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Encinitas - New To The Area and Eating Great!

So, we moved here from Northern California a few weeks ago and are loving the food choices here. I want to express my gratitude to those of you who have taken the time to share here as you all have made wonderful suggestions. We certainly have benefited from the opinions here.

Here are some of my favorites in the area

Kaito and Tomiko for sushi.

At Tomiko I had a piece of Spanish mackerel that I still dream about and the views are truly wonderful.

Everything at Kaito was superior. Every single piece of fish just delicious

For Mexican we have eaten at Bety's, La Especial Norte, and El Torrito Market.

I enjoyed them all for different reasons and could not possibly choose a favorite.

Bety's was friendly and laid back. The flavors in the food were layered and complex and wonderful. I had the rolled tacos with beef, my honey had a grilled shrimp dish, and our friend a carne asada burrito. We were all happy. I also really loved their salsa.

La Especial Norte - well the soups, the soups, yum! So far we've had the tortilla and chicken. I also had a couple of chicken enchiladas with mole sauce that were crazy good.

Last night we picked up a lb. of carnitas at El Torrito, some salsa fresca and corn tortillas. Probably the best carnitas I've eaten. That was fun, sitting at home with our pile of carnitas and toppings, stuffing our faces.

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  1. Pizza

    Today's Pizza and Salad and

    Both were good.

    Pizzicato's crust and toppings were delicious

    Today's was good. I do like their individual pizzas. I like what I like, and it is not always what my honey likes. So, at Today's we each can get what we want.

    But I am a Chicago gal, originally. I miss my deep dish

    8 Replies
    1. re: Enorah

      Today's and Pizzicato are some of the best pizza places (especially Pizzicato). Hopefully Caffe Calabria will be a new option soon.

      1. re: honkman

        I just looked up Caffe Calabria, sounds great. We are going into the North Park area soon, so we will have to stop in and pick up some beans.

        I have been buying my coffee at Pannikin and have been pleased. I am liking their organic sumatra a lot.

        1. re: Enorah

          I like Pannikin's Indo Noir, but lately I've been buying Caffe Calabria's beans at E-Street Cafe. The beans make much better espresso in my office machine which generally means they're fresher.

          And E-Street Cafe makes by far the best espresso drinks in North County. They are working hard to be a player in the espresso market and are doing well.

          1. re: Spike Costa

            I love E Street. Good to know about the beans there.

            The turtle brownie at E Street, OMG

            1. re: Spike Costa

              E-Street Cafe gives you ok coffee (they don't have good baristas) but nothing compared Caffe Calabria.(which also has great paninis). In North County you get better espresso, cappuccino etc. at Vinaka in Carlsbad


              1. re: honkman

                I personally find Caffe Calabria to be incredibly inconsistent. I really like what they're contributing to the local coffee scene, and Arnie's as passionate as they come. And they were hosts to an incredibly successful "barista jam", bringing in experts and participants from places near and far in an incredibly collegial environment. But somehow they do not seem execute well at the bar with their own roasts as some of the better baristas in S.D. with their beans. Personally I think that part of the problem is that they have too many baristas. It makes it hard to single out the good ones, as I'm sure there must be... Is there a barista there in particular that you can recommend?

                For an example of who I think does a much better job serving their roasts better than Calabria themselves is the cart in front of the Kaiser Permanente at the NE corner of I-805 and Clairemont Mesa Blvd. It's run by an espresso devotee named Yvonne, and I think she is amongst the most consistent of baristas in S.D. And like all good baristas, she really cares about what she does.

                I remember once grabbing a shot after a 2 week hiatus, and she actually remembered that the shot I had 2 weeks prior was poured right after she had loaded a new batch of beans in her grinder. Although she went through 3 grinder adjustment passes before pouring my shot, she remembered that it could have been better and comped me for my drink 2 weeks later!

                She uses Calabria's beans, and I find Calabria's beans to be tricky to use. I've personally tried them at home on a number of occaisions, but never seem to be able to dial them in. But no matter as Yvonne seems to always do a very good job with them!

                I'll have to try out Vinaka someday. I ran into the owner once at Kaito, and have always wanted to pay a visit since. Where exactly are they? I tried to find them once from the verbal description I recalled from the conversation at Kaito - as I recall it was near a !Starbucks! on the second floor near Coyote Cafe. I drove around a bit but couldn't find anything remotely cafe-like.

                BTW I second Calabria's panninis, though I find them a bit on the oily side... Can't wait for when they get to finally fire up their pizza oven!

                Caffe Calabria Coffee Roasters
                3933 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

              2. re: Spike Costa

                E Street Cafe seems to bounce back and forth between having none to one barista who know what they're doing. I wish they could manage to hold on to their better ones for longer. It's as close as any place has gotten in this neck of the woods to having baristas who are actually serious about what they're doing and do it well.

                Right now they have a very good one who has trained at Blue Bottle in S.F., but I forget her name - maybe Jesse? Sometime before she came along there was another barista who trained at, if I recall correctly, Lighthouse Roasters in Seattle, who was also very good.

                But outside of those two I really haven't come across any outstanding baristas there. Not to knock them, though - if it's going to happen anywhere in North County, I think it'll be at E Street.

