Planning a Date Night in Encinitas

As a fun coastal beach town with a laid back vibe, Encinitas, California is a great place to have a date night with your significant other! Because the gorgeous coastline stretches across this beach city, you’ll get to incorporate the water into your evening plans while enjoying the best Encinitas restaurants, bars, and more. Here are ten great date night ideas in the city of Encinitas!

Have a bonfire at Moonlight Beach.

Pack up a cuddling blanket and your favorite stuff to barbecue and head to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas for a romantic evening! Keep it simple by simply making s’mores and bring a bottle of wine. Be sure to get there early to stake out one of the eight fire pits for your sunset grilling session. You can also bring your own grill to South Carlsbad State Beach or use one of the fire rings at Oceanside Beach and make your own party of two.

Cozy up with some live music and dinner.

One of Encinitas’ best restaurants is Solace and the Moonlight Lounge. Known for its cozy atmosphere and unique take on elevated comfort food, this is a great place for a date night. Every Sunday Night, you’ll be treated to live music in the Moonlight Lounge from 7 to 9pm; an added bonus to impress that special someone! Menu food specials for Sunday evenings include Oyster Specials and Buttermilk Fried Jidori Chicken.

Do some wine tasting at Solterra.

You don’t have to drive all the way to Temecula to do some wine tasting in San Diego! Encinitas has its very own beachside winery and tasting room: Solterra Winery + Kitchen. Located right on Highway 101, this Encinitas restaurant offers everything from wine tastings and bottles to-go, to an all-you-can-eat Mediterranean tapas buffet. Sit at the bar for wine-tasting and sample six of their wines at a time, or stick to a single selection by the glass, bottle, or get an entire growler of wine on tap.

Solterra winery also hosts live music most Friday and Saturday nights, so be sure to double check their event calendar before you go!

Catch a movie at the historic La Paloma Theater.

The magic of going to a movie theater on a date may have been lost when the gigantic multiplexes took the reins from the quaint, hometown theaters; but it’s different at the La Paloma Theater! Take a stroll back through time by visiting this historic spot along the 101 for an evening. The venue opened in 1928, and still maintains much of its charm. You may not find the latest blockbuster here, but you will always find a weekly midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other select indie films.

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Have a picnic at Oakcrest Park.

Oakcrest Park is a big grassy area on a hillside with shade trees, picnic tables, and BBQs, which makes it a perfect place to post up with a blanket and some sandwiches with your partner. If you’re in the mood for games, you’ll find a sporting area with a children’s playground, two half basketball courts, a Bocce ball area, and horseshoe pits right next to the park. Two trailheads lead from the west end of the park into the hills, offering a fun way to stretch your legs once you’ve finished picnicking.

Get competitive at a local Trivia Night.

Impress your date with your vast knowledge! Trivia Nights have become incredibly popular in San Diego the past few years, and there are great bars and pubs all over the county that host them weekly. There are several in Encinitas alone! Regal Seagull hosts one every Tuesday, D Street Bar & Grill holds them on Thursdays, and Schooner Station Pizzeria hosts them on Tuesdays as well.

Have cocktails by the sea.

The city of Encinitas boasts a great bar scene, and a wide variety of pubs, saloons, and romantic cocktail bars. If you’re just looking to have a few drinks and chat with your date, try Union Kitchen & Tap or the Bier Garden of Encinitas for a slightly livelier atmosphere. 3rd Corner Wine Shop & Bistro has a cozier, restaurant-style vibe, but they have a great daily Happy Hour and is a must-try for wine lovers! You can even pick up your own bottle at their wine shop and take it to-go for a picnic by the sea.

Encinitas, California is a great place for your next San Diego date night! With a wide variety of incredible restaurants, bars, pubs, outdoor activities, and other things to do, we can guarantee you and your partner won’t have to worry about what to do next. For even more things to do, visit our 10 Must-Dos in Encinitas blog!

Balboa Park Dining

Balboa Park is a true San Diego gem, and with dozens of museums, gardens, cultural activities, and outdoor adventures, there are many ways to spend your day here. But after all that exploring, you’re bound to need some sustenance! Several new cafes have popped up in the park in recent years, and there is certainly no shortage of delicious restaurants to enjoy a great meal after a day of adventuring. Here’s your insider’s guide to Balboa Park dining, from casual to elevated cuisine.

