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. AVANT

    $$$ | American

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

  • 2. Market Restaurant + Bar

    $$$ | American

    Carl Schroeder, one of California's hottest young chefs, draws well-heeled foodies to his creative and locally sourced California fare, much...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 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. Pacifica Del Mar

    $$$ | Seafood

    The view of the shimmering Pacific from this lovely restaurant perched atop Del Mar Plaza is one of the best along the coast, and complements...Read More

  • 9. Red Tracton's

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    Across the street from the Del Mar racetrack, this classic old-fashioned steak and seafood house is a high-roller's heaven and a perennial favorite...Read More

  • 10. Sbicca

    $$$ | Del Mar | American

    The menu at this American bistro changes quarterly but the clientele is here to stay, especially during summer months when people-watching becomes...Read More

  • 11. Vigilucci's Cucina Italiana

    $$$ | Carlsbad | Italian

    Restaurateur Roberto Vigilucci's fell in love with San Diego in the '80s and decided to bring Milan to North County with four eateries that...Read More

  • 12. Vincent's

    $$$ | French

    This French restaurant is an excellent choice for dinner before an event at the nearby California Center for the Arts. Original paintings decorate...Read More

  • 13. Vintana

    $$$ | American

    Don't let its location above the Lexus dealership dissuade you; this swanky restaurant is part of the Cohen Restaurant empire and it's designed...Read More

  • 14. Bernard'O

    $$$ | French

    Intimate despite its shopping-center location, Bernard'O is the choice for a romantic dinner. Sit fireside in the small dining room, dine by...Read More

  • 15. BlueFire Grill

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    Fire and water drama defines this signature restaurant that's part of La Costa resort complex. The centerpiece of the resort's entrance plaza...Read More

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