                E Street Cafe
                128 W E St, Encinitas, CA 92024

          2. re: Enorah

            We are also enjoying Manhattan Giant pizza on D Street

          3. Might want to check out Yu Me Ya for Japanese izakaya style food - not a sushi bar. Excellent sake and Japanese beer selection.


            1246 N Coast Highway 101

            9 Replies
            1. re: Pablo

              Yu Me Ya is so on our radar, Pablo, thanks.

              1. re: Pablo

                We ate at Yu Me Ya this evening and it was a wonderful dining experience from start to finish. We felt transported to Japan during our meal, the flavors and aesthetic of the place and presentation of the food.

                Thank you Pablo for your recommendation and the very extensive thread you started on yu me ya. We sampled many of the dishes discussed on your thread.

                1. re: Pablo

                  Pablo, just wanted to thank you for post you did a while back about Kaito - pictures and all. Also the advice about being respectful when ordering at the sushi bar. We love Ota and always ask for omakase, but never know if the chef will give us the really unbelievable experience or not. One week live sea snail, the next week standard fare.

                  Anyway, we went to Kaito the other night and had a fantastic experience. We're in F&B and came here by way of New York and San Francisco thinking the San Diego restaurant scene was just about to "happen". Sort of disappointing, but worth it when you search out gems like Kaito. Morita-san was great and once he began to trust us and experiement a little we had some unbelievably fresh and interesting fish.

                  Thanks again for the recommendation.

                  1. re: feed_me_please

                    So glad you made it, we love it! I was involved in F&B in SF and we never found a place like this. Last week we had the most amazing Mediterranean Toro, it literally melted down my arm as I was eating it! And the Japanese Saba was outstanding, been waiting the whole summer for it. Hope you make it back soon! Some recent pics:

                    1. re: feed_me_please

                      Pablo - your pic of the kinmedai looks delicious and has my mouth watering! Reminds me of a heavenly hirame I had just two nights ago with yuzu and Korean sea salt - the best I've had yet: incredible texture with a perfect balance between the various components, including the konbu that was used to delicately season the tane. I almost never ask for seconds (per the Thomas Keller philosophy of not exhausting the palate), but this one was so good that I had to ask for another round!

                      feed_me_please - from yet another Kaito fan, that's great to hear. You'll apprecaite that Morita-san practices his craft with a keen eye on the Japanese concept of "sekki", which are the 24 seasonal divison of the calendar year. (The seasonality of classical Japanese cuisine considers 2 weeks on the calendar to be a substantive change in determining what ingredients are at their peak...) He is constantly keeping an eye out on what's coming in season, what's coming out of season, and when a particular tane is at its peak.

                      Therefore to get a full appreciation for the remarkable work that Morita-san does at Kaito one can treat themselves to an extended culinary tour by frequenting them often, at least once every 2 weeks. In fact some items makes such a brief appearance that it may only be available for as little as a week or less.

                      (How many "sushi bars" out there would even bother to carry such briefly seasonal, exotic ingredients, let alone know what to do with them once it has arrived? I'd say at best it's left to just a few, and as to the others I'd argue that they're really not sushi bars if they thought of such attention to seasonal details as being optional...)

                      And outside of the items needed for the "roll customers" or the table customers, I've often found that he will not purchase an ingredient just because it's available at market (early in the season or at the end of its season), but only when it's at its peak.

                      And if you frequent Kaito enough you'll inevitably catch him talking about and anticipating the next sekki. For instance you may hear about a certain item in the market that should be at its peak next week, or that an item that had just arrived will peak in 3-4 days, the latter due to the fact that, contrary to popular belief and practice, many sushi items improves dramatically with age (when watched with a knowledgeable eye). In fact if you go often enough you can track the evolution of certain items such as the differences between a 0 day kohada, versus one that is on its 3rd to 4th day, or hear how tuna improves steadily with age from day to day, but only so far as it falls off precipitously if kept any longer.

                      So armed with his extensive knowledge day in and day out he does so much behind the scenes to give his loyal customers as good an experience as is possible here in the States. All that in a free-wheeling, perhaps sometimes too free-wheeling, environment that is never intimidating to either the roll customer or the more serious sushi lover. And as to the roll customer I cannot think of a better place than Kaito to be introduced to traditional nigiri sushi, as in addition to everything else Morita-san has created an environment where he will help them explore the traditional items they are most likely to enjoy once being informed of their personal taste preferences.

                      1. re: cgfan

                        cgfan, we had the hirame last night and you are right, it was absolutely sublime. I think the kinmedai is unfortunately over for the season now, I really gorged myself on that fish whenever he had it this summer, loved the kama too. We also had a chance to have madai a couple weeks ago, first time ever for us. Morita-san had one day shinko for us last night, tiny little guys! Also had really great Japanese saba again. And how can I forget, the superb housemade ankimo! We are so hopelessly addicted to his food!

                        1. re: Pablo

                          That must mean I was there later that same day, as well as two days before...

                          The shinko really impressed me - I really enjoyed that one. But then again he had so much to offer - incredible mirugai, sanma, tako, saba... And that was just scratching the surface.

                          Did you see the Hokkaido tako? That was one impressive octopus. I'd hate to run across that guy when it was "whole and still alive"!

