North County’s coastal communities are known for their laid-back surfer vibe and zen-like mindset, but when it comes to dining, while there’s no shortage of beach-town eateries, there is also ample inventory of upscale options to satisfy sophisticated palates. The seaside communities of Solana Beach, Cardiff, Encinitas, Leucadia, and Carlsbad are rife with restaurants sure to please all cravings spanning the elegant to the eclectic, from the sumptuous
Pamplemousse Grille, scenic Pacific Coast Grill, and the always buzzing local hotpots Union Kitchen & Tap and Solace & The Moonlight Lounge, to San Elijo State Beach campground’s cult favorite, Bull Taco, Hawaiian-inspired The Lanai in Leucadia, and the ever-popular (for very good reason) VG Donut & Bakery, arguably the best place to satisfy your sweet tooth with sand still between your toes.
Speaking of dining a stone’s throw from the beach, locals are celebrating the 13,000-square-foot expansion of Cardiff Seaside Market. A leader in offering superior products and spectacular service since 1985, the family-owned grocer, known for its selection of local and artisan products, is preparing to debut farm-to-table dinners, wine tastings, private parties, and cooking classes under the helm of its new executive chef, James Montejano. Together with owners/brothers Pete Najjar and John Najjar, Montejano is reimagining the market’s ready-made offerings with health-conscious eaters in mind, adding plant-based, paleo, and gluten-free options. Seaside is also developing an outdoor barbecue kitchen and dining area, which will offer carved meats including its signature “Cardiff Crack” tri-tip.
Whatever your palate dictates, a trip up our coast with Ranch & Coast’s picks is sure to reveal what puts these communities on the culinary map.