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Dec 20, 2008 07:26 PM

new to san marcos need help

hi, im in san marcos( from boston) for a few months, i can not find a decent meal, where are the real mexican,italian,fresh seafood,spanish, hidden jems?looking for fish tacos,fresh pasta,chef owned places... ill drive 30 mins 45 mins... price does not matter- i did have a great meal at friars folly( old restaurant row san marcos) a chorizo sausage & white bean soup,a great rib eye with a cabrales blue cheese butter and grilled figs- but most other places are over cooking everything, i went to a fish house i think called villa cruz also in restaurant row- a nice set up with grills in view- but the cooks cant pull it off everything was bland and over cooked- crabcakes that tasted like fried white bread- being a seafood lover- i gave them a second chance it was worse then the frist time- i will not be back ..please help!

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  1. Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens, Escondido. Sand Crab Cafe, Escondido. Tango Restaurant and Wine Bar, Escondido. Vincent's, Escondido. Cavaillon, San Diego. Mr. Charlie's Fortune Cookie, Rancho Bernardo.

    All within 30 minutes, all worth trying. Please report back what you think of the places.

    1. Hi slim, welcome

      There are some good places in the Encinitas/Leucadia area which is on the coast

      Kaito for the best sushi ever

      Yumeya a traditional Japanese izakaya

      Bety's Tacos for really yummy Mexican food

      Here is a thread about the Encinitas Area

      Also, there is a Mexican restaurant in Fallbrook that Kare Raisu has talked about that he says is awesome. I do not know the name of it, but cgfan will know it as well.

      here is a recent thread about best mexican in the san diego area

      Kaito Sushi
      130-A N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024

      1246 N Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

      Betty's Tacos Restaurant
      1464 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024

      5 Replies
      1. re: Enorah

        Enorah, you must be talking about Las Brisas Tacqueria. They have the best bowl of menudo I've ever had!

        And the esteemed and frequent poster on all things Mexicana, kare_raisu, has rated it for both the best menudo AND carnitas.

        Though a bit of a one-hit wonder, I'll also suggest Bruno's for their singular olive oil pizza. Distinct enough to be their own style, it's worth considering. Here are my thoughts on their pizza:

        Though I'm not particularly taken by American fish cookery, I do think that Fish House Vera Cruz is as good as it gets in the genre of family style American fish houses.

        Pho San Marcos was a pleasant surprise for me. A very elegant but nuanced bowl of pho with outstandingly good beef. In fact the tai somewhat approached what I usually associate with Wagyu in terms of fine marbling. It may have been just a lucky day, but I left very impressed. And I'm sure, as with all pho shops, that the beef used is not particularly expensive. But the end result was very impressive!

        However to be honest, there are much more exciting offerings once you leave San Marcos. It's a bit of a push to even come up with this small list.

        I'll second Enorah's recomendation for Kaito Sushi. It's a sushi bar that's of such singular quality that it does make sense to make it a destination restaurant. Make sure you also check out their sushi blog to see ingredient arrivals (they arrive daily, but blog only once to twice a week)...

        Also second Enorah's selection of Yumeya, though I'm not as enthused about the food as others. For me it's far from being a traditional izakaya due to a limited menu and some nuveau offerings. However they are the best hosts in town and the small room has a humble charm to it that really reminds me of Japan. And they have the largest sake selection around. But get there early - it's small enough where every night they have to turn back customers.

        Second Betty's as well, but would also like to add Rudy's (La Costa, w/ best location at their original Solana Beach shop) for the best carne asada around. The CA plate or CA torta is recommended, since that is when they use the arrancherra cut.

        Las Brisas Taqueria
        1005 S Main Ave Ste A, Fallbrook, CA 92028

        Rudy's Taco Shop
        524 Stevens Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

        Rudy's Tacos
        7662 El Camino Real Ste 102, Carlsbad, CA 92009

        1. re: cgfan

          Left out some links to CH "places" in my last post:

          Again most of the listings in San Marcos are listed w/caveats and won't be best of S.D. or even close, but they do each have their own charm and are much better than most other food offerings in San Marcos.

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

          Fish House Vera Cruz
          360 Via, Vera Cruz San Marcos, CA

          Bruno's Italian Restaurant
          1020 W San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos, CA 92078

          Pho San Marcos
          700 S Rancho Santa Fe Rd, San Marcos, CA 92078

          1. re: cgfan

            How is it that I am just hearing about Pho San Marcos?

            We are so there!

            1. re: Enorah

              If you like tai (rare beef), make sure you order the tai as tai rieng, as well as ordering a separate small bowl of broth to cook it in (chen soup). That way you'll get the full flavor of the beef and of the broth by cooking the tai in the chen soup. You can make the tai as rare as you wish, but also keep the main bowl of soup clear of any rendered blood and protein.

              Since their broth is of the clear type rather than the the heartier or even earthier bowls available at, say, Pho Hoa Cali or at Lucky, in particular you wouldn't want to cloud it up by having it come with the tai already in the soup. (I personally do the same at all shops regardless of the type of broth...)

              I'd be interested to see if you feel the same - as clean and as clear as their broth is, it is packed with layers of nuanced flavors!

              ...and their wafer-thin tai rieng - a beautiful and bountiful presentation on a large plate, and intersting enough not showing any of its incredible marbling until it had a long dunk in the in the broth.

          2. re: cgfan

            I strongly 3rd Kaito (left stufffed and blissed out after another omakase on Sat pm) and Yumeya, another placed that I leave stuffed and blissed out on a regular basis....

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Search the boards for recs in Escondido; you'll find some good choices. In Vista you've got a Oaxacan restaurant and some acceptable Vietnamese, but not much else westward unless you drive south into Carlsbad and Encinitas. Ranch Bernardo has our favorite NC Vietnamese: Pho Hoa Cali Express. For finer dining, you're in for a longer drive, with the possible exceptions of aafflyer's Escondido suggestions and a couple RB spots.
            Basically, you're in for a drive when you need some good food.
            The Fallbrook rest. mentioned by Enorah is Las Brisas.

            1. Rubios (although a chain) has decent fish tacos. There's a Sammy's Woodfire Pizza and a couple other places on Las Posas. The parmesan crusted artichoke hearts at Sammy's are nice. Kim's on Rancho Santa Fe (little family-owned hole-in-the-wall) has great pho.