The Prado

The park’s only fine dining spot is located in the historic House of Hospitality and is another offshoot run by the Cohn Restaurant Group. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, except Mondays when it’s closed for dinner. The historic building only adds to its quaint, unique charm, and it’s a great spot to enjoy date night or an evening with friends.

Prime dinner reservations are hard to come by on weekend nights, but if you put your name in at the hostess stand 10 minutes before dinner service begins at 5, you might get lucky with a scenic patio table. Another best-kept secret here is their Happy Hour menu, with $4-$5 wines and $5-$8 appetizers; it runs from 4pm-6pm/8pm-10 on Tuesdays-Fridays and 8pm-11pm Fridays and Saturdays. Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego.

Specials at The Prado

  • MOPA Thursday Night Dinner Package: The Museum of Photographic Art and The Prado have teamed up to bring you culture and cuisine in Balboa Park. Visit The Prado on Thursday Nights through September 2nd and enjoy their MOPA Thursday Night Dinner Package. The package includes a 3-course dinner with a bottle of wine, and two tickets to the Museum of Photographic Arts Exhibitions. The package is priced at $79.95 per couple.
  • Wine Down Wednesdays: Enjoy 50% off all bottles of wine under $75 every Wednesday. You can also bring your own bottle of wine and enjoy no corkage fees.

Panama 66

This tucked-away spot in the San Diego Museum of Art’s outdoor sculpture garden pours a rotating tap of 20-plus San Diego brews along with locally sourced salads and sandwiches. The open dining room, tucked inside a sculpture garden, hosts live music every Wednesday nights well as a popular weekend brunch.

Panama 66 has brought some much-needed night life to the park center, but do call first to check availability as it gets quite busy, especially on weekends. Evening hours can be spotty due to special bookings like weddings. Address: 1450 El Prado, San Diego.

Cafe Mingei

Need a coffee break? This speedy café serves hot and iced espresso drinks made with coffee from local roaster West Bean, plus a selection of vibrant teas, gourmet hot chocolate, and other refreshing beverages. Fresh, daily pastry selections are provided by a variety of local bakeries including Cardamom and The Cravory (cookies). Located on the Plaza de Panama. Address: 2402 Pan American Rd E, San Diego.

The Tea Pavilion

If coffee isn’t your thing, just a few dozen yards away is the recently renovated outdoor cafe at the Japanese Friendship Garden, offering dozens of hot and iced green, white, oolong, herbal, and black teas, as well as sushi made fresh daily, Japanese noodles, rice, miso soup, salads, and tempura appetizers. Enjoy the magnificent views from inside the Tea Pavilion or from the outdoor courtyard and deck. There are also unique imported food, beverages, bulk teas, and gifts available for purchase. Address: 2215 Pan American Rd E, San Diego.

Lady Carolyn’s Pub

The Old Globe Theater’s outdoor food and beverage pavilion offers hearty soups in sourdough bread tureens, crisp salads, and assorted desserts and beverages (local favorites include their Italian sodas, cappuccinos, and steaming Irish Coffee). This is a great pit stop before or after you watch a show at the Theater. Address: 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego.

Home Plate Sports Café

Located in the Federal Building, (formerly the San Diego Hall of Champions), the Home Plate Sports Café offers a wide variety of choices; including deli sandwiches, freshly grilled burgers, grilled panini, salads, and wraps. Beer, wine, and specialty coffee drinks are available to sip while you watch the latest game on one of their big screen TVs. Be sure to finish off your meal with a bowl of their gelato, a local favorite! Address: 2131 Pan American Plaza, San Diego.

Craveology

Craveology is the perfect location to grab a quick lunch. It’s casual and family-friendly, and offers a great selection of items; including salads, sandwiches, wraps, flatbread pizzas and panini. For those hot days, they also offer smoothies, frappes, or specialty iced coffees. There is outdoor patio seating, located right in front of the iconic Balboa Park Bea Evenson Fountain.

Admission to the Fleet Museum is not required for a visit to Craveology, so stop by, feed your craving and enjoy the view! Address: 1875 El Prado, San Diego.

Explore More of Balboa Park!

Cafe in the Park

A wide variety of options make Cafe in the Park a perfect place to grab a bite. From salads to sandwiches, soup, paninis, baked goods, specialty coffees, and even breakfast options, this cute little cafe has something for everyone. Café in the Park is located in the Casa del Balboa building, between the San Diego History Center, and the Museum of Photographic Art.

