North County Restaurants Restaurants

Restaurant Reviews – Steakhouse at Jalapeno Grill

Hacienda de Vega

Escondido’s famed Hacienda de Vega is coming to Rancho Santa Fe Plaza this spring with plans to be open the beginning of March. Soon to be located in the main plaza next to the clock tower and water fountain, a beautifully landscaped, heated, and expansive outdoor patio with terracotta tile rooflines, colorful umbrellas, and 32-year old Jacaranda trees will welcome you! Inside is a beautifully purposed 2,700 sq. ft. restaurant. The Vega family warmly welcomes you to their new home in Encinitas after being a landmark in Escondido over the past 15 years.


Bold and distinctive flavors of old-world Mexico, with new signature twists of delicious spices, are the hallmark of Patricia Vega’s amazing family recipes. One authentic signature specialty after another will awaken your taste buds with the flavors of her many fresh, daily made salsas and sauces. To nourish your body and satisfy your soul, try any of their “old favorites” such as Enchiladas de Mole, which comes with two soft corn tortillas, shredded chicken breast, mole sauce, cream, cheese and onions. It’s served with rice and beans. If you like shrimp, try their Tequila Shrimp, jumbo shrimp sautéed in spicy tequila sauce, tomatoes, onions, Serrano chiles, and garlic over a bed of white rice.  From absolutely delicious, large portioned appetizers like Mole Fries, to crispy fresh garden salads, thick old-style Mexican soups, grilled fish, steak, chicken, and wonderful desserts, you simply can’t go wrong. Stop in Mon- Fri from 3pm for Happy Hour food and drink specials on Margaritas, well drinks, wine, and draft beers. Try the carnitas, tacos, and appetizers. Hacienda de Vega is located in the Rancho Santa Fe Plaza at 162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas 92014. Visit



Benihana first opened its doors in New York City in 1964. Today, it is still renowned for fun, showman chefs, great food and a place to gather with friends and family to celebrate at the original teppanyaki restaurant. Steak, chicken and seafood theatrically grilled to order “right before your eyes” is still at its core, but the menu is enhanced now with fresh and creative sushi offerings, noodles, tofu and more, plus a wide variety of premium wines, sake, creative cocktails and specialty non-alcoholic beverages.


Benihana offers Express Lunch Monday-Friday from 11am-3pm., serving the food you love in about half the time. Choose from Hibachi Chicken, Hibachi Shrimp, and Hibachi Filet, or the incredible Lunch Boat, a feast of nine items including your protein choice of chicken, beef or salmon. Benihana’s Express Lunch menu also includes a Japanese Bento Box. Happy Hour is Mon-Fri, 4-7pm, served in both the lounge and sushi bar. Sake, beer, wine and cocktails start at $3.  Appetizers include teriyaki wings, Diablo Wings, poke, select specialty sushi rolls, shrimp tempura, edamame, seaweed salad and gyoza starting at $4.


Benihana also offers an exciting cooking lesson package called Be the Chef, where you can step behind the grill and see if you have what it takes to be a Teppanyaki Chef. Packages start at $240 for a party of four, including guest chef plus three; or $360 for a party of eight. The guest chef receives a one-on-one cooking lesson with a Master Benihana Chef, then cooks for friends and family and receives a Benihana chef hat, apron, diploma and keepsake photo. For more info on Be the Chef, visit  Call (760) 929-8311 or visit 755 Raintree Drive, Carlsbad 92011.


D’Liteful Chocolat

Founded just last year in a San Marcos kitchen, D’LitefulChocolat, has quickly established a reputation for exceptional quality, hand-crafted chocolates. Already carried by exclusive wineries and high-end boutiques, D’LitefulChocolat’s delectable chocolates are unique and approachable, flavorful, and quite wonderful. Each time you bite into one of Chef Dayleen Coleman’s chocolates, you will taste the love and attention that she and her staff put into each and every piece. Classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London, Chef Dayleen brings to San Diego the best of European chocolate tradition, while infusing her own unique take on what makes chocolate special.


It should be noted that, although D’LitefulChocolatoffers a varied assortment of truffles, chocolates, salted caramels, and more, there is another aspect of the business that should have you equally excited. Chef Dayleen was not only trained as a chocolatier, but as a patisserie chef as well. Thanks to that training, she has crafted chocolate fondants that melt in your mouth, andcrêmebrûlée custard that is silky smooth, with a perfect crisp sugar crunchtopping.


Visit their D’LitefulChocolat website to purchase unique chocolates for Valentine’s and Easter, and to sign up for classes and events at Classes are located at SAE Kitchen 980 Los Vallecitos, San Marcos, 92069.

Asian 101 Market and Catering

Asian 101 is a new Asian market in San Marcos that offers Ready-To-Cook fresh Asian Meal Kits. Cooking Asian meals at home can be challenging for many.  Danny Chen, the founder of Asian 101, has a quick and easy solution that makes Asian cooking simple and easy.  Even someone with little-to-no experience can now cook an assortment of fresh Asian meals at home – and in just fifteen minutes! Unlike other home delivery solutions that charge a fortune, Asian 101’s meal kits range from just $5.99 to $8.99 per person. On top of that, there is no subscription needed. Drop off the kids at school and pick up an Asian Meal Kit to prepare at home, fresh, in your own kitchen. All of the items are cut, chopped, sliced and pre-measured. They offer Japanese, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Philippine, and Vietnamese Meal Kits. Pick up a Main Kit Base and proteins, such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu. You can also add-on additional vegetables, nuts, seeds, pickles, kimchi, soups, and ready-to-heat rice. There are many ad-ons to choose from. They don’t use MSG, and offer vegan options. All the ingredients are freshly prepared and packaged in their own commercial kitchen.


