Encinitas Restaurant Reviews and Ratings:
Encinitas, Cardiff, Del Mar
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
Encinitas - Del Mar - Cardiff
Encinitas Restaurants receive
top reviews and ratings from all around San Diego. Many of our
finest or most eclectic restaurants are a 5-12 minute walk from the Inn at
Moonlight Beach. Stroll along historic Coast Highway 101 and visit
one of the many our many wonderful sidewalk cafes, restaurants and trattorias. We have it all from casual to elegant, romantic to trendy - and they're great!
Ann and Terry's (and Our Guest's) Personal
Encinitas Restaurant Ratings
We seldom venture into the city of San Diego for dining because there is such
a wide spectrum of excellent choices in North County, most a short walk from
our Inn. Terry wrote these ratings and reviews of what he thought were the
best favorite Encinitas restaurants from Mexican take-out to top-of-the-line
dining, because there just wasn't an objective source to which we could refer
our guests. Since then, our guests have added their comments and the
These ratings are not a science, but represent our quest for giving you "straight-line" information about the best restaurants in Encinitas - regardless of price. The following comments reflect our (and our guest's) best restaurants and dining establishments from take-out taco shops to the best fine dining in Del Mar, Encinitas and Cardiff-By-The-Sea.
Be sure to let us know what you think after you dine so that we can keep these dining reviews and ratings current and up-to-date for future guests!
3rd Corner -- Warm, Casual Elegance
(Moderate to Expensive)
Downtown Encinitas. 897 South Coast Highway 101; a 12 minute walk or 3 minute drive (760) 942-2104
Ann and Terry like to join their friends at this busy, sophisticated neighborhood restaurant known for its warm, imitate upscale decor, excellent cheeses and appetizers. Small serving sizes are available if you're not in the mood for a big meal. Terry loves the enormous wine selection (at very reasonable prices) and the fun, friendly wait staff - it's hard to get him to go anywhere else because the food and service are so consistently good here. Like a wine store and restaurant all in one. You feel comfortable whether wearing jeans, sweaters, a cocktail dress or sport jacket - typical SoCal casual. Great for late night snacks; the kitchen is open (except Monday) til 1:00 a.m. Our guests rave more about 3rd Corner than any other restaurant. 3rd Corner website
Trattoria i Trulli -- Nouvelle Italian cuisine (Moderate to Expensive)
Downtown Encinitas. 830 South Coast Highway 101; a 10 minute walk or 4 minute drive (760) 943-6800
Diners line up here in droves to get seats at the outside white-tablecloth tables with heaters. The rural European decor is stylishly upscale; the atmosphere is noisy and crowded (like a restaurant in Italy) with festive fine dining and wait-staff squeezing between the tables. Friendly servers bring bowls of fresh baked bread and zesty marinara sauce. Specialties include generous portions of homemade gnocchi, linguine Mediterranean and lobster ravioli. The Creme Brulee is the must-try dessert. Trattoria i Trulli
Via Italia Trattoria -- Casual, Authentic Italian
Downtown Encinitas. 569 S. Pacific Coast Hwy 101; an 8 minute walk or 4 minute drive. Tel: (760) 479-9757
This authentic Italian eatery is casual, consistently friendly and comfortable. Owner Paolo Pedrazzani moved to San Diego from Milan, Italy in 1993. Locals love the food and the prices. Winner of San Diego Magazines coveted awards: Best Italian 2000 & 2004 and Best Pizza 2004 & 2005. Noon to 10 p.m. A typical review from Yelp.com: The wine is great, the service is lovely, and the food is fantastic.
Vigilucci's Italian Ristorante --
Fine Dining (Expensive to Very Expensive)
Downtown Encinitas. 505 South Coast Highway 101; a 6 minute walk. (760) 942-7332
The Original Encinitas Italian Ristorante. Always busy; outside candle-lit dining on the sidewalk; white tablecloths, fine wines and tables on their outdoor patio with gas heaters. The Italian cuisine is superb - the setting relaxed and romantic. Can be chilly outdoors even with the heaters. Very popular, reservations highly recommended. Vigilucci's Website.