Flight Path Grill

This is a fun, casual outdoor restaurant featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, salad and more outside the San Diego Air & Space Museum (admission is required). The grill is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 4pm. However, during the summer, they are open for those hours daily. Enjoy your meal at a picnic table or covered cabana on the patio – there are great views here of the rest of the park. Address: 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego.

Food Trucks

If you’re looking for something super-casual, try the local food truck located near Spanish Village Arts Center. The food trucks will vary by week, but one will be there every day; hours are 11:00am – 3:00pm Monday through Friday, and 11:00am – 4:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Special Dining Events

Food Truck Fridays
Every Friday evening in the summer, more than a dozen food trucks make for a pop-up food court on the Plaza de Panama and El Prado walkway. The trucks serve up everything from wood-fired pizza to boba tea and street tacos. Every Friday, there will also be different musical performers or DJs spinning live music; the Plaza’s “living room” setup will be rolled out, including a big artificial lawn for children to play on and giant family game sets.

Various Balboa Park museums will also have booths set up with hands-on activities and crafts for kids. Bonus: Admission to the San Diego Museum of Art is only $5 after 5:00pm on Friday nights! This is a great way to really experience everything Balboa Park has to offer; feel free to bring lawn chairs or a blanket to sit in the lawn area in front of the Botanical Building, or enjoy craft beers, wine, and cocktails inside nearby Panama 66 and the Prado.

Lawn Programs at the International Cottages
On Sunday afternoons, stroll the lawn and gardens among the little houses at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages during their weekly lawn programs. From 2pm-3pm, you’ll be treated to live music, traditional dance and costumes, arts, crafts, and a wide variety of ethnic foods.

If you feel like having your own picnic, the Park is a great place to do so. There are large grassy areas and shady locations under the trees to lay down a blanket, eat a picnic lunch, and take in the sights and sounds of one of San Diego’s most iconic landmarks.

Whether you’re with the family and in the mood for something casual or out with friends, there’s definitely a dining option for everyone at Balboa Park! Take time to explore the park’s multitude of gardens, museums, and cultural activities once you’ve enjoyed lunch or dinner; from the beloved San Diego Museum of Man to the Botanical Garden and the San Diego Natural History Museum, there are many ways to spend the day at this one-of-a-kind park.

New La Jolla Restaurant, Dominic’s Table, Opens in The Village

A new La Jolla restaurant is in town! Dominic’s Table has taken over the space formerly occupied by Roppongi on Prospect Street, and reflects owner/chef Dominic Tedesco’s “journey through life with food.” The veteran chef, who has cooked professionally for over 30 years, spent the last 15 years in Las Vegas – where he was a frequent guest on food television while he worked at the famous MGM Grand and as a private chef.

After 17 years serving up Asian fusion in La Jolla, Roppongi closed in November 2015, leaving its space empty for more than 2 years before chef and restaurateur Dominic Tedesco noticed it during a visit to San Diego last year. Tedesco was in America’s Finest City visiting a friend when he spotted the prime restaurant location – and the rest is history! Tedesco says he’s made mostly cosmetic changes to the 5,700-square-foot corner space, which includes two outdoor patios and a huge kitchen.

Menu Highlights

The Dominic’s Table international menu will change weekly, and is mostly comprised of Italian inspired dishes. There is also a Mediterranean-style raw bar along with a handful of dishes from various regions around the world, all made as authentically as possible using fresh local ingredients.

The main menu includes pizza, pasta, seafood, and meat dishes, along with a variety of sushi and sashimi rolls.

Highlights include the Baja Roll (Spicy Albacore and Yellowtail mix, avocado, cucumber, and gobo garnished with garlic mustard Ponzu, cilantro oil, Serrano Pepper, and cilantro), and the Whole Branzino (fresh Mediterranean Sea Bass in a white wine sauce with capers, olives, and cherry tomatoes served with golden mashed potatoes).

The upscale eatery will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, featuring a full bar, live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights. Breakfast and brunch will start at 8am on Sundays. For more information on the new La Jolla restaurant, visit their Facebook page or their website.

Where to Go for Taco Tuesday in La Jolla

Taco Tuesday isn’t an occasional indulgence in Southern California; it’s a beloved weekly tradition! From beer battered to grilled, from classic cod to rare taco-fillings, restaurants in La Jolla, California have fierce competition for the best tacos. We did some serious food research to put together a list of our top recommends for Taco Tuesday in La Jolla.

