Featured Photo: @JordanYounis
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 “Mid-Mission District” along Mission Avenue at the entrance to downtown boasts numerous sidewalk eateries complemented by native landscaping. Here, visitors can enjoy outdoor dining at places such as Curry & More, Indian fare with a reputation from Chef Obi winning “Beat Bobby Flay”. Mission Ave. Bar & Grill, a fun neighborhood eatery and craft cocktail bar, Rosewood Kitchen featuring a creative, multi-cultural menu. Other spots include Rim Talay a long-standing local favorite for Thai cuisine, Ty’s Burger House, family-operated burger joint known for its wild meat options and Coomber Craft Wines, which offers small bites, craft wines and nightly live music on an expansive back patio.
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 experience Italy at Blade 1936 with their prestigious AVPN certification for authentic Pizza Napoletana. Hopping over to the Mission Pacific Beach Resort & The Seabird Resort, offering a newly coined Michelin-starred Valle de Guadelupe-inspired experience at Valle, fresh seafood and pasta at Piper plus oceanfront views at High/Low. Those craving tacos can stop in at Hello Betty Fish House, which features a rooftop lounge complete with a vintage VW “Mas Taco” bus, birria masters 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’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 a dog-friendly patio and ever-changing menu of seasonal creations. Dija Mara, a Balinese fusion restaurant named a honored as a Bib Gourmand Michelin spot, 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. Experience heartfelt hospitality at The Miller’s Table. Visit 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 brewmasters. Top it off with a craft coffee specialty drink from the always fun and funky Banana Dang coffee shop.
Going Inland boasts a diverse culinary scene with a selection of charming family-centric eateries that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. For an interactive and futuristic dining experience, Gaja Korean BBQ not only offers delicious meats to grill at your table but also features robots that assist in serving and enhancing the overall dining experience. San Luis Rey Bakery tempts with fresh pastries after a day at Mission San Luis Rey. Frida’s Taqueria boasts vibrant and mouthwatering tacos, La Hacienda features hearty Latin American plates while Evaga is a new Mexican lounge experience – all offering exquisite flavors and traditional dishes that will transport your taste buds to the heart of Mexico. Felix’s BBQ is the go-to destination for barbecue enthusiasts, serving up tender and smoky delights near the SoCal Sports Complex and Mangia e Bevi, a warm and welcoming atmosphere for Italian cuisine all made from Grandma’s recipes, making Inland Oceanside a delightful destination for food enthusiasts.
Oceanside Harbor Village was naturally designed to include outdoor spaces that allow diners to enjoy views of the boats 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.
At the southern tip of Oceanside, you’ll find the delightful and vibrant South Oceanside neighborhood, lovingly known as “South O” by the locals. This eclectic community boasts a unique blend of dining experiences that capture the essence of coastal living. One must-visit spot is Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, where you can savor expertly crafted pizzas and delectable pastas with a glass of vino chosen from their Wine Spectator Award-Winning bar. Don’t miss Beach Break Café, renowned for its epic breakfast burritos. The Plot offers a remarkable experience with its innovative, plant-based cuisine that operates direct from the garden. Margaritas and traditional Mexican dishes at Anita’s and fresh fish + sushi at Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub await at this culinary haven.
Beer, Wine, Spirits & 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: Herd of Turtles Strong Porter, Silver 2023 Great American Beer Festival
Belching Beaver Brewery: Peanut Butter Milk Stout, Tropical Terps IPA, Gold 2023, Great American Beer Festival
Black Plague Brewing: 1347 IPA
Breakwater Brewing Co.: Rye Dawn Brown Ale, Gold 2018, Bronze 2023, Great American Beer Festival
Northern Pine Brewing: Golden Horizons
South O Brewing Co.: St. Malo Czech Pilsner, Bronze 2022, San Diego International Beer Competition