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Moving to North County, need restaurant recommendations

I've lived in central SD for the last 10 years, but now we're moving up to the Poway/PQ area.

I'm not too familar with this area, but a quick google search shows that it's mainly chains here. Help, there have to be some hidden gems around!

I'm familiar with some good vietnamese & indian restaurants in the Mira Mesa area, but I could use some recommendations for other great restaurants in this new area...

Any good breakfast locations? Fine dining or even quick places to stop and pick up dinner?

One upside is I've always wanted to try House on the Hill, but never made the drive up. Any thoughts?

Thanks guys!

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  1. House on the Hill is no longer open.

    Cavaillon is in that area (Santaluz, northwest of PSQ). I'm not sure what to tell you otherwise; that is pretty much chain restaurant central in that area. Even some of the decent non-chain options in the past have gone down in the eyes of many (e.g. French Market, Cafe Luna).

    1. As our own RB Hound has mentioned, House on the Hill is gone. Gone, gone, gone and replaced by The ALL-NEW Terrace Restaurant and Bar run by the property owners (they also own the Ramada hotel right on that corner.)

      Article has the details…

      http://www.pomeradonews.com/2011/11/0...

      Poway Road is generally locally owned restaurants. Not much gets written on CH or any newspaper but there are lots of Y**p (rhymes with kelp) reviews out there. Luc’s Bistro has had love over the last few years here, newish Company Kitchen and Pub is near whatever car dealerships are left in business yet, there are a number of sushi joints, The Brig (local chain, maybe I shouldn't mention) is out there and I’ve always thought someone should do a review of the drive-thru taco shops on Poway Rd.

      Two exits south you have the Mira Mesa / Scripps Ranch Trader Joe’s complex and there are a few newer restaurants: Kappa Sushi, Fish Boutique (nice!) and a burger and beer joint (lots of craft taps) called Bruski’s. A little further into the “heart of Scripps Ranch” is La Bastide.

      I do hope someone else can mention the hidden gems. (I do think that you could have Inland North County in the subject line as I think North County more refers to the area Del Mar / Solana Beach and north.) But what do I know!

      7 Replies
      1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

        Might as well mention Yanni's Bistro, out on Scripps Poway Parkway at Pomerado behind the Carl's Jr. There is a bundt cake place there too and a few other eateries. Very short drive from Poway Rd. or PQ.

        And the Original Pancake House near Target for breakfast.

        1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

          There's a pretty decent Indian place in the Scripps Ranch Trader Joe's mall, right by Trader Joe's - just ate there last week for a business meeting after the people I was meeting suggested Olive Garden, Chevy's or Marie Calendars.

          Tasty fast cheap Indian food doing fast business in a closet sized restaurant.

          And honestly, that was the first time I had eaten in that area in something like 10 years...

          1. re: zmirzlina

            Two restaurants in Mira Mess which are quite good are Siam Nara (Thai which I think is on a similar level as Sab-e-lee (Santee) sometimes even better and Ariana (Afghan restaurant)

            1. re: honkman

              honkman, can you elaborate on Ariana? We grabbed a menu from there but haven't made it back to actually try it.

              1. re: daantaat

                We have tried it twice for take out recently and it was on the same level as the Pamir Kebob House in Poway which was our favorite afghan restaurant in SD. Both times all dishes were very well executed (especially considering that take out is not the best way to test a restaurant)

                1. re: daantaat

                  I've tried Ariana and I thought it was very good. I don't remember what I ordered, but it was pretty good. The place looks pretty blah on the outside, but is actually very nice on the inside.

          2. Le Bastide in Scripps Ranch used to be good, but haven't been there in years.

            1. Bernard' O in RB
              Pearl in RB
              Luc's Bistro in Poway
              Maderas Country Club for their burger night cookout
              Hacienda de Vega in Esco
              Kountry Cafe in Poway for breakfast/lunch
              Brigantine for everyday happy hour fish tacos in Poway
              Hamilton's Pub on Grand for some of the best fish n'chips
              Lourdes for chicken soup...some of the best taco shops are in Esco..panderias and markets too.
              Stone Brewery...beer is fab and the food is getting better.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick

                +1 on BernardO, but don't go during prom season. We got stuck with a bunch of high schoolers, and while it was a bit nostaligic, just not our dining style.
                Barrel Room in RB, in a strip mall, is good for a glass and a decent cheese plate or snack.
                We still like El Bizcocho in the RB Inn, as much for old style ambience as food.
                We still go to Mira Mesa/Little India for Indian food.
                Worth a drive to Riverside for the Mission Inn this time of year, or the wineries in Temecula.
                Yup, we live in the land of chains here.