Kaito Sushi -- The Best Sushi In San
130 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024 ; a 10 minute drive.
Tel: (760) 634-2746
If you're a sushi lover, this is THE place. Our sushi loving guests rave about it. The reviews on Yelp.com speak for themselves: awesome. Kaito has a wide following who swear it's the best sushi south of L.A. Dozens of Yelp reviews wax eloquent "Hands down the best sushi in San Diego." "All the fish was fresh and prepared perfectly." "The fish was fresh and the chef was amazing." What more can we say? Let us know what you think. Here are some reviews.
Barracuda Grill -- Fine Dining
(Expensive to Very Expensive)
Old Encinitas. 641 South Coast Highway 101; a 6 minute walk or 3 minute drive. Tel: (760) 230-1464
A sophisticated menu combined with quiet, tasteful decor makes Barracuda Grill one of the finer dining locations in Encinitas. We were here on opening night and have returned many times since - always finding excellent food. The crab cakes with salsa are great, the pheasant succulent, the fish diners well prepared - all served with delightfully presented vegetables. Creme Brulee was one of the best we have tasted. Barracuda Grille has a full bar and a good wine selection. Barracuda Website
The Beach House -- Best spot for lunch on the Beach
(Lunch: Moderate; Dinner: Moderate to Expensive)
Cardiff-By-The-Sea. 2530 South Coast Highway 101, a 6 minute drive down Coast Highway 101. (760) 752-1321
Our favorite spot for lunch with out-of-town guests hungry for the sun, sand & ocean. The Beach House has outdoor ocean-front dining with tables literally 10 feet from the private sandy beach. Two levels of heated outdoor patios provide enormous wrap-around views of the Pacific Ocean. Views and beach setting are superb; service and food can be less than world class, however, but if you want a nice lunch on the beach experience, this is the place. The Beach House is the only beach-front restaurant that will reserve a table on the patio for you. If you go, just flow with the SoCal-Surfer-Pace and chill; don't expect perfect service -- then you will have fun. If you want a world-class fine-dining experience, go elsewhere. The Beach House in Cardiff Website.
Pacifica Del Mar -- Award Winning Fine Dining (Expensive to Very Expensive)
Del Mar. 1555 Camino Del Mar (Hwy 101); a 12 minute drive (858) 792-0476
A local favorite "special event" dinner restaurants. Their specialty seafood dishes have earned them multiple fine dining awards. Coastal cuisine menu features fresh seafood, steak and pasta. Located atop the beautiful Del Mar Plaza, this is a sophisticated, elegant and busy fine-dining ocean-view restaurant. Great food, outstanding wine selection and perfect ocean view. Jackets and cocktail dresses are the norm. When making a reservation, ask for "seating for two with a view" for watching the sunset. Pacifica Del Mar Website
Encinitas Ale House 101 -- Fun, Elegant Bistro (Lunch: Moderate;
Dinner: Moderate to Expensive)
Downtown Encinitas. 1044 S. Coast Highway 101; a 12 minute walk or 3 minute drive. (760) 943-7180
Comfortable, casual, friendly neighborhood restaurant with big portions and great cuisine for lunch or dinner. Wonderful upscale burgers, ask Ann for more details about splitting the big portions or enjoying a glass of wine outside on a nice day. Encinitas Ale House Website.
The Chart House - Fine Dining On The Ocean (Expensive to Very
Cardiff-By-The-Sea. 2588 South Coast Highway 101, a 6 minute drive down Coast Historic Highway 101. Tel: (760) 436-4044
A Southern California fine-dining standard, right on the beach. Terry likes taking Ann here for special occasions; a bit more formal than the Encinitas restaurants. Fine dining with great service and front-row seats to waves & panoramic Southern California sunsets. Enormous ocean-facing window-walls open the entire restaurant to the sky and Pacific Ocean. Romantic. The Chart House Website.