Asian 101 Market founder, Danny Chen, is a 15-year global food and retailing veteran who has provided consultation services for global food suppliers and retailers.  Danny’s vision is to bring the fun back to preparing and consuming fresh daily Asian meals.


Call ahead for large orders and catering. Visit their new Asian market and pick up some of your favorite Asian shelf items, as well as some nice Asian kitchen supplies. While you’re there, browse the wide range of authentic Asian seasonings, sauces, snacks and other products. Asian 101 Market and Catering is located at 853 W. San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos 92078. Call (760) 471-7859 or follow them on Facebook/asian101market.


Le Papagayo

We want everyone near and far to experience the flavors and sounds of this very trendy dining establishment on Historic California Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia, because this place is awesome. You’ll love their unique fusion of Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine, along with their hang loose, beachy vibe. San Diego’s best musicians play music here nightly. Impress your loved-one on Valentine’s Day at Le Papapagayo with delicious cuisine, signature cocktails, and great live music! Make your reservations now for a pre-fix dinner menu.


Certainly one of the most popular Encinitas/Leucadia hot spots, Le Papagayo is one of the coolest hangouts in North County. They have 4-5 star ratings on Yelp, OpenTable and Tripadvisor, and are recent winners of the OpenTable Diners’ Award. Open for breakfast, try their eggs, omelets, acai bowls, fresh fruit, pancakes, chicken fried steak, or their signature Loco Moco, which is a coconut sticky rice with mushroom beef gravy, 2 natural Angus beef patties, 2 organic eggs, with grilled teriyaki pineapple, drizzled with mango pineapple chili sauce….wow! Their lunch and dinner menu rocks and so does their Happy Hour menu, with food and drink specials every day from 4-6pm and on Tuesdays all night long! Their Lobster Bisque is a local favorite as well as their Ahi Poke and Spring Rolls. Other favorites include Carne Asada, Duck Confit, MahiMahi and Shrimp Tacos. Their Happy Hour and regular menus offer a variety of quality, tasty and healthy items and will surely have something perfect for you. They’re open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner until 11pm.


Sports fans, check out all the MLB and NBA games. Music fans, you’ll love their nightly local live music. Either inside or outside along their sidewalk bar on Hwy 101, or on their beautiful outdoor patio, enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine, sangria, or craft beer. Le Papagayo is located at 1002 N. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas 92024. Call (760) 944-8252 or visit


Veneto’s CucinaItaliana

If you’re looking for class and classic Italian, this is the place. Call and make your Valentine’s reservations before it’s too late. Veneto’s CucinaItaliana, on Hwy 101 in Oceanside (near the Oceanside/California Welcome Center) is under new ownership by beloved local restaurateur, Pino, of the famed Pino’s in Encinitas and Tuscany in La Costa. Pino brings his heart and soul to the restaurant every day to make sure that his guests have the best authentic Italian culinary experience ever. You’ll find fresh cut flowers on every table and a wonderful selection of Pino’s favorite wines. Veneto’s has a full bar,serving great drinks, cocktails, and wine, as well as imported, domestic and local beers, and real Italian espresso.


Looking for a special and wonderful place to treat your loved one on Valentine’s Day? Veneto’s is the place where lovers meet, friends reminisce, and the food is legendary. Try their many delicious entrées including grilled salmon, ahi tuna, polloPiccata, MelanzaneallaParmigiana, or Pollo with Scampi. Enjoy an authentic pasta dish such as the Spaghetti alla Bolognese (our favorite), or their exceptional Fettuccini Alfredo, Linguini AllaVongole, Lasagna al Forno, Ziti, Ravioli, Tortellini, and Lasagna. They also have excellent pizza selections, soups, antipasti, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. For a real treat, try their famous homemade Tiramisu with a nice cup of espresso.


Lounge music is on Fridays and Saturdays. Call to see who’s performing. They’re open for lunch Wed-Sun and dinner nightly. Fridays and Saturdays open late until 11pm. Veneto’s is located at 608 N. Coast Hwy 101, Oceanside 92054. Call (760) 722-1228.


Daily News Café

We love Daily News Café! Serving the community since 1990, the Daily News Café is celebrating their 28th anniversary in downtown Carlsbad Village. Treat your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day to an American classic breakfast or an ice-cold craft beer with a delicious sandwich and salad. This historic Carlsbad restaurant is truly a North County dining destination. Many of their staff and cooks have been working there for years and have become local celebrities. Waitress Deena Vongxay has been serving happy customers for 27 years. The longevity of the staff, as well as the great food and service, are the reasons for the popularity of this downtown village bistro.


Guests enjoy homemade comfort breakfasts and lunches, inside or outside on thebeautiful patio, while people-watching and taking in the sunshine and fresh ocean air. Three to four times a year, retired Marine officers who flew A-4 Skyhawks, during the Vietnam war (and after), gather to meet at their favorite breakfast place in Carlsbad. These Marine Vets have been coming from near and far to meet at the Daily News Café for the past ten years..


Located just steps from Carlsbad Beach, with a picturesque view of the Carlsbad sign on highway 101, breakfast is served all day every day, and lunch is served from 11am to 4pm. Their very popular menu includes a wide assortment of omelets ranging in price from $8.95 to $10.95. All omelets are three eggs and served with hash browns, sautéed red potatoes, fresh fruit or refried beans and your choice of toast, biscuit, or blueberry muffin. Other breakfast favorites include Eggs Benedict, Huevos Rancheros, and a Breakfast Burrito. Locals love their Belgian Waffles, Buttermilk Pancakes, French Toast, and wide assortment of Crepes. Try their famous Bloody Marys and Mimosas!


