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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Flower Child

    $ | American

    Fast-casual takes a healthy spin at this cheery spot—think Technicolor peace sign, floral wallpaper in the bathroom, and yoga mat “parking”...Read More

  • 7. Harbor Fish & Chips

    $ | Seafood

    Pick up a basket of fresh-cooked fish-and-chips at this dive and you're in for a treat. The shop has been serving clam chowder, shrimp cocktail...Read More

  • 8. Hello Betty Fish House

    $ | Seafood

    Overlooking the water in Oceanside, this beachside restaurant serves oysters, clam chowder, fish tacos, and several fresh catch options, which...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Pizza Port

    $ | Pizza

    Local families flock here for great pizza and handcrafted brews. Pick a spot at one of the long picnic-type tables, choose traditional or whole...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Wynola Pizza & Bistro

    $ | Pizza

    Locals and San Diegans come to this quaint and casual indoor-outdoor restaurant for delicious, single-portion pies, such as pesto pizza, Thai...Read More

  • 14. Don Chuy

    $ | Mexican

    Family-run and utterly charming, Don Chuy serves authentic Mexican cuisine to patrons who, before dining here, may have tasted only a pale version...Read More

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