                          I still remember last year when he brought in some Hokkaido tako... He just held one leg alone with both hands and outstretched arms; it must have been at least 6 feet long!

                          1. re: cgfan

                            cgfan, do you do the fresh tako raw? I have been having it lightly seared, and topped with ume paste, still chewy, but less chewy than the raw version, which is just too chewy for me. Morita-san cooked up the suction cups, first time treat for us, they were great! You know where we are heading tonight! Hoping to see a katsuo, it's almost been a year!

                            1. re: Pablo

                              Pablo: I've had it both ways; I just leave it up to Morita-san. All other things being equal, I don' t mind the chewiness and tend to prefer it raw rather than seared.

                              Actually I'll be there later tonight too, but it's for a party so I'll be at a table rather than the bar... :-(

                              That tako from Hokkaido is indeed really chewy, but at the same time the texture is so soft and the flavor so fine. I like to joke, though, that it's like what they said in those old commericials for Bubble Yum bubble gum - the flavor just keeps on going and going no matter how long you chew!

                              Like you, I can't wait 'til we get to see some katsuo this season!

                  2. French Pastry in the Trader Joe's/Longs Shopping Center complex off Encinitas Blvd and El Camino Real has pretty decent paninis and sandwiches. Nothing that will totally knock your socks off but it's a good alternative to Panera. I haven't tried much of their desserts, although they look good. The only dessert I've had so far is a chocolate strawberry cake. Texture was light but the bottom was a tad soggy. Filling was chocolate whipped cream, nice and light and not too sweet. I personally prefer as richer, denser chocolate taste. Overall, pleasant but didn't knock me out of the park. The owner/baker is very friendly.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: daantaat

                      I have been wondering about that bakery

                      I have tried Elizabethan Desserts. Oh Mama, She can bake. We had a brownie (so full of chocolate it's almost a chocolate bar), a strawberry rhubarb pie, and an everything cookie. Really good. The pie was so good, the crust - buttery and yummy. The cookie was soft, nutty, chocolate, and coconutty.

                      We'll be back

                      1. re: Enorah

                        It's not god-awful, but it won't blow your socks off either. I haven't made it to Elizabethan Desserts yet, but suspect it's better than French Pastry.

                      2. re: daantaat

                        So we just tried the French Pastry joint.

                        It's full name is Isabelle Brien's French Pastry Cafe.

                        We had a piece of delicious chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling. Great cup of iced coffee as well.

                        We chatted with Isabelle for a bit. She is very friendly. That was a lovely experience.

                      3. I haven't been to Carlsbad in a year, so my Encinitas info may be a bit out of date. But my favorite dinner spot somewhat hidden in a bank strip mall on the north side of El Camino Real is Savory. Good french bistro fare, place has a NYC vibe with the lighting, and prices that used to be a bargain were still a value. I like the pepper-crusted ribeye with the potato gratin.

                        There are a few places worth checking out in Del Mar a few freeway exits south near the Via del Valle exit off the 5: Pamplemousse for very upscale, Red Tracton's for good steaks, better prime rib, and amazingly huge good sides of fries, and there is a decent fish place right there too.

                        Juanita's on PCH is a fine taqueria. From L.A., I ordered some fine al pastor soft tacos, thought the fish was a bit fast-foody, but loved the lines, friendliness, freshness, and envied those who were carrying the crispy-taco specials.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nosh

                          Have not yet tried Savory or Juanita's.

                          Every time I drive by Juanita's with the windows open I want to stop cause it smells so good.

                        2. Savory is good. I also really like Siamese basil for Thai.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ela0427

                            We ate at Siamese Basil when we were here looking for a place to live. We liked it. Thanks for reminding us to go back.

                            Any other Thai places you all recommend?

                          2. Breakfast/Lunch Favorites

                            Honey's - Well, yummy, affordable, and fun. Only have had breakfast there so far. But love the breakfast there, dining on the sidewalk.

                            Swami's - I just can not say enough good things about Swami's. Our favorites are the smoothies, the tropical salad with grilled shrimp, the tuna sandwich, the soups

                            The Beach Grass Cafe - We had a fabulous mid-afternoon meal there. My honey had the yellow fin salad sandwich and I had the salmon omelette with cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, and onions. The potatoes and fries were great.

                            All three are owned by the same person.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Enorah

                              If you like Swami's you should visit Mozy's in Encinitas. Both are quite similar.

                            2. Also, we are very much enjoying the farmer's market in ecinitas/leucadia on sunday. I appreciate the organic farmers and their delicious produce.

                              1. Here is what we are still searching for

                                Great burger and fries

                                Hot dog joint

                                Homemade ice cream (I know about Bubby's)

                                Deli (Jewish style)

                                any suggestions?

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: Enorah

                                  For addictive hole-in-the-wall mexican takeout try Jorge's (it's in the same strip mall as Savory). His mexico city style chicken soup is freshly made every day from whole chickens and is really delicious. I also like the crispy chicken tacos, with shredded chicken meat from the above mentioned soup chickens. On rainy days, he'll have a line out the door for his soup.

                                  I've always enjoyed sushi on the rock for lunch, it gets really loud at dinner time. The "monkey balls" appetizer is fun and tasty.

                                  If you want a great gourmet burger, Tommy V's does a respectable one and they also have the best steaks in carlsbad/encinitas (imho).

