HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


8 people in San Clemente

Recs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (for this weekend) are appreciated. The group is mostly visiting midwesterners (who are seeing their Marine son/grandson off to Iraq), and their palates are stereotypically narrow. Their favorites back home are Weber Grill and Olive Garden. Please give me some mid-priced, decent choices that I can recommend so we don't end up at Olive Garden and Chili's every day!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am an avid patron and fan of the fish tacos from Pedros Tacos in Fallbrook. Their original location is San Clemente. I cannot tell you if Pedros or El Taco Nazo is the winner for my personal favorite, mind altering fish taco. (Best for lunch)



    Have Fun!

    2 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      Thanks, KR. You really get around! I wouldn't have thought of fish tacos; thanks for the "regional cuisine" idea. We made them a big carne asada last time they were out, and they were blown away. Fish tacos should be perfect.

      1. re: maestra

        Just know that, unless I'm way off, Pedro's Tacos is a drive-thru Taco stand. I don't think they have seating for 8, but I've found them to be pretty good if take-out will work.

        I'd second any rec for Sonny's (on PCH). Decent Italian. Also Fratello's (on Avenida de los Mares/Estrella) used to be Peppino's). We've been pleasantly pleased with Harbor House Cafe (on PCH in Dana Point) - open 24 hours, very large, basic good 'diner' food (just avoid Friday and Saturday nights as every teen thru 25 in the area seems to be there).

    2. I enjoy the Sugar Shack in San Clemente for breakfast. Large portions, good food, and the best breakfast around SC IMO. I wish your Marine good luck.


      1. In San Clemente we've had decent luck eating at The Fisherman. It's located on the left side, at the base of the San Clemente pier. Decent seafood and a great location on the beach, and not overly expensive.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kingkong5

          I'm pretty sure this is too late for the OP, but I second the rec for The Fisherman. Get a bucket of clams and a bloody mary and sit out on the patio (you can also sit at the bar and patio area on the right side of the pier, it's all the same restaurant). They have a decent clam chowder. The fish dishes can be a hit or a miss. I've had a couple enjoyable plates, but sometimes they overcook the fish and I'm no fan of dry fish.

        2. I wouldn't think of going to San Clemente and not stopping at Mr. Pete's to get an order of zucchini frys.

          1. good recs for the most part, though some lack seating and/or atmosphere? For good mexican, try La Siesta. I think they even have Mariachis playing friday & saturday nights.

            1. Avilas El Ranchito on Del Mar (main street) has great chicken tortilla soup and great tostadas...Beach Garden Cafe across from the pier for breakfast/lunch, Adele's for breakfast, Sunrise Cafe further north of Adeles, also on El Camino Real . For a nice dinner, try Iva Lee' (www.ivalees.com), a bit more expensive but good for southern/creole. Chatos is okay for Margs., but I think either El Ranchito or La Siesta have better food. the Vine is also quite good, tho' may not be what you have in mind- one of San Clemente' s more expensive and "nice" restaurants. I like Gordon James Grill for dinner (www.gordonjamesgrill.com) drinks, and music on weekends. The Thai place (Mongut?) on the lower end of Del Mar is okay, reasonable, i find that the food is not very spicy but everything was fresh the last time we did take out. Also the Italian place in the arcade just down Del Mar from Del Mar/El C. intersection was only ok - awful bread, and not particularly notable for the price or the wait- to the point the name escapes me. If Love Burgers is still around on El. C. Real ( south of Barcelona St.) still exists, they had good burgers, etc. and fries.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Local

                Oh wow! - I had to laugh when I read the line about Chato's - I've been there like a dozen times and I always tell people how much I like it there (i'm not typically fond of mexican food) but I think the reason i like it (and can never really remember how good the food was) is because I get overserved on the margaritas! Have three of their cadilac margs and who cares what's for dinner (just for the record I always order their tequila pasta - i know, not very mexican of me is it?) ;)

                I would definately second the rec for Sugar Shack - I LOVE that place for breakfast but you may want to send someone over their before everyone else. They do not take reservations and it's kind of a small place.

              2. Also there's Beachfire Bar and Grill, which I have mixed emotions about. Good music, vibe, and bar for drinks, but the food is somewhat overworked California cuisine...see menu. One of those places that could learn "less is more"...but fine for drinks. http://www.beachfire.com/menu/scmenu_...

                1. this site might be helpful and includes many of restaurants listed above, as well as others that might fit your needs/tastebuds. http://www.sanclementeevents.com/dini...

                  1. So where did you end up Maestra?

                    1. El Patio off of El Camino Real might quietly have the most authentic Mexican food in San Clemente-a complete sleeper...

                      And quite laid back...

                      -Mojo de Ajo is my favorite-

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: StivKaye

                        Do you have the street #? Any other good dishes?

                        1. re: StivKaye

                          I'd like more info too. The only El Patio I know of in the area is in Capistrano Beach on Doheny Park Road, near the Costco. It's off what is actually PCH in that location.

                            1. re: mrszondo

                              Not sure your post was meant for me, but it was appended to mine. There's another Olamendi's, on Pico in San Clemente, that we've tried. The food's not bad, but I always find their combo plates swimming in thin juice that makes any tacos limp and infringes on the other flavors. Not sure why this is, but I've noticed it enough to not want to go back.

                          1. re: StivKaye

                            I think you might be referring to:
                            Los Patios Restaurant
                            111 W Avenida Palizada
                            San Clemente 92672-4763

                            It's in the Old Town Plaza near Blue Danube and New Mandarin Garden.

                            1. re: bigdeal88

                              Did you notice that the post you replied to was made over two years ago? We get so little response down this way that it's hard to resist posting.

                          2. Thanks for the suggestions.

                            We want to add.

                            Adele's food is fantastic! Simple breakfast but an excellent Hollandaise (sp) on the eggs Benedict and perfect eggs. She is a person and very fun and funny.

                            We are probably will eat there again today. Looking forward to trying dinner at Adeles's at the San Clemente Inn location..

                            We had breakfast at the Shore House yesterday. Not bad, but nothing to write about. Most likely canned corned beef hash.

                            Dinner last night was a combo of the pizza we brought back from Gionvannis in Luecadia, and Thai Food in San Clemente - rest name is Bankok or something on Del Mar in San Clemente.

                            My DH liked the Pad Thai, I thought it was too sweet. It was the "brown" style. I like it more with a red sauce.

                            There seems to be a big trend here back to traditional Donuts.

                            See my other post for Leudinda area.


                            I will be travelling through beach towns in search of food. I will keep you posted.