Puesto La Jolla

Taco Tuesday at Puesto is a great deal. The popular La Jolla restaurant offers their Taco Tuesday specials from 3pm-close, and includes:

  • Tacos for $3.50
  • Puesto Perfect Margaritas for $9 (from 3pm-5pm)
  • Model Especial Cans for $3.50

We love the taco selection here, particularly their Chicken Al Pastor, Maine Lobster, Carnitas, and Zucchini & Cactus (a combination you definitely won’t find anywhere else in La Jolla!). Their drinks are great, as well, and their version of a traditional margarita is great on a hot day.

Puesto is located at 1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037.

Galaxy Taco

Galaxy Taco opened in 2014 and is still one of the most popular taco spots in La Jolla. The second restaurant of George’s at the Cove’s Trey Foshee and located at La Jolla Shores, this cute restaurant is known for its unusual take on traditional Mexican cuisine.

Every Tuesday, Galaxy offers a #TacoTuesdayTakeover, where a guest chef creates three additional tacos for the menu. The special runs from 5pm till close, and is a great way to experience something a little different that isn’t normally on the menu.

Traditional taco options include Chicken Tinga, Grilled Fish, Mushroom, and Barbacoa Short Rib – all on delicious handmade blue corn tortillas.

Galaxy Taco is located at 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037.

Jose’s Courtroom

Jose’s Courtroom is a great place to unwind after a day at the beach or exploring La Jolla! Situated right on Prospect with a great view of the water and a breezy patio, Jose’s offers all kinds of traditional Mexican cuisine; including tacos! Their Taco Tuesday special goes from 3pm-6pm and includes:

  • $3 Bud Light, Pacifico, & Dos XX Draft Beer
  • $4 Well Cocktails, House Margaritas, & wines by the glass
  • $5 Cheese Quesadilla, Street Tacos (4): Pollo Asado or Carnitas, Flautas (2): Chicken or Beef

Jose’s is located at  1037 Prospect St., La Jolla 92037.

Verdes El Ranchero


Lovingly known as The Ranch, this La Jolla restaurant has been around since 1945. It’s mere blocks from the beach, and serves up yummy classic Mexican dishes along with a renowned cheese crisp. Their Taco Tuesday runs all day, and includes:

  • $2 street tacos, including carne asada, carnitas and pollo asada
  • $3 beer-battered fish tacos

Verdes El Ranchero is located at 7404 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037.

Shore Rider


Shore Rider is located at La Jolla Shores and is just a few quick steps from the beach, making it a perfect Taco Tuesday destination after a day out kayaking or snorkeling. Their Taco Tuesday specials run from 3pm til close, and include:

  • $4 Model 16 oz. drafts
  • $3.50 street tacos (carnitas, chicken tinga, carne asada, blackened shrimp)
  • $4 specialty tacos (Baja Fish and Grilled Fish)
  • $4 specialty dishes, including a TJ Dog, Carnitas Mulita, Ceviche Tostada, and a Potato Flauta

Shore Rider is located at 2168 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla CA 92037.

Where to Go for Happy Hour in La Jolla

Where will you find the happiest Happy Hour La Jolla? There are definitely plenty of contenders around here! Several La Jolla restaurants have crafted unique menus that keep folks coming back. After a little recon, here are some of our top picks in the neighborhood.

We Olive & Wine Bar

This is the prime spot for wine lovers – with a view! Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3:30pm-6:30pm and features $3 off wines by the glass and $2 off draft beers. The wine bar is tucked away in back of the shop, and features a terrific patio with ocean views. You can try wines by the taste, glass, or bottle. If you’d rather try several different wines, we recommend the wine flight to give your taste buds some variety. They’ll bring out olive oil and balsamic pairings to try at the same time, too. If you prefer beer, don’t worry, they offer several craft varieties.

We Olive also offers perfectly paired appetizers, such as their Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie Plate and We Olive Duo Dip.

Herringbone La Jolla 

Herringbone is widely known for their take on Happy Hour in La Jolla, fondly referred to as “Oyster Hour.” It runs daily from 4pm-6pm (all evening on Mondays), and features $1 oysters, $8 cocktails, and $6 glasses of wine. The cozy spot, which opened in 2014, features a laid-back bar and lounge area with couches and comfortable seating. There is live music playing on Fridays and Saturdays, and is known for their yummy handcrafted cocktails and sangria.

