North County and Around Restaurants

Dining in the North County tends to reflect the land where the restaurant is located. Along the coast, for example, there is one luxury fine-dining spot after another. Most have dramatic water views and offer platters of exquisite fare created by graduates of the best culinary schools. Right next door you can wander into a typical beach shack or diner for the juiciest hamburger you’ve ever tasted. Locally sourced food can be found at restaurants throughout the area, although a few chefs have adopted molecular gastronomic techniques. Backcountry cuisine is generally served in huge portions and tends toward home-style cooking, steak and potatoes, burgers, and anything fried.

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  • 1. Addison

    $$$$ | French

    Indulge in the finer things in life at this AAA 5-Diamond, Michelin-starred restaurant by acclaimed chef William Bradley who serves up haute...Read More

  • 2. AVANT

    $$$$ | American

    The appropriately named AVANT—meaning stylistically advanced and original—delivers contemporary California cuisine—duck, lobster, lamb, fish...Read More

  • 3. Buona Forchetta

    $ | Italian

    For authentic Italian cuisine, head to the “Good Fork” where you'll feel like you've stepped into the home of your long-lost Italian relatives...Read More

  • 4. Claire’s on Cedros

    $ | Bakery

    Breakfast foodies religiously line up for a table at this cheerful A-frame restaurant for the chance to dig in to wholesome food made from scratch...Read More

  • 5. Fish 101

    $ | Seafood

    The line out the door—especially during happy hour—is a clear sign you’re at the best place in North County to find locally sourced, sustainably...Read More

  • 6. Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

    $$ | American

    This meat-focused eatery fills bellies with farm-to-table artisanal cuisine like bacon mac and cheese, and a 12-ounce pork chop served over...Read More

  • 7. Jeune et Jolie

    $$$ | French

    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...Read More

  • 8. Moms Pie House

    $ | Bakery

    In 1984, “Mom” (aka Anita Nichols) opened her first pie shop in the old Julian Café building. People lined the streets for a slice of the guilty...Read More

  • 9. Monarch

    $ | Del Mar | Modern American

    Over the past decade, this coveted ocean-view spot in Del Mar has seen restaurants come and go, but finally Monarch did it right by transforming...Read More

  • 10. Romano's Restaurant

    $$ | Italian

    For four generations, recipes have been handed down the line of this Sicilian family who opened their first restaurant in 1920. From Milwaukee...Read More

  • 11. The Wooden Spoon

    $$ | American

    Former fine-dining chef Jesse Paul—who oversaw kitchens at Four Seasons Aviara, L'Auberge Del Mar, and Via Italia Trattoria—left it all behind...Read More

  • 12. 101 Cafe

    $ | American

    A diner dating back to 1928 is both a local hangout and the headquarters of the historic Highway 101 movement. Find all kinds of Highway 101...Read More

  • 13. 333 Pacific

    $$$ | Seafood

    Directly across from Oceanside Pier, Oceanside’s most upscale restaurant specializes in seafood dishes and upscale comfort food in an elegant...Read More

  • 14. Apple Alley Bakery

    $ | Bakery

    This bakery tucked down a narrow alley proves there’s no such thing as too many pie shops in Julian. After mastering the apple-to-crust ratio...Read More

  • 15. Argyle Steakhouse

    $$$$ | Steakhouse

    Even if you don't play golf, the elegant Argyle, occupying the Aviara Golf clubhouse, is an excellent choice for some of the finest cuts of...Read More

  • 16. Barona Oaks Steakhouse

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    The elegant, dinner-only restaurant at Barona Resort is one of the few fine-dining venues east of San Diego. It caters to high rollers whose...Read More

  • 17. Bellamy's Restaurant

    $$$$ | French

    Live piano music, crystal chandeliers, and leather tufted chairs set the stage at this fine-dining restaurant for a delectable menu that includes...Read More

  • 18. Bistro West

    $$ | American

    This busy spot, part of the West Inn complex, might be called the boisterous bistro, especially if you get there during happy hour, when it...Read More

  • 19. Campfire

    $$ | American

    Paying tribute to community around the campfire, it’s all about connecting here, both with the cool crowd and with the distinctive cocktail...Read More

  • 20. CUCINA enoteca

    $$ | Italian

    An offshoot of Bankers Hill's Cucina Urbana, enoteca occupies a grand two-story space in the Flower Hill Promenade shopping center and is as...Read More

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