Oceanside might be home to surf culture, a historic pier, quaint harbor and former Spanish mission, but when it comes to drinking and dining, the quintessential Southern California beach town of O’side also has a little something for everyone. From hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints and fast-casual Korean to local coffee roasters, craft breweries – and even a spirit distillery - here are 18 places well worth a visit when in San Diego’s northernmost city.Read More
Where to Eat and Drink in Oceanside
From California burritos to craft cocktails and coffee
1. Harbor Fish & Chips
An Oceanside harbor mainstay for over fifty years, where better to eat fish and chips other than right on the water? This classic, family-owned spot does a one-piece fish basket that comes with a green salad, coleslaw, beans or fries for just $9.50. Daily specials include a fish taco plate on Thursdays for $13.
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2. Mission Ave Bar and Grill
The neighborhood cocktail bar and eatery got a serious upgrade when chef William Eick joined its kitchen in 2018, and now offers pub fare alongside plates like Vietnamese caramelized pork belly, honey-chili shrimp, and wagyu filet with tamarind and black garlic long beans. Last year, Eick launched Matsu, a separate concept that currently operates inside the Mission Avenue space, which offers a 10-course chef’s tasting menu of modern Japanese fine dinings.
3. Petite Madeline Bakery
The standout bakery by the beach just blocks from Oceanside Pier does a superb line of sugar-dusted all-day buns, classic palmier cookies, and buttery Madeleine cakes. On the savory side, there’s from scratch breakfast and lunch fare spanning Benedicts and crepes to salads and specialty sandwiches.
4. Steel Mill Coffee
Oceanside, CA 92054
The venture from pro skateboarder Riley Hawk (eldest son of the iconic Tony Hawk) is part coffee shop part vintage record store. Enjoy coffee and espresso drinks made with beans provided by James Coffee Co. and a range of pastries and small snacks while crate digging or checking out the Steel Mill merch.
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5. Mr. Bibi
The much-loved customizable bibimbap stone bowls here just landed this Korean mom and pop spot at No. 26 on Yelp’s annual list of the ‘Top 100 Places to Eat’ in the U.S. Each one is made with a choice of rice, salad or jap chae, before adding meat or veggies and topping everything off with a sunny side egg.
6. Orfila Vineyards Tasting Room & Kitchen
Soft opened in December, Orfila’s new tasting room in coastal downtown Oceanside is just a few blocks from the pier. There are 22 types of wine to try and purchase, including Orfila’s flagship Estate Syrah, plus a food menu that spans a cheese and charcuterie board to shared plates, flat breads, and sweets.
7. Blade 1936
Chef Mario Cassineri’s ode to modern Italian serves up everything from Napoli style wood fired pizzas to freshly made semolina pasta. Open for lunch, dinner, and brunch on weekends; there’s a great happy hour (Monday through Friday, 4 to 6 p.m.) with a tidy assortment of seasonally-driven craft cocktails.
8. Banana Dang Coffee
From Rincon, Puerto Rico to Oceanside, Calif. Opened in 2015, Banana Dang is a real neighborhood gem, where, alongside the superb coffee drinks, locals love the selection of smoothies (ty the Nutty Dang with hemp protein), happy toasts (try the Green Fire with smashed avocados), and semi-sweet baked goods.
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9. Dija Mara
Come for the whole roasted sea bream, satays, or nasi goreng during dinner or mango tartine and kaya French toast for brunch on Sundays. Dija Mara’s all-natural wine program is stellar too - ask for a glass of the Longavi Glup Cinsault or Pipeño País Coronel de Maule, both new Chilean reds not to be missed.
10. Pacific Coast Spirits
This new ‘grain to glass’ craft distillery produces gin, vodka, brandy, agave spirits, and variations on whiskey that include bourbon and a small-batch single malt. There is a cocktail bar and farm-to-table restaurant here too with a lunch and dinner menu of shareable plates, from dips to charcuterie boards, plus salads, tacos, and heartier fare like fried chicken and waffles.
11. Bagby Beer Co.
This multi-level brewpub boasts bars, dining areas, and patios, including a central dog-friendly courtyard. Dishes are full-scratch with seasonal weekend specials and a breakfast burrito bar on Sundays. House and guest tap lists range from local beers to English, German, Belgian, Bohemian, and Baltic style brews.
12. Primo Foods
Be ready to wait in line at this beloved hole in the wall joint. Attached to Primo Market, it has been serving up authentic street tacos and carne asada burritos (among other deliciousness) for over 20 years. For $4.99 burritos and 69 cent tacos and swing by on Mondays and Taco Tuesday, respectively.
13. Buccaneer Cafe
Tucked beside Buccaneer Park right across the street from one of Oceanside’s smallest beaches, this local counter spot serves up killer breakfast burritos, avocado toasts, and breakfast tacos from 8 a.m. daily. Grab a seat on one of the picnic tables or pop across the road and sit down to eat on the sand.
14. Beach Break Cafe
Family owned and operated since 1988, this essential breakfast spot is well known and loved for its generous sized portions of hotcakes, banana crunch French toast, and homemade corn beef hash, among other dish standouts. Counter-culture fans will enjoy the surf memorabilia, photos, and decor.
15. The Whet Noodle
Davin Waite’s ‘West Coast Izakaya’ specializes in ramen dishes (many made with bases from kitchen scraps) with his signature creative twist, including The Hangry Vegan with spinach noodles and The SPAM a hot n’ sour mixed-beast broth (duck, pork, and fish) topped with honey spam.
16. Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub
More than just a standard sushi joint, chef/owner Davin Waite’s unconventional nigiri, sashimi, and house roll creations, not to mention his unique and worth the splurge omakase menus, are as eclectic as the “surf shack” decor.
17. Captain's Grounds
Located inside vintage consignment store Captain’s Helm, grab a custom tailored drip coffee, dirty chai latte or Mexican mocha and a pastry from the walk up bar before taking a seat with the laptop (there are plug in stations and free wifi) or browsing the racks for denim, t-shirts, bags, boots and accessories.
18. Revolution Roasters
A South O fixture since opening in late 2015, Revolution (whose actual roasting hub is in Leucadia) serves up creative coffee drinks - think peanut butter mochas and vanilla rose lattes - alongside yummy fresh baked pastries and breads. Some pretty exciting expansion plans, including doubling the production space for coffee roasting and baking, plus a beer and wine bar, are in the works for 2020.