Oceanside is Southern California’s trendiest beach town. And for good reason, with a glow-up this past decade that has seen a clutch of boutique hotels open, as well as an uptick in the number of mouthwatering restaurants and atmospheric bars. To all who are in the area and looking for a place to eat & drink, we’ve got you covered with our guide to Oceanside’s best restaurants & bars below.
Located on the roof of the brand-new boutique Brick Hotel, Cococabana is one of Oceanside’s hottest places to grab a drink. Boho-chic décor swaths the establishment, with dangling rattan lamps hanging from a roof trellis, light-shaded millwork, biophilic design and potted plants, plus blue banquettes sporting whimsical patterns. You can see the beach and vicinity from the terrace here — pair this idyllic vantage point with one of their creative cocktails, such as the O’Side Ride — tamarind- and chili-infused mezcal, watermelon, mint, and fresh lime.
Named San Diego’s best vegan/vegetarian restaurant in several publications within the last two years, The Plot is an inviting plant-based restaurant aiming to be at the vanguard of plant-based meals that are undeniably delicious with zero waste to boot. The restaurant boasts modern coastal interiors, with crisp, white-painted brick walls; relaxed-wood seating; and earth-toned art pieces throughout; the space is a breath of fresh air. With their abundance of unique meatless versions of traditional meat-centric meals (think: chickën & waffles, carrotfïsh tacos, and meatless loaf), you will leave this restaurant affirming that, contrary to popular belief, plant-based dishes can taste so delicious.
One of Mexico’s most gastronomically rich epicenters is Valle de Guadalupe — often considered as one of the aforementioned area’s greatest culinary leaders is Chef Roberto Alcocer. And lucky for Oceanside visitors, he just opened a fine-dining restaurant called Valle at the Mission Pacific Hotel. Here, he serves elevated farm-to-table cuisine that takes cues of inspiration from Mexico and California, offering a seasonal Prix-fixed four-course dinner and an eight-course tasting menu, which he pairs with many of Northern Mexico’s finest wines. Need some direction on what to order for your first course? We recommend the Calle Y Nopal — sea scallop, lime purée, prickly pear aguachile, and jicama.
Matsu is a bespoke Japanese restaurant that proves Oceanside’s glow-up also involves its gastronomical scene. The 48-seat fine-dining restaurant presents guests with a 10-course tasting menu that marries traditional Japanese cuisine with seasonal Southern California flavors. You know it will be delicious when Chef William Eick is at the helm (Thrillist rated him “Best Chef in San Diego” back in 2016).
Dija Mara is one of Oceanside’s most lauded restaurants — in fact, it was awarded Eater San Diego’s “Restaurant of the Year” in 2018. The industrial-chic space melds Southeast Asian flavors, Western flair, and Japanese cooking techniques, which collectively bring life to what they dub their “Bali-inspired menu.” Local Chef Jason Ambacher is the culinary genius at the helm — brunch or dinner is a must here. If you do go for dinner, opt to order the delicious Tofu & Tempeh, made up of pickles, cucumbers, peanut sauce, and coconut rice.
Where are all our “Top Gun” fans at? If you raised your hand, you’ll want to go to the Top Gun House. Shown in the original San Diego-filmed movie from the ’80s, the preserved Victorian-era home now operates as a dessert shop called High-Pie. Part of Mission Pacific Hotel, the uber-delicious pies served here comprise a medley of ingredients, from locally produced fruit to homemade mascarpone ice cream, and graham cracker crusts.
With numerous award-winning beers, Bagby Beer Company is a testament to the craft brewery scene for which Oceanside and San Diego are most known. You can’t do Oceanside without a visit here — it’s an earmark of local culture. Owner and world-renowned brewer Jeff Bagby’s saw his decades-long cicerone efforts score him several accolades over the years at the Great American Beer Festival.
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