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May 25, 2008 02:31 PM

great restaurants north of La Jolla

we will be in area for 5 nights - are looking for good restaurants - not stuffy - no steakhouses either - preferably something with some atmosphere - possibly outside seating (I assume most restaurants have heaters just in case) Italian - seafood - also - if possible not outrageously expensive - we would typically order 1 glass of wine each - 2 appetizers, entrees - rarely a dessert and I would like to stay in the neighborhood of $150 if possible.

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  1. That's a large geographical area. Are you willing to drive 10-15 miles up the Coast Highway? There are many good to great restaurants in the area. If you get up to Encinitas, I recommend i Trulli. Great regional Italian cuisine from mainly from around Puglia, excellent variety of wines from Italy also. Also in Encinitas in the "old town" area, Via Italia.

    Del Mar is also an area to look at, but I find it a little to "trendy" and crowded for my tastes, your milage may vary. Have fun and let us know where you went and how you liked what you had.

    1. Cavaillon, Market, Sbicca

      1. Cavaillon--outdoor and indoor seating, French in a casual, cozy atmosphere, definitely one of the better deals for the quality of food. Close to the 56 and 15 freeways. Chef/owner used to work at Tapenade in La Jolla.

        Addison in Carmel Valley (just east of Del Mar) for high end, excellent food. I think it's indoor seating only.

        Market in Del Mar--indoor and covered outdoor seating, excellent food w/ a changing menu depending on what's in season.

        Arterra in Carmel Valley at the Marriott hotel. Indoor seating only, generally good food. Their former chef now owns and cooks at Market.

        Blanca in Solana Beach. They were pretty good before the menu change (food was generally good, but managed some misses w/ one out of 3 courses several times), which I haven't seen or tried since. I suspect they're still worth going to.

        I personally would skip Sbicca--every time I've gone there, I've left feeling disappointed with mediocre food for high prices.

        If you are willing to drive into Encinitas, do a search on the board b/c there's lots of posts for Encinitas and the surrounding areas.

        4 Replies
        1. re: daantaat

          sorry your experiences at Sbicca did not match ours; I threw it in as it does have outdoor dining which Addison does not. As to Addison, one may have a tough time keeping it in the $150 range, particularly if you avail yourself of their excellent wine list. Does Blanca have outdoor dining?

          1. re: ibstatguy

            Blanca does not have outdoor dining, although the OP did not say the lack thereof was an exclusion criteria. Addison will run close to/around the $150 range. However, if you're willing to pay that much, it needed to be mentioned as an option, as I have a hard time paying a chunk of $$ for mediocre food (ie: my multiple experiences at Sbicca).

            1. re: daantaat

              my dinners at Addison have well exceeded $150 which was why I was a bit surprised at the suggestion. my posts elsewhere have sung its praises but I don't want to send someone to a place where sticker shock is going to ruin an evening...which Blanca might as well. on the other hand, I've sat at the bar in Addison and had a couple of very good glasses of wine and an appetizer or two and been very pleased, for well under $150...

              1. re: ibstatguy

                re: Addison, I guess where I was coming from was that yes, it's in the very high price range and may cause sticker shock. However, I felt throwing it out there as an option if the OP was up for an excellent, albeit expensive dinner was worth the mention.

                I haven't been to Blanca since they lowered their prices. I think I saw an ad or their website that listed their prices for various courses.

        2. Sbicca's got a good California casual vibe with outdoor patio seating. Pacifica Del Mar is also great for ocean views and seafood (especially the salmon!). Both are in the village of Del Mar.

          1 Reply
          1. re: San Diego go

            another vote for pacifica del mar.

            other thoughts:
            savory in encinitas
            kaito in encinitas for sushi
            yumeya in encinitas for izakaya
            vivace in carlsbad [at the four seasons aviara resort] for italian

          2. Trattoria Positano in Cardiff by the Sea: interesting Italian, reasonable prices, right across from the beach. No alcohol if eating outdoors.