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Cheap eats in Encinitas?

  • l

Going to Encinitas this weekend and unfortunately tomorrow is NOT payday! Any recommendations for cheap eats? Last time we were there I recall going to a place called Juanita's that was decent Mexican food and very inexpensive. Is Juanita's still there? Anything comparable?

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  1. Don Chuy in Solana Beach is very good:



    For one of the best pizza in SD I can high recommend "Todays Pizza and Salad"


    Report back where you went

    1. Honey's Bistro, Pipes, and Swamis Cafe are inexpensive breakfast/lunch in Encinitas. As far as Mexican, I like El Callejon, then maybe Roberto's (nothing amazing). Stay away from the dreadful Fidel's in Solana Beach! Las Olas is ok if not crowded down by Cardiff on the coast.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pablo

        My friend loves Las Olas. She lives in London now, but has to return every time she's in town. Is the Potato Shack still around? That would be a great cheap breakfast if it is.

        1. re: LizK

          Potato Shack is still around and as good as ever.
          Juanita's is my all time favorite cheap place to eat, the Flauta's are the best!! Also, if you in the mood for a big bowl of soup for very cheap, Especial Norte. Their tortilla soup is amazing, you get tons, plus tortillas and chips and salsa. All for definitely under 7 bucks.

          1. re: cc
            Jonathan Berman

            grilled fish tacos at Los Olas (go during happy hour around 3-6 and its half price) Raoul's a taco stand on D Street off of 101 is tasty. And the usual suspects. But go into San Marcos and check out Mr. Taco 2 (I haven't tried #1) it's da bomb!

        2. re: Pablo

          FYI. I noticed that Las Olas opened up a new store in Carlsbad...it was pretty tasty. They're on Carlsbad Blvd. just north of Carlsbad Village Drive (across the street from Neiman's)

        3. Try Big Jim's BBQ (190 N. Coast Highway 101). Very tasty, pretty cheap. Be sure to get the hush puppies....

          1. try Ki's on 101, just south of Cardiff. great, cheap sandwiches and salads. sit on the balcony and you get great ocean views.

            2 people have told me Thai Basil on 101 in Encinitas is good. I haven't tried it myself, so can't vouch for it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: daantaat

              I've been to Thai Basil a couple of times. And yes, it's good and fresh Thai food.

            2. Kealani's on D street on the south side of 101 (right by Raul's and Filibertos) is very tasty hawaiian style food plates. Reasonably priced.
              Right next door is "Manhatten Giant Pizza" I haven't been in a year but always thought thier meatball sub was amazing.
              I second the Rec for Honey's on 101 for a good breakfast/lunch hit.

              Although very basic old school coffee shop style food "encinitas cafe" is usually solid comfort food. This is right on 101.

              Right next door to encinitas cafe is "Siamese Basil". This has been a favorite Thai spot of mine for a # of years. I love thier spicy red curry with beef and you could get out cheap with a lunch special.

              If you go south a block past e street (i believe) right next to the used book store is "Ogata" I cheap japanese food spot. They have sushi specials and other menu items like Udon noodles or teriyaki chicken. Very simple not high end and not super high quality, but tasty. I like the chicken udon lunch special.

              These are all withing two blocks most are on 101.

              If you decide to go north on 101 past Encinitas BLVD (you will pass big Jim's BBQ IMO they have jumped the shark)The first stop sign you come to on the left is Juanita's taco shop a long time staple of the encinitas/leucadia crowd.

              1. The other replies are coming from well meaning people who eat food, but they are not chowhounds.

                You want El Nopalito on Santa Fe Drive and you want to order the chicken burrito or the shrimp burrito.

                You want Buongiorno's pizza on Stevens between Lomas Santa Fe and Via de la Valle in the Solano Beach neighborhood.

                If you want to be downtown Encinitas, you want Filberto's. Hard tacos, soft tacos or carnitas or chile verde burritos or platters.


                1. La Especial Norte has a pretty varied menu and decent (ymmv) food. Good margaritas. Also on the way cheaper end is Kap'n Keno's, but you sed "cheap eats" so there you have it. Better for a "greezy spoon" breakfast.

                  Juanita's is still there though I've had some so-so burritos there the last couple of times.

                  1. Yes, Juanita's is still there (290 N Hwy 101), still cheap and still goooo-ooooo-ooood!

                    1. Juanitas is good for post bar or post surf down home chow get the rolled tacos with guac and cheese i'm sure jeff spicole ate ton's of em
                      Soups rock at El Norte
                      But if you want the righteous you must go to Mr Taco 2 in San Marcos.
                      The guy who says this is annoying but, to paraphrase;
                      you want the shrimp tacos, the enchildas, the pozole, soups etc..
                      clean good and barato..

                      1. Juanita's is a local fave for Mexican along the Encinitas coast. It's good, but I never understood why it gets as much support as it does when there are many other small and independent operators that do a better job. Here's my list for the coastal Encinitas strip:

                        * Raul's shack - not mentioned much on these boards but really worth a visit; not necessarily an adventurous menu, but due to space constraints they bring in all of their fresh ingredients daily. Everything is done from scratch, and it shows! A great mom and son operation that deserves to be supported...

                        * Juanita's - as stated above, seems to be the local favorite

                        * La Especial Norte - a full-service sit-down family owned roadhouse, specializing in homemade Mexican soups

                        * Karina's - a great menu with some interesting offerings and prepared with care

                        * El Torito market - great place to take home carnitas by the pound; p.u. some avocados and fresh tortillas and you have a complete meal; for those so inclined, they also have small tubs of manteca (lard) rendered on the premises stacked above the meat case.

                        1. Bety's Tacos. The best chicken molé in Encinitas. Also try the quesadilla with epazote.