Oceanside is home to an exciting exploding restaurant scene. There are a number of factors that contribute to this phenomenon. The majority of Oceanside chefs and restaurant owners are actually friends who are passionate about helping each other and the community to become a world-class food destination. Their focus on using local farm-to-table ingredients such as produce from Cyclops Farms or daily line-caught fish from fisherman Shawn Aulby of Oceanside Whole Fish contributes to their unprecedented success.
Top 15 Oceanside Restaurants
Here are my top fall 2016 Oceanside restaurant picks in alphabetical order:
The latest restaurant to join the fray is 608 located in the former home of Swami’s Café on Mission Avenue. Here, Chef William Eick takes American comfort food to a new level with house specialties such as Braised Short Rib and Lobster Tail Tacos.
2. Barrel Republic Oceanside
The innovative concept of close to 50 self-serve taps at Barrel Republic is alluring in itself. Yet Chef Michael Brown draws on his considerable culinary experience to create small plates with a plethora of vegetarian options that complement the craft beer offerings and make Barrel Republic a sure winner.
3. Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
Fiesta Mexican in East Oceanside specializes in tasty Oaxacan traditional dishes such as tamales, enchiladas and moles. Colorful decorations from the floor to the ceiling give the place a fun, festive feel. The service is friendly and efficient.
4. Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen
Owners Aaron and Roger Browning were the first to open a foodie destination restaurant in Oceanside. Now, supremely talented Chef Samantha Parker creates delectable pork-centric dishes and house made pastas using locally sourced sustainable ingredients.
5. Fratelli’s Italian Kitchen
Fratelli’s specializes in hearty Italian fare such as their mouth-watering Meat Lasagna with Italian sausage. The dining room with its old school charm is a great place for families or large groups. And service is swift and friendly.
6. Local Tap House & Kitchen
The buzzy scene at “LTH” makes it a top Oceanside hotspot. Ingenious Chef Daniel Pundik creates an ever-evolving menu that changes with the seasons. Dishes incorporate super fresh ingredients and tasty flavor combinations such as Crispy Calamari & Agave Bacon Street Tacos or Black and Blue Brussels Sprouts.
7. Masters Kitchen and Cocktail
The Masters experience is just as much about the casual industrial chic vibe and inventive craft cocktails as it is about the food. The menu focus is on delectable small plates. Read a MilesGeek review of Masters Kitchen posted in April, 2016.
8. Mission Ave Bar and Grill
This family friendly local hangout is actually Oceanside’s first whiskey bar. Seating is indoor-outdoor and the vibe is super casual. Chef Adam Griffon brings a Southern spin to the menu with offerings such as Crawfish Nachos and Cubano Burgers.
9. Ocean Thai
At two Oceanside locations (one on Mission Ave and another on Vista Way), Ocean Thai serves up tasty authentic Asian food. The menu includes all traditional favorites from noodles to curries to stir-fries. There’s also a nice selection of house specialties such as the Seafood Steamboat. Customers are encouraged to specify the spice level that they desire.
10. Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie
Native Peruvian Chef/Owner Iole Revilla serves authentic Peruvian cuisine at this casual charming spot off South Coast Hwy 101. The signature Peruvian style rotisserie chicken is marinated for up to two days before being slow cooked and comes with choice of sides, salad and delicious spicy house sauces.
11. The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza
Chef Stephen Reyna has been coined the vegetable whisperer for his creative spins on local produce, but the inventive coal fired pizzas and sensational pasta dishes at this casual South Coast Highway 101 spot never fail to disappoint.
12. That Boy Good
Drawing from his family heritage and recipes, Chef Mark Millwood recreates Mississippi-inspired food here in Oceanside. His casual restaurant screams Southern style charm and draws an extensive loyal local following. Everything is made from scratch with love such as the delectable smoked ribs, cured bacon and fried chicken & waffles.
13. Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank
A relative newcomer to the Oceanside restaurant scene, Urge is known for its whiskey flights, onsite Mason Ale Works beer and tasty American comfort food. There’s also a speakeasy onsite that’s host to a slew of fun special events.
14. Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub
Chef/Owner Davin Waite has a following that reaches Los Angeles and beyond for his supremely innovative California take on Japanese cuisine at both Wrench & Rodent and the adjacent Whet Noodle restaurants. Chef Davin has a reputation for being a chef’s chef because of his genius take on experimenting with different flavor profiles.
15. Wu Lan Ramen Tap House
Ramen is the star of the menu at this popular East Oceanside spot and there’s quite a variety to choose from such as the signature Wu Lan Ramen or Mega Pig. Although the outside looks nondescript, the interior décor is modern with bold red walls and graphics. The protocol is to order at the counter, be seated then served swiftly by the friendly staff.