Chow worthy in Encinitas - guests coming from Chicago
I would head over across to the gorgeous Rancho Valencia resort for lunch at the Pony Room in the Ranch.
Las Olas for lunch on Sunday and then Self Realization Temple for the oceanfront gardens.
Blue Fire for drinks and apps at La Costa resort.
Fish tacos and margs at the Brig for everyday happy hour in Solana Beach.
Kaito for omakase.
Tony Jacals for Mex.
Bull Taco in Cardiff
Wonderful sushi at Kaito. He's the impressionist master of sushi in SD. Make sure to reserve at the bar w Kazuo. Ambience looks funky in this strip mall but omakase is the best.
Qero is fantastic. We love it but reservations are needed as they do seatings.
Monday nights just have a fun beer and burger night with live music at Craftsman. Very tasty and casual.
My Lovely Tasting Assistant™ and I stopped at Yu Me Ya on the way home from San Diego a few months ago.
It's a very friendly neighborhood izakaya with some very nicely prepared, unpretentious Japanese bar food in a cozy and friendly setting. There's some hybrid stuff going on in the menu, but we stuck with mostly traditional orders. However, even the non-traditional stuff (like the silken tofu salad) was delicious. The family is from Osaka, so we had to order the takoyaki (we were sad they didn't sell okinomiyaki but they said the kitchen is too small for it). We also ordered ordered black cod, pork sausage, scallops & mushrooms. Lots of other dishes too, but I can't remember at this point. It's a lively little neighborhood joint in an unlikely place. Make reservations, or there could be a long wait.