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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Julian Pie Company

    $ | Café

    The apple pies that made Julian famous come from the Smothers family bakery in a one-story house on Main Street. In pleasant weather you can...Read More

  • 6. Ki's Restaurant

    $$ | Vegetarian

    Veggies with a view could be the subtitle for this venerable Cardiff-by-the-Sea restaurant that grew from a simple juice shack. Ki's is well...Read More

  • 7. Morada

    $$$ | American

    Loyal locals frequent this classy farm-to-fork restaurant, where black-and-white photos of Santa Fe’s history provide a glimpse into the storied...Read More

  • 8. Mother's Kitchen

    $ | Vegetarian

    This popular stop for motorcyclists (the road up to the restaurant is the most popular biker route in Southern California) serves huge portions...Read More

  • 9. Soups and Such Cafe

    $ | Café

    It's worth the wait for breakfast or lunch at this cozy café, where everything is fresh and made to order. The breakfast standout is eggs Benedict...Read More

  • 10. Veladora

    $$$$ | Mediterranean

    Setting the stage for your dining journey at Veldora are open wood beams, iron chandeliers, and a Damien Hirst butterfly wing art piece valued...Read More

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