Eat Your Way Through O'side
Oceanside’s exciting culinary scene has earned the city a reputation as a food-forward destination in recent years. Along with an explosion of new dining venues, the city has witnessed the emergence of neighborhood food districts, each offering its own spin on the town’s flip-flop fine dining character. Visitors can discover a vast array of eclectic eateries, gastropubs, beer gardens, new school taco shops, next wave coffee houses, and reinvented sushi joints— most housed in repurposed buildings that breathe new life into their neighborhood settings. Supporting the restaurants is a vibrant agricultural scene that includes organic farms producing everything from avocados and berries to coffee, tomatoes, wine, nuts, grapes, vegetables and more.
Thanks to a complete streetscape reimagining a few years back, Oceanside’s newly coined “Mid-Mission District” along Mission Avenue at the entrance to downtown boasts numerous sidewalk cafes complemented by native landscaping. Here, visitors can enjoy outdoor dining at places such as Mission Ave. Bar & Grill, a fun neighborhood eatery with elevated cuisine by rising chef William Eick, or the recently opened Rosewood Kitchen featuring a creative, multi-cultural menu. Other spots include Rim Talay a long-standing local favorite for Thai cuisine, Swami’s Café Oceanside and Coomber Craft Wines, which offers small bites, craft wines and nightly live music on an expansive back patio. Stop in at Steel Mill Coffee, run by skateboarder Riley Hawk (and son of legend Tony Hawk), for craft coffee with a side of vinyl.
Steps from the beach and historic pier, Downtown Oceanside has been a hotspot for restaurant openings in recent years thanks to redevelopment projects and restoration of historic buildings. Today, visitors can dine al fresco at the French Mexican inspired Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar or Blade 1936, which recently became one of just two restaurants in San Diego to receive a prestigious AVPN certification for authentic Pizza Napoletana. Those craving tacos can stop in at Hello Betty Fish House, which features a rooftop lounge complete with vintage VW “Mas Taco” bus, newcomer Craft Coast Tacos & Beer or the ever-popular Señor Grubby’s and Sancho’s Tacos. For a sweet treat, don’t miss Parlor Doughnuts specializing in small-batch, handmade treats made fresh throughout the day, or Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro featuring made-from-scratch bakery treats and savory entrees. On Thursdays, downtown Oceanside hosts the popular market day featuring a large selection of food vendors showcasing outstanding international cuisine that draws thousands of visitors each year.
Oceanside Harbor Village was naturally designed to include outdoor spaces that allow diners to enjoy views of the yachts and bustling harbor activity! Visitors can enjoy sunset views from the second-floor patio of Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill or boat activity from the waterfront patio at Stratford at the Harbor— a popular spot for breakfast and lunch. Nautical Bean serves up craft coffee drinks that can be enjoyed from sitting areas along the Harbor boardwalk. To the north of the Harbor Village area is Oceanside Broiler, a local venue for fresh seafood and steaks that features a scenic covered lanai.
Oceanside’s Coast Highway corridor is a magnet for some of Oceanside’s most popular restaurants and watering holes. The ever-popular Local Tap House has expanded its outdoor, dog-friendly seating area. Dija Mara, a Balinese fusion restaurant named a “new discovery” by Michelin Guides, is a must visit, as is Pacific Coast Spirits, North County San Diego’s only craft distillery serving a fun selection of grain-to-glass house made spirits. Visit the new Switchboard Restaurant & Bar at the historic Fin Hotel for a spin on Hawaiian cuisine or Bagby Beer Company for bites and beers by one of Oceanside’s most award-winning brew masters. Top it off with a craft coffee specialty drink from the always fun and funky Banana Dang coffee shop.
At the southern tip of Oceanside is the quirky and fun South Oceanside neighborhood, affectionately referred to as South O by locals. South O’s popular neighborhood restaurants have found creative ways to move dining outdoors by taking over parking lots and adjacent patios. Ocean-air dining options include craft pizza and pastas from Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, epic breakfast burritos at Beach Break Café, eco-friendly vegan cuisine at The Plot, traditional Mexican dishes at Anita’s and fresh fish and sushi at Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub.
Beer, Wine, Spirits and Coffee
Located on the western end of San Diego’s “Hops Highway,” Oceanside is home to numerous craft beer labels and an eclectic collection of craft beer, wine, cocktail and coffee establishments ranging from breweries and taprooms to tasting gardens and more. O’side Sips is a handy link to the Visit Oceanside Sips map of breweries, tasting rooms, wineries and coffee houses and includes links to all the local places as well as maps that note the locations.
Seven Must-Try Beers Brewed in Oceanside:
Bagby Beer Company: Sweet Ride Bohemian-style Pilsner, Gold 2016 Great American Beer Festival
Belching Beaver Brewery: Peanut Butter Milk Stout
Black Plague Brewing: 1347 IPA
Breakwater Brewing Co.: Rye Dawn Brown Ale, Gold 2018 Great American Beer Festival
Legacy Brewing Company: That Guava Beer
Northern Pine Brewing: Golden Horizons
Oceanside Brewing Company: Summer Picnic Blonde Ale