Lunch includes craft beer pairings with their 1/3 pound Belly Bomber Burgers, Chicken Sandwiches and many other sandwich and salad options. We love their Half Sandwich and Soup combo and recommend their delicious Chicken Salad Sandwich served with any of their delicious seasonal soups. Daily News Café is located at 3001 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad 92008. They are open daily from 6:30am to 4pm. Call (760) 729-1023 or visit


Vigilucci’s Restaurant Group

Fall in love at Vigilucci’s coastal restaurants for a very special Valentine’s Day. They will be offering special prix fixe menus with class, charm, and amore. Visit their website for Valentine’s Day menus and details.


The Vigilucci’s team has been creating delicious cuisine for close to 25 years.Their popular dining destinations are renowned for award-winning cuisine, superb service and precise attention to detail. Vigilucci’s offers authentic homemade pastas, prime steaks, and fresh seafood in casual yet upscale surroundings, so you can enjoy a unique dining experience.


Each unique restaurant offers something special. Vigilucci’s Trattoria has three patios and a piano bar. Vigilucci’s Seafood and Steakhouse has stunning 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re seeking catering services, consult the expertise of Vigilucci’s Gourmet Market and Catering on State Street in Carlsbad. Their experts will advise you about all your needs, from customizable made-to-order hors d’oeuvres and party trays, to full-service catering for cocktail parties, dinners, wedding receptions, corporate events and all of life’s special occasions.Relax on the newly expanded curbside café, an extension of Vigilucci’s Market, and enjoy a hot or cold authentic Italian Panini, or Vigilucci’s Lasagna or vegetarian lunch special with a glass of wine or a cold beer. Be sure to enjoy the afternoon Panino& Vino special for $15 that includes a made-from-scratch panino and a glass of house wine. This is available Mondays through Thursdays from 2-6 p.m.


To book a party at one of their coastal locations, call (760) 670-7173. For reservations and more information on Valentine’s Day, party catering and events; or for a list of menus and locations, visit their website at


Ahi Sushi and Grill

Are you looking for a great place to eat sushi on Valentine’s Day?Extremely popular and well known in San Marcos, and throughout San Diego, Ahi Sushi is open every day and serves some of the most delicious and best-valued sushi around. Ahi Sushi and Grill is located on N. Twin Oaks Valley Road near California State University San Marcos and near the San Marcos Civic Center. This very lively location is very popular with college students and faculty, residents, local business people, and everyone who loves great sushi at great prices. Their sushi is high quality, and the service is absolutely outstanding. We’ve never been in a sushi restaurant where you get your sushi order so quickly. Every day, Ahi Sushi offers 50% off cut rolls, special rolls, and sushi. 50% off items are highlighted on their sushi menu. They also have lunch and dinner specials, sake bombs and beers for Happy Hour. “You say sake, we say bomb!” Sake Bombs during Happy Hour are only $7.95!


Try Ahi Sushi’s very tasty 16-piece cut roll combo. It includes 4 pieces of Philly roll + 4 pieces of spicy tuna roll + 4 pieces of California roll + 4 pieces of smoked salmon roll. We highly recommend the 8 piece Caterpillar Roll, their famous 8 piece Albacore Special Roll, and their Ahi Special Roll (our all-time favorite!) Their menu is extensive and includes Teriyaki Chicken, Orange Chicken, Katsu Chicken, Yakisoba (stir fried noodles), Tempura Udon, Seafood Udon, Egg Rolls, Gyoza, a wide assortment of specialty rolls, appetizers, party platters, soups, salads, beer, wine, sake and desserts.


GET A FREE 8-PIECE CRUNCHY ROLL ($12 value) with any purchase of $15 or more! Must present coupon. Clip from our ad, coupon pages, or download from Ahi Sushi and Grill is located at 157 N. Twin Oaks Valley Road, #136, San Marcos, CA 92069 (next to L.A. Fitness). Please call (760) 761-0238.


Pollos Maria

You will fall in love withPollos Maria! Located in Carlsbad in the Village and in Oceanside at the Old Grove Market Place, Pollo’s Maria has been serving the most delicious, freshest, and healthiest Mexican food to satisfied customers for 34 years! The reason for their longevity is that they have arguably the best tasting char-broiled chicken in North County and throughout San Diego. The service is excellent and efficient; the menu is extensive, and the prices are very reasonable. If you are looking for great tasting Mexican food, we just cannot say enough about this place. The Oceanside restaurant interior is spacious, beautifully decorated and perfect for parties or group gatherings. Their Carlsbad Village location has a wonderful heated outdoor patio with umbrellas and fire pits and is the perfect place to hang out with family and friends.


Pollos Maria is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their daily menu includes Maria’s House Specialties, featuring a whole broiled chicken for $15.99, or half chicken for only $7.99. Their Combo Plates, such as Chile Relleno, Enchiladas, and Tacos, are fantastic. Their chicken tacos (soft or hard shell) are as good as, if not better than, any chicken tacos in all of San Diego. You can order burritos, tacos, tostadas, or their famous chicken soup, salads, tortas, chips and salsa, quesadillas, nachos, and a selection of wonderful desserts. Come early for a breakfast burrito, menudo (served Saturday and Sunday), or their huevos rancheros or chorizo, eggs and cheese plates. They stock domestic and imported beers and wine, and catering is available.


