Just north of San Diego lies Oceanside, a small city surrounded by sand, sea, and palm trees that has plenty of culinary treats to offer. Aside from the beautiful weather; the fantastic selection of breakfast cafés, sushi restaurants, and southern BBQ-style joints make this a must-stop on the California coast. Here are ten great restaurants that will give you a taste of southern California.
The main dining room of 333 Pacific provides stunning views of the Oceanside pier: book a table just before sunset to appreciate it in all its glory. The restaurant complements its location with stylish decor and the interior showcases 1920s art deco style finishes. The menu features a $30 weekday set menu, featuring a range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. If you’re looking to drop by rather than settle in for a full three course meal, then try the restaurant’s Happy Hours, which include discounts on sushi and appetizers as well as the extensive drinks menu. While you’re there, make sure to check out the vodka lounge, offering over a hundred bottles of premium vodka.
In contrast with the numerous fast-food restaurants dotted throughout American towns, The Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen is committed to the ‘slow food movement’, an ethos that has grown in recent years, celebrating good-quality ingredients, freshness and a ‘less-is-more’ attitude. The restaurant also operates under what the proprietors call a ‘farm to table’ policy, complemented by handmade pasta and carefully selected wines paired with your meal. The menu features rustic American dishes and is divided into ‘light fare’ and ‘heavy fare’, so that there truly is something for everyone. Highlights from the non-pork based menu include the parmesan truffle fries and banana bread donuts, both of which taste even better than they sound.
So called because of the impressive array of cacti that decorate the interior and exterior of the building in fantastically creative designs, Succulent Café combines wonderful decor and a relaxed west-coast vibe to create the atmosphere of a great neighborhood hot spot. The proprietors complement the ambience of the café with frequent art show and acoustic concerts, which really make it feel like the place to be. The range of snacks and drinks complements the atmosphere perfectly, making this an ideal oasis of calm in the middle of the city.
Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub, Oceanside | Courtesy of That Boy Good
Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub has become a favorite of fishmongers, restaurant owners and locals alike, for good reason. Chef Davin Waite selects all the fish himself, the majority of which is sourced from local fishermen and divers. He also focuses on the presentation of ingredients without being overly fussy. The restaurant serves traditional fish dishes such as baked scallops and half-shell oysters, as well as offering a huge range of sushi rolls and sashimi, which combine traditional Japanese techniques with playful twists. A definite highlight is the selection of creative sauces, including violet mustard and caper tapenade.
The perfect place for Southern atmosphere whilst staying in sight of the Pacific, That Boy Good offers a range of classics from the movie, such as fried chicken wings and brisket. The restaurant is family run and the owners have recreated a southern vibe by decorating the interior with blues memorabilia. Chef Mark Milwood has made it his personal mission to supply ‘the best southern BBQ in Southern California’. If you want to sample authentic pulled pork and cornmeal catfish without having to drive out of the state, then this is the place for you.
Beach Break Café is the perfect place to experience a laid back ambience in an interior inspired by the region’s famous surfing scene. Portions are generous and the venue is so popular locally that the owners have dealt with long queues by providing a self-service coffee machine in the waiting room. The menu combines expected classics like biscuits and gravy with more creative offerings such as jalapeño-flecked scrambled eggs and banana crunchy French toast. If you don’t usually go for a multiple course breakfast, this restaurant could just change your mind.
At Panca Peruvian Rotisserie, Chef Lole showcases the recipes, culture and history of her native Peru, using skills which were honed at a Cordon Bleu college. This restaurant is the perfect place to discover Peruvian cuisine at a reasonable price and it has won the approval of both Peruvians and die-hard burger joint fans. One lesser-known dessert which is sure to convert you to the region’s cooking are alfajores, creamy caramel sandwiched between two shortbread cookies and dusted with icing sugar. This restaurant will have you seeking out Peruvian cuisine again and again.
Oceanside isn’t short on great breakfast restaurants and what makes The Breakfast Club Diner standout is the retro diner vibe alongside the variety and quality of the menu. The feel is 1980s charm, with movie posters dotted all over the walls. You’ll be spoilt for choice when faced with nine types of sweet and savoury waffle and an even bigger range of breakfast sandwiches. The all-American vibe is enhanced by the excellent selection of milkshakes, try either Nutella or banana Oreo for starters.
Harney Sushi is one the best places to enjoy really fresh sushi, owing to the fact that it is sustainably caught. The dishes may be at a premium, but this is reflected in the restaurant’s ethical practices. The restaurant even provides a handy guide on their menus (and on their website) for each fish they serve, detailing how they are sourced to minimise impact of fish stocks and the environment, with reference to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. The restaurant has also received multiple accolades, including ‘Best Sushi’ from Fashion 5.0 and Channel 10.
Bessies 1929 Café is loved by visitors and locals alike due to its cozy atmosphere, accentuated by exposed brick walls and retro booths. One of the more intriguing features of the cafe is the Monster Torta Burger, an intimidating creation which features a pound and a half of Aberdeen Angus beef, ham, guacamole, Habanero cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa fresca, rice and beans. If the thought of that doesn’t daunt you, head down to Bessies for the chance for a free meal, customers who manage to eat this impressive creation in 20 minutes or less get it for free, along with a t-shirt to commemorate their achievement.
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