Calling itself the “Village by the Sea”, the city of Carlsbad is steadily building its reputation as a premier dining destination not just in North County but San Diego at large. Though there are still plenty of casual eating spots and family-friendly establishments, the neighborhood also boasts some sophisticated dining options, including one of the county’s only Michelin-starred restaurants. With State Street as its coastal hub, Carlsbad is drawing locals and visitors alike to its sunny shores.Read More
14 Carlsbad Restaurants to Check Out Right Now
Whether traditional or trendy, here’s some of the best eats in the Village by the Sea
Tasty Noodle House
Part of a SoCal chain that includes an outpost along the Convoy District’s restaurant row, this Asian restaurant at the Shoppes at Carlsbad convoys homestyle Chinese food, specifically Shanghainese cuisine, including crispy fish fillets with seaweed, eel with chives, and sheng jian bao, which are round, pan-fried pork buns.
Jeune et Jolie
If Campfire is the gourmet restaurant that raised the bar in Carlsbad, then Jeune et Jolie is the Carlsbad restaurant that bounded over it. Founded by Campfire owner John Resnick and chef Andrew Bachelier, it has continued to soar under the direction of lauded chef Eric Bost, who helped the elegant and chic restaurant earn a coveted star in the 2021 Michelin Guide. Featuring French cuisine with a decidedly Southern Californian outlook, it offers a four-course menu or a la carte options at the bar.
Nick's on State
One of several dining options at State Street Commons, a development in the heart of the village, Nick’s has another uber-popular location in One Paseo as well as several others in and around Southern California. Its crowd-pleasing menu includes salads, sandwiches, and specialties like cioppino and maple-glazed meatloaf.
The restaurant opened in 2016 and provided an immediate boost to Carlsbad’s dining scene. Earning Bib Gourmand status from the Michelin Guide in 2019, it’s known for great cocktails and a menu powered by a wood-fired grill that includes pasture-raised chicken and well-marbled brisket.
Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar
When it first opened in 2014, Blue Ocean brought a dose of high design to the neighborhood as well as a welcome infusion of Asian cuisine. It’s since spawned another location in La Jolla, which serves a similar menu of sushi rolls, small plates, and entrees that range from Korean bbq ribs to chicken teriyaki, but the Carlsbad outpost is unique for its Japanese robata grill which turns out a lineup of skewers that include pork belly, wagyu meatballs, baby octopus, and asparagus with bacon.
Himalayan Sherpa Cuisine
A relatively new addition to downtown Carlsbad brings well-priced lunch specials to the neighborhood. Offered on weekdays, it features any two dishes from a list that includes chicken tikka masala, saag aloo, and vegetable coconut curry along with rice, lentil soup, and naan. Tack on an order of momo, or steamed dumplings, filled with chicken, lamb, or vegetables.
Cottages on Roosevelt
This new coastal collective, comprised of a cluster of renovated cottages around a communal outdoor space, holds a variety of food options including a quick-service version of Oceanside vegan standout the Plot along with Shoots Fish and Beer, Stella Jean’s Ice Cream, and Revolution Roasters.
Take a tropical vacation and escape to this bar tucked inside the Village Faire Shopping Center that features regular DJ nights, appealing cocktails, and a rotating food menu that currently includes panang curry, larb croquettes, and a gochujang chicken sandwich.
The family-run restaurant is best known for its black ramen, a tonkotsu ramen tinted with black garlic oil but the menu also offers variations like spicy miso ramen and a vegetable-based version as well as rice bowls and Japanese starters ranging from takoyaki to gyoza.
Village Kitchen & Pie Shoppe
Its huge menu covers everything from the conventional (breakfast, sandwiches and salads) to the less conventional (fried chicken livers, a fisherman’s platter with beer-battered cod, and a homemade chicken pot pie, among a lot of other down-home treats). In short, there’s something for everyone, and that’s even before you hit dessert, where you get to choose from over a baker’s dozen of pies — keep an eye out for strawberry rhubarb and the sour cream raspberry.
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Tip Top Meats
Tip Top Meats was started by butcher “Big John” Haedrich back in 1967, and it runs the same way today that it did back then — there’s a shop full of German goodies, including chocolates, cheese, beer, wine, and pretzel rolls from the old country, and in the back, there’s a deli counter where you can get a steak, a schnitzel, a stroganoff, or a whole plate of European sausages for very reasonable prices. The place gets busy around lunch, and it’s not the hippest joint in town, but Big John and his place are as legendary as SoCal gets, and the legend will probably still continue for another 50 years to come.
Beach Plum Kitchen
Opened by East Coast transplants and longtime Carlsbad residents who run several restaurants in the area, this longstanding favorite among local families is focused on breakfast and lunch, serving morning classics like pancakes and omelettes alongside other dishes like a New England lobster roll or the house-roasted turkey club.
Ember & Rye
The anchor restaurant at the Park Hyatt Aviara is a steakhouse of sorts conceived by celebrity chef Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy). Overlooking the 18th green of the golf course, the clubby space revolves around impressive cuts of meat along with seafood and has a snack bar serving up some of the chef’s signature concoctions like “oysters and pearls” and white chocolate-dipped radishes.
The Wise Ox Butcher & Deli
Carlsbad has its own butcher shop courtesy of the Trust Restaurant Group, which offers cuts of meat and other prepared foods that are featured at some of their acclaimed establishments like Rare Society and Fort Oak, now available to cook and enjoy at home.