                                  There's a small french bistro called Le Bon Beuf on Encinitas Blvd. towards Hwy 101 that has a wonderful beef borgioun and couq au vin. (I can't spell it, but it's great.)

                                  For a fun funky beach spot try Calypso on the beach side of 101 towards Solana Beach. It's a blend of carribean and french cusine. They have live music on the weekends and you'll need to call for a reservation because it gets crowded.

                                  There's a wonderful place to get gelato in the Lumber Yard next to Chuao (which if you haven't been to Chuao Chocolatier yet, get in your car and go!).

                                  Enjoy Encinitas, it's a wonderful place to live!

                                    1. re: ExercisetoEat

                                      I got in my car and drove to Chao


                                      1. re: Enorah


                                        Be careful, it's addictive! I now pay exorbiant prices to ship it to myself since it has to be sent next-day air on dry ice. But it's a great way to make friends...I know some people who are going to be extra nice to me around Christmas this year! I think my favorite one is the Modena, with the touch of balsamic...heaven.

                                        1. re: Enorah

                                          get their Spicy Maya hot chocolate mix and make it with milk, not water. A decadent, thick, rich and creamy, nearly pudding-like drink!

                                      2. re: Enorah

                                        At El Camino Real and Aviara Pkwy, there is a Vons shopping center with a BBQ place called Joey's BBQ. My husband loves their burgers and sweet potato fries. In N Out has good burgers. People have told me Ruby's at Carlsbad Outlet mall has good fries.

                                        In the Flower Hill Mall (Via de la Valle, just east of 5) is Milton's, a deli. Their portions are huge, and their sandwiches are really stuffed. Sometimes their food is good, and sometimes just so-so.

                                        1. re: Enorah

                                          Ice cream? Pizza Port, along with great Pizza, beer, root beer makes really good ice cream.

                                          Gotta plug Station sushi next a couple doors down too. Great.

                                          1. re: Enorah

                                            FYI. The owner of Savory will be opening a gourment burger shop very soon. I'm not sure of the exact time line but it's within a couple of months and will be in same area as the current shop. I'll keep you posted.

                                            1. re: Luigi1963

                                              We ate at ECR (El Camino Real Cafe) the burger shop opened by the owner of Savory today for lunch. Having enjoyed Savory very much and having a passion for hamburgers I was really looking forward to it. I had a bowl of the soup of the day which was a roasted pepper potato and it was quite good although it was a turn off that it was served in a cardboard take-out like container. The menu descriptions were difficult to figure out but the worst part and biggest disappointment was the food. Neither sandwhich that my husband and I ordered was edible. Everything was cooked to a crisp and actually some of it was down-right burned. I would like to say I will give them another chance but I don't think I will. Definite disappointment!!

                                            2. re: Enorah

                                              The Grand Deli in Carlsbad has GREAT deli sandwiches & potato salad!!

                                              Besta Wan in Cardiff has good chilli dogs & burgers, a must to check out!

                                              Grand Deli
                                              595 Grand Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008

                                              Besta Wan Pizza House
                                              148 Aberdeen Dr, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007

                                              1. re: BionicAllyson

                                                I hate to be a bummer but if you walk a whole half a block down the street (Roosevelt)from the Grand Deli you will arrive at Prontos deli which is far superior in every way other than indoor seating. Great sandwiches (boarshead) and homemade soups. Real homemade soups not the kind that is a sysco product.

                                                My office is a hundred yards from both and it really is no contest.

                                                ALso if you are in the village area, Overseas chinese restaurant is one of the best chinese places i know of in the San DIego area. It is a couple doors down from prontos and next to the post office.

                                            3. for a deli...Herschel's Restaurant on Encinitas Blvd, East of El Camino Real
                                              burger and fries...i love in-n-out

                                              another place is Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad..great deli, meat department and filling restaurant.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: Ela0427

                                                I thought I read that Herschel's closed?

                                                1. re: Enorah

                                                  wow..i did not know that and I just called the number I found on Google..disconnected. My favorite deli for lunch meat is Tip Top. In ENcinitas there is a good selection of Boar's Head lunch meats at Harvest Ranch market. At the end of Encinitas Blvd. almost in Rancho Santa Fe. oh yeah..CHuao chocolate... yummy!!

                                                  1. re: Ela0427

                                                    Ooh, how could I forget my favorite deli inside Seaside Market in Cardiff (right off of Hwy 101)... it's not a jewish style deli but it is wonderful anyways, everything from curried chicken salad, to lasagna, teriaki tofu and crab cakes. Also if you're shopping for fresh fish, I've always been really happy with the slection at Seaside. Probably the closest thing I've found to a jewish style deli is Milton's on Via de la Valle in north Del Mar. The breakfast is decent and huge I'm just not a big fan of that style overall, preferring Swami's or Thyme in the Ranch.

                                                    There's also a new restaurant in Rancho Santa Fe to check out called the Pantry. It's fresh, inventive cuisine without a stuffy atmosphere. In the same neighborhood, Thyme in the Ranch (closed on Mondays) has the best muffins around. My favorite is the blackberry mango, with an oversized sugar sprinkled top. They make great cappucinos too.

                                                    Ahh, so many wonderful places to go!