They have two locations. Carlsbad: 3055 Harding Street in Carlsbad Village (760) 729-4858. Oceanside: 125 Old Grove Road #8, Oceanside (760) 435-9071 or visit


Seafire Restaurant + Bar

Seafire is always a romantic place to have a special evening, but it’s even more romantic on Valentine’s Day. They will have a special Valentine’s Day Special menu for two for $39.95 and you will be able to choose salmon, chicken, lamb or steak, and they will have live music on their heated patio. Make your Valentine’s reservations today. Seafire’s husband and wife chefs work together in the kitchen preparing memorable seafood, Italian, Greek, and Mediterranean delights. Like a harmonious violinist and cellist, the two of them create delicious dining delicacies.  Using the freshest vegetables, seasonings and ingredients, they accent their masterpiece Lamb Chops, Steamed Mussels, Shrimp Scampi, Seared Scallops, Kabobs, Rack of Lamb, or Crispy Skin Salmon, with whipped garlic potatoes, and sautéed Brussels sprouts. Their salads and soups are delicious. Try the Ahi Sliders, Roasted Beet Salad, the Greek Salad, or Fish Chowder. Try their wood-fired pizza from their signature Napoleon-style brick oven. The Italian made, custom designed, domed brick oven produces authentic, delicious pizza with perfectly browned thin crust.You will be impressed.

Everything on the menu is delicious and their happy hour is always lively.  Remember the old Rain Tree restaurant and lounge that used to be on Paseo del Norte and Poinsettia? Well, it seems that all of those customers are now at Seafire, including the bartender. Stop in and have a drink! Located in South Carlsbad near the corner of Palomar Airport Rd. and Paseo del Norte, Seafire Restaurant and Bar is definitely worth a try. The indoor décor is filled with natural light and the outdoor patio is welcoming, with a large open window and attached bar. It’s the perfect place for sipping wine, one of their 14 local craft beers, or a signature cocktail. Got the late night munchies? The kitchen is open late every night! Live music happens on the patio Wednesday through Saturday.


Seafire is open every day. Happy Hour is ALL DAY on Sunday, daily from 3:30-6:30pm, and 10pm until close Sun-Thurs. Clip or download their coupon from their ad or on our Coupon Pages or download from and get 20% OFF your entire check. Some restrictions apply. Seafire is located at 6030 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad 92011. Call (760) 603-9672 or visit


It’s Tabu Sushi

It’sTabu is an excellent choice for Valentine’s Day and will have food and drink specials all night. We highly recommend that you make your dining reservations as soon as possible. This innovative sushi restaurant boasts an assorted menu that includes specialties you may never have heard of, but certainly should try. Tabu specializes in fresh, spicy, tangy, made-to-order sushi and Japanese fusion with a twist, and refers to their fusion flavors as their Tabu Touch. Their Lemon Cilantro Roll is crazy delicious with a very fresh and zesty cool taste. This one has crab meat inside with salmon, avocado, cucumber, slices of lemon, and Sriracha sauce. The Garlic Teriyaki Edamame is quite tasty. Another winner is the Ceviche Roll, a delicious mix of fresh raw fish and shrimp without rice. Their cream cheese stuffed Jalapeno poppers are great; and don’t forget to order the delicious Habibi Roll. It combines shrimp tempura, spicy crab, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber, tuna, spicy mayo, eel sauce and tempura crumbs. Very nice! Don’t see what you’re looking for on the menu? Feel free to ask one of their sushi chefs to create it for you.


It’s Tabu has a bustling Happy Hour from 3-7 PM; Sake Hour is Friday and Saturday nights from 7 PM to close; and they offer Late Night Specials including 1/2 OFF house sake shots or $1 sake shots. If you like sake, try their Bunny Blueberry Sparkling Sake.

It’sTabu Sushi offers great Lunch Specials, too. Try their Bento Box or their After Burner Roll, with soup or salad and Iced Tea for $8. Located in San Marcos, across the street from California State University San Marcos, It’s Tabu is very popular for lunches, dinners, and late nights. Tabu has a spacious floor plan with a long “L’ shaped sushi bar; a beer/wine/sake bar; plenty of tables and booths; flat screen TVs for sports, and a great outdoor patio.


CLIP THEIR 15% OFF ANY PURCHASE COUPON from our coupon pages or download it from  It’sTabu Sushi is located at 344 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos 92078 (in the Ralph’s shopping center). Call (760) 591-0811 or visit


The Broken Yolk Café

The Broken Yolk Café is open every day for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. They serve great food, with sizable portions, and provide professional service, with reasonable prices. Consistency in their food and service is what makes this place a winner.


The Broken Yolk serves $6.95 breakfast specials everyday from 6-8am, e.g.: two eggs any style with bacon or sausage, home fries and toast; two eggs, two pancakes and two pieces of bacon or sausage; and other great specials! Broken Yolk is famous for their very large tasty omelets. Offering many delicious favorites that will satisfy your appetite, you can build your own omelet with a selection of cheeses and as many ingredients as you like. We also enjoy their blueberry pancakes, crepes, French toast, and Belgian waffles. Lunch at the Broken Yolk includes a wide selection of burgers, soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps. For something really special, try their 1/2 pound Angus Burgers or their amazing Club Sandwich. The Club is a triple-decker filled with oven-roasted turkey breast, bacon strips, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a Brioche bun. It comes with your choice of onion rings, fries, potato salad or slaw. It’s a meal and a half. You can’t beat it!


For the really hungry, try their Iron Man and Iron Woman Challenge. It’s a 12-egg omelet filled with mushrooms, onions and American cheese, smothered with their house-made chili and more cheese. It’s served in a 15-inch pizza pan with a generous pile of home fries and two biscuits. This is for one person only and you get a one-hour time limit to gobble it down. It’s $24.95, but if you can eat it within one hour, the omelet is free.


