Armenian Cafe, Fresco Trattoria, Le Passage, Vigilucci's, Caldo Pomodoro, Gregorio's, Jay's Gourmet Seafood & Pizza, Tom Giblin's.

For my part, I've been to several and will give my 'grades' and short notes instead of writing too long a post:
Lotus Thai: (B) excellent fresh rolls and fabulous satay; all else is kind of hit or miss.
Mikko: (C+) decent plate lunches (dinners), CA rolls and sushi seem OK.
Knockout Pizza (B) good NY-style thin, thin crust
Pizza Port (A+) for beer, (D) for pizza
Japanese Deli on State Street (C+) simple and good.
Coyote Bar & Grill (C+) haven't really eat here more than a couple of times.
Harbor Fish (F) runny clam (were there any) chowder, if you like fried fish maybe bump it up a grade.
Fish House Vera Cruz (B+) excellent fresh fish served with airplane food vegetables.

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  1. We go to Tom Giblins. Friendly service,cheap pints and a great selection. Some say their food has changed for the worse lately as they have expanded their menu. I think it's still great stuff (corned beef boxty) even tho they don't offer Colemans mustard anymore.

    1. I work in Carlsbad near Legoland and don't get downtown too often, but here are some places near where I work that I frequent.

      BellFleur- Nice upscale place, good wine selection.


      Kings (a chain but great seafood) Stick to Carlsbad here, Mission Valley is not as good for food or service



      West- New place right off 5 at Cannon, I have eaten here serval times and the food is always fabulous.


      Tip Top meats-old world comfort food. (also a excellent meat market and grocery. (I get my veal bones here for demi glace).


      Fidels, wonderful Mexican.


      Greek Village-sit down resturant and a step above any Greek food I have had anywhere in San Diego.


      Pelly's Cafe & Fish Market-Very casual fish market-good sandwiches


      Snort- I have to agree on Pizza Port, they have the most nauseating pizzas I have ever had. The beer is great but yeeech.

      1. Great replies! Thanks for your posts. Kings Fish House is indeed very good. I've got to try Greek Village one of these days. I looked at the menu once and it seemed pretty high so decided to pass on it. I'll get there eventually.
        I'll be giving Tom Giblins a try very soon too.

        1. In the last month I've had the opportunity to try five restaurants in Carlsbad, with quite happy experiences at each. Just tried Vigilucci's on Carlsbad Blvd. and had the linguini with rock shrimp and crab (delicious), along with a pear salad. Food, service, and ambience all above average. Armenian Cafe - Very good, but pricey. Jay's - Very reasonably priced, casual atmosphere, delicious Clam with Red Sauce Pasta, loaded with clams. Garcias on State Street - Very good beef tostadas and tacos, fairly priced, crowded. Would recommend any of these restaurants. Tom Giblin's - Not so great appetizer combo plate, but nice service, friendly pub.

          1. We (my NY expartiate husband and I) used to love Knockout, but have converted to Capozzoli's. Drive a bit north to Oceanside (right off 76 at Douglas in the Albertson's shopping mall) and you will be rewarded. Their pizza is top notch thin, even blistered, crust with a little chew and perfect topings ratio. It blows Knockout away and you don't have to deal with the annoying surfer dude/stoner service there. (I can't tell you how many times I have called Knockout or showed up to be told they were "sold out". And they always seem slightly dazed and vaguely surpised by the fact that we want to buy a pie!) Capozzoli's is the warmest, most authentic Mom and Pop Italian red sauce joint you could even hope for. Also great shrimp scampi, garlic bread served with zesty sauce for dipping, good antipasto (although they need to upgrade the olives), good ravioli and pastas.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Junoesq

              Cool pizza suggestion about Capozzoli. I will try it.

              1. re: septocaine_queen

                Update -- Capozzoli's is now closed. I heard the landlord raised the rent too much, I hope they reopen at another location.

            2. Vera Cruz Fish House is excellent but arrive before 6:00 unless you want to wait for a table for 45 minutes or longer. It's a good family place but acoustically it's too loud.
              Fidel's might be the most popular restaurant in Carlsbad. You can't go wrong here - it's good Mexican cusine - not exceptional but good. I've had about a dozen meals at Fidel's. Love the Crab Enchiladas! Also the service is fast and attentive.
              So far my BEST dining experience in Carlsbad would be at Vigilucci's. Refined, well-crafted Italian dishes are available here at their 2943 State Street address as well as their location down in Encinitas. My alfresco experience at their Encinitas location was relaxing and the food as good as New York or San Francisco. Unfortunately it was a quick meal prior to going to the local LaPaloma Theatre for a movie but I had a simple salad followed by that daily's special of seafood ravioli in a wine cream sauce. The ravioli and sauce were truly transcendental - tender, perfect, exquisite flavors. Back up in the Vigilucci's in Carlsbad I dined with visiting Palm Springs friends who raved over their two flavorful pasta dishes. I had a perfectly cooked (medium rare was requested and that's what I got) filet mignon with a gorgazonla sauce and perfectly cooked vegetables. A nice glass of Pinot Noir was a good accompaniment. I'd go back to Vigilucci's either in Carlsbad but especially in Encinitas; both seem to have identical menus. REALLY RECOMMENDED!

              2 Replies
              1. re: colibri1953

                is the new place next to West opened?.. We have friends coming down from Sac Clem and would like a place close to the freeway..for a Sun at 6..could try vig's.. I thought there was some new place that opened awhile ago that was supposed to be great...Belle Fleur..nah...and have done West.. and dont want a chain... picky I know...

                1. re: karenc

                  Bistro West is open for lunch and dinner now, still havent been there yet. Google it and thier menu is online..looks like comfort food type stuff, salads, pizza, pasta, etc.

                  What about further south a bit in Encinitas? Lots of nicer restaurants over there. Savory, some really good japanese places, etc.

              2. I ordered "authentic Coq Au Vin" in this place. What I got was shredded chicken not much different from what you would get at a taco stand. The Pomme Frites that came with it were good but that was the only high point. This is Faux-French at it's worst. Stay away.

                Pomme Frite
                256 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

                1 Reply
                1. re: shelbyta

                  Which place, shelby? Bistro West? Your post is sort of detached from any thread.

                  Seems like you got your wish, Encinitan. This was a 2007 thread, so you shouldn't be too upset that it hadn't been moved prior to now. :)

                  1. re: 4wino

                    We are visiting Carlsbad and had dinner at West Bistro. I cannot say enough bad things about it. Terrible food and overpriced, too. The beets lacked flavor, were overly sweet, and had a texture as if they had been boiled into oblivion. The seafood we had, which included shrimp and scallops, was overcooked, so they had a tough, rubbery texture and were unnaturally salty. The risotto-- well in my opinion, few places can get risotto right, but rice'a'roni probably has better instant risotto than what this place served. They even brought salad to the table with the wrong dressing. Oh, and the wait for the drinks was inexcusably long.