5 Best Restaurants in Carlsbad, North County and Around

Jeune et Jolie

$$$ Fodor's choice

Say "bonjour" to this delightful French restaurant with a Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibe, where pink velvet booths and a center bar with an absinthe tower will leave you thinking you’ve died and gone to Paris. The French-inspired, four-course menu changes with the season, but expect labor-of-love cuisine like veal tartare, rabbit with spring peas, or duck with fig and black truffle; embrace the moment with ibérico ham and caviar or fresh-shucked oysters. Add the wine pairing for $75 and savor your meal beneath olive trees and twinkling stars.

2659 State St., Carlsbad, California, 92008, USA
Known For
  • cocktails inspired by the French Belle Epoque
  • raw oyster bar
  • four-course tasting menu
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.



Paying tribute to community around the campfire, it’s all about connecting here, both with the cool crowd and with the distinctive cocktail and dinner menus. Throughout the restaurant, subtle hints of the camping theme—canvas-backed booths, servers in flannels, leather menus branded with the Campfire log—are visible, but it’s the food that will leave you setting up camp, as chefs work their magic behind glass walls grilling, roasting, and smoking almost every dish including the oysters warmed over coals. The fire-roasted cabbage has a crunch, and the smoked brisket with coffee rub delivers with polenta and pickled tomatoes. Topping off the meal are tableside mini-Dutch ovens of hot coals for DIY s’mores with vanilla marshmallows, graham cookies, salted caramel, and chocolate ganache.

2725 State St., Carlsbad, California, 92008, USA
Known For
  • smoky cocktails
  • wood-fired American fare
  • innovative seasonal menu
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. No lunch

Sweet Spot


Willy Wonka would be impressed with this authentic candy shop with barrels and bins piled high with gummies, drops, jellybeans, sour candies, and other nostalgic treats. There’s even ice cream to cool you down on a hot summer day.

Recommended Fodor's Video

The Wise Ox


Order any one of just seven menu items and then dig into mouth-stretching sandwiches on the small patio with communal picnic tables. The turkey with Swiss comes on perfectly toasted sourdough, while the Philly cheesesteak is heaping with shaved New York strip and pickled peppers; just about everything pairs well with their selection of beers on tap, and of course the beef-fat fries. As many customers who roll in for the food, there are just as many coming to grab cuts off the block from the butcher. 

7750 El Camino Real Suite P, Carlsbad, California, 92009, USA
Known For
  • homemade sauces and marinades
  • beef-fat fries
  • classic butcher shop and deli
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner, Closes at 5 pm

Vigilucci's Cucina Italiana

$$$ | Carlsbad

Restaurateur Roberto Vigilucci's fell in love with San Diego in the '80s and decided to bring Milan to North County with three eateries that are fine-dining experiences without the stuffiness. While each has its own character, Vigilucci's on historic State Street has an authenticity that’s hard to beat, right down to its street-side patio, bustling servers with thick Italian accents, and wine list that will leave you appreciating la bella vita. Roasted artichokes are blanketed in melted mozzarella, and paper-thin carpaccio is topped with a mound of peppery arugula. Edible orchids adorn entrées like the pan-seared scallops in truffle and brandy cream sauce, and fresh ravioli pocketed with homemade ricotta and spinach. Pace yourself for the crème brûlée with vanilla custard and a burnt sugar crust.