Food-wise, enjoy $1 clams or choose something from the regular menu. Looking for something to share? We recommend the Local Ceviche, which is served up with a yummy combo of aquachile, jalapeño, avocado, red onion, and cilantro atop a bed of blue corn tortilla chips.

Catania

For the ultimate happy hour atmosphere and ambience, we recommend Catania. Happy Hour is 3pm-6pm daily on the rooftop patio overlooking Girard Avenue, which offers wide views of the city, sky and ocean. Soak up the friendly, happily out-of-the-office atmosphere of people meeting friends, happily chatting and clinking glasses.

There’s an extensive list of drinks offered, including the popular Aperol Spritz (a summer drink infused with orange), and the Fortunella (a yummy blend of vodka, kumquat pureé, orange blossom, and prosecco). If you’re hungry, their decadent pizzas like Merguez Sausage and Fungi are only $11 each. Good to share…or tackle your own for dinner.

9 Essential Drinks to Try for Happy Hour in La Jolla!

The Shores Restaurant

If you’re closer to the La Jolla Shores area of town, no need to trek to the downtown La Jolla Village – hit this hidden gem right on the beach! Happy Hour is Sunday-Friday from 3pm-6pm and features an “Eight for $8” menu, where you can mix and match your choice of small bites and appetizers. Select from a variety of wines by the glass, handcrafted cocktails, and well drinks while you hang out on their beachfront patio (we love the Shores Margarita!).

Duke’s La Jolla

Duke’s “Aloha Hour” goes from 3pm-close on Mondays, and 3pm-6pm Tuesday-Friday. Along with an expansive ocean view, their Barefoot Bar (where Happy Hour is located) features a yummy menu. Get $2 off all pupus (appetizers), $4 off Duke’s Favorites, $7 glasses of wine, and $5 draft beers. We love their Hawaiian spin on seafood; give the Korean Sticky Ribs or the Poke Tacos a try! Indoor seating is available if it’s a chilly day.

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Puesto La Jolla

If you’re in the mood for tacos and margaritas, this is your spot! Happy Hour at Puesto is Monday-Friday from 3pm-5pm, and features a yummy assortment of Mexican inspired favorites. All tacos are $4 during Happy Hour, and you can get a Puesto Perfect Margarita for $9 (featuring Blue Agave Reposado Tequila and agave). They are known for their tacos: local favorites include Chicken Al Pastor, Maine Lobster, and their vegetarian Zucchini & Cactus tacos! The indoor/outdoor bar and lounge area is a good place for families with kids or a small group, but it does get crowded on weekends and during Happy Hour – plan to arrive early to secure a spot.

If you aren’t feeling tacos, they also offer a variety of bowls, shared plates, and seafood dishes.

Onto Dinner Next?

If your Happy Hour La Jolla is simply leading up to dinner, you may wish to stay for one of these location’s dining menus or head to a new spot. Learn more about top dinner options on our Restaurant Guide!

6 La Jolla Restaurants to Celebrate Dad

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17 – this year, treat Dad to a delicious brunch in La Jolla! Whether your dad prefers an ocean view brunch or he’s more of a tacos and beer guy, we’ve rounded up a few different La Jolla restaurants that will make Dad’s day super special. Make a whole outing of it and spend the rest of the afternoon at La Jolla Cove or down at La Jolla Shores for a beach day. Check out must-dos and what to see with our La Jolla Cove guide.

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Caroline’s Seaside Cafe

8610 Kennel Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

Looking to treat dad to brunch with an ocean view? Caroline’s Seaside Cafe, located at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography campus, is the perfect spot. Brunch is offered from 8am to 2pm.

What to get: Beef short ribs “hash” & eggs served with peppers, onions, potatoes and toast ($12).

Sadly, Caroline’s does not take reservations and you order at the counter before choosing a seat. Tip: Paid parking is available on the adjacent parking lots during weekends only. UCSD students receive 30% off with student ID.

 

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Puesto La Jolla

1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037

If your dad prefers lunch tacos over brunch fare, then Puesto La Jolla is the top choice! Puesto boasts some of the most authentic and delicious Mexican food in town, and is always a great family choice because of the casual atmosphere. They’re open on Saturday from 11am to 10pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 9pm. 