The Broken Yolk Café is one of the most popular breakfast and lunch restaurants throughout San Diego. There are six locations in North County: La Costa at 7670 El Camino Real 92009; San Marcos at 101 S. Las Posas Rd. San Marcos 92078; Carmel Mountain at 11630 Carmel Mtn Rd.; Del Mar at 2642 Del Mar Heights Rd; Oceanside at 2434 Vista Way. Call (760) 943-8182 or visit


Steakhouse at Jalapeno Grill and Cantina

Steakhouse at Jalapeno Grill is an excellent choice to go for lunch or dinner on Valentine’s Day. One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet is owner and chef, Ray Alto, from the famed Fireside Restaurant.  He offers his guests some of the finest steaks grilled over a mesquite flame and the best Certified Angus Prime Rib anywhere. Steak dinners come with baked bread, soup or salad, garden vegetables, and your choice of lemon rice, fries, baked potato or their famous Jalapeno Cheddar Mashed Redskin Potatoes, which are fabulous!

There are many steakhouses in San Diego, but Jalapeno’s Certified Angus Prime Rib is simply the best in town. If the Prime Rib doesn’t grab you, try the Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon, Ribeye, Porterhouse, Top Sirloin or New York Strip. Appetizers include scrumptious servings of Fried Macaroni and Jalapeno Cheese, Jalapeno Mozzarella Sticks, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Coconut Shrimp and Three Cheese Nachos. Soups and salads are perfect with any dish.

Steakhouse at Jalapeno has a bustling Happy Hour every Monday-Friday from 3-7pm with drink and food specials. Clip their coupon from our coupon pages or download from GET 50% OFF ENTRÉE with the purchase of an equal or greater value entrée plus two drinks. Not valid for To Go orders, holidays, Happy Hour, Filet Mignon, or with any other offer. Must present coupon.  Steakhouse at Jalapeno Grill & Cantina is located at 503 W. Grand, Escondido, 92025. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, and Fri and Sat 11am-10pm. Call (760) 233-1104. Visit


La Tapatia Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

This is the place to be in Escondido for Valentine’s Day for great authentic Mexican cuisine, and on Saturday nights for the best Salsa, Cumbia and Merengue dancing. One of San Diego’s oldest and most treasured family Mexican restaurants, La Tapatia dates back to 1937 when it was founded and operated by Ernesto and Salome Acosta. What began as a small neighborhood diner from within their home on Grand Avenue, is now a landmark in North County where guests enjoy the finest authentic Mexican cuisine.

La Tapatia is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are famous for their signature homemade pork tamales, which are on the menu every day of the week! They offer lunch specials daily from 11am-3pm. Their full bar comes to life during Happy Hour and late nights. Happy Hour is seven days a week from 3-7pm and has food specials such as $1.99 tacos, $2.25 fish tacos, chicken wings, jalapeno poppers, shrimp quesadilla, shrimp ceviche, and an assortment of Happy Hour drink specials. Make your Valentine’s Day reservations now!

Other La Tapatia favorites include Chile Con Carne, Flautas Guacamole, and their famous Chicken Mole. Prices are very reasonable. You can make your own combo plate with a choice of tacos, enchilada, tamale, chilerelleno, and tostada. You can also order almost anything a la carte, and they serve wonderful desserts including flan.

Clip their coupon from our coupon pages or download it from  GET 50% OFF ANY ENTRÉE when you purchase an entrée of equal or greater value. Not valid Fridays, holidays, happy hour, breakfast, To Go orders, or any other discounts or offers. Must present coupon. La Tapatia is located at 340 W. Grand Ave, Escondido 92025. Call (760) 747-8282.


Patron – Tortilleria and Carniceria

We want everyone in San Marcos and nearby communities to know where to find the best authentic Mexican fresh-made-daily tamales ($1.89); tacos (.99 cents); hot, fresh, handmade daily tortillas (10 for $2.99); and Carne Asada combo plates for $6.99. They have made-fresh-daily AguasFrescas, which is fresh fruit juice and it comes in many delicious flavors. Our favorite has all kinds of mixed fruit in it, including apples. You can see lots of freshly chopped fruit mixed with blended juice. It’s healthy and delicious.


Locals and Mexican-Americans already know how amazing this place is. Try their authentic Mexican food and you will be back often. Why go to a supermarket and buy mass-produced tortillas, when you can go to Patron and get freshly made, piping hot tortillas? The best time for hot tortillas is around 4-5pm. Why pay more for tacos when you can get authentic tacos for under a dollar? All tacos are made to order!


If you’re staying at the new Marriott Fairfield Inn on San Marcos Blvd, if you’re a student at Palomar College or CSUSM, if you live in San Elijo Hills or nearby,and you want real Mexican food, why not eat and shop where Mexican-Americans go! They have an assortment guacamole and salsa that is made fresh daily; Mexican cheeses and canned goods; fresh fruits and vegetables, including locally-grown tomatoes, avocados, lemons and papayas; and a great complete butcher shop with chicken, beef, goat, and pork. Buy your carne asada here!


Every morning, Patron customers pick up delicious, hot tamales, and in the afternoon – piping hot, hand-made tortillas. Patron custom-makes tacos. For your taco meat, we recommend Birria, a flavorful beef or goat stewed meat, or their chicken mole. Top off your taco with red or green salsa, Mexican avocado sauce, cheese, onions, and fresh sliced lime. They sell out of tamales and tortillas every day; so get there early! Clip their .99 cent Taco Coupon (good every day!) from our coupon pages or download from Patron is located at 204 W. San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos 92078. Call (760) 736-0086.


Tower 13

When we think of the beach, great food, music, sports on TV, and ice-cold drinks, Tower 13 always comes to mind. This fun, trendy, and very beachy, bar and restaurant is the place to go on Valentine’s Day or whenever you’re in the mood for some fine local music, perfect drinks, and excellent food. Tower 13, is one of the most popular local hangouts for meeting people, eating, drinking, watching sports on 30 TVs, and enjoying live entertainment. They have two outdoor patios and one is dog friendly. Make sure to visit their website to get the exact date for their famous Crawfish Boil! They fly in live crawfish from Louisiana, and have an outdoor patio party where they boil crawfishand cook Jambalaya, and will have live Cajun music.


