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Best in North SD county?

We live in Orange County but often attend the theater is LaJolla or San Diego. We usually go to a matinee, and like to have dinner on the way home. We've been to the Chart House in Cardiff a few times...it's ok but not terrific. We've heard about Sea and Smoke in Encinitas and Fish 101 in Del Mar. Are they any good? Are there others you'd recommend? We like nice ambiance, good cocktails, great food, and not too noisy. Prefer American, Italian, French or seafood cuisines. Cost not important, quality is! Any ideas??

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  1. Try Veladora (Italian) or The Pony Room (casual American fare with great cocktails in nice bar setting, but you can also order off the adjoining Veladora menu) at the plush Rancho Valencia Hotel in Rancho Santa Fe...great Sunday brunch as well.

    Eddie V's on Prospect Street in La Jolla has awesome ambiance (killer view from their outdoor deck) and pretty good food (even though it is a chain). Good seafood and steak.

    2 Replies
    1. re: El Chevere

      Great recs. I would normally agree with you on the outdoor seating at Eddie V's, but the cove stench has gotten much worse the past few weeks. I would still suggest the restaurant, but call ahead to make a reservation at one of the INSIDE window tables. Nothing like having an expensive dinner ruined by the odor of animal excrement.

      1. re: El Chevere

        Haven't been back to Kitchen 1540 lately, have they stepped their level back up? We felt it took a big hit after McCabe left.

      2. Kitchen 1540 (Del Mar) and Georges (La Jolla)

        1. Market Restaurant Del Mar
          AR Valentein Torrey Pines
          Addison Carmel Valley
          Mille Fleurs Rancho Santa Fe
          Blue Ribbon Pizza Encinitas

          1. Are you looking only at North County options along the 5? There are some great choices in La Jolla if you're already there.

            Don't know if they've worked out the service issues at Sea and Smoke, but it was still not good as of a few months ago. The potential is there, but I have a hard time recommending it.

            Market in Del Mar is fantastic and would be my pick.

            The Del Mar Heights branch of Searsucker is worth a try.

            I haven't been to the Del Mar location of Prepkitchen, but if it's like the others, it should be decent.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ponder99

              We've already been to many of the better places in LaJ (George's, Tapenade, Eddie V's, Whisk 'n Ladle, Herringbone, etc), so we're now thinking of exploring places further north, not too far off the 5.

            2. How is the WineSellar & Brasserie? It's been years since we've been there, and haven't heard anything about it recently.

              1 Reply
              1. re: josephnl

                If I remember correctly, The chef and maitre d left for Paon, which is up in Carlsbad. It is right off of Carlsbad Village Drive, west of the 5. My S.O. has eaten there for lunch a couple of times and she really enjoyed it. I have never been, but walked by numerous times, nice looking place.