                                                2. re: Ela0427

                                                  Herschel's is now Filippi's Pizza.

                                                  1. re: Pablo

                                                    Don't forget Juanita's taco shop! great carnitas and a mean carne asada taco too. (and cheap!)

                                                    1. re: Jeters

                                                      yes, yes, next time we eat Mexican

                                                      and Karina's for the ceviche, I read

                                                      1. re: Enorah

                                                        We had the ceviche at Karina's.

                                                        It was great.

                                                    2. re: Pablo

                                                      is it related to the one in Little Italy?

                                                  2. a place that has not been discussed is Never on Sunday, which is a small family Greek place on El Camino across the street from Circuit City mall. It is owned by one of the sisters that has the Greek place in the Gaslamp and the name is lost to me. No belly dancers and not fancy but just good home style food. I think you will have problems with Jewish style deli food. I think Miltons is terrible, if you got the 'tude, you better have the food and Miltons does not deliver. Better bets would be Seaside as mentioned above and I think Jimbo's up in the forum and some good take out items and great soups.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: littlestevie

                                                      I was just thinking, "Greek, what about Greek?"

                                                      Thank you!

                                                      I've read the not so good reviews of Milton's. I miss my Chicago delis :(

                                                      I have been to Seaside and Jimbo's both. Very good sandwiches from Seaside. Just got groceries from Jimbo's. Good granola, but pricey.

                                                      1. re: Enorah

                                                        as a born & bred new yorker i can tell you that sadly, there is no such thing as good deli in s.d. i lived there for 3 years and it was a hopeless quest. however, if you're really desperate, my sources tell me 'dz akins' is almost passable.

                                                        if you're ever up in los angeles you can get your fix at langer's, canter's, or nate 'n al's.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          I have to agree with you--there is no good deli in SD. Milton's is expensive and barely delivers. Bread was dry, pastrami was dry. The only thing that is good are their breads (multi-grain, whole wheat, potato, etc) that you can get at Costco and Trader Joe's.

                                                          Add to the LA Deli list--Brent's Deli in Northridge and Westlake Village. Brent's also delivers to SD, for a fee. :-)

                                                          Hot dogs--Costco's are good and cheap. So is their pizza.

                                                          Burger and fries--In n Out Burgers off the Carlsbad Village exit off the 5 freeway.

                                                          1. re: daantaat

                                                            Try the Santa Fe cafe off I-5 and Santa Fe Ave., it's a mom and pop place but the food is decent, the portions are large and they make a damn fine burger. As far as greek nothing pops in my head but there is a killer persian place off of Del Mar Hghts. Rd in the Vons Shopping center. I can't think of the name but the food is really good.

                                                            1. re: Luigi1963

                                                              I think the Persian place is Alborz. West of the 5 freeway off DM Heights Rd.

                                                              1. re: daantaat

                                                                Yes Alborz, named for the Persian mountain range. Though I've only had and never looked beyond their Persian entrees, they call themselves a Persian and Greek restaurant. Just keep in mind that their portions are huge! Each entree can easily serve 2 adults. I think I'm hooked on their lamb shanks; incredibly tender, served au jus with enough rice to carpet a very large plate.

                                                                Their menu can be a bit confusing too. Their ghormeh sabzi is listed as a vegetarian stew, with nary a mention of the lamb that's the key protein ingredient. Not that I mind; I was looking for a ghormeh sabzi to no avail, so I asked and was led to their vegetarian stew. Good for this omnivore, but may accidentally lead some vegetarians astray...

                                                                Reminds me of the controversial prank that Gordon Ramsay once played on the British show Kitchen Nightmares, when he failed to disclose the meat in a sample meal that was served to some vegetarians as a vegetarian dish...

                                                      2. re: littlestevie

                                                        Never on Sunday was delicious. We just tried it a few weeks ago. A bit pricey though and no combination plate which was a bummer since I like so many Greek dishes. I had the Mousakka which was outstanding and my honey had the roast chicken which was falling off the bone tender.

                                                      3. I forgot to mention Bird House grill or cafe...a great little Turkish place next to Juanita's in Leucadia. My Turkish friend took me there and she really likes it.

                                                        1. Just need to add that we went back to Bety's and it was just as great as the first time. I had the fish tacos and my honey had the huevos rancheros.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Enorah

                                                            And now I have had the mole at Bety's. Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. That was some darn good mole. I mean really good, ridiculously good. And the fish tacos there, just to add, as I believe there was a question about this elsewhere, I was given the choice of fried or grilled fish. I have had the tacos both ways. Both delicious. The fried was just barely breaded and crispy. The grilled was garlicky and yummy.

                                                          2. Does anyone know anything about the farm stand on La Costa east of El Camino Real?

                                                            Also we have been to the Chino Farms farm stand in Rancho Santa Fe. The produce we purchased there was really high quality.

                                                            1. We ate at Joe's Smokin' BBQ in Carlsbad today. I have read all the threads about the lack of good bbq in SD, and I have to say that Joey's served us up a really yummy bbq meal. They have 2 types of sauce wet and suh-weet. The wet is nice and tangy, spicy, smoky, while the suh-weet is, well, sweet (duh) and smooth and smoky.

