Best Restaurants in North County San Diego

You must eat at these North County restaurants

The Bar at 333 Pacific in Oceanside

Dining in North County has it's advantages, especially some restaurants that offer ocean views in Del Mar and La Jolla. Our attraction as America’s Finest City goes well beyond our coastal lifestyle and Southern California charm; the dining scene itself draws much acclaim - noting world renowned chefs, Food Network and Iron Chef personalities, along with a host of top rated menu selections and traditions that span the globe.  

A list of 10 spots offering the best food in North County San Diego. (In no particular order)

1. 333 Pacific

333 N. Pacific Street, Oceanside | Visit website

As an oasis in North County with a splendid ocean view, 333 Pacific - of the Cohn Restaurant Group (behind Bo-eau+Kitchen) is best known for their seafood selections and outdoor dining in the spring and summer. It has an incredible bar scene, and their bar tender mixes a mean Bloody Mary; 333‘s raw and sushi bars are also a treat. If you are in the area, Chef Brian Hyre is providing some of the best food in the area, seafood and beef. Their side dishes are interesting and worth a second look, including the Gouda Mac and Cheese. They also provide a guide on the menu for steak temperatures so that you get your beef cooked just the way you like it. During the warmer months, take a stroll on the pier; the sunset and horizon views are simply captivating.

333 Pacific affords guests the opportunity to donate pocket change to several local non-profits - including Operation Bigs and the San Diego County Food Bank; simply round up the purchase to the nearest dollar. They are in partnership with Round It Up America, an innovative new consumer-driven philanthropy program. 333 and the Cohn Restaurant Group serve as founding members.

Also Read: Best Healthy Restaurants in San Diego

2. The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

626 South Tremont Street, Oceanside | Visit website

A member of the Slow Food Movement - a farm-to-table philosophy that equates the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment, The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen was founded by husband and wife duo, Roddy and Aaron Browning, along with Chef Mario Moser - previously of Nine Ten in La Jolla and Studio at The Montage. As a gastropub in downtown Oceanside, menu selections offer fresh local greens, handmade pasta, and organic ingredients, along with a standard eight beers on tap; and a bit unexpected, the actual menus are made of album covers from 33 rpm records. The casual atmosphere is perfect for that wind-down meal with a beer or wine paired for your enjoyment. All they need now is to add the Flying Pig wine of Cayuse to the list and they can make perfect music.

3. Paon Restaurant and Wine Bar

2875 Roosevelt Street, Carlsbad | Visit website

Crafted by Chef David Gallardo (formerly of WineSellar & Brasserie), Paon Restaurant in Carlsbad is well worth a visit for seriously good food. With California-French cuisine, their menu features seasonal, locally grown organic produce fit for the palates of fine food lovers. The Grilled Lamb Salad, Organic Beet Salad, Pan Roasted Pheasant, and Provençal Herb Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb are all highly recommended. Paon serves lunch and dinner, with patio dining for warm afternoons or summer evenings; an adjacent wine bar and retail store are also of note.

4. Solace and the Moonlight Lounge

25 East E Street, Encinitas | Visit website

Located in a LEED certified mixed-use space on Old Highway 101 and adjacent to the railroad tracks in Encinitas (yes, you can hear the trains go by), Solace and the Moonlight Lounge now serves weekend brunch featuring Bloody Mary’s and good old fashioned comfort food. Their Salmon and Glazed Cod dishes are tasty, as is the Steak with Sweet Potato Mashers; they even make a notable burger, with a vegan version available as well. For those in the North Park area, try their sister restaurant, Urban Solace.

5. Delicias

6106 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe | Visit website

With the addition of live music at the venue, Delicias has recently acquired two forces of nature to its repertoire - giving this Rancho Santa Fe destination in the heart of The Village a rebirth and a new menu: Managing Partner, Alex Campbell and Chef/Partner Paul McCage. Chef McCabe (formerly of Kitchen 1540 and Star of the Sea) brings his talent and passion for locally grown, seasonal farm produce to Delicias - an establishment that has served the local community for 19 years. The new menu is not yet set, so comments are limited, except to say, that if Chef McCabe prepares your dinner, you will enjoy every bite.

6. Thyme in the Ranch

16905 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe | Visit website

A hole-in-the-wall known by few, Thyme in the Ranch is very much a quintessential bakery with an intimate cafe ambiance; breakfast, brunch and lunch menus are also available. Good food on a consistent basis. Their talent (and a real torment for anyone on a diet) is a selection of freshly baked cakes, scones, breads, pies, pastries, and other great treats. If you are looking for something sweet for a friend or for your family, Thyme in the Ranch is worth every penny.

7. Searsuckers Del Mar

12995 El Camino Real, Del Mar | Visit website

A true hotspot in North County, formerly Burlap, Searsuckers provides the club atmosphere of the Gaslamp District with a great sound and vibe. Menu selections including their popcorn shrimp appetizer and miso fish entrée are highly recommended.

8. Whisknladle

1044 Wall Street, La Jolla | Visit website

Of Prep Kitchen fame, Whisknladle continues to dish some seriously good food presented in a casual manner and setting; even claiming a spot on the “Conde Nast Traveler” magazine Hot List Table in 2008. Their bone marrow appetizer is still a favorite, but their Crows Pass Persimmon Salad, flatbread

(“One Way or Another”), the prime Hanger Steak and fries, or the local mussels and fries, make a visit inviting and enjoyable. Do not confuse the casual setting with an inability to deliver; the farm-to-table philosophy lends very well to its practice of making nearly all selections from scratch and in-house.

9. Tapenade

7612 Fay Avenue, La Jolla | Visit website

Tapenade’s Executive Chef and Owner Jean Michel Diot – a native of France (with a brief sojourn in the big apple), he has been at the head of the class in French food for many years.  Simple and understated in appearance, the food is quite wonderful – to say the least. Upon arrival, you can expect the traditional French bread and a tasty tapenade to whet the appetite. Soon after you order you can enjoy a Salade de Crabe a la Mangue or traditional escargots. Try a traditional Steak au Poivre, Coq Au Vin de Bourgogne, or opt for a more contemporary dish. Everything on the menu is worth a try.

10. George’s At the Cove

1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla | Visit website

A perennial local favorite in La Jolla, George’s at the Cove La Jolla was started by George Hauer – a member of the Restaurant Hall of Fame – and he wisely brought Trey Foshee  – a “Food & Wine Magazine” Best New Chef – to direct the culinary operations of this dining destination.

The restaurant was rebranded about five years ago as George’s At The Cove. Not only does its main dining room have amazing food and a remarkable view, but they have two additional venues as well: Georges at the Cove – a rooftop terrace serving lunch with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby cove; and George’s Bar (located on the middle level) features a casual bistro menu for lunch and dinner.