What to get: Try the Chicken Al Pastor tacos – it’s one of their specialties. Splurge on a Frozen Horchata For A Cause: $1 from the sale of every horchata will be donated to a local charity, which changes monthly (ask your server which one is up for June).

This is a popular spot so be sure to make reservations days in advance. Parking is also tricky so give yourself plenty of time.

The Marine Room

2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037

Treat Dad to a special brunch buffet that he will always remember! Enjoy an amazing selection of hearty main courses like Brandt Farm Prime Rib of Beef, Berkshire Pork Daube Au Vin, and Oregon Sea Trout. Father’s Day Brunch will be offered on Sunday, June 17th, from 10am to 2pm.  Á la carte dinner specials will be available starting at 5:30 pm.

Cost: $68 per person, $34 for children 6 to 12 years, $5 per year for children 5 and under.

Experience the Best of Dining in La Jolla With Our Complete Guide!

Pro-tip: If you’ve yet to experience a High Tide Dinner, be sure to put it on your summer bucket list!

Piatti La Jolla

2182 Avenida De La Playa., La Jolla, CA 92037

Nestled in the La Jolla Shores neighborhood, Piatti’s inviting atmosphere and delicious Italian food is a great option for a Father’s Day lunch!

What to get: Linguine with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, today’s fish, garlic, parsley, chili flakes and crushed tomato sugo OR the Orecchiette with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, and gorgonzola cream. Weekend brunch is served from 10am to 2pm. 

Tip: Both lunch and brunch menus are available during this time.

Herringbone La Jolla

7837 Herschel Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037

If your dad loves fresh seafood and a great atmosphere, treat him to a delicious brunch at Herringbone La Jolla.  This year’s prix-fixe brunch will be on Sunday June 17th, from 10am–2pm. The Oyster Bar is a Herringbone specialty, and includes a choice of six different types of oysters as well as an oyster sampler plate. First choice courses include a Cocoa Cardona Cheese Plate and a Strawberry Salad, while second course options include Chilaquiles, Raspberry French Toast, Steak & Eggs, and more. Afterwards, indulge in a Chocolate Mousse Cake!

Tip: Herringbone La Jolla fills up fast, so make reservations online well in advance.

The Shores Restaurant

8110 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla, CA 92037

Show Dad how much you love him with an oceanfront brunch buffet. You’ll find a range of yummy options during this special Father’s Day Brunch – everything from Cinnamon Raisin Brioche French Toast to Slow Roasted Prime Rib of Beef. Enjoy plenty of tasty sides, a complete children’s station, and more. Brunch will be offered on Sunday June 17th from 10am to 2pm, and admission is $64 per adult.

How will you be celebrating Father’s Day? Looking for more food options? Check out our ultimate guide to La Jolla restaurants here.

Sugar & Scribe: Chef Maeve Dishes on What’s Next for La Jolla’s Favorite Bakery

Since its revamp and reopening in 2015, Sugar & Scribe has quickly become a La Jolla favorite: delicious baked goods, sandwiches the way your mom used to make them, and sweet treats, all infused with a touch of old-world Irish magic. Chef Maeve is a veritable force in the restaurant industry, and takes pride in having built her business from the ground up.

Chef Maeve

It was a sunny day when we stepped into Sugar & Scribe for lunch; the doors were wide open, and we were greeted with Chef Maeve’s characteristically contagious grin as she came from the kitchen. While we waited for some new menu samples, the restaurant was buzzing with activity, and we got the chance to chat with Maeve about this year’s exciting updates; her inspiration for the new menu; and where she sees the bakery in five years.

To this day, Chef Maeve creates everything on the menu completely from scratch, and takes much of her inspiration from her homeland in Ireland. Ingredients are locally-sourced when they can be, and the entire team at the restaurant (including Maeve’s husband, Andrew) have full input when it comes to crafting the next menu.

New Menu: Fresh Favorites & Classic Comfort Food

The La Jolla restaurant’s brand new menu has made its debut, and we are loving it. This particular menu iteration took a lot of teamwork and multiple test batches; it kept the staples of her old menu, but she felt ready to experiment and mix things up a little. Maeve’s goal here was to take food items that already exist, and do something totally different with them. She was inspired, in part, by one of her chefs – Chef Bernard – and the way he utilizes everyday items in unusual ways. She worked tirelessly with her entire team to fully flesh out the menu, and it shows.

