Carlsbad Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Carlsbad

April 14, 2018 Hana Mouser

Spa-goers have flocked to Carlsbad since its mineral spring was discovered in the late 19th century. Today, you can visit the site of the original well, but you can do much more than just "taking the waters"—Carlsbad’s spas offer world-class services.
Things to do in Carlsbad

1. PAON Restaurant & Wine Bar

2975 Roosevelt St, Ste 102, Carlsbad, CA 92008-2335 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Private Dining French, Wine Bar, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Dinner, Lunch, Late Night SGD 41 - SGD 66 +1 760-729-7377
Excellent
76%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 361 reviews

PAON Restaurant & Wine Bar

Paon restaurant offers California cuisine with French influences. Beautiful patio dining, elegant Art Deco in intimate dining setting. Private dining available in handsome club environment. Paon chef features seasonal, locally grown organic produce for the palates of fine food lovers from all over the world. Spotlighting organic prime meats, game and fish prepared with traditional French sophistication. Beautiful lounge with old Hollywood feel and relaxing patio in a Downtown Carlsbad Village atmosphere. Paon's knowledgeable and attentive staff looks forward to creating an exceptional experience.

Reviewed By Aschommer - Scottsdale, Arizona

4 of us had dinner on the patio last night and everything was great! Service was outstanding, foie gras and sweetbreads to start and pheasant, sea bass and short ribs for entrees- all were prepared and presented expertly. If you are looking for non-Italian and non- seafood in Carlsbad, this is your destination!! Oh, and the wine list was long and all-inclusive... France, Italy and California are all well represented.

2. Beach Break Cafe

1802 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054-5322 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch SGD 7 - SGD 13 +1 760-439-6355
Excellent
75%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 704 reviews

Beach Break Cafe

Reviewed By Annette H - Hesperia, California

Stopped in for breakfast while visiting Ocanside, the place was PACKED, but they moved pretty quickly - we waited about 15 minutes. Service was friendly and quick, the coffee was very good, our food good but average, I guess for as crowded as the place was I expected more, but don't get me wrong...food is good and gteh price is fair

3. The Naked Cafe

300 Carlsbad Village Dr, Ste 107A, Carlsbad, CA 92008-2900 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Cafe, Healthy, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch +1 760-720-7866
Excellent
65%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 228 reviews

The Naked Cafe

Reviewed By JSKazoo - Kalamazoo, MI

Always enjoy NC for a unique, healthy lunch choice. Great soups, wraps and salads. Staff is friendly and courteous.

4. West Steak and Seafood

4980 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA 92008-4343 (Formerly West Steak Seafood Spirits) Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Valet Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Reservations, Free Wifi, Accepts Credit Cards American, Steakhouse, Seafood, Gluten Free Options Dinner SGD 41 - SGD 66 +1 760-930-9100
Excellent
72%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 384 reviews

West Steak and Seafood

West Steak & Seafood is an intimate and distinctive fine dining restaurant located in the coastal community of Carlsbad, CA. Our creative culinary team is renowned for offering the highest quality of prime steaks, chops and seafood prepared to your taste. Dedicated to an authentic farm-to-table ethos, Executive Chef David Abella harvests fresh ingredients daily from the restaurant's own farm, The West Farm. Toast the sealing of a deal or simply celebrate when only the finest quality and service will do.

Reviewed By db7477 - Carlsbad, California

Excellent food, service and facilities. Ann Marie took great care of our party and talked all four of us into the Waygu beef ribeye. It was so tender I thought it was a filet. It went really well with the Daou Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. I look forward to returning.

5. In-N-Out Burger

5950 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA 92008-4405 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover American, Fast Food Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 7 - SGD 26 +1 800-786-1000
Excellent
63%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 372 reviews

In-N-Out Burger

At In-N-Out Burger, quality is everything. Stop by to enjoy our menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries and shakes. In-N-Out makes fast food the old fashioned way.

Reviewed By BeachGrandmax4 - Seneca, South Carolina

My seatmate on the plane casually mentioned In-N-Out Burger on our flight to Las Vegas. My husband and I were ready for a good burger when we arrived in Carlsbad and were delighted to find an In-N-Out located there! We were not disappointed. The restaurant was clean, the staff were friendly, the burgers and fries were delicious and came to our table hot (a plus for me)! We don't have In-N-Out on the east coast, so this was our first time eating at this chain. We enjoyed this California classic and would love to see it expand to our area.