Robbie's Roadhouse Grill - Casual, comfortable Pub (Moderate
530 North Coast Highway 101; a 4 minute drive or a 12 minute walk across the tracks. (760) 634-2365
One our of favorite "casual yet upscale" places for lunch, late afternoon snack with friends or casual dinner. Robbie's motto is "Eat, Drink, Celebrate!" It's a bit pub, a bit wood-fired pizza and a bit Italian restaurant, all combining for a cozy, warm unique atmosphere. Outdoor dining with heaters or a indoor seating with big, comfy leather booths and custom-made, tile-topped tables. Robbie's Roadhouse website
Leucadia Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant
-- Great Pizza, Pasta and Salads. Take-out/Eat-in (Inexpensive -
Corner of Encinitas Blvd and Hwy 101. 315 S. Coast Highway 101; a 2 minute walk just across the street.
Telephone (760) 942-2222 - They deliver for about $8, or you can order by phone and walk to pick it up - a 2 minute walk.
After a long, hard day at the beach, some of our tucker-out our guests sometimes like to order a pizza or pasta, then walk two blocks to pick it up, take it back to the Inn and enjoy it in our Sunroom kitchen or on the front porch watching the sun set. Sports lovers find it a good place to hang out and watch the game while sharing a pizza and a salad but beware - there can be kids running around - it's a family place :-) Generous portions and decent prices. Hours are Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can see the menu and order takeout or delivery food at the Leucadia Pizza website.
Siamese Basil -- Thai (Inexpensive to Moderate)
Downtown Encinitas. 527 S Coast Highway 101; a 7 minute walk. (760) 753-3940
Simple, funky and fun in a sometimes crowded setting. No reservations, but worth the wait even though lines can be long on weekends because many say it's the best Thai food in North County. Extensive selection of soups, salads, curries, rice and noodles, vegetables, seafood and chicken. You "select the heat" on many dishes on a scale of 1 - 10. Hint: 6 is as high as Terry can go. Siamese Basil Reviews
The Brigantine -- Crowded, Fun Pub Bistro (Moderate)
Del Mar. 3263 Camino Del Mar (South Coast Hwy 101) Del Mar; a 10 minute drive (858) 481-1166
For a fun, festive, informal bite. Ann, Terry and both daughters enjoy the Brig's moderately-priced "pub food" bar because it's crowded, noisy, has great beer and what we think are some of the best Fish-n-Chips in San Diego. Very popular with the after-work happy-hour crowd; hard to find a seat in the hopping pub/bar after 5:30 p.m. (while the restaurant can be nearly empty). Valet parking only. Brigantine Website.
El Callejon -- Mexican Fun (Moderate)
Downtown Encinitas behind Leucadia Pizza. 345 South Coast Highway 101; a 4 minute walk (760) 634-2793
A rollicking good time in a noisy, fun, music-filled Mexican restaurant. El Callejon is a favorite with locals, families and travelers. You're served big glasses of ice water and a basket of hot chips and salsa the moment you're seated. A "roving" Mariachi Band plays your requests as you drink famous margaritas. Extensive menu of real Mexican cuisine. El Callejon Website
Karina's -- Funky, authentic Mexican take-out (Inexpensive)
Leucadia. 916 North Coast Highway 101 at Leucadia Blvd; a 5 minute drive (760) 633-3300
Authentic Mexican. Terry loves the Shrimp Burritos - he's had more than 700 over the past 10 years... and counting! Ann likes the Tostada Suprema. Simple, clean and authentic Mexican. You can eat in, but we take out. Stand in line for authentic Mexican food surrounded by local surfers and Mexican and Central American workers. All of the standards (carne asada, rolled tacos, quesadillas) are great every time; the slightly fancier stuff is even better. They have some of the best seafood offerings of any taco shop you'll find. Karina's Taco Shop Reviews
Tomiko -- Fine Dining Asian Fusion & Sushi
Located atop the Best Western Hotel at Vulcan & Encinitas Blvd, a 3 minute walk. Tel: (760) 633-3587
Asian-infused contemporary cuisine and a traditional Japanese menu with a Sushi bar in a casually-elegant setting on a hill overlooking Moonlight Beach. Just one block south of our Inn. Half price happy hour until 7 p.m. Great views. Tomiko Website.
