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Mar 15, 2003 09:09 PM

Tip Top Meats

  • d

After viewing an earlier thread, I figured we'd try this place since we would be in the area. TTM is actually in Carlsbad, not Encinitas as stated in the earlier thread. TTM is a european deli and meat market. We ordered breakfast at the counter and found ourselves a nice table by the window. The place was not overly crowded but still quite busy. We were pleasantly surprised when our number was called and I picked up our meals at the counter. I had the eggs, bacon, taters and toast. He had the "BIG JOHN" special consisting of three eggs, taters, toast and all the meats you can eat! The meats were bacon, ham, polish sausage, pork sausage links and bratwurst, yes, I repeat, all you can eat meats! The meats were fantastic, very tasty, smokey flavor, not fatty at all. Regular breakfast cost 4.89, the special runs 5.98! Excellent food at a tremendously great value! We saw other folks having lunch. Wow, excellent looking lean corned beef w/cabbage, cordon bleu, meat loaf and some great looking sandwiches. The menu is available on the previous thread. We highly recommend Tip Top Meats.....what a find! Glad we stopped.....we'll be back!

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  1. I am so happy you like this place. I heard about it from word of mouth a few years ago and it is one of my favorite haunts. Sorry if I caused the Carlsbad/Encinitas confusion - it is all a blur in my daily San Diego to Oceanside commute!

    1. My father-in-law and nephew (12) and I had a wonderful breakfast here. My FIL had the sausage and eggs, the sausages were the old fashioned casing like a mini hot dog, excellent. My nephew and I had the bacon and eggs. I had the "Big John" version and it was big; 5 or 6 pieces of smoky, thick bacon. I'm bummed out because I did not know it was all you can eat meat, even though I remember reading the board menu and it did seem to indicate that. I dismissed it as wishful thinking. Next time for sure. Dammit!
      The only concern was the cashier, boy oh boy she reminds me of a burned out worker. No smile, no eye contact, no life in her eyes or body language. She was not rude but not kind either. Efficient.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pakkai

        I really like Tip Top Meat for their butcher and some of their meats you have normally a hard time to get anywhere else (wild boar, venison, kassler etc.) but their restaurant is not their strength. Yesterday we went to Tip Top Meats to buy some stuff but than decided once more to try their restaurant (Zwiebelbraten with Sauerkraut) and again nothing to get really excited. Zwiebelbraten was dry and sauerkraut average at best. If you want good German style food (brunch, lunch or dinner) do yourself a favor and go to Axel's Bistro in La Mesa. The quality of the food is much, much better and resembles what you would get in Germany (if you would go to one of the old-fashioned tourist places). Tip Top Meats (restaurant) is below average for their German food.

      2. Go back on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday after 4 p.m. and for $10 now (I think; it used to be $4) get the Prime rib - available until it runs out and always served with a bone or two, along with soup or salad, kraut, potato and roll.

        The sandwiches are wonderful also.

        If you are really wanting something unique, you can get a steak from the meat counter and for $2 more, it will be cooked to your liking and served wih the above sides.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Cathy

          Oh do yourself a favor on the steak and take it home and cook it yourself. I love tip top and their meat is great but cooking steaks is not their forte. Almost anything on the menu will give you more satisfaction than what those cooks do to a steak. Any of the german foods are great as are any of the other items that do not need to be cooked to a particular temp.

          1. re: SeanT

            We did purchase two big porter house steaks that were thick cut. Expensive (40 bucks) but worth the money. We took back to the rented beach house and had Costco ribeyes and the Tip Top steaks. Excellent.

            1. re: Pakkai

              So which was better, the Costco ribeyes or the TT steaks?

              1. re: DiningDiva

                They were equally tasty and I'm a ribeye guy. The Porterhouse was soft, and well marbled. The ribeyes were soft and cheap.
                On the other hand, the Irish whiskey made everything taste oh so good.

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Costco has good meat but tip top has very good meat. Tip top dry ages and frequently has prime. Tip top is much more expensive but it is worth it.

                  1. re: SeanT

                    I should have stated that the Porterhouses were labeled prime cuts and the Ribeyes were choice cuts.
                    The difference in taste and texture was minimal.
                    Both were excellent -- but 20 dollars a pound versus 6 dollars a pound?
                    Hellllllooooo COSTCO. I suggest you throw a bbq and conduct a taste test amongst friends and family. It's a can't miss test because there is no down side. Lot's of good steaks. Enjoy

                    1. re: SeanT

                      Costco has prime grade meat. The one off Palomar Airport Rd. has it. You distinguish it from the choice grade because of the blue styro tray it is on. It sells out quickly.

                        1. re: septocaine_queen

                          It sells out really quick. Don't get me wrong, i like the beef at Costco. However, there is a difference between wet and dry aged beef. Tip top has dry aged beef and it has a distinctive flavor.

                          1. re: SeanT

                            I've never had dry aged beef. Next time I am at TipTops I'll try the dry aged steak regardless of the price.
                            You may be right. Taste test here we come.

              2. I decided to look up this old thread because there was a new article on the Voice of San Diego about Tip Top Meats. I just love the place and I know several other people here do as well.


                Edit: To bad this thread is in the California subforum instead of the San Diego subforum.

                5 Replies
                1. re: oerdin

                  It would be better if it had 'Carlsbad' in the title. I'm going to that area in September, so I'm glad it wasn't on the SD forum. Not going there.

