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North County Recs needed!! (Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Solana Beach etc etc)

Heading to North County San Diego for a week with family and friends so of course turning to chowhounds for the best recs. We are staying between Encinitas and Carlsbad (Leucadia?) and plan to pretty much hang up that way. We've been to San Diego proper lots of times and love the food but thought we would try something different. Mainly just hanging at the beaches, eating, doing a little sightseeing, eating, walking, eating some more... My perfect trip.

Any can't misses welcome. Definately need to eat Mexican as Seattle is deficient in this area. Also sushi (though the place needs to have some rolls to please our friends). Seafood? Fish tacos? Pizza? Donuts? Ice cream/shave ice/anything cold? Great drinks? Funky, very SoCal places? Good coffee? Honestly we just like good food.

We are four adults and one seven year old. The seven year old can be taken anyplace though i'm not planning on super fancy meals. Don't need "kid friendly" as in crappy food but they don't glare at children. We will be spending a day at Lego Land and maybe a day at the Safari Park (in which case I really want to try the Snowball shaved ice place). Also we will hit the Leucadia Farmers Market as I love me some farmers. Uh, produce and juices.

Thanks for suggestions!

BorntoEat

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  1. Oops, forgot. Also need a place for lunch when we arrive on Saturday. Someplace that just really says "you are in San Diego" that we can hit between the airport and Encinitas or the environs. And that won't have a crazy wait for five people who will be pretty hungry and ready to soak in some sun.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BorntoEat

      Go right to the pier on shelter island and eat at Fathom

    2. VGs for doughnuts, Blue Ribbon for pizza, Kaito for sushi (very traditional but accomodating for rolls), Bety's foe Mexican. All are in Encinitas area.

      Suggest Fathom for lunch on Sat. A shack on the pier with sausages and great beer.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JRSD

        Don't know fathom. Anything besides sausage?

      2. Some of my recommendations may or may not be suitable for your child, but here goes:

        I would add Rancho Valencia Hotel in RSF--you have the Pony Room (cool cocktail bar with some amazing eats such as awesome carne asada tacos, kobe beef sliders, lobster rolls, and amazing paella as well as daily specials....they do have outdoor seating overlooking the lovely grounds if you wish to avoid the bar area for the sake of your kid) and the Veladora restaurant for some very good Italian food and a very good Sunday brunch.

        Del Mar Village has a Prep Kitchen and you can't beat the ocean front views at Poseidon or the recently renovated Jakes.

        In Cardiff, I am a fan of Rimels.

        in Encinitas, Q'ero serves up good Peruvian food and I like the vibe and food at The 3rd Corner (like this location much better than the one in Ocean Beach). Solace and the Moonlight Lounge is also good--though these last 2 places may or may not be good for a kid depending upon what day of the week you go (i.e. avoid weekends).....for great gelato, you can always stop by the Whole Foods.

        1. If you go a little further north...
          Wrench and Rodents Seabasstropub in Oceanside (located inside Bull Taco) for fresh innovative rolls and sushi.

          https://www.facebook.com/wrenchandrodent

          1. Fidels or Tony Jacals in Solana Beach for Mex.
            Las Olas in Cardiff
            Claires on Cedros
            Hacienda de Vega in Escondido when after Safari Park..
            Robertos taco shop Carmel Valley/ Del Mar is a ocean view/lagoon outside super casual, classic So. cal vibe.
            Blue Ribbon Pizza
            Solace
            Brigantine for everyday happy hour..great fish tacos

            2 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              Glad I'm seeing others mention Las Olas and VG's, two of my favorite places in San Diego, my parents have been eating at both since the early 80's (UCSD days). I can second Fidel's (if you like crab get the Crab Enchilada, I don't LOVE crab but this is really fantastic) and Roberto's.

              Another place I really like is Rendezvous in Del Mar, someone on here had it right when they described it as "PF Chang's done better", it's Chinese-American fusion but is part of a restaurant group including the more authentic Dumpling Inn on Convoy, one of my favorites. My girlfriend and I typically get an order of pot stickers (great), spring rolls (good but I've had better, the place isn't big on grease), and share Rendezvous Lo Mein (think Lo Mein with beef, pork, and chicken). Apparently the Xiao Long Bao is great too. If you choose to go, do not skip dessert, I really love the banana egg roll (don't remember the name). I would however advise against the scallion bread (as I said, not big on grease, so these are nothing like Chinese Pancakes).

              1. re: nopico

                Hi Nopico!
                Welcome to Chowhound.
                Love your posts and love to hear you and your girl out and about SD.
                Have you hit up Bull Taco?
                I like Las Olas..haven't had the crab enchi's at Fidels..
                Have you been to Red Tractons..old school classic.
                Oyster Bar at the Fish Market is great for steamers, chowder and cheesy bread.

            2. A couple more recommendations:

              - Kitchen 1540 in Del Mar for a nice, upscale lunch or dinner. Still don't need to 'dress up' for the occasion. Nice shorts and collared shirt fine.

              - Pizza Port Solana Beach or Carlsbad for some great beer, though mediocre pizza. Their standard pizza is on a thick crust but they also make a thin crust that is somewhat better IMO. You come here for the beer, though. PP has won many brewing awards and is one of the stars of the SD brewing scene. Perfect for showing up after the beach in board shorts and flip flops.

              - Cafe Secrets - Small but good Peruvian place in Del Mar. Great ceviche.

              - Del Mar Pizza - Great East Coast style pizza; a few craft beers on tap. Very casual and just off the beach.

              - Las Olas in Cardiff for some pretty good Mexican with a view of the Ocean.

              Enjoy your stay in SD!

              1. Bull taco in Cardiff and el nopalinto in encinitas for 2 very different mexican experiences. The braised wings at flat rock eats and things in Cardiff. Blue ribbon pizza. Solace on an off hour.