Carlsbad is one in all San Diego’s hottest coastal cities due to the colourful Carlsbad Village heart, incredible seashores, and the truth that it’s dwelling to LEGOLAND California. It’s 35 miles north of Downtown San Diego however a terrific place for vacationers and locals alike who’re on the lookout for a relaxed vibe in a phenomenal setting. Not surprisingly, it’s additionally a terrific place to eat! From stylish eateries with roof decks to upscale steakhouses to trendy French bistros, Carlsbad’s culinary variety has one thing for everybody.
Carlsbad Village is the primary hub of this seaside city, and in recent times, increasingly more nice eating places have opened up, drawing in younger folks and households along with vacationers. Whereas the Village used to have a barely kitsch vibe round 5-10 years in the past, the plethora of contemporary and upscale eating places with modern exteriors and exquisite interiors make it a busy culinary vacation spot. State Avenue, specifically, is the middle of the gastronomic motion.
Campfire is among the hottest eating places in Carlsbad with locals of all ages, and, consistent with its title, options many camping-inspired touches all through. From the distinctive Quonset hut-style exterior with its arched corrugated steel roof, the gorgeous out of doors patio full with firepits and a 12-foot teepee, to the gourmand wood-fired menu. Menu favorites embrace oysters warmed over coals, complete grilled Maine lobster, and Koji-Aged Ribeye.
It’s a terrific possibility for lunch if in case you have youngsters, given its outdoors vibe and decor, however come night, it’s undoubtedly higher for adults as the within can get very noisy resulting from tables being shut collectively. The surface patio is adorned with fairy lights and can also be a enjoyable place for teams or a date evening on heat evenings. Thoughts you, a pal and I have been not too long ago eating on the patio when the marine layer got here in and flippantly drizzled us with rain droplets. Inside was absolutely booked, so the waiter gave us heat blankets and turned on the heater. We ended up having a beautiful night with a barely adventurous really feel.
Value noting is that Campfire was acknowledged by the Michelin Information California in 2019 when it was bestowed with Bib Gourmand standing. This culinary honor highlights ‘hidden gems’ that serve high-quality meals, together with two programs and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or much less. One more reason it’s so standard!
2. Jeune et Jolie
This award-winning trendy French eatery opened in 2018 and shortly turned Carlsbad’s first Michelin-star-rated restaurant. It’s owned by John Resnick, who additionally owns Campfire (listed above) simply alongside the highway, and each eating places have firmly put the town’s State Avenue on the culinary map.
Jeune et Jolie means ‘younger and exquisite’ in French, and the restaurant has an upscale French bistro vibe. There are two menu varieties: a four-course tasting menu with varied choices for the programs (that is typically booked out weeks forward) or an a la carte possibility referred to as ‘Le Menu du Bar’ for walk-in visitors, which is served within the bar and lounge.
The restaurant’s inside has an intimate really feel, with round bistro tables dotted across the edges and excessive stools organized across the stunning bar within the center. It additionally has a fairly out of doors patio.
3. 264 Fresco
This standard restaurant is a should when visiting Carlsbad. Specializing in trendy Italian delicacies, it has a heat and alluring really feel in its stunning fundamental restaurant, whereas its out of doors deck upstairs boasts picturesque ocean views. It may be onerous to choose a favourite place to sit down, with an alternative choice being the out of doors decks on the entrance of the restaurant, a few of which embrace a firepit.
And the restaurant appears to maintain on increasing. Throughout Covid-restricted instances, the house owners arrange a big outdoors tented space to the left of the restaurant with tables on synthetic turf surrounded by pot vegetation. It proved so standard that the realm remains to be there at this time.
Alongside favourite Italian dishes are menu choices together with Halibut, Salmon, Hen Marsala, or Braised Brief Rib. Additionally they have a terrific cocktail record.
4 & 5. Vigilucci’s
There are literally two Carlsbad places of this massively standard Italian eatery chain.
Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse: The primary and possibly most spectacular location sits alongside the coastal route main into Carlsbad Village. Not surprisingly, it’s essential ebook prematurely to safe one of many outdoors tables that line the entrance of the restaurant and have nice ocean views. The inside eating room is elegantly embellished, and there’s additionally a tented space outdoors to the appropriate, which is standard however doesn’t have ocean views.