Yogi's Sports Bar & Restaurant -- Beer, TV, Sports, Beer... and TV
(Inexpensive to Moderate)
Cardiff-By-The-Sea. 2633 South Coast Hwy 101, a 6 minute drive down Coast Highway 101. (760) 943-9644
More big-screen televisions than Best Buy. If there is a game you must see, and you like beer, the place to be is Yogi's; there are always plenty of folks cheering your team. Located across the street from the Cardiff beach, Yogi's is an institution, the Sports Bar in North County. The friendly staff is what Terry calls "clear on the concept" of good, fun service. Yogi's Sports Bar
Juanita's -- Mexican Take Out or Eat In (Inexpensive)
Downtown Encinitas/Leucadia. 290 North Coast Highway 101; a 4 minute drive (760) 943-9612
The is the "surfer-Mexican-take-out" shop in North County. When our daughters came home from college, Juanita's was the FIRST place they went for take-out. Fish Tacos are a must-try. This simple, busy, roadside taco shop is famous for big burritos and low prices. Juanita's epitomizes the authentic "street meat" style of Mexican food and the funkiness of Leucadia. Famous with the surfer and beach crowd. Eat in or take out. Open late. Real late. When Terry departs on early-morning birding expeditions at 3:00 a.m., Juanita's is still serving the late night crowd. Juanita's Taco Shop
Roxy Restaurant -- Vegetarian & Eclectic (Inexpensive to
Downtown Encinitas. 517 South Coast Hwy 101; a 6 minute walk or 3 minute drive (760) 436-5001
Diverse, extensive vegetarian, chicken & fish dishes in an old-Leucadia atmosphere with big drinks, enormous servings. Laid back service and very reasonable prices make Roxy a local cultural icon. Plus, an ice cream parlor in a restaurant/bar? Where else but downtown Encinitas can you get a glass of rum with your ice cream cone? (That's why Terry looooves Encinitas - there is no place like it.) The Roxy
Sakura Bana Sushi Bar -- Sushi (Moderate)
Downtown Encinitas. 1031 South Coast Highway 101; a 10 minute walk or 4 minute drive (760) 942-6414
Friends tell us the seared Albacore sushi is a must-try. Ann and Terry are not sushi lovers, but friends who are tell us that Sakura Bana does not have a chain restaurant feel, but is a small, family owned traditional sushi bar; two chefs have been there for decades. Sakura Bana Sushi Bar
St. Tropez Bakery -- French Bistro (Moderate)
Downtown Encinitas. 947 South Coast Highway 101; a 10 minute walk or 4 minute drive (760) 633-0084
St Tropez offers authentic French provincial cuisine and pastries. Great for lunch and/or desert. Pleasant outdoor dining next door to Starbucks. St Tropez Bakery
Inn at Moonlight Beach is a romantic, intimate little
Beach Inn just 2 miles up the coast from Cardiff via the historic Old Coast
Highway 101. We're across the street from Moonlight Beach in the
lost-in-time little beach community of Encinitas California, just up the coast
from San Diego.
Guests tell us how they love our setting near the sea. Our Beach Inn is quiet and intimate; you will love the fresh, ocean-view suites and Ann's fresh, warm-from-the-oven pastries every morning along with your home-made breakfast. And for evening meals, Ann will give you our personal recommendations for the best restaurants and most romantic dining establishments. The Encinitas restaurant reviews and ratings on this website are a compilation of our experiences and the feedback from our guests. Meet your hostess, Ann Dunham.
Inn at Moonlight Beach receives top ratings from BedandBreakfast.com as having the finest accommodations near Carlsbad, Del Mar, and Cardiff By The Sea - far warmer and more intimate than any other hotel, motel, or lodging accommodations in Cardiff, Del Mar, or Carlsbad, California. We hope you find our Encinitas dining ratings and reviews helpful.
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