                                                              The meat was all tender and juicy (chicken, pork, ribs, and brisket) and the price was affordable.

                                                              A lot of side options and a good looking burger, too (did not have it).

                                                              1. So yesterday we headed to Aniata Cheese shop in Del Mar. Highly recommend it.
                                                                So right there, was Milton's. Now we moved out to Northern CA from Chicago almost three years ago. Up in Sonoma county, we could not even find a bowl of matzah ball soup. It was just too tempting, despite the reviews. I've got to say (and I know I may lose all credibility here) that we had some really good food at Milton's - the corned beef was moist, the kreplach in the chicken soup was yummy, the chopped liver was great.

                                                                Maybe we just lucked into a good day. Maybe we have missed it for so long that we have forgotten what good deli tastes like, Whatever it was, the deli gods smiled upon us at Milton's yesterday, and this shiksa got herself a belly full of yumminess.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Enorah

                                                                    I like Milton's. THough it isn't HARDCORE deli, it is good. Plus we don't have that many options in SD. I think the beloved DZ Akins is very mediocre but most San DIegans think its great.

                                                                    As to Joeys bbq, i doubt your taste buds will pull you back but it is edible.

                                                                    1. re: SeanT

                                                                      I knew I was pushing it when I posted about Joey's. The ribs were good, as far as I am concerned, but what the heck do I know?

                                                                      You are right Milton's is not HARDCORE deli. The deli counter prices, in fact, seem really high. But the food was good that day.

                                                                      1. re: SeanT

                                                                        We did go back to Joey's. It was not as good as the first time. The vibe was kind of strange in there, and the food was just kind of bland.

                                                                    2. So, we have begun to expand our dining experiences to the surrounding communities.

                                                                      The other late afternoon we found ourselves in La Jolla looking for an early dinner. I was a bit frantic since I did not have any chowhound recs in my head (a sickness now, I realize). We chose Girard Gourmet. We chose well. That little bakery/deli/coffee house is wonderful. We had a delicious and affordable meal and a great chat with the owner, Francois. We dined on an organic mixed greens salad with cranberries, candied pecans, and crumbled cheese and a huge tuna fish sandwich. The bread there is really good. Everything is house made.

                                                                      Last night I was a bit more prepared as we ventured to the Solana Beach Fish House. I love the good deal/good food combo (I mean who doesn't, right?) .I had a delicious chilean sea bass sandwich and my honey a seared ahi tuna sandwich and we shared a bowl of cioppino which was spicy and chock full of seafood. The prices are really afordable. Our check came in at something like $32.00, and the fish was fresh and delicious and the portions were generous. I love the totally, laid back, down-home vibe there.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Enorah

                                                                        If you find yourself back in La Jolla you might check out "Come on In" a small cafe just off of Girard street. They do a casual and tasty lunch and then bring out the white linen to dress things up a bit at dinner. They used to have a lamb shank special every Thursday night that was really wonderful. I also remember a ginger carrot soup that was quite delicious.

                                                                        The Solana Beach fish house is indeed a great spot. Love the vibe there too!

                                                                        I also have enjoyed a the tasting menu at Nine Ten. They have a chef who is a member of the slow food movement and creates great dishes with organic and regional ingredients for the most part.

                                                                        1. re: Enorah

                                                                          Be careful of the SB Fish House. While I've had decent meals there, I've also had fish that was less than fresh. I've also taken out fish and it's not as good as what's available from The Fish Market's fish counter. Perhaps the latter has more turnover.

                                                                          1. re: PGB

                                                                            While we're exploring fish houses outside of Encinitas but in the larger North County area, I'd throw in my recommendation for Fish House Vera Cruz in Carlsbad (and also in San Marcos) over The Fish Market. Now admittedly I'm not much for American-style fish preparations; but I think I can still spot ones that I enjoy more were I to eat in the style. While I've always thought that The Fish Market served their fish so over-cooked as to be no longer succulent but on it's way to being dry, I've never found that at Fish House Vera Cruz.

                                                                            And I like the fact that they retain their own boats and are a small local operation. And to top it off I think that their smoked albacore is the best in town, available at their retail fish counter. (They smoke their own...) Again I find that smoked albacore at other places to be too dry, but the version at Fish House Vera Cruz has just the right amount of residual moisture for me. Not only do I find it to be the best smoked albacore in town, their prices on it must be at least half of everybody else! (Serving suggestion: slice the smoked albacore in 1/4" slices and serve sashimi-style with a small plate of soy sauce, and an optional small dab of Chinese yellow mustard.)

                                                                            So if it's an American-style fish house you're looking for, Fish House Vera Cruz gets my vote and recommendation...

                                                                            Fish House Vera Cruz
                                                                            417 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

                                                                          2. re: Enorah

                                                                            For Fish - please try Pelly's Fish Market & Cafe in Carlsbad
                                                                            7110 Avenida Encinas # 101
                                                                            Carlsbad, CA 92011
                                                                            (760) 431-8454
                                                                            Fun casual place - best fish to purchase to take home and cook and wonderful simple fresh grilled fish, fish tacos, fish sandwhich's, chowder, etc. By far the best fish counter in town.

                                                                            1. re: sdguy13

                                                                              We did try Pelly's tonight

                                                                              We had a very satisfying meal. I had the sashimi plate (ahi and salmon), my honey an albacore sandwich, and the creamy chowder.

