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Aug 15, 2010 09:55 AM

Solana Beach eats?

I will be in Solana Beach tomorrow (Monday night). Looking for a good place that features local cuisine. Additionally, any good bars/pubs that any of you have enjoyed? As far as bars go, not necessarily looking for anything upscale. I prefer ‘salt of the earth’ bars, if that makes any sense.

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  1. You will need to leave SB for good food, unfortunately. Only place I recommend is Pizza Port with OK pizza (not great) and really great microbrewed beer. On the same level, go to the bar at Brigatine, (technically Del Mar) and order fish tacos. (cheaper during happy hour) As for good restaurants, The Market in Rancho Santa and 1540 in Del Mar are outstanding.

    Now for bars, Tidewater is the only game in town. McCaffrey's is ridiculously stupid and shouldn't even call themselves a bar. Yes, I miss the Surf-n-Saddle. I like the martinis and Pacific Coast Grill.

    Pacific Coast Grill
    437 S. Hwy 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075

    1. For local cuisine, there aren't lots of options right in Solana Beach. There's Blanca, which some people on this board like, but I've had two so-so meals there, and it's very expensive.

      My best dinner pick in Solana Beach, if you like fish, is the Fish Market restaurant on Via de la Valle across from the racetrack. Great local (and non-local) seafood, prepared simply.

      If you're a fan of pizza and beer, then go to Pizza Port on Coast Highway 101 across from the train station. Fantastic beer and homemade pizza (they've got a dough-y crust so be prepared for that style).

      For great carne asada, check out Rudy's Mexican grocery/deli on Stevens Avenue where you can get a delicious burrito, but it's not a sit-down place and is better for lunch or to take to the beach.

      If you're looking for more upscale and fancy-ish California creative cuisine using local produce, go to Market Restaurant about a mile north of Solana Beach on Via de la Valle. It's technically in Del Mar, but very near the border with Solana Beach. Again, more expensive than the others but turns out wonderful dishes w/local ingredients.

      Don't know where you're from, but if you're looking for a fish taco, many people love the fish tacos at The Brigantine, which is on the Del Mar/Solana Beach border on Coast Hwy 101, across from Dog Beach in Del Mar. You can grab a margarita and a fish taco in the bar at happy hour and sit out on the deck overlooking the lagoon on one side and the ocean across the street.

      For bars, there's a place called Chief's where my running group meets every once in awhile. Very casual and typical bar atmosphere. They have burgers that people like, but I haven't tried one.

      Have fun!

      3 Replies
      1. re: carli

        Did you have the so-so meals at Blanca after the new chef started about 2-3 months ago ?

        1. re: honkman

          I've eaten there 3 times - the first was shortly after they opened (maybe within 3 months) and the next two were within the last year, but I don't think that I've eaten there since the new chef's arrival. I'm turned off by the astronomical prices and super glam decor (with food that doesn't match), but I might give it another shot someday if you think it's worth it w/the new chef.

          1. re: carli

            Thanks, everyone. Much appreciated.

      2. For "salt of the earth" try Chuy's. A Mexican joint run by the Granados brothers. Good fish tacos and any of their house specials are good. Also Red Tracton's has got world class great people watching and dining in the bar/lounge area.

        Blanca has a nice happy hour but is closed Mondays.

        Red Tracton's
        550 Via De La Valle, Solana Beach, CA 92075

        1. No love for the Belly Up restaurant called Wild Note Cafe? Only ate there once but enjoyed it and I'd eat there again before a concert.

          Oops. I guess I'm too late for OP though.

          1. This won't help the OP, but, I ended up at Ki's last night for a late supper before a show at Belly Up and was pretty impressed. I always thought it was just another tourist trap among Kraken, The Chart House, etc... However, we found the dining room nice and relaxed, service ended up a little spotty, but we did show up and order 20min before the kitchen closed and they were definitely in clean up mode. Nothing spectacular, but a nice emphasis on locally sourced products and what I thought was a really nice range of wines, sold at retail price (Wednesday's have no corkage fee - normally $5). No huge wine cellar selection, but diverse.

            I had gaspacho and a petit filet served over mashed potatoes and shaved/steamed veggies; the s.o. and another one of our group had sea bass with pistachios over rice; and the last member had a seafood curry that had pretty much every shellfish known to man and some Mahi Mahi. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there, living in PB, it would be an hour round trip. However, for an actual decent meal before a show, I'll definitely be back.

            9 Replies
            1. re: CampySD

              Used to go there all the time when it was on Birmingham in Cardiff. Was a tiny little place. I was a kid, and would take 5 bucks from the register (my parents owned the 7 eleven across the street which is now a New balance store or something) and grab what was a novelty to me, a very healthy sandwich.

              Been wanting to go back but I don't think they're just a sandwich and smoothie shop anymore by the sounds of it?

              1. re: deeznuts

                I'm definitely not an authority, but, from opening to 4pm (I think) it is only a lunch counter setup with the standard: order from the counter and pay, get a number, grab a seat and get served. Obviously, I can't comment either on whether the breakfast/lunch would match the quality of dinner. However, the online menu for breakfast and lunch both look pretty tasty - no shakes on the menu though...

                1. re: deeznuts

                  Ki's on Birmingham in that tiny little shack place was the best for their avo, sprouts on dense whole wheat..slathered with the Hain natural mayo..and seasoned with Spike...yum!

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Best enjoyed in a peasant blouse, a tie-dyed maxi-dress and a flower in your unwashed hair?

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      No, it was a crochet bikini with a sarong from Tahiti and a plumeria in my just washed hair with Herbal Essences after body surfing at Stone Steps!

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        OMG, ROFL BC. (p.s. I want my crochet bikini back)

                        1. re: foodiechick

                          ; )

                          Miss mine had the little ties on the side and it left cute little tan crochet spots!

                    2. re: Beach Chick

                      Avo turkey for me there. I think, being such a young lad, Ki's was the first healthful food I ever ate. I worked at that 7 eleven across the street for years!

                  2. re: CampySD

                    Ravi Shankar, who has a home in Encinitas, was interviewed a few years ago for a local weekly paper. He was asked about his favorite restaurants; he named Ki's and Musso & Frank's in Hollywood, which I found funny.