                  More hounds would view any post with a town name in the title; just a suggestion.

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    "I'm glad it wasn't on the SD forum. Not going there."

                    Yes, you are:
                    Everything south of Orange County and north of Mexico is San Diego County (which is what the San Diego forum is for). ;-)

                    1. re: The Office Goat

                      It was pretty obvious (at least to me) that certain non-SD posters on the California board did *not* like a good number of us, especially humorous ones that liked to complain every other day about somebody not having a location name in the subject title.

                      So, now that this has been moved over here, has anybody been to Tip Top recently? Anything new?

                      1. re: RB Hound

                        "has anybody been to Tip Top recently" - Very good butcher (but nothing organic or grassfed), mediocre (German) restaurant. Some interesting cold cuts from Germany you normally don't get easily, e.g Zungenwurst (tongue cold cut), Fleischsalat (typical german sausage salad with mayonnaise).

                        1. re: RB Hound

                          Had them butcher a cow for me a couple weeks back, well cut and packaged.

                  2. Granted, this was several years ago, so they may have another butcher behind the counter. But one guy turned me off of Tip Top Meats forever.

                    I was looking for a rib roast for a dinner I was catering. It was labeled Prime Rib, and I asked the guy if it was actually prime.

                    Him: "That's just what the cut's called."
                    Me: "Uh, isn't prime a grade established by the USDA?"
                    Him: "No, that's just a prime rib."
                    Me: "Thanks, never mind."

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: Auriana

                      Huh? I'm a little lost here - if it was a Prime Rib roast but not Grade Prime beef, sounds like he was giving you the correct information.

                      1. re: Alice Q

                        if it isn't Prime isn't it just a Choice Rib roast?

                        1. re: MrKrispy

                          It could be select too, or even an ungraded standing rib roast.

                        2. re: Alice Q

                          "A standing rib roast is a cut of beef from the rib section, which is one of the eight primal cuts of beef. "


                          The name of the cut of beef is "prime rib" as it (in old English) was one of the eight "primal cuts of beef". The name prime rib predates the USDA's choice, select, prime rating system. The butcher absolutely told you the correct phrase using traditional English though now days some people are trying to rename it "standing rib roast" to avoid the confusion. The reality is virtually everyone knows what prime rib is but if you call it standing rib roast you'll just get blank stares so don't expect the name to change any time soon.

                        3. re: Auriana

                          According to my friends at wikipedia:

                          A colloquial and popular term for this cut [standing rib roast] is "prime rib". Historically, this name stands out regardless of the grade. In addition, the USDA acknowledges this historical note by not requiring the cut "to be derived from USDA prime grade beef".[1]


                          1. re: bizzwriter

                            Thanks for the info, bizz. I always thought prime had to be prime, otherwise it was misleading.

                            Maybe I'll go easier on the place...

                            1. re: Auriana

                              So you mean to convey that you think every time you order prime rib at COCOs that you are receiving PRIME beef?!?! Me thinks you crazy. If I did not go to all the places where counter help did not kiss my arse I would be incredibly limited in my options.

                              Tip top is not great german food but it is tasty and giant sized. Where else can you get tasty veal cordon bleu for 8 bucks. Quality veal with ham smoked on the premises for eight bucks!!!

                              Plus any beef from tip top just tastes better due to the dry aging. Tri tip and ground beef being the ultimate deals. Good luck finding a better tasting sirloin than the ones at tip top.

                              Show me a place with dry aged grass fed and I will be all over it. The reality is there is very little grass fed and almost all of it is vacuum bagged and flavorless.

                              1. re: SeanT

                                "but it is tasty and giant sized" - Giant sized - yes. Tasty - not so much.

                                1. re: SeanT

                                  <<Show me a place with dry aged grass fed and I will be all over it. The reality is there is very little grass fed and almost all of it is vacuum bagged and flavorless.>>

                                  Ummm...Homegrown Meats on Fay Avenue in La Jolla offers an excellent variety of dry-aged, grass-fed beef. In fact, ALL of their grass-fed beef is dry aged. One of the best steaks I've EVER eaten in my 50+ years was a fat porterhouse I bought there a year ago and cooked (rare) on my bbq. Remarkable.


                                  1. re: bizzwriter

                                    I'm not sure they're actually dry aging anymore. I was just in there last week and their hooks were hanging empty - unfortunately I don't think the market is supporting them on that. Their meats are excellent though - I made a porchetta with a shoulder wrapped in a whole belly from sustainably raised pork and it was amazing - if I do say so myself ;) Relatively affordable too - the whole belly was only about $40 and the shoulder about $30. It fed 16 of us and there are a couple of big chunks left over that I plan to roast on Sunday.

                                    1. re: Alice Q

                                      AQ, you're right. $70 for meat for16 people is pretty reasonable.

                                      1. re: Alice Q

                                        AQ: Before I posted about Homegrown Meats and dry aging, I called to confirm. The guy that answered told me they dry age all their grass-fed beef.

                                        1. re: bizzwriter

                                          Oh good - maybe they just didn't have any aging that day.

                                      2. re: bizzwriter

                                        Thanks for the heads up, I will have to sell my first born for a steak but sometimes things of that nature must be done.

                                  2. re: bizzwriter

                                    It looks like I was beaten to the punch by almost a full day. :(

                                  3. re: Auriana

                                    It's not another butcher. It's the same old German immigrant guy and his son doing all the butchering while his wife normally runs the cash register. It's a great family owned and run business.