                                                                              Delicious, fresh, and affordable.

                                                                              The fish counter was beautiful.

                                                                              Thanks for the recommendation, we will definitely return.

                                                                          3. Juanita's Taco Shop (cash only). Any of the Burritos, The “Beef” hard shell tacos, the “Rolled tacos” which are Taquitoes are also great. The Machaca is mui bueno. Go for breakfast and have the potato burrito which is potato, egg and cheese. I ask for them to add ham fried crispy with some of that green salsa on the side and the result, IMO, is the best Breakfast Burrito in Cal . I had one yesterday and today and I will be back on Friday – so good. I don't think this place is as good as it was maybe 6 years ago but I don't think the prices have changed in 8 years. Nevertheless, I still think it is one of the best taco shops in the state.

                                                                            Juanita's Taco Shop
                                                                            290 North Coast Highway 101,
                                                                            Encinitas, CA 92024

                                                                            Close to Juanita's Taco Shop is a great Coffee shop. Buy some Pannikin blend to take home. I just wish they wood stop making Kona coffee for the ready made brew this week and do a different one everyday like they use to do. Some of their breakfast are very good. Try the Greek eggs and continue down the menu. The baked stuff is a little dense.

                                                                            Pannikin Coffee & Tea
                                                                            510 N Coast Hwy 101
                                                                            Encinitas, CA 92024-2035
                                                                            760) 436-5824

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                                                              I like Pannikin, as well. The setting is so neat-- it's an old house. I really like Encinitas, and there's a nice fresh juice bar in the area, right near the meditation garden that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. I think it's called Jamroc 101 Juice Bar.

                                                                              1. re: katkoupai

                                                                                I agree that the setting is cool. That building is an old train station. I like looking at the empty bean sacks piled-yp next to the roaster that they sell for $1. Some are have really cool artwork on them. My favorate coffee to buy there is Blue Mountain. However, it cost so much that I only get a half pound for every two pounds of the Pannikin Blend.Some of the breakfast are good also. I Greak eggs and the breakfast bagel and pretty good and the prices are not bad.

                                                                                1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                  I remember the building and the setting more than I remember the food and drink. That little stretch of the PCH in San Diego is so lovely, and Pannikin is right there. :-)

                                                                              2. re: JeetJet

                                                                                We have been to the Pannikin in Encinitas and the one in Del Mar. I have been buying my beans there since the first week we moved here. Although, we were in the city last week and I got some beans at Caffe Calabria which were outstanding.

                                                                              3. Enorah, great thread that has remained active and interesting for a month. I will print it out next time I or relatives/friends are visiting no,county san diego.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: nosh

                                                                                  Thank you, nosh.

                                                                                  I am happy to be living here and sharing my experiences as I get to read what everyone else has shared. Being new to an area can be overwhelming. I have moved a number of times and it usually takes me months if not years to get the restaurant thing down. Thanks to this board, we have been eating great right from the get go. We have only had a couple of off experiences, and I will not bother to be specific about them here.

                                                                                  1. re: Enorah

                                                                                    "We have only had a couple of off experiences, and I will not bother to be specific about them here."

                                                                                    IMO, it is much more helpful for the board if everybody is providing both positive and negative reports. A negative report isn't there to bash a restaurant but to provide other CH that they might be a little bit more careful if they want to spend money on a certain restaurant. To write only positive reviews gives a wrong picture of the restaurant scene. And I personally also trust somebody much more on an anonymous message board if I read balanced reviews. If somebody has the reputation of writing only good reviews it might be hard to know if the person is hyping every restaurant and I tend to ignore those reviews, but again that is just my opinion. I am very interested to also know which restaurants in Encinitas you didn't like.

                                                                                    1. re: honkman

                                                                                      I appreciate your point of view and pondered about whether or not to post negative experiences. I just do not want to go there. I guess the way I look at it is when I am reading reviews the more positive reviews there are of a place, the more likely I am to go there. I tend to ignore the negative comments unless there is an overwhelming negative response from many posters. There is aways going to be someone who doesn't like or has a bad experience at even the most "perfect" of places.

                                                                                      As far as hyping restaurants goes, that totally cracks me up. I love food, love to eat (too much sometimes). I just see this board as a creative outlet right now.

                                                                                      1. re: Enorah

                                                                                        I agree that every "perfect" place will also have some not so good moments but I am always a little afraid that too many people are hesitant to not write a negative report and than you only read very few bad reviews about a below average restaurant.

                                                                                        1. re: honkman

                                                                                          Okay, I'll give you one.

                                                                                          Islands (I know. What were we thinking). The fries were great, but I "enjoyed" the burger for the next 2 days.

                                                                                          1. re: Enorah

                                                                                            I am not a big fan of chains but, I like the burgers at islands. It is not burger purist stuff but the Hawaiian burger is gooood.

                                                                                2. Back to the show.

                                                                                  So, we have observed that fish tacos are to San Diego as hot dogs are to Chicago. Yesterday we headed down to Ocean Beach where, I have read, some of the best fish tacos in San Diego are to be had. Our destination was the South Beach Bar and Grill. I must say the fish tacos were great. Our favorites were the wahoo and the mahi- mahi. We also had some great oysters rockefeller.