The menu options a big collection of fish-inspired antipasti, oysters, and a shared Chilled Seafood Platter, and so they have a complete seafood entree part alongside steak and pasta choices. There’s additionally a fairly large youngsters menu.
Cucina Italiana: The Vigilucci Group’s different Carlsbad location sits on State Avenue within the coronary heart of Carlsbad Village. Once more, it has a chic vibe inside and it additionally has a big out of doors seating space on the entrance of the restaurant. The menu is heavy on pasta decisions but in addition includes a complete record of rooster, veal, and steak entree choices with some fish and vegetarian decisions.
The Vigilucci Group’s different Carlsbad location sits on State Avenue within the coronary heart of Carlsbad Village. Once more, it has a chic vibe inside, and there’s a giant out of doors seating space on the entrance of the restaurant. The menu is heavy on pasta decisions but in addition includes a complete record of rooster, veal, and steak entree choices with some fish and vegetarian decisions.
6. Barrel Republic
State Avenue can also be the situation for this rousing and alluring eatery famed for its superb burgers (that are provided at a steep low cost on Monday nights). The restaurant’s distressed wooden exterior leads right into a entrance bar space with excessive tops or there are greater tables within the again room near a roaring hearth. The restaurant has a enjoyable open-air vibe due to the 2 enormous entrance home windows being completely open onto the road.
One other large draw for the restaurant is their Self Pour Faucet system, which means alcohol is served by quantity. If you enter an attendant will register your bank card and offer you a particular wrist sensor (worn like a wristband) linked to your account. You then select from their enormous collection of craft beers and wines. Merely scan your wristband to the sensor subsequent to your selection, and pour as a lot — or as little — as you need. So should you’ve had one glass of wine and simply need half a glass extra reasonably than a complete one, you may!
Additionally they have rotating beer faucets, which means there’ll seemingly be a terrific new beer to strive each time you come. Simply notice there’s a restrict on how a lot a person can drink per go to for security causes.
7. Nick’s On State
You guessed it, this subsequent choose can also be on State Avenue! Nick’s upscale chain of eating places additionally has places in San Diego’s Del Mar, Laguna Seaside, and San Clemente in Orange County, and several other branches in LA. And whereas the Carlsbad location solely opened in 2021, it’s already a neighborhood favourite.
The menu is billed as ‘traditional American consolation meals’ however the restaurant’s inside is certainly on the subtle aspect — assume upscale however informal. Contained in the cavernous house is a shocking bar space flanked by largely darkish industrial decor, enormous home windows, and wood arches. Exterior there’s a terrific patio space for heat evenings.
Menu highlights embrace Asparagus Fries and Shrimp Taquitos to start out, adopted by gourmand consolation meals choices of San Francisco Cioppino (a scrumptious mixture of seafood served in a sourdough loaf), Buttermilk Fried Hen, or Maple Glazed Meatloaf. There’s additionally a extra customary burger and salad menu and a terrific cocktail menu to scrub all of it down with.
8. Pure Taco
Proper subsequent door to Nick’s is a superb new family-friendly Mexican eatery marketed as a ‘International Taco Bar.’ Alongside its extra complete menu it serves a $1.99 Baha Fish Taco all day, daily, and so they’re nice! They’ve nice Taco Flights if you would like variation, or you may select from extra artistic choices of Inexperienced Curry Shrimp or Korean Pork Bo SSam tacos. I undoubtedly suggest the Hen Tikka Masala Bowl for an anticipated Indian twist.
Solely the primary a part of the restaurant is roofed, however the out of doors seating is sheltered with heaters, and it’s definitely worth the wait to get a desk. The bar can also be a lovely place to hang around for each dinner and margaritas, and the entire place has a calming, informal, and enjoyable environment.
9. Karl Strauss Brewing Firm
That is undoubtedly a terrific possibility for households, and it’s not on State Avenue! It’s really proper throughout the road from LEGOLAND California, and I extremely suggest it.
Karl Strauss is a massively standard native brewery, and its founders are among the many pioneers of the craft beer motion in San Diego. Immediately, they’ve three eating places in San Diego, together with this North County favourite.
The Carlsbad location is spacious, has a phenomenal wooden inside, and a extremely pleasant environment. After transitioning to counter ordering throughout Covid restrictions, the restaurant continued this course of, and you continue to go straight to the counter/bar as quickly as you enter to order and pay earlier than discovering a desk.
