Dine at the Best Restaurants in Carlsbad Now
Don’t miss out on all that the restaurants in Carlsbad have to offer.
With gorgeous beaches, quaint shopping, and lush flower fields perfect for spring, the reasons to visit Carlsbad this spring are numerous. The cherry on top is the region’s restaurant scene, a continually growing landscape of dining and drinking venues from some of the country’s top talents. From an idyllic Italian café to a chef-backed deli, these are the best restaurants in Carlsbad to eat and drink at right now.
Campfire honors California's natural flavors and terrains – a pursuit best executed with thoughtful, wood-fired cooking. A 12-foot hearth, powered by a Grillworks grill and lovingly dubbed Grace, serves as the venue’s focal point and is where chef Eric Bost perfects dishes like wagyu skewers, koji-aged ribeye, and Maine lobster. Like any good campout, this one has s’mores and cocktails that feature fired elements, too. Think charred papaya or smoked oats.
Cassara Kitchen & Bar at The Cassara Carlsbad
High-vaulted ceilings and Mediterranean-inspired motifs set the tone for a true escape at Cassara, and the food only helps further the journey. Kick off the meal with lamb meatballs and charred octopus, then move toward heartier options like Baja fish tacos and chicken Caprese. Post-meal, head to the lobby bar to enjoy one of the team’s handcrafted cocktails. We suggest the Flower Power Sour, a dram of tequila, grapefruit, and hibiscus inspired by the nearby flower fields.
Inspired by childhood summers spent at her grandparents’ house in Italy, where the café was the center of social life, Sara De Luca wanted to bring Italian coffee culture and hospitality to the States. In 2017 she opened this Carlsbad café, bringing with it high-quality espresso drinks and from-scratch fare. Another location in Rancho Santa Fe was opened shortly after that. The team takes coffee seriously; the menu features a creamy Italian espresso enhanced by premium organic milk and cream from Straus Family Creamery, a fun tiramisu latte, and a series of bouquet lattes in flavors like orange blossom and white rose inspired by the barista’s favorite flowers. Pair those sips with a medley of snacks, such as egg croissants, overnight oats, and berry almond toast, which are all made onsite.
Jeune et Jolie
The team at Campfire opened this romantic venture just down the street. Chef Eric Bost continues to dazzle with winning flavor combinations and locally sourced fare. Scallops are pan-roasted in brown butter and paired with butternut squash ribbons; Liberty Farms duck meets fig and black truffle; and caramelized honey custard and slow-cooked quince for dessert are an ode to the sweet substance made by bees. The dishes are as artful as the design, which showcases a landscape of blue greens, soft curves, and crushed velvet banquettes. A vintage reel-to-reel stereo serves up dreamy St. Tropez vibes.
Head to this luxe hotel and find two distinct dining experiences under one roof: Ponto Logo for California coastal cuisine and agave-based cocktails, and Ember & Rye for choice steaks and seafood from chef Richard Blais. Though cuts and catches are the main events at the latter, Blais seasons the menu with veg-forward options throughout, such as a falafel burger and roasted cauliflower pot roast. At Ponto Logo, peruse an array of crudos and ceviches, then spring for mains like seafood paella, Yucatan chicken, or lobster pibil. Pair it with any of the venue’s tequila or mezcal recommendations – more than 50 kinds are available.
The Wise Ox
TRUST Restaurant Group is behind some of San Diego’s premier restaurants (TRUST, Fort Oak, Cardellino, Rare Society), so when chef Brad Wise and team decided to open a chef-driven butcher shop, it was quick to gain a loyal following. That holds true for the recently opened Carlsbad location, where they offer the same pasture-raised, hormone-free beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, all hand-cut by skilled butchers and used across their restaurants. Come for the dry-aged cuts but also for the fan-favorite deli orders, such as the Philly Cheesesteak, with hand-shaved NY strip, peppers, and cheese on a toasted amoroso roll. If you can’t get enough of the goodness onsite, opt for the Ox Box, a monthly subscription featuring 10 pounds of premium meat, encouraging carnivores to cook up some of their favorites at home.
Situated on the lobby level of The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa, this restaurant features elevated coastal fare in sophisticated surroundings, including an expansive outdoor terrace, complete with fire pits and ocean views. Mushroom-stuffed arancini, beer-braised short rib, and chicken Petaluma with maitake mushrooms and roasted butternut squash are just a few of the items from the dinner menu, and brunch orders, with hearty bowls and benedicts prove equally satisfying. Pair your plates with any of the local beers, or try a specially tailored cocktail, such as the Cocktail Carlsbad, with vodka, strawberry, basil, and club soda.
Executive chef John Beriker brings more than 30 years of experience and a Gault & Millau Best New Chef of the Year title to this restaurant, where he and the team serve a globally inspired menu rooted in bold flavors. Short rib mole verde with fresh corn tortillas and scallops with ancient grains, risotto, and vadouvan are a couple of dinner favorites, and brunch here is just as satisfying. Don’t miss the croissant waffle (or the option to top it with chicken katsu). Whether you come morning or night, try to snag a table outdoors for tranquil views of the property’s surrounding hills.