                                                                                  The noise level was a bit deafening in the place. Late Sat afternoon was probably not the wisest time to go, as we are not drinkers. When we return, we will choose to go at more of an off time, probably mid-afternoon some weekday.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Enorah

                                                                                    Just as a warning - I was at South Beach Bar & Grill about two weeks ago on a Monday at 2:30pm. It was packed, and we had to lurk for a table. Not quite as deafening as a late Saturday afternoon, probably, but still packed!

                                                                                  2. We had a great Italian meal tonight at Russo's Pasta Shop on El Camino Real in Encinitas. The pasta is made there, and it was fresh and cooked perfectly. I had angel hair with pesto and my honey had whole wheat spaghetti with mushroom marinara and a couple of meatballs. He was especially happy, as there was a really good amount of sauce served on the pasta. He hates to have to hunt for sauce with his pasta.

                                                                                    Russo's is one we will return to.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Enorah

                                                                                      The owner of Russo's Pasta Shop opened this year also a restaurant in Hillcrest (Russo's House).

                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                        The Hillcrest location closed :(

                                                                                        According to the shop in Encinitas there is talk of opening a full service restaurant in Encinitas


                                                                                        Bought some fresh pasta the other night (angel hair and whole wheat spaghetti) with a couple of different sauces and brought it home to cook. Yum!

                                                                                    2. Hi Enorah, Here's a link to a North County restaurant review blog that I stumbled across. It looks like there are several good places reviewed. It also links other San Diego food related blogs that may be helpful to you:

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. Two more I have been enjoying lately

                                                                                        Leucadia Sushi Bar - affordable and fun. Sushi chefs make it and then it goes round and round on a conveyor belt (like the ones in japan with the water and the boats). You just pick what you want and grab it, and if you do not see what you want they will make it for you. It has been a nice alternative to Kaito (which I still love).

                                                                                        St. Germain's in Encinitas - Yummy sandwiches and salads. Their salad dressings are house made. Great smoothie bar. Fun breakfast and lunch joint.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Enorah

                                                                                          Saint G's great for a lazy weekend breakfast (terrible coffee though). My fav price/quality sushi in the area is Station Sushi, but there is a good number of sushi places in that area!

                                                                                          1. re: Enorah

                                                                                            We just returned from Encinitas and used this website to figure out where to eat. We went to Fish House Vera Cruz. The fish was fresh and cooked to our liking. The potatoes were dreadful and the salad was just lettece and a piece of broccoli and one tomato. So, if you just want fish, go there. If you want fish surrounded by delicious side dishes...this is a place to avoid. Their cole slaw was very good, however.

                                                                                            Also, we ordered a cake from Elizabethan bakery and it was fabulous. Elizabeth lost her power (they were digging nearby) but she managed to deliver our order without lights etc. A charming woman with a great deal of talent.

                                                                                            Today pizza was okay. Nothing special. Our group of 12 ordered a variety of things and that was the concensus.

                                                                                            Juanita's Tacos was fabulous and so authentic. Great Mexican food at a very reasonable price. If you get it to go as we did, ask them to put salsa on the side so you can reheat it without cooking the wonderful tomato salsa.

                                                                                            We ate at Ki's and it was good. Their fish tacos were fresh and good. My husband's salmon salad was nothing special at all.

                                                                                            Finally, we tried the Chart House. It was overpriced and didn't have the fresh fish selection that Vera Cruz had. The setting, however, was fabulous. We brought our own wine and paid $20/bottle and was glad we did. Their wine list was anemic for such an upscale place. Avoid the chopped salad unless you like a lingering hot feeling. Everyone loved the chowder and the molten cake.

                                                                                          2. Another aweome place to eat in Encinitas is Firefly Grill and Wine Bar. The weekend tasting/wine pairing menus are fabulous as well as the regular menu.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: CatGirl

                                                                                              Sounds great

                                                                                              Just wish that the prices were posted on the website's menu.

                                                                                              1. re: Enorah

                                                                                                The tasting menu is normally $45 without wine and $65 with wine. The regular menu prices are in the $20-$30 range. The owner is amazing at pairing wines with food.

                                                                                                In case you missed this part of the link: http://www.fireflygrillandwinebar.com...
                                                                                                This shows what the tasting menu is for each weekend.

                                                                                            2. Great thread! We are Encinitas locals yet rarely get a chance to eat out, so as you can imagine this is a priceless resource!

                                                                                              We just tried Thai Pan Express in the Albertson's shopping plaza on the west side of El Camino just north of Encinitas Blvd.

                                                                                              EXCELLENT, authentic and affordable. We ordered several things family style and my favs were the Pad See You and the shrimp pineapple rice (can't remember the name). Jasmine tea was also good. I do have to say while I enjoyed the presentation and taste of the Thai iced tea, I've had better (but would still order one again from here).

                                                                                              Not to go unmentioned was the extremely attentive and pleasant service. Looks hole in the wall from the street (and a little on the inside), but the obviously foreign statue of a Thai woman outside the door was the selling point that begged us to try it. We have a 2 and a 4 yr old who loved the food as well (although they are weird kids and eat practically anything).

                                                                                              Hope you like it as much as we did!