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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Jeremy's on the Hill

    $$ | American

    Julian's most upscale restaurant has gained a solid reputation thanks to the chef's commitment to quality cuisine reflected in the farm-to-table...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Bellamy's Restaurant

    $$$ | French

    Live piano music, crystal chandeliers, and leather tufted chairs set the stage at this fine-dining restaurant by Chef Jonathan Freyberg for...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. CUCINA enoteca

    $$ | Italian

    An off-shoot 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

  • 14. D'Carlos

    $$ | American

    The parking lot in front of D'Carlos is always full, a sure sign that Ramonans like this casual family-style dinner house. The menu offers something...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. Jake's Del Mar

    $$$ | American

    Situated next to grassy Powerhouse Park, Jake's feels like Southern Californian dining at its best—a beachfront location coupled with beautiful...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Julian Tea & Cottage Arts

    $$ | Café

    Sample finger sandwiches, scones topped with whipped cream, and lavish sweets, which are served during afternoon tea inside the Clarence King...Read More

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