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Had lunch today at Luc's Bistro in Poway and unfortunately, I want to take back my recommendation...it used to be quite good with quality ingredients but imho, no more..
                  They used to have brioche buns and now it's the sesame seed rolls..
                  I had the crab cake sandwich...instead of one whole crab cake it was a 'trio' of small fried horrid things with no mention of that on the menu.

                  Maybe we ordered the least popular items...sadly, will not be going back..

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Never had the crab cake sandwich at Luc's; did it used to be one large cake instead of 3 small?

                    I like Luc's, and love there onion soup, but when I was there 2 weeks ago the soup was not good. Looked like it had a layer of oil on top. Like they skimmed from a pot that hadn't been stirred. I sent it back and got another and it was much better, but the experience turned me off a bit. However I will try again because this is the first negative out of many good meals there. I've had several dishes more than once so it's gotten repetitive and I would like to see some new aditions to the small menu.

                    Taste of Boston in RB. Had a good lobster roll, but I thought their fried clams and fish and chips sucked.

                    1. re: Island

                      Went to Luc's about a month or two ago and we walked into a restaurant that was sweltering with no air and the door shut and they had a fan into the kitchen..
                      Stated the A/C was out and they were sorry but they had to keep the door closed.

                      Unbeknownst to us, other people had walked out right before us and the heat and humidity was so overwhelming that we walked out..maybe if we were on a deck outside with ocean breeze..ok..I can deal with that.

                      So, with that, it kind of seared an issue, real or not, that something wasn't right..
                      I bought a living social or groupon coupon for $10 for $20 of food..

                      Went to Luc's when it first opened...and enjoyed it and told others about it.
                      Never had the crab cake but who thinks when ordering the crab cake sandwich that it would be a trio of jalapeno popper looking crab cake things that were over fried and they served it with a pureed guac with lemon oil...asked for it on the side since I wanted an aioli.
                      They used to serve brioche as their bun on sandwiches which was fab.

                      When the server gave us the menu, she presented the lunch specials but stated she would have to decline us ordering off it if we were using a coupon since the special gave away a free beverage and it would qualify as giving away 2 free items...what's that all about?

                      Overall, we felt it's not the same little bistro we came to love..
                      We will not be back.

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        I think most everyone remembers that once upon a time, Luc’s was a "sister" restaurant to Cavaillon to the point that some food was prepped in the Cavaillon kitchen and brought over. I’m sure I’ve heard this about the short ribs. Now that Chef Philippe has sold and left Cavaillon I’m not sure what this all means for Luc’s.

                        We were at Luc’s this summer, I believe the manager position was just in transition then, and I did overhear the old manager tell another table that nothing would change, the recipes are here, someone else will follow the recipes….

                        I thought, hmm, okay, but…

                        1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                          Fly to the Fifty..
                          Wish them all the best..but when I've had brioche and now it's a restaurant style sesame bun, homey don't play that game..
                          ; )

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            We also made probably our last trip to Luc's about 3 months ago. The last 2 visits were disappointing. I can't remember specifics, but I agree that the quality has gone downhill. We left feeling generally disppointed and unsatisfied, and two times in a row meant it wasn't a fluke. Their sweet potato fries were still great, but even a coupon won't bring us back.

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                The owners of Luc's were the same as Cavaillon but they moved to Houston, although they still own it. The manager since they opened left in September. They still put out good chow but are more hit and miss, sadly.

                2. Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the responses. I will report back as we start venturing out =)

                  1. If you are willing to drive up to Escondido on a friday night, La Farfalla Cafe is really good. We just ate there for the first time last week but our friends have been going there for a year and have always been happy with the food. It is all locally grown and it is a small family owned business. They cator most of the time but open for dinner every friday night. You can bring your own wine too, they don't have a liquor license yet.

                    1. I'd also add Urge Gastropub in Rancho Bernardo. It has a great beer list, and the food is excellent.

                      1. On a different wavelength, El Tejate on W Mission in Escondido provides excellent Oaxacan cooking in a humble, simple setting. Moles, especially the red and negro, were outstanding and the chiles rellenos also excellent. Nice people, low prices. Replete with whooping parrot. Ask for a taste of the traditional 'tejate' beverage if you're curious. Highly recommended.

                        1. If you are willing to go to Escondido for some of the other restaurants, you might want to try Tango on Grand Ave. http://tangoongrand.com/. They haven't gotten a lot of love here, but we like it for the wine list at decent prices and the menu. We have always had excellent service from Ethan and Xavier.

                          1. You might want to check Cafe Luna in Carmel Mountain Ranch. It's in a bad location--strip mall, behind the Carl's Jr, which is behind the Olive Garden. Small restaurant, good to very good food, decent wine selection. A little pricey at times, given the locale, but there aren't a ton of other choices nearby, other than chains.