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Mar 14, 2007 03:38 PM

Vista and N. County eats?

My husband and I recently moved to Vista a few months ago and are still learning the area. We've discovered a few faves (Thai Pasta is so yummy) but need the help of my fellow chowhounds to help us find the real goodies.

We are originally from Calgary,so Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Filipino food become a staple to us. Unfortunately in N. County we just don't know where to look. We just want to be able to not have to drive to San Diego to get some of these cuisines. Even when we lived in Orlando, there was very easy access to these restaurants and markets without having to drive 45-60 mins.

So my fellow Chowhounds, where can we find some great eateries and asian markets in N. County? Some hole in the wall places would be an even greater find!! I miss those places! I know there are countless Mexican joints which are all pretty good, but I would like more info on some asian cuisines. BUT if there is a to die for place I just have to try that isn't asian, please go ahead and list that too! Thanks!!

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  1. Well vietnamese you are in luck anyway =)
    Pho Lucky is in the Stater Bros mall off of Sycamore, really good Pho with lots of meat options and Bun Bo.

    There really aren't a lot of options in Vista itself, although there are plenty of restaurants in nearby Carlsbad and San Marcos. Restaurant Row on San Marcos Boulevard has a lot of options but unfortunately not all of them are very good. HOWEVER you must check out India Princess which is IMHO one of the best indian places in san diego.
    For family dining, they just opened up a CPK and Daves Famous BBQ in Vista Village (hooray =/ ) . There is also El Callejon, but I don't recommend anything there other than margaritas.

    Hugo's Southwest on Shadowridge has some good sandwitches and breakfast burritos, and there are a couple decent pizza places (Knockout Pizza is building a new store soon which will help the delivery scene immensely)

    There is a pretty good Thai place on Melrose near the 78, as well as Oggi's for pizza, beer and wings if you are so inclined (but I like Lampost pizza in VV better)

    6 Replies
    1. re: Jeters


      This requires a road trip, SOON!

      Thanks for the heads up! I've been a fan of Famous Dave's since they were a hole-in-the-wall in Minneapolis in the early 80's.

      1. re: mikec

        I don't think it's open yet, but the building is all build and they have that "Now Hiring" sign I think =)

        it will be good to have a few more options for dinner without driving 20 minutes anywhere.

        1. re: Jeters

          I went to Frazier Farms the other day and got all excited because you mentioned that Famous Dave's was open. I knew it was too good to be true to be open so soon! I'm so glad that there's more options opening up around the Krikorian because we live <5 minutes away from there.But I know I will definitely hit that place up when it's open - we're always on the look out for some barbecue as my husband and I were both raised in the cattle capital of Canada.

          1. re: marife

            BTW first REAL good strawberries of the season are at FF now, 3 baskets for 2.99--- HUGE and juicy and of course local, yay. (Sadly, as you can tell in my other thread, I haven't found a good farmers market yet so Frazier is as close as ive been getting to local food for a while)
            I had them for lunch with some whipped cream, I don't think I've been happier in a while!

          2. re: Jeters

            Whew, I almost made the drive up for lunch today... ;-) Keep us updated!

        2. re: Jeters

          It's been many moons since I've dined regularly in Carlsbad/Oceanside/San Marcos/Vista, but...

          Is La Paloma still open? It was pretty decent and somewhat unusual Mexican last time I went. Nice outside patio.

          Fish House Vera Cruz in Restaurant Row was good.

          There was a decent hole-in-the-wall Chinese noodle place in the NW strip mall at Palomar Airport/Rancho Santa Fe Rd. intersection. All the Korean guys I worked with at the time loved it.

          Penny Lane across the street from Restaurant Row had decent English Pub food (if that isn't an oxymoron... ;-) Fish and Chips, burgers, shepard's pie are all things I remember.

        3. There are two Vietnamese places on Rancho Santa Fe Road south of the 78; we like both of them better than our one Vista experience. The one east of the RSF Rd., next to a Mexican place, was hands-down our favorite in the area until they switched to cheap iceburg lettuce for their spring rolls and bowls. They also used to have great sugarcane shrimp with actual charred sugar cane, and no rubbery, pre-fab texture on the shrimp. But I haven't ordered that in a long time.
          For better Vietnamese, Mira Mesa isn't a far drive for a weekend afernoon.
          The San Marcos Brewery in Restaurant Row has our absolute favorite hot wings. The rest of the menu is lousy, but they are worth the trip.
          Because we've long been fans of East Buffet off Miramar, we've slowly made our way through the more decent-looking Asian buffets of North County. The only one that isn't terrible is in Vista off of Emerald Drive (south of 78), next to Bicycle Warehouse. Don't expect anything great, but it's filling and can satisfy a craving for roast duck, etc., on the cheap. That said, after our last trip to East Buffet, we were agreed that it was so superior (unless you get an off night) that we would no longer settle for Vista, even if we were in the area.

          4 Replies
          1. re: maestra

            My husband went to that Brewery during lunch one day and he seemed to enjoy it. We haven't explored too much of SM restaurant row but what he have tasted seemed pretty good. Bruno's Restaurant offered a huge selection of hot and cold foods for a nice Sunday morning brunch of gluttony. We have also tried the sushi restaurant in SM on restaurant row, it's by the Jack in the Box and for the life of me I can't remember the name. It was pretty good sushi eventhough our order arrived 30 or so minutes after we ordered.

