Scenic and Savory Oceanside Harbor Dining Spots
If you’ve ever desired to eat on the waterfront while enjoying a parade of boats, paddle boarders and sea lions cruise by look no further than charming Oceanside Harbor Village. Located at the North end of town, this Cape Cod-style center complete with a lighthouse is home to a variety of shops, sea life tours, boat rentals and diverse restaurants. From family style bites to posh romantic settings and seafood to vegetarian delights, you’re sure to find a dining experience to please everyone’s palette.
Starting with breakfast standout Stratford at the Harbor, here you can enjoy beautiful scenery from an enclosed patio overlooking the water, as well as friendly staff, homey style décor and hearty dishes. The robust menu offers eggs in any style, scrambled, omelet or Benedict. Prefer spicy? Try the Chilaquiles Jalisco or burritos. Tasty griddle items offered include delicious Cinnamon Bacon pancakes and Berry Crunch French Toast. When it’s time for dessert don’t miss out on Stratford’s famous, heavenly moist coffee cake coated with cinnamon crumb and sweet white glaze! To drink it all down beverages available range from fresh squeezed orange juice to refreshing Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s.
For a super casual lunch or dinner, check out family-owned and operated Harbor Fish & Chips. Order at the counter before grabbing a seat indoors or outside on the boardwalk. Signature dishes include their hot crispy fish & chips and loaded battered fish tacos. You can also find shellfish, salads, soups, burgers and grilled fish on the menu paired with soft drinks, beer and wine. Everything including the coleslaw and original recipe tarter sauce is made by hand within the restaurant’s fun family photo, giant shark jaw, hanging fish and nautical décor lined walls.
For spectacular seafood and sunset views, visit the upper level Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill and dine on the outdoor deck. The extensive menu features Mexican/American fare with seafood entrees, pastas, burgers, steaks and Mexican specialties such as ceviche, tacos or quesadillas. Start with oysters, shrimp cocktail or homemade clam chowder and don’t forget the succulent seafood entrees are available steamed or fried! Happy hour runs 3pm-6pm daily with $5 house wines/draft beers plus food specials.
Stock up on fresh fish delivered daily at the downstairs Lighthouse Fish & Seafood Market. Choose from sashimi grade Ahi tuna, local halibut, king crab legs and more. Friendly servers can pack your fish on ice to go. Pick up a container of Executive Chef Louis Lopez Senior’s home blend Cajun Seasoning blend. The versatile condiment infuses peppery punch to any seafood dish. Not up for cooking? Select from an appetizing trio of prepared dishes: Hawaiian style poke bowls, Ceviche or Shrimp Campachana (Mexican seafood cocktail). You can specify the level of spiciness in the flavorful made-to-order poke bowls served with piquant seaweed salad. Add rice or avocado for a dollar more. The market also carries a nice variety of snacks, beer and wine including Lighthouse private labeled bottles.
If you’re in the mood for Italian, visit Dominic’s at the Harbor for exceptional service and cuisine in the pleasant dining room or picturesque patio. Dominic’s classic Italian favorites including the Calamari Fritti, Spaghetti Carbonara and Veal Marsala are made from Sicilian family recipes passed down through generations. Choose from a stellar rotating selection of fine wines and 13 craft beers on tap while enjoying the steaming hot complimentary bread sticks made from pizza dough.
Don’t forget about the hand-tossed gourmet pizzas which are serious business at Dominic’s! Their legendary pizza crust is made from a time-honed sugarless recipe that tastes divine. Chef/general manager Toré Trupiano placed an impressive 5th in the World Pan Competition in 2016!
Discover more Italian goodness next door. Dominic’s added the D’Vino Cafe’ & Wine Bar next to the main restaurant. Here you’ll find a full espresso bar, authentic Italian gelato, delectable desserts and fine wines. You can order off the full Dominic’s food menu too.
The wine lists focuses on Italian and Californian vintages. Popular whites include La Crema Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast and Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italy. For an opulent red, try the Anthony & Dominic Pinot Noir from the North Coast or Farnese Fantini Sangiovese from Abruzzo, Italy. Get half price bottles of wine on Wine Wednesdays. Visit during happy hour Monday through Friday from 3pm to 6pm for $2 off glasses of wine and food specials. Out of the satisfying sweets, select the signature Mamma’s Tiramisu or Crème Brule. Dig into the cake’s layers of fluffy Lady Finger Cookies and buttery mascarpone cheese soaked in brandy, Kahlua and espresso. Poke through the Crème Brule’s flawless caramelized crust to savor rich creamy custard below.
For Japanese food choose cozy and welcoming Rising Sun Sushi Harbor. Although missing a view, this establishment run by amiable chef Tony and his wife delivers on fresh sushi, sashimi, teriyaki and more. The Craft-your-Poki dish comes with a choice of seafood and Yuzu Citrus Soy, Spicy Garlic Ponzu or Wasabi-Lime Aioli sauce. Voluminous bowls of Miso Ramen satisfy. Unusual house special rolls include the Orange Blossom with crab salad, salmon sashimi and Spicy Yum Yum Aioli or Rock ‘N’ Roll with tuna, salmon, crab and Screaming O Sauce. Libations such as Japanese beer and sake are also available.
Last but not least, find Oceanside Broiler on the north side of the harbor outside of the Village. Delight in the enchanting harbor views and relaxed atmosphere at this upscale steak and seafood restaurant. If you’re in town on the weekend, consider the smorgasbord Sunday Buffet Brunch. Highlights include Hand Carved Colorado Roast Beef, Omelet Bar, Taco Station and Smoked Norwegian Salmon. Kids love the Chocolate Fountain complete with fresh fruit and Rice Krispies Treats for dipping. For a more sophisticated option try the house-made Bread Pudding topped with whiskey sauce complemented by a cup of fresh-brewed coffee or fizzy champagne.
Looking for a bargain? Check out the daily happy hour with fabulous food and drink specials priced at five to seven dollars. If you’re craving carbs, order the Garlic Truffle Herb French Fries paired with a Broiler Blonde Draft. For a tropical treat, indulge in a Mai Tai paired with Coconut Shrimp and/or Ahi Nachos.
About the Author
Jolee Pink is an Oceanside-based writer, designer and artist. She runs the popular Eat Drink SD Facebook group and her Wabisabi Green lifestyle blog focuses on art, design, food and travel. For more information, please visit wabisabigreen.com.