For Maeve, the best part about cooking is  being able to “serve emotions;” to create food that people don’t just simply taste. We had the opportunity to sample some of Maeve’s favorite items, including:

The Loaded King Sandwich: An open-face sandwich packed with BBQ beef, Fontina cheese, grilled onions, and an egg cooked any way you like. The BBQ beef is cooked “low and slow,” in Maeve’s words: “the only way to go!” The meat takes six hours to slow-cook, and its flavors are a scrumptious combination of the best parts of both Kansas City and Texas barbecue.

sugar & scribe la jolla

Farmers Salad: Fresh, packed with fresh veggies, and decidedly not just another lunchtime salad! Tons of greens, radishes, sliced chicken, corn, goat cheese, avocado, and tomatoes are all topped with a tangy-sweet poblano honey dressing. The salad is a quirky blend of Maeve’s Irish heritage, with a little bit of a Baja twist; it’s still one of her favorite things on the menu.

Nutella Nuts French Toast: This was a serious treat. Cinnamon Brioche toast is topped with strawberry compote, Nutella, strawberries, vanilla bean whipped cream, and toasted almonds. It’s fluffy, light, and totally decadent – just the way French Toast should be!

Seasonal Mimosas: These are must-haves if you’re here for brunch. We tried the lemon lavender and the tangerine, which were delicious – crafted with house-made lemonade and fresh-squeezed juice, both flavors of the new mimosas are light, fresh, and just tangy enough. The best part? They’re bottomless!

Don’t worry; all the favorites and classics from their old menu are still available! The restaurant/bakery has an even larger selection of sandwiches, salads, house specialties (like Rochford Shepherd’s Pie and the Full Irish Breakfast), and baked goods, coffee, tea, and specialty drinks.

What’s Next for Chef Maeve and Sugar & Scribe

This has already proven to be an exciting year for Chef Maeve and the team at Sugar & Scribe La Jolla. Along with the new menu, they’ve revamped their outside patio and added waiter service. They’ve also seriously upped their coffee game, and are now brewing espresso and drip coffee from Dark Horse Roasters and nitro and cold brew from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters down the road. Pro-tip: their new Charcoal Latte with Micro-Fuchsia is a must-try!

The restaurant, this year alone, won not one but four Village News Readers’ Choice Awards: Best Desserts, Best Pastry, Best Pet-Friendly Restaurant, and Best Breakfast.

And that isn’t all! Maeve plans to launch her own cookware/bakeware line of Chef Maeve-branded products in HomeGoods stores and on Amazon.com in a few months. And toward the end of 2018, she’ll be collaborating with Chef’d (a meal kit service that delivers fully-prepared meals to your door) to develop tradition-based recipes for at-home cooks; another nod to her Irish heritage and influence. The meals will be seasonal and packed with fresh ingredients, and simple but full of flavor. Those who opt in will be able to pick and choose just one meal at a time, which will make it a great option for impromptu dinner parties!

Chef Maeve’s passion and enthusiasm for what she does is tangible, contagious, and altogether inspiring. A desire to support the local community and her deeply-rooted love of cooking has turned Sugar & Scribe into an iconic and beloved part of La Jolla; and with so many restaurants becoming less and less community-oriented, stepping into the warm, friendly atmosphere of Sugar & Scribe is truly a breath of fresh air.

Sugar & Scribe is located at 7660 Fay Avenue. They’re open Monday-Saturday from 7am-3:30pm, and Sunday from 7am-2:3-pm.

Herringbone La Jolla, San Diego, CA

Take After-Work Drinks to the Next Level at Herringbone’s Oyster Hour

With its charming ambience, tempting craft cocktails, and inventive takes on classic American fare, happy hour in La Jolla at Herringbone is not your average after-work bar. Executive Chef Brian Malarkey, a Top Chef finalist and founder of several successful restaurants (including Searsucker restaurant in San Diego), has created a space that’s both trendy and communal – so even though it’s stylish, it’s still got an inviting feeling that makes it perfect for a night out with friends. Not to mention Malarkey’s menu of savory dishes, which will totally change your concept of bar food.

Take your evening drinks to the next level and check out happy hour (or Oyster Hour, as they call it) at Herringbone first.