Check out their Saturday and Sunday brunch from 9 to noon with progressive mimosas. They serve Opera Prima mimosas from 9 to 2. Mimosa prices start at $8/bottle at 9am. We highly recommend their Apple Brie Burger or their BBQ Burger with pulled pork, bacon, onion strings and cheddar cheese! Their Wings menu is unsurpassed with the best sauces around. Happy Hour is Monday to Friday 3:30-6:30pm.Monday is Happy Hour ALL DAY until Close and All You Can Eat Chicken Wings from 5:30-10pm! Tuesday features Tacos, Tequila, and Beer Specials from 3:30-6:30pm, and Trivia starts at 7pm. Wednesday issongwriter’s open mic from 6-9:30pm. Thursday is Prime Rib with mash and veggies for $14.99. Friday is Fried Fish and Fries from 5-9pm for $7.99 with Live Music. They also have Daily Lunch Specials. The food is always delicious and the atmosphere is always lively and friendly.  Just a great place to hang out at the beach!


Tower 13 is located at 2633 S. Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff by the Sea. Call (760) 635-1200 or visit


Pelly’s Fish Market and Grill

Springtime brings sunshine and enjoying lunch under an umbrella. Pelly’s is one of the original fresh fish markets in Coastal North County, and is located just steps from Carlsbad State Beach. They have the freshest fish in town!Enjoy grilled fish plates, seafood salads, or customized seafood platters every day of the week! Their food is simply amazing and their Fish Market is always stocked with your favorites, including local catch.  It’s the perfect place for a late breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and the perfect choice for fish and people watching. Located in the Poinsettia Village Shopping Center, you’ll enjoy some of the freshest and tastiest char-grilled fish sandwiches, plates, or salads in San Diego.


Pelly’s is the number one place to order custom-made seafood platters to suit any size party or family get-together. Select any combination of fish or crustacean from their fresh seafood display including ahi or salmon sashimi, jumbo shrimp, ceviche, stone crab, bay shrimp salad, and more. If you prefer, they will make a “cooked” seafood platter for you, too.Depending on the season, Pelly’s Fish Market offers lobster, large fillets of fresh ahi, yellowtail, albacore, mahi-mahi, halibut, Atlantic salmon, swordfish, sea bass (perfect for the barbecue), and a wide assortment of local shellfish including oysters, clams and mussels.


Pelly’s has an excellent reputation for serving their signature char-grilled entrees. We recommend their mahi-mahi, halibut, and grilled fish tacos. If you’re in the mood for a salad, try their fresh Ono salad, Pelly’s special salad, or their stone crab salad. They have the best chowder too! Choose red or white chowder. Pelly’s is not a fancy sit-down restaurant; but the quality of their seafood more than makes up for it, and the prices are very reasonable. Check the board for their Catch of the Day.


Pelly’s Fish Market is open 7-days a week. They are located in the Poinsettia Village Shopping Center at 7110 AvenidaEncinas #101, Carlsbad CA 92011. Call (760) 431-8454 or visit



Tip Top Meats

Tip Top Meats is celebrating its 51st anniversary this year and its owner and master butcher, John Haedrich, just turned 89 years old, and is still cutting meat every day! Since 1967, Tip Top Meats is the place to find the highest quality meat and poultry at the most reasonable prices. It’s truly one of the most famous German butcher shops and European markets in the U.S.A. Come to Tip Top Meats with your family and loved ones for their special Valentine’s Day Steak Dinner for Two for $25.98 …which includes a bottle of wine! You can also enjoy the best Corned Beef and Cabbage plate during the whole week of Saint Patrick’s Day for $12.98. Every day,Tip Top Meats serves their famous Big John Breakfast and Big John Burger combos. They make, serve, and sell the finest and largest variety of sausages anywhere. You’ve got to taste it to believe it!


Tip Top Meats is the place to stock up on Certified Angus, USDA Choice, and Prime Cuts of beef, the finest handmade sausages, Lamb Chops, Pork Roasts, Corned Beef, Tri-Tip, and New York Steaks. Tip Top is a one-of-a-kind butcher shop, a gourmet European-style delicatessen, and a full-service European marketplace. Nobody in San Diego County comes close to the service and value. Multi-award-winning Tip Top Meats continues to provide the highest quality meat and poultry for North County residents, visitors and tourists. They serve Certified Angus Beef, the best quality there is. The Big John Breakfast and the Big John Burger are two of the heartiest and best valued meals and deals in town.


John Haedrich is a lifetime Member of the Jewish War Veterans and has recently donated through the JWV over 550 pounds of meat and 40 turkeys, with the assistance of Command Chaplain Merris, to needy Camp Pendleton families. Big John has a big heart and has given back 100-fold to residents, places of worship, schools, marine families, and community organizations. Andy Lee, Publisher of the North County Sun, says, “John is one of those amazing people who cross our paths once in a lifetime. I look up to him, and admire him and his achievements. He is a hard working, kind, and generous man with a big heart; and people who know him, love and respect him.” Happy 89th Birthday John, and congratulations on reaching your 51st anniversary!

Top Choice Fish

Try a healthier choice and eat more fish this year. Top Choice Fish “Fish in Motion” is one of Carlsbad’s and North County’s newest fish markets and restaurants. It’s located next door to world famous Tip Top Meats butcher shop, Delicatessen and European Market, and near the Carlsbad Flower Fields and Carlsbad Beach. Depending on the season, they keep a fully stocked live lobster tank, live shrimp tank, and live Dungeness crabtank. They have a caviar display case with fresh Russian, Canadian, and French caviar from around the world. You’ll be impressed with their large fresh fish display case, and beautiful interior décor. Also note worthy is Top Choice’s large selection of smoked fish. On any given day you’ll see quite a selection of smoked white fish, salmon, trout and much more! Top Choice’s fish monger, Joseph, is passionate about high quality fresh fish, and we’re sure that you’ll soon be hooked on this fully stocked fresh fish market and coastal eatery.


