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. Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

    $$ | American

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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Prepkitchen Del Mar

    $$ | American

    This snug Del Mar restaurant is like stepping into the home of your most fashionable friend who has an industrial-meets-vintage dining room...Read More

  • 11. Romano's Restaurant

    $$ | Italian

    This is a casual, red-checked-tablecloth kind of place, where you can dine outside in good weather. Huge portions of antipasto, pizza, pasta...Read More

  • 12. Solace & The Moonlight Lounge

    $$ | American

    The modern American cuisine, patio overlooking historic Highway 101, and industrial setting—garage doors that retract on sunny days and exposed...Read More

  • 13. The Barrel Room

    $$ | European

    A refined wine bar ambience and a European-inspired menu set the tone for the unpretentious creations of chef Trevor Chappell. Shareable plates...Read More

  • 14. The Fish Market

    $$ | Seafood

    In 1976, a fisherman and captain teamed up to deliver fresh, quality seafood at a decent price. Today, they run six restaurants across California...Read More

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