Top 7 North County Restaurants to Take Out of Town Guests

posted on November 19th, 2011 | filed under: Loving the Lifestyle

When friends and family like to visit, I always like to take them out locally to some of our great North County restaurants. Here’s my pick for the top restaurants to take out of town guests.

Las Olas Cardiff1. Las Olas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea – Who doesn’t want great Mexican food with an ocean view? This is the perfect time of year to visit when Las Olas serves “Puerto Nuevo Style” California spiny lobster (mid-October through mid-March). Also known for their happy hours, house margaritas (ask for them fresh, not from the “gun”) and fish tacos, anytime is the right time to visit this local casual favorite. The best part about it, after dinner walk across the street for a barefoot walk along the beach. Second location in Carlsbad, but not so close to the ocean.

Twenty-20 patio2. Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar, Carlsbad – located in the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa, it’s named for the panoramic view of the Pacific coastline, which you can view from the 1700 square foot patio with heaters and mesmerizing firepits . The restaurant is elegant and casual with tasty, modern and fresh plates sourced from local ingredients. Happy hour specials offer a great opportunity on their excellent tapas and martinis, Thursday nights have Jazz on the Half Shell (with raw bar) and Pre-Fixed Fridays with a seasonal menu at a great price. Take advantage of the complementary valet parking since you’ll have to hoof it if they hotel is having a large conference on site.

(c) Megan T

3. Q’ero, Encinitas – This tiny restaurant features simple yet mind-blowing Peruvian and South American food. They have an extensive wine list that compliments the meals wonderfully and is sure to be a dinner you won’t soon forget. The Tres Leche cake for dessert is a must! Located in the heart of Old Encinitas along the 101, be sure to window shop the great local stores or catch a movie at the historical La Paloma Theater. Reservations recommended, although you may get lucky.

Jake's Del Mar4. Jake’s, Del Mar – Even though Jake’s is owned by T5 Restaurants (which also owns Hula Grill in Waikiki and Duke’s in Malibu), this restaurant is not to be missed. It sits right on the Del Mar shore within walking distance from Powerhouse Park and features fine California cuisine with an excellent selection of seafood. Service is fantastic and a comprehensive wine list compliment the view and the meal’s attention to detail. Opt for the valet parking as finding a spot in this part of Del Mar can be tricky. Reservations highly recommended.

Vigiluccis_Carlsbad5. Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse, Carlsbad – Vigilucci has seven restaurants from Carlsbad to Coronado, but my favorite is the fine dining steakhouse in Carlsbad. It’s situated across the street from the ocean and serves excellent steaks and seafood with an Italian flair. They have an extensive wine selection and delectable desserts. Reservations recommended.

Pacificas Ocean View Patio6. Pacifica, Del Mar – One of the best seafood restaurants in San Diego, it has been awarded the California Restaurant Association’s prestigious Gold Medallion for “Best Seafood Dining in San Diego,” and Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Everything that I’ve ever tried here has been prepared to perfection and there is a wide selection of seafood, steaks and pasta to choose from. The service is excellent and the view from the covered patio is sublime. Reservations recommended and park in the parking garage of the Del Mar Plaza (restaurant on top).

Savory Casual Fare Bistro7. Savory, Encinitas – This little quiet gem of a restaurant is a favorite among local foodies. Savory serves casual California cuisine with a European flair in a fine bistro setting. The owner is a former executive chef of the Four Seasons Aviara and pays great attention to having a seasonal menu using fresh local ingredients. The flavor combinations are quite memorable. Recently awarded OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Award based on user reviews.

posted by Jen Hibbits

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Jeff DeChamplain