The Korean BBQ Rice Bowl with salmon is superb and simply sufficient for 2 adults should you ask for an additional bowl. Or strive their Beer Sausages, enormous burger menu, or Carne Asada Tacos. As for sides, their Mac On Faucet has really gained awards!
10. Park 101
If barbecue in an off-the-cuff out of doors setting is your factor, Park 101 undoubtedly matches the invoice. This open-air eatery is pure SoCal – despite the fact that it’s really owned by an Australian! The sprawling multi-level design makes for a enjoyable possibility for excellent meals and a relaxed vibe within the midst of the downtown Carlsbad motion. It’s one block from the seashore, and the upstairs roof deck has stunning ocean views. The deck additionally has a status as a terrific social gathering venue.
Menu favorites embrace Surf N Turf Fries and Loaded BBQ Mac to share, and the Wagyu Burger or Tri Tip Burger for mains.
Park 101’s web site says it’s child and dog-friendly, however the final time I went, you needed to be 21+ to go as much as the roof deck. Verify with a server if wanted.
11. Coyote Bar & Grill
This Carlsbad stalwart has been open since 1989 and is on the perimeter of the primary Carlsbad Village heart, simply ft away from the fountain. It has a terrific out of doors seating space with loads of firepits and stay leisure 7 days every week. Anticipate to show as much as a stay band taking part in and a busy out of doors dancefloor, even within the day time.
The inside can also be enticing, and it’s undoubtedly a full of life place to go for excellent meals and drinks. The menu is typical Southern Californian fare, and favorites embrace the Smoked Hen Enchiladas, Flat Iron Steak, or Grilled Salmon with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce.
The restaurant additionally turns into a nightclub each Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m.–1.30 a.m.
12. Casa De Bandini
This huge and full of life Mexican restaurant is positioned within the upscale purchasing heart, The Discussion board, near the place Carlsbad borders Encinitas. It’s gained a number of finest Mexican restaurant awards and was initially positioned in San Diego’s Previous City district. The restaurant is understood for its incredible genuine Mexican meals and vibe. The principle eating room options conventional colourful decor all through, contrasted with darkish wooden tables and chairs, and the bar space is adorned with stunning glass hanging lights.
The dishes are enormous and scrumptious (their Shrimp Tostada and Hen Mole Poblano dishes are to die for), and the margheritas are famously big. Casa de Bandini can also be identified for its roaming Mariachi band, who may simply pop up subsequent to your desk to serenade you and your social gathering. And the Teresita Paper Flower Maker will hold the children entertained.
The restaurant additionally has a terrific out of doors seating space however I like to recommend getting an inside desk to get the perfect expertise of this enjoyable eatery that’s undoubtedly a terrific household possibility. And should you fancy a spot of purchasing after, The Discussion board shops embrace Anthropologie, Apple, lululemon, and Madewell.
13. Ponto Lago at Park Hyatt Aviara
Should you’re in North County San Diego, visiting this spectacular resort in Carlsbad is a should. Sipping cocktails whereas watching the sundown over the ocean on the lodge’s Pacific Level terrace is an beautiful expertise, and naturally, the eating choices are incredible. As a result of the lodge’s award-winning steakhouse Ember and Rye is briefly closed on the time of penning this, I’m going to suggest the lodge’s Ponto Lago for now.
Housed in a chic eating room, Ponto Lago options Baha-inspired delicacies, with standout menu decisions together with the Butter Poached Lobster Taco and Complete Hog Spear in peanut mole sauce. The restaurant exudes a heat ambiance due to the present kitchen the place cooks create in full view of visitors. Tequila and mezcal dominate the drinks menu, a lot in order that the restaurant bar hosts the Agave Tasting Expertise each Tuesday, that includes their 50 plus sorts of the 2 liquors.
The restaurant’s scrumptious Sunday buffet brunch menu consists of Oysters, Paella, and and Wooden Hearth Asado grill combine, all washed down with Mexican scorching chocolate or Margherita flights.
