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Jul 3, 2008 10:35 PM

Oceanside Eats

My in-laws have rented a summer place in Oceanside, and we have the keys to visit at our leisure. Any good food recommendations for a family of five...we have three young boys (ages 5, 4, and 2). My husband is particularly fond of breakfast...and I'm a sucker for good desserts, but recs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks would be much appreciated.


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  1. Bad news. I lived in Oceanside for almost a year with my chef fiance (who works in La Jolla), and the pickin's are pretty slim. We worked our way through every breakfast place on the strip and off and didn't find one we went to a second time. I'm sure they're fine for eating in on holiday but we were looking for a delicious local. Ramos House, in San Juan Capistrano, is amazing, and well worth the trip. In fact you can take the train north and step off right at the restaurant, if you can handle a morning outing. The boys would LOVE the train ride and I bet it's probably just a half hour or so along the coast. Don't miss the farmer's market on Thursdays! (Very kid friendly.) It's pretty cool and happens right outside the library and city hall and museum. There are lots of prepared food vendors. The honey man and his wife, Dale and Krystal, are state treasures. We survived on tacos and Mexican food at El Rodeo, a grocery store near the Mission on Mission Street. There's also a Thai restaurant next door to it that isn't too bad. Probably the best restaurant in Oceanside (for food and value) is Asafran, a Cuban place, on the main drag. Friendly service, kids welcome, and good food. And sometimes they have live music. There are plenty of other family chains (Joe's Clam Shack etc) too.
    Oh, and there's a sweet little mom n' pop Health Food Store, Cream of the Crop, on the way to Carlsbad, that sells pretty good sandwiches and smoothies. Easy parking and fun.

    1. For breakfast, Beach Break Cafe is great (haven't been for a year or so; I hope it hasn't changed).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Steve Green

        Beach Break Cafe is great, I agree.

        Also, if you drive south 20 minutes or so to Encinitas the eatings are good.


        1. re: Enorah

          Another vote for Beach Break Cafe. Great place for breakfast, yummy coffee cake, extremely casual, good place to take kids.

      2. I have to concur with the previous posters in that pickings are fairly slim at the moment but that is literarly changing by the week, as this SD UT article last week pointed out, things are really picking up:

        As it states, Harney Sushi literally just opened up and Breakwater Brewery are all a part of the new hotel/resort development downtown set to try to change the landscape of military, T-Shirt, liquor stores. Cohn Restaurants are set to open their first north county site at the prime location directly across from the pier, Pacific 33. Vigilucci's Osteria opened up last year. Of what has existed:

        First, I like Azafran and think it is better, most authentic and diverse than the heralded Cuban place Versailles in LA.

        Second, I think Fish Joint is one of the better San Diego places for sushi (which sadly isnt saying much.) Still Davin Waite (formerly of Cafe Japengo) owns the place and gives it with all his tattooes a low key yet hip surfer vibe. Its sister restaurant (Hill Street Cafe) also along PCH is underrated for breakfast with a ginormous menu (although I've heard nothing but good things about Beach Break Cafe but never tried.


        Finally, Wings, Pizza n Things (not to be confused with Wings n Things near Barnes and Noble) in the Ralphs strip mall at the corner of Oceanside Blvd. and College is a great place to watch sports with like 30 HD plasmas at virtually every table. The french bakery, Rendezous I think, in that strip mall is also pretty authentic.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tangyteng

          "First, I like Azafran and think it is better, most authentic and diverse than the heralded Cuban place Versailles in LA."

          Boy, I wish this were true. We went and had great, friendly service, but we didn't think it compared to Versailles.

        2. Thanks all for your great suggestions!
          I think we'll try Beach Break and Asafran/Azafran for sure. We love Versailles in L.A., and if your rec is correct...I'm pretty sure we'll love this place. Wings, Pizza n' Things sounds like a good place to distract three hyperactive boys.
          We're going in a few weeks, and I'll definitely post a review and my thanks (again) for the recs! Feel free to recommend items to try off the menus, too!

          1. Thanks for the great responses.
            We tried the Beach Break...and it was okay. The pancakes did not stack up for my husband, and I'm not that fond of breakfast anyway. The kids enjoyed it greatly, though!
            Azafran was good...but not up to par with Versailles. However, their fried plantains did live up to Versailles. We had the garlic chicken and garlic shrimp. The chicken was okay, but the shrimp was awesome.
            Le Rende-Vous Bakery and Cafe was quite nice. The desserts were not overtly sweet, but the selection was limited and the items were not as fresh as they could be. But I can imagine the place gets a whole of of traffic. I did love the croissants.
            The kids did enjoy the train trip to San Juan Capistrano! Thanks for the tips!

            1 Reply
            1. re: attran99

              Thanks for your report! That sounds exactly like the Oceanside I know. Sadly, it really is the step-child of the beach communities. Little charm and sparse on quality. But you had the best. Glad you had a good vacation!