6. Vigilucci's Cucina

2943 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008-2337 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Italian, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 39 - SGD 39 +1 760-434-2500
Excellent
61%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 399 reviews

Vigilucci's Cucina

Reviewed By Susan M

Pretty good Italian food for the area. The salad I got had a fairly bland dressing and could have been fantastic with just a little more flavor. We split the antipasto for two and the prosciutto and mozzarella were very good! Service was very good as well.

7. Tip Top Meats

6118 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92011-1157 Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol American, German, European, Delicatessen, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 26 +1 760-438-2620
Excellent
61%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 869 reviews

Tip Top Meats

Reviewed By T_the_TA

We went for a Sunday dinner expecting too much. We saw the high Trip Advisor rating and arrived with high expectations, but we didn't read the comments well enough. We should have read them carefully (and we would advise some of the TripAdvisor reviewers that quantity should not be the only measure for a rating…)

We didn't mind the somewhat odd layout where you walk through the small store to the deli service area in the back. The products in the store were interesting and the deli selection looked fantastic. The process of ordering and paying first is a little odd too. You get an order number and the meal is delivered to your table. Like Jack-in-the-Box with a little more atmosphere.

We were early for dinner and there was no line. In retrospect, maybe we would have had a chance to see some of the meals being delivered and perhaps would have changed our order. Some others have complained about the atmosphere; we actually thought it was pleasant, though given the odd shapes of the rooms and large tables you can feel squeezed in.

We intended to order sandwiches and we wish we had done that. I'd like to think their pastrami or reuben would have been nice. We both got lured into the $14.99 prime rib. That turned out to be unfortunate. It would have been nice to at least try something else.

When the main course arrived shortly after we sat down, we were impressed with the quantity. Two thick slabs of prime rib with generous portions of our selected side dishes on each plate, though the prime rib didn't look quite as appealing as we might have expected. I can't say exactly what wasn't right, but the first cut with a steak knife revealed our worst fears. The meat was tough. And just didn’t taste like a top quality roasted prime rib.

Reasons to go back: The soup was great! Both the creamy broccoli and the lentil soup were excellent (though the lentil soup today was not vegetarian so be sure to ask if that is important to you). Served hot and delicious! I can’t say I’m an expert on German potato salad as some others have, but I can say it was very tasty too. We noticed that the “regulars” seem to have figured out the best option is to order a la carte from the deli and make your own meal. If we go back, that will be our plan.

8. Casa de Bandini

1901 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, CA 92009-8402 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Mexican, Latin, Spanish, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night +1 760-634-3443
Excellent
57%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 462 reviews

Casa de Bandini

Indulge in authentic award-winning Mexican cuisine amidst lavish dining rooms and an enchanting outdoor patio at Casa de Bandini, located at The Forum in Carlsbad.

Reviewed By John R - Carlsbad, CA

Every time we go here to eat it's the same. Perfect. The hospitality, warm welcome, happy bartenders, good drinks and excellent food. Great chips and salsa too. Roomy bar area for sitting at the bar or at high tops close by; all with a view of the flat panel wide screen TV's.
I had a classic "Cadillac on the Rocks with salt" and a side of Grand Mariner. Perfect. My dinner was the Special Combo with cheese enchilada, Shredded Macha Beef Crispy Taco & Spicy Chile Releno with sides of refried beans/rice. Perfect!
My wife had the Mexican Stir Fry. Perfect!
What can I say other than you have to go and enjoy the Music, cocktails and great people.

9. Vigilucci's Seafood and Steakhouse

3878 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008-4008 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Valet Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Italian, American, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 41 - SGD 66 +1 760-434-2580
Excellent
60%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 558 reviews

Vigilucci's Seafood and Steakhouse

Reviewed By Rhett F - St. George, Utah

We were quickly seated for lunch with a view of the beach. The staff were very accommodating and attentive. We knew this was a high end place, but I'm still suffering sticker shock. We ordered the Antipasto di pesce chilled seafood platter appetizer- at market price, it was fabulous, truthfully we did not finish all the oysters; with wedge salads, this was plenty for the two of us. $130- my fault for not asking for the current market price. Our food: salads, appetizer and dessert (Tortino Al Cioccolato) were all top notch and I highly recommend the food and service-buyer notified! I will return for a special occasion.

10. Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar

2958 Madison St, Carlsbad, CA 92008-2359 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Asian, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner 760-434-4959
Excellent
62%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 165 reviews

Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar

Reviewed By jhmvis - Visalia, CA

Really great meal! Interesting and varied menu...and we didn't even try the robata. Had some of the best sushi in a long time (blue fin tun was special) and bibibmap - nice mix of Asian cultures.

First time in last night...nice restaurant, friendly and capable staff, fair prices - great vibe. Loved it!

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