14. Blue Ocean Robata
Should you’re looking for a terrific sushi bar in Carlsbad, take a look at Blue Ocean Robata. It’s away from the primary Carlsbad Village motion, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly price a go to to get your sushi repair. They really have an intensive menu of every kind of Asian-inspired dishes alongside the sushi, sashimi, and nigiri choices. Highlights embrace the Mizo Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, Korean BBQ Ribs, and the I Love Poke Salad.
Additionally they have a artistic record of craft cocktails and varied sorts of Sake. Strive the Pom Sake Bomb should you dare — a novel concoction of chilly sake, pomegranate syrup, Sapporo, and a splash of cranberry juice. The restaurant is a well-liked Comfortable Hour venue on Mondays by means of Thursdays from 3 – 6 p.m. Their enjoyable themes embrace Whiskey Wednesdays and Thirsty Thursdays, and you’ll count on nice offers on drinks, small plates, and sushi.
15. Pizza Port
This SoCal establishment is a pizza and beer lover’s dream and has fairly the native historical past. The unique Pizza Port was based in Solana Seaside by siblings Gina and Vince Marsaglia again within the late 80s. It began life as only a pizzeria, with Vince utilizing the storage room to construct his passion in beer brewing. The restaurant shortly developed right into a brewpub although, combining the proper pairing of pizza and beer.
Pizza Port’s Carlsbad venue opened in 1997 and was the chain’s second location. 4 extra SoCal places have since been added. An amazing addition to the Carlsbad restaurant is the premium bottle store subsequent door, which additionally affords tons of of craft beers from different native breweries.
The restaurant’s enjoyable pizza menu consists of a number of custom-made creations named after varied Californian cities and cities, to the Meet Excessive Meat, which says all of it. Salads and different munchies spherical out the menu, whereas rotating brews on faucet will quench your thirst. Strive the Bressi Ranch (a Carlsbad neighborhood) pizza paired with a Swami’s IPA, named after the native seashore.
16. Tip High Meats & European Deli
For one thing totally different and a spot identified for its legendary breakfasts, head to Tip High’s informal however high quality eatery. Half European-style meals market/deli, half restaurant, Tip High is massively standard with expats dwelling in San Diego who head there for its glorious meat choices.
Their eating space undoubtedly isn’t fancy, nevertheless it’s a agency favourite with locals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so count on to attend in a fairly lengthy line for a desk. The menu is loaded with superb meats and cheeses, and worldwide favorites like Sauerkraut. In style scorching sandwich choices embrace the German Weiner and Hen Cutlet, and naturally, Strudel for dessert. Simply notice there are solely ‘home’ choices for wine and beer.
17. Cicciotti’s Trattoria & Seafood
For an additional nice Italian restaurant in Carlsbad, head to Cicciotti’s Trattoria & Seafood. Located in the course of Carlsbad Village, this trattoria is an offshoot of the favored beach-front Cardiff location. Each eating places have the identical menu, together with excellent Appetizer decisions like Bruschetta Mamma Mia with salmon and gorgonzola cheese. There’s nearly each pasta dish you may consider to observe and a big collection of ravioli and gnocchi. Pizza, steak, rooster, and veal dishes spherical out the menu, plus a fish choice that features the divine-looking Cioppino dish – a mix of shellfish and recent fish of the day over linguine.
The restaurant has stay music on Friday nights from 6 – 9 p.m. and you’ll test their calendar forward.
18. The Inexperienced Dragon Tavern & Museum
For dinner with an historic twist, Carlsbad’s iconic Inexperienced Dragon Tavern & Museum will present a novel expertise. A restaurant and museum in a single, Inexperienced Dragon, could also be positioned within the sunny climes of SoCal, nevertheless it was really modeled on the 18th-century famed tavern of the identical title in Boston.
Company can take in some historical past within the Revolutionary Battle museum, which is free to enter, earlier than heading to eat. The restaurant continues the colonial American theme with its décor and New England fare, together with Predominant and Connecticut Lobster Rolls. Nonetheless, there are many different decisions, together with consolation meals classics Shepherd’s Pie, Beef Bourguignon, and Turkey Pot Pie.
The artistic dessert menu features a Churro Sundae and Cappuccino Mud Pie. Additionally they have a terrific cocktail menu that includes the gin-based ‘Flower Fields’ in a nod to the well-known Carlsbad Flower Fields positioned simply throughout the road from the museum.
Darlene Horn additionally contributed to this text.