The fish market sells the finest quality and freshest seasonal fish and local catch at the best prices. Depending on the season, you’ll discover a wide selection of fresh fish, either whole or filet, along with shrimp, crab, oysters, muscles, poke, shrimp cocktail, crab salad, clams, squid, octopus, and lobster. The eatery offers eat-in or take-out options for grilled, fried, sautéed, steamed, and many kinds of smoked fish, just the way you like it! They prepare plates, salads, sandwiches, fish & chips and chowder, along with a selection of wine, beer, and soft drinks. We highly recommend their grilled halibut plate and their cod beer-battered fish & chips!They recently changed the beer-batter recipe of their fish & chips, and we’re sure you’ll agree it’s some of the best tasting and best priced around!


Top Choice Fish is open daily for lunch and dinner and is located at 6118 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92011. Dine-in or take-out.Available for catering parties and events of any size. Call (760) 517-8682 or visit their Facebook page or website at


Casa de Bandini

Enjoy a lunch or dinner to remember with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day at Diane Powers’ Casa de Bandini, at The Forum. Casa de Bandini is the North County destination for regionally inspired Mexican cuisine, birdbath size margaritas, and lively fiestas.


You know it’ll be an enchanted engagement with more than 95 varieties of premium tequilas to choose from. ¡Ay, caramba! Winner of multiple “Best of” awards, Casa de Bandini is renowned for its authentic Mexican cuisine. Only the freshest ingredients are used for its 14 salsas and sauces made daily along with hot-off-the-grill delicious handmade tortillas. Chef Ignacio prepares a wide selection of authentic specialties, and can build customized menu packages to fit any catered event needs – from a simple lunch buffet with Mexican favorites like tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and mounds of fresh guacamole and chips, to an elaborate fiesta with the restaurant’s signature dishes such as Enchiladas del Mar, Carne Asada Tampiqueña and Carnitas a la Michoacan. Casa de Bandini also offers gluten-free, vegetarian and healthy dining selections.


Bask in Casa de Bandini’s rich Latin American folk art collection, colorful hand-painted murals and hand-crafted furnishings, or on their magnificent floraloutdoor patio, as strolling mariachis charm guests with popular Mexican ballads. Make it a special day to remember at Casa de Bandini, or one of Diane Powers’ other fine Mexican restaurants throughout San Diego, which include Casa Sol y Mar in Del Mar Highlands, Casa Guadalajara in Old Town and Casa de Pico in La Mesa. Casa de Bandini is open every day and is located at 1901 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, 92009, in The Forum Carlsbad. Call (760) 634-3443 or visit


Bruegger’s Bagels

Bruegger’s Bagels is open every day of the year. Pick up a dozen green bagels and cream cheese and treat your co-workers on St. Patrick’s Day! There’s nothing better than eating piping hot bagels right out of the oven. Try a Bruegger’s Turkey Sandwich on a hot-from-the-oven Jalapeno and cheese or onion bagel.  Or start your day with one of their classic breakfast sandwiches with a poached egg and your choice of peppered bacon, ham, sausage or turkey sausage on a hot fresh bagel. We recommend their Western Bagel sandwich with egg, bacon, cheddar, chipotle sauce, green pepper, red pepper, and red onion on a fresh hot bagel. Of course, our all-time favorite is their classic Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, stacked high on a fresh bagel with sliced tomato, red onions and capers. During the holidays try one of their delicious French toast bagels, with cream cheese.


In addition to their famous bagels, breakfast sandwiches and bagel sandwiches, Bruegger’s also offers a healthier “Under 500 Calorie” menu. If you are a calorie counter, try one of their Skinny Bagels. Guests can now order any of Bruegger’s 15-plus varieties “skinny,” due to Bruegger’s unique slicing process.  Instead of changing the recipe of its time-tested, New York-style bagel, Bruegger’s slices the bagels thinner using a process that removes approximately one-third of the bagel’s center but preserves its unique eggshell crust and delicious toppings. The result is a lower calorie bagel without sacrificing variety or taste.


Bruegger’s operates 300 bakeries in North America with 8 bakeries in San Diego. Renowned for its award winning bagels, Bruegger’s offers a wide variety of freshly prepared breakfast and lunch options made with high quality ingredients served with its unique brand of hospitality. You can find a Bruegger’s Bagels in North County at 7680 El Camino Real, Carlsbad 92009, or at 10625 Scripps Poway Parkway in Poway.  Call (760) 632-1432 or (858) 577-0300 or visit to find a location near you.


Harvest Ranch Market

Rancho Santa Fe Plaza’s anchor,Harvest Ranch Market, is a purveyor of fine foods, gourmet deli meats, poultry, seafood, salads, organic fruit and produce, international cheeses, wines and products of the world. This is a gourmet market that has been serving the San Diego Community for over 18 years.


Locally owned and operated, Harvest Ranch features a full-service butcher shop with premium Brandt Beef and Snake River Farms Idaho Kobe Beef, Midwestern Pork, Milk-fed Veal, Colorado Lamb, fresh air-chilled Chicken and Sushi-grade seafood. Their deli kitchens specialize in all natural, made-from-scratch, restaurant quality foods, and a sandwich deli featuring Boar’s Head Brand deli meats and cheeses and a wide selection of homemade salads.  They offer sandwiches, salads and bakery items daily. They have online ordering through their website deli page using GrubHub, and will deliver to your home or office. The produce department features a variety of organic and local produce, as well as imported produce from South America.


