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Carlsbad restaurant advice needed for a gift

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At work our regular going away gift is a restaurant gift certificate to a nice place near where the person is relocating. In this case our coworker is moving to Carlsbad, CA. Since we're in Boston... we could definitely use your advice.

A bit about the family - It's a family of four (the kids are 6 and 12). They are Taiwanese, but have been in the US for >12 years and seem open to many different foods. But I know that they definitely like seafood and schezwan. The place needn't be very upscale, just have good food and be family friendly. The only things that would be "out" would be Italian or Mexican places where the dishes are heavy on cheese. They do _love_ good homemade ice cream, so tips regarding that are appreciated too. Maybe we'd get two gift certificates.

I did a bit of researching on this board and King's Fish House seemed like a possibility, but I'd really appreciate any and all suggestions you might offer.

Thanks for your help!

PS - I should have also mentioned that they'll have a car (but maybe that's a given in CA?!)... so options could go a bit further afield.... ie towards Encitas or Oceanside.

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  1. King's would be a good choice for adults and kids. It is also across the street from the Carlsbad Premium Outlet shopping center...a nice outdoor mall with some nice stores. Many designers with some reasonable prices. Carlsbad is full of decent Italian and Mexican and the best Asian foods are 25 min away in San Diego on Convoy in the Clairemont/Kearney Mesa area. i cannot think of a homemade ice cream place in the area....there are Coldstone creameries around. Relocating from Boston to Carlsbad...must be biotech??

    1. If they like Szechwan, they have GOT to check out Chin's Szechwan. They're family-owned, and they have several locations in Carlsbad and Oceanside. Definitely a nicer restaurant, but not fine dining by any stretch.
      Fish House Vera Cruz always has SUPER fresh fish; it's located right in downtown Carlsbad, and they are pretty kid-friendly.
      If they like Sushi, Katsu in San Marcos (about 15 miles inland of C'bad--a hop skip and a jump for Californians) is one of the best around.
      As seafood lovers, they have GOT to try a Rubio's fish taco. Yes, it's Mexican, but Rubio's is known for cooking in more of a Baja style, which is lighter and less cheese-laden.
      For an informal, but DELICIOUS Hawaiian/Japanese meal, have them check out the Teri Cafe in Oceanside.
      Ela's right about there not being any homemade ice cream places around, HOWEVER, Coldstone does make all of their ice cream onsite, fresh every day or so.
      Also, Vinaka's in the Neiman's center has Niederfranks ice cream, which is rich and creamy... MUCH better than chain stuff!
      If they like Thai food, I'm always impressed by Lotus Thai, right off of Carlsbad Village Drive--casual, but delicious, and the service is very attentive!
      Wish them luck for me! :)

      4 Replies
      1. re: CatePoole

        Duhhh..i forgot about Fish House Vera Cruz and i live right by them and i buy fish there often. I like Lotus Thai as well.
        Two famous Chinese eats in San Diego are Emerald and Jasmine in Kearny Mesa...great dim sum.

        1. re: Ela0427

          Ahhh in Encinitas there is the Charthouse...right on the beach.

          1. re: Ela0427

            Second Fish House Vera Cruz -- one of the great restaurants I miss after I moved out of the area.

            1. re: Ela0427

              Jasmine has average, at best, dim sum.

              Since they are Taiwanese, they might like Ba Ren on Diane Ave, off Clairemont Mesa Drive--northern Chinese style spicy food or Spicy City on Convoy Ave. Ba Ren is the better of the two. Both are a good 30 min drive south of Carlsbad.

              and the OP said Italian and Mexican are OUT for the family.

          2. Siamese Basil in Encinitas has outstanding Thai food and is family friendly. They sell gift certificates. Highly recommend it! I prefer over Lotus Thai Bistro.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Coopersmom

              I beg to differ w/ Siamese Basil. If the family has had good Thai anywhere else, they will be disappointed w/ Siamese Basil. Food tends to be Americanized and lacks the fresh "kick" of flavors that good Thai has.