            1. re: maestra

              If you like East Buffet, you might want to give a try to either Crazy Buffet (on Miramar behind the drive-thru Starbuck's, ~2mi west of East Buffet) or Sunrise Buffet (on Convoy south of Balboa, across from Home Depot Expo). I think either of those executes the same concept and recipes just a tad better than East, though Sunrise doesn't have the Mongolian BBQ/Noodle station.

              There was a pretty acceptable all-you-can eat Mongolian BBQ place in Vista several years ago.

              1. re: mikec

                We went to Sunset once, and it was better than most. We didn't like it as much as East, though. I do mean East Buffet on a good night, when turnover is quick (yet it's not too crowded) so the food is fresh and the fried items are crispy. Crazy Buffet doesn't ring a bell, but we'll check it out.

                1. re: maestra

                  Crazy opened about two months ago. Same business model and recipes, with a cleaner/sleeker decor. Maybe not quite as wide a selection as East/Sunrise. Haven't been to Crazy for dinner, though.

            2. If you like thai pasta(which i think is not good) then you will love Ocean Thai in Oceanside near the Outback and Barnes and noble. Only about a mile from Thai pasta. The mexican place directly in front of thai pasta is good. Vista is somewhat of a culinary no mans land. But you are close to some decent stuff if you look hard. I love the meat sauce at Mommas and pappas pizza grotto, off of escondido blvd. I think heir pizza is terrible but the sauce is very good. FOr Pizza i would definitely go to knockouts in Oceanside off college and oceanside blvd. I am addicted to the four cheese with tomato slices. Darios off of el camino and the 78 is a new discovery for this week, good persian. LOs tacos is my favorite taco stand in north county and is at the 78 and jefferson in oceanside. Los tacos has only been around for about a year but is awesome. Tijuana style taco stand as opposed to the burrito mills.

              gotta go for now. good luck

              3 Replies
              1. re: SeanT

                Its not a no mans land if you like Mexican.

                1. re: SeanT

                  I love Mexican food, but for the moment we are laying off of the Mexican. Sometimes I really wish we spoke Spanish because I had inadvertently ordered us some goat tacos. I'm all about different kinds of meat, but my husband is a beef, chicken, turkey kind of guy who's never ever had goat. I noticed the flavor right away and mentioned that the tacos were goat like it was no big deal. My poor dear husband was gagging within seconds and for the past little bit he grumbles everytime we drive by a Mexican joint.

                  1. re: marife

                    I see...

                    Actually, Birria de chivo (goat or kid meat) is my favorite dish in the world. For me, when I inquire after Birria and get a "Solemente Birria de Res" (Beef birria) it is the kiss of death (Good but not nearly as good as goat).

                    Its crazy though because -largely unknown to Americans - a lot of the worlds countries relish this meat and is quite typical.
                    Does your husband like lamb? Some places serve up Borrego (lamb meat).

                2. actually I have yet to find a really good mexican place in vista itself. Granted I don't really go into "old" vista too much (it scares me)

                  I'd love to find a decent plate of chilequiles.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jeters

                    Try Rodeo's Market & Deli in Vista on Vista Village about one block south of the Transit Center and across the street from Burger King. That was my favorite place to go for Mexican food (food counter is in the back of the store). Helps if you know how to order in Spanish. Do not go to Rodeo's in San Marcos or Oceanside; the food is not quite the same.

                  2. For Filipino food --
                    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). They just expanded their location last summer (but weren't done setting up the new area by the time I moved away last October). The market portion should be a lot bigger by now. This was my favorite place to go for Filipino food when I didn't feel like cooking my own (which was often). They have spoiled me for all other Filipino restaurants I have come across since I moved to Sacramento; I loved everything I've ever bought there (save one vegetable dish I could never figure out that I once ventured to try).

                    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. They also have refrigerated steamed siopao and heated baked siopao (pork or chicken for both types). The food counter in the back has changed hands a few times so I can't really speak for their food, except that the second-to-last person who ran the food counter served good looking but very very bland Filipino food.

                    There is supposed to be a "new" Filipino restaurant in the shopping center across the street from Lita's (or in the shopping center next to the one across the street from Lita's). It was scheduled to open in February 2006 but had not by October (I worked for real estate brokers who had leased the woman that location for her restaurant, and I'd been waiting for that location to open so I could check it out; I moved away before it did). You might want to give it a shot (if it ever opened, that is).

                    There's an Asian Market on Mission that, I think, is in the same strip mall as the KFC (a few blocks west of El Camino Real). There also should be one in the Target shopping center at the NWC of El Camino Real and Vista Way. It's been several years since I've been to that one so I don't know if it's still there. If it's still there, it's in one of the spaces in the middle of the parking lot, not on the strip. Additonally, there is an Asian market in San Marcos on the south side of San Marcos Blvd. and a few blocks east of Restaurant Row (but before you reach the onramp to Hwy 78). Finally, there was a Filipino restaurant in the strip mall on the NWC of Rancho Santa Fe and Palomar Airport Road/San Marcos Blvd. I don't know if it's still there, but they made lumpia to order (which tasted pretty good).