The wine department is second to none and each store has a team of experienced wine connoisseurs. They offer full service catering for all occasions, inclusive of any items from their store. Delivery options are also available to the greater Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas areas. Harvest Ranch Market is located in the Rancho Santa Fe Plaza at 162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas 92014. Visit or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Original Pancake House

The Original Pancake House is a third generation restaurant that originated in Portland, Oregon. Their signature breakfast dishes include The Dutch Baby, Mushroom Omelet with mushroom sherry sauce, and Apple Pancakes. They’ve been the locals’ choice for the ultimate breakfast in San Diego ever since they opened their first franchise in San Diego in 1979. They are located in Encinitas, Vista, San Diego, Kearney Mesa, Poway and Temecula.


Their original recipes are inspired from all over the world, and incorporate the very finest ingredients, such as USDA AA grade butter, pure 36% whipping cream, fresh grade AA eggs, hard wheat unbleached flour, and their own homemade sourdough starter recipe. Their batters and sauces are made fresh daily in each restaurant’s kitchen; and their coffee is their own special blend. Try the Original Pancake House’s special thick sliced bacon and amazing omelets. We highly recommend their gourmet cherry Kijafa crepes.If you’ve never tried The Original Pancake House, you’re long overdue; and if you’re already a regular, then you know what we’re talking about. Experience the flavor, the atmosphere, the attention to quality and service, and the ultimate breakfast favorite for San Diegans for over 35 years.The Original Pancake House is located in Rancho Santa Fe Plaza at 160 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas 92024. Call (760) 943-1939 or visit


Firenze Trattoria

Located in the Rancho Santa Fe Plaza, at the junction where Encinitas meets Rancho Santa Fe, Firenze is celebrating their 22nd anniversary this year. Their longevity speaks volumes about their cuisine and service. As owner/restaurateur, Barry Podwell, explains, “We don’t have the luxury of having spectacular ocean views like so many restaurants along the coast; so our food has to be very good to keep us here all these years.” It’s true. Firenze Trattoria may not have the ocean, but it certainly does have spectacular food.


They are winners of the Diners Choice Award from Open Table and have won numerous awards over the years, including Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, and Best Italian by Ranch and Coast. Firenze Trattoria’s authentic Italian cuisine evokes the romance and flavors of Italy’s Tuscany coast. The menu includes an extensive lineup of local favorites, too many to list; but we especially recommend their signature Lasagne Firenze. Every Italian restaurant boasts about their lasagna, but this one is really special. It’s hard to see the layers of ricotta cheese, a mixture of beef, chicken, and sausage, fresh Roma tomato, mushroom, and parmesan atop marinara sauce, because it’s completely covered with a very light and creamy béchamel sauce. It’s absolutely delicious. Other recommended dishes include: Calamari Fritti Antipasti, with lightly battered, deep fried calamari served with piquant marinara sauce; Risotto Portofino, grilled jumbo shrimp served with artichoke hearts and asparagus, surrounding a center mound of risotto.  From Filet Mignon al Casino to Butternut Squash Ravioli, you just can’t miss.


Happy Hour is 4-6:30pm Mon-Sun with a popular discounted bar menu for food, wine, cocktails, and beer. Jazz on the Patio is lively every Sunday evening. Call for schedule. Mondays offer 1/2 off bottles of wine. Firenze Trattoria is located at 162 South Rancho Santa Fe Rd, Encinitas 92024. Call (760) 944-9000 or visit


Meritage Wine Market and Tasting Room

Meritage Wine Market has won multiple awards over the past sixteen years, including “Best Wine Shop in San Diego.” They opened in 2002 and have evolved into a multi-level wine experience. Whether you are looking to give that perfect gift, or need a great bottle of wine for dinner, Meritage is known for its exemplary customer service and personal touch.Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6:30pm, the staff at Meritage Wine Market is ready to help you find the perfect bottle of wine or Champagne for any occasion.


Meritage invites you to stop in and enjoy tasting a selection of 16 different wines from their Enomatic Wine Tasting Machines, while relaxing on their outdoor patio.  Weekly tastings are themed and held every Friday night from 6 to 8 PM and include six different wines from all over the world for you to enjoy.Meritagepresents intimate wine seminars and dinners in their private Cellar Room several times a month, in addition to hosting a wine school. Ask about their Wine of the Month Club. In addition, Meritage is actively involved with multiple charity organizations and events, including Make-A-Wish San Diego and their annual Wine & Wishes Tasting Event.


Meritage is located in the Rancho Santa Fe Plaza at 162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas 92024. Call (760) 479-2500 or

Champagne French Bakery Café

Champagne French Bakery Café has locations in Del Mar Highlands, Encinitas, and Carmel Mountain. Champagne has been serving a fusion of modern and traditional French cuisine since 1987. They havean assortment of coffees, teas, breads, pastries, cakes, tarts, cookies, sandwiches, salads and soups. They are famous for their pastries, including a variety of croissants, custard brioche, cinnamon roll, raisin scone (one of our favorites), and cranberry muffin. Desserts include such delights as: Napoleon, which is a crispy puffed pastry layered with vanilla cream and topped with fondant and chocolate; crème brulee; vanilla éclair; bread pudding; and chocolate dipped strawberries. They also serve cakes, tarts, and cookies. One of our favorites is their raspberry cookie, which is two soft cookies sandwiched with raspberry preserves and half is dipped in dark chocolate.


Try Champagne French Bakery Café for lunch under an umbrella in front of the Rancho Santa Fe Plaza clock tower and fountain. Sandwiches include a wonderful assortment of French Dip, Turkey Florentine Panini, and Chicken Pesto. They also serve delicious salads and soups.  Champagne Bakery is in the Rancho Santa Fe Plaza next to Harvest Ranch Market at 162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas 92024. Call (760) 944-9446 or