With a Michelin-starred restaurant as its calling card, Carlsbad continues to build its reputation as a standout dining destination within the whole of Southern California. The latest restaurant to land in coastal Carlsbad Village is a second project for Linda DiNitto, who owns the nearby 264 Fresco. But while 264 Fresco is dedicated to DiNitto’s Italian heritage, the new Fresco Cocina explores her upbringing in Venezuela through a menu that includes Venezuelan dishes along with plates from Peru, Brazil, and Uruguay.
Tasked with bringing the flavors of Latin America to the modern Carlsbad restaurant is executive Chef Idso (Pacifica Del Mar, Water Grill, Estancia), whose dinner menu includes the pabellón criollo, the national dish of Venezuela, interpreted here as braised short ribs paired with black beans, rice, and fried sweet plantains. There’s also the Peruvian classic, lomo saltado, along with prime skirt steak, grilled in the style of Brazilian churrasco, and an Uruguayan specialty called a chivito, a multi-meat and cheese sandwich often topped with a fried egg.
Fresco Cocina also does a weekend brunch, with daytime options including plantain pancakes, mole-spiced salmon hash, and a breakfast burrito with carne asada, eggs, and yuca fries. Its cocktails center mostly around rum drinks like the Sol y Arena with spiced rum, sweet vermouth, strawberry, lemon, and soda but list also includes refreshing pisco sours and caipirinhas infused with cucumber and black pepper.