While I may be in a different sunny state this winter, I promised to tell you about the places I dined during my first post-pandemic vacation to San Diego. It was a grand and glorious trip with my sister N last fall and I love reminiscing about our stay. San Diego and each of it’s beach towns along the coast offer a wealth of good eating. Here are highlights from five of the great foodie places we sampled.
Dining at Campfire in Carlsbad
I made dinner reservations way in advance for Campfire, a trendy restaurant in downtown Carlsbad. It’s a warm and friendly restaurant with an outdoor campfire vibe. As Chef Eric Bost says, “Campfire celebrates the spirit of our name as we gather around a fire, create honest food, and share it with friends. Menu items are inspired from the coasts, forests, mountains and deserts that make up the California landscape and the casual woodsy decor makes you feel like you are ready to enjoy the outdoors.”
There’s a large bar in the center of the restaurant with a well-stocked selection of wines and cocktails. Once seated, we shared a carrot and beet veggie dish to start. It was fresh and yummy. I ordered the fish of the day and N had the smoked pork chop.
Make sure to leave room for dessert. Campfire is known for its individual s’mores served with rich dark chocolate squares, homemade marshmallows and grahams and a mini campfire to melt your own. OMG I bet you’ll be as speechless as we were after we took our first bite. It’s so good, so good, so good.
Driving down Highway 101 to Honey’s Bistro & Bakery in Encinitas
On our way from Carlsbad to Solana Beach (where we were staying for the second half of our trip), we drove down Highway 101, stopping in Encinitas for lunch. On the main road we noticed some appetizing platters at Honey’s Bistro & Bakery and decided to try the luncheonette cafe.
According to it’s website, “Honey’s Bistro & Bakery has been serving the best Breakfast & Lunch items Encinitas has to offer since the early 90’s.” Honey’s is open for breakfast and lunch and has a robust menu for both meals. There are mouthwatering plates of multigrain, buttermilk and berry pancakes and waffles and omelet dishes for breakfast and appetizing salads, sandwiches and quesadillas for lunch.
My Avocado Melt oozing with melted provolone, avocado, artichokes and tomato was so delicious I’ve been trying to replicate it ever since I arrived home.
BTW, I also recommend visiting Praeger’s Bakery across the street for artisan breads and other assorted cookies, pastries and homemade granola. It’s so good, so good, so good.
Celebrating a birthday at Pacifica Del Mar
For N’s birthday, we spent the evening at Pacifica Del Mar with amazing views. This award-winning restaurant is a nice place to go for special occasions. (Make your reservations in advance on Open Table.)
We watched the sunset and toasted with Prosecco, giving gratitude that we were able to travel and celebrate together. According to its website, “Pacifica has served the Del Mar community, dishing out refined, yet casual fare in a comfortable and beautiful setting. A striking view of the Pacific Ocean is served alongside tempting selections of fresh seafood, steak, and pasta. Pacifica Del Mar restaurant is celebrated year round for its cuisine, setting, warmth, hospitality, and service.”
Since Pacifica Del Mar was recognized with a prestigious Gold Medallion for “Best Seafood Dining in San Diego,” I selected the sea bass entree served with sticky rice and curry sauce. It was so good, so good, so good.
Lunching aloha-style at Duke’s in La Jolla
”You should go to Duke’s if you’re going to La Jolla,” said my friend J. With research, I learned that “Duke’s is named after native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic swimming and water polo medalist and the father of modern surfing.”
We welcomed the suggestion and made a late lunch reservation to complement our day trip to San Diego’s hilly, seaside neighborhood. After walking around the coast and being entertained by La Jolla’s seals and sea lions, we headed into La Jolla Village to check out the ritzy shops and enjoy a relaxing meal.
Nothing beats dining outdoors overlooking the La Jolla Cove. It was a brilliant sunny day and the contemporary menu of traditional island plates made it difficult to choose just one. I decided on the Sautéed Macnut & Herb Crusted Fresh MahiMahi. The fish was Parmesan & Panko dusted, with a lemon caper butter and served with jasmine rice, macaroni salad and bok choy macadamia nut slaw. It was so good, so good, so good.
Stopping at Robertos Taco Shop
“Have you had a roadside taco yet?” asked S, our AirBnb host. OMG, we only had one night left and we hadn’t eaten any San Diego tacos. According to Female Foodie: “Everyone knows that San Diego is synonymous with tacos. And not just any tacos, but arguably the most elite in the nation.”
We couldn’t leave San Diego on Saturday without having had our share. So Friday night, after being exhausted from hiking over Highway 101 to Cardiff Beach, after a long walk by the Pacific Ocean collecting rocks, and after showering and going back to the beach to watch the sunset and San Diego surfers, we drove to Roberto’s Taco Shop on Highway 101 in Solana Beach to indulge in authentic San Diego tacos.
Roberto’s fish and shrimp tacos were excellent. So were the enchiladas oozing with cheese and the fresh guacamole and chips we devoured too. It was all so good, so good, so good.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, Female Foodie has a list of the Best San Diego Tacos: 12 Local Favorites that sound delicious. Guess N and I are going to have to go back to San Diego again until we try them all. I’m ready when you are N.
You’ve reminded me of how much I miss restaurants!
The great thing about San Diego is that you can eat outdoors.