Rosé All Day

*Pro Tip: On Saturday, June 9th, Herringbone will be celebrating National Rosé Day with endless rosé and an epic brunch! Find out more here.

Romantic Coastal Lounge

Herringbone is well known by locals for its lofty, modern-rustic atmosphere. With its high ceilings, wooden beams, and exposed brick give it a “repurposed vintage” vibe. The location is actually a renovated 1930s warehouse; it was transformed from a practically abandoned building, to a chic space. Throughout this romantic coastal lounge, 100-year-old olive trees and strung fairy lights bring the outside in and add a touch of whimsy.

The restaurant has two areas: the sky-lit dining room in the back, and a more casual area in the front where happy hour takes place. With plenty of seating both inside and out (where you can enjoy some of the year-round lovely weather in San Diego) it’s great for a social dining outing. It’s spacious enough to fit everyone in your party while still feeling cozy. There are tables for bigger groups, while the plush chairs and window-side sofa are great for more intimate conversation. The wood-burning fireplace will keep you warm, too, if you can snag a seat nearby during the chilly nights. The outdoor patio is pet friendly, so feel free to bring along your furry friend.

Chic But Chill

Downtown La Jolla is perfect for when you’re feeling festive, but want something more laid back than a trip to the Downtown San Diego area or Pacific Beach.

While Herringbone is an upscale place, it’s low-key enough to still enjoy Happy Hour on the casual side. It’s definitely on the fancier side compared to an Irish Pub like Hennessey’s Tavern, but not quite as formal as the Marine Room – so no need to worry about a dress code. This makes it perfect for drinks before a date, a fun work get-together, or ladies night out to catch up with friends.

Live Music

Did we mention the music? Every Thursday and Friday from 5:00-7:00 pm, you can enjoy free live music from local artists as you sip your cocktails and taste delicious small plates. If you’re stopping by during the weekend, they have a set at 12:00-2:00 pm and again from 4:00-6:00 pm.

A tip for beer lovers: On Saturdays from 12:00-4:00 pm, the restaurant also hosts “Acoustics and Ales,” where they feature draft beers from a visiting brewery along with chill acoustic tunes.

Well Pours, Poured Well

A good happy hour starts with one thing: a good drink. Luckily, Herringbone has you more than covered there. Its happy hour menu has got some of the best cocktails in La Jolla, with a variety of both original recipes and classics. They’ve got well drinks down (and for only $5), but if you want something different, you’ve got to try one of their specialty cocktails.

happy hour la jolla

Snake In The Grass [pictured left]

This is for anyone looking to step up their usual Gin and Tonic. Cucumber gin, lime, mint, and soda come together in this refreshing mix.

Jaleberry [pictured right]

Sweet, spice, and everything nice. The kick of the strawberry jalapeño tequila is balanced out with a little bit of lime and agave.

happy hour la jolla

La Jolla Aviation

This luscious combination of gin, maraschino, creme yvette, and lemon will have you soaring.

Ocean Breeze

Probably the fruitiest cocktail option, this drink is a delicious concoction of Effen black cherry vodka, pineapple, cranberry, and lemon.

Housemade Infusions

The bar at Herringbone offers its own house-made infused liquors, which are made by soaking fruits or spices in spirits to create a unique flavor from natural ingredients. The happy hour menu includes two of their most popular, the cucumber gin and the strawberry jalapeño tequila.

The Usuals

Not into the hard stuff? They carry local craft beer like St. Archer, as well as other popular names like Anchor. The wine list also covers pretty much all of your bases, whether you want a light chardonnay or an earthy Pinot Noir (hint: visit on “Tannin Tuesdays” for half-off all bottles of wine during lunch and dinner, or on Saturdays for endless $25 rosé wine).

Fish Meats Field

When Malarkey opened Herringbone La Jolla in 2012, he envisioned a fine dining experience of “Fish Meats Field:” coastal cuisine made with the best seafood that markets have to offer, as well as the freshest farm produce of the season. His approach to contemporary American cuisine brings in the best of both worlds, reflected in the carefully curated happy hour menu that’s the perfect balance of surf and turf.

Seafood Offerings

Even though it’s a favorite around town for evening drinks, Herringbone is known first and foremost for having some of the best seafood in La Jolla. Only two of the options of happy hour selection come from the usual coastal menu, but they’re seriously delicious, and and seriously good deals.

Oyster Hour

Of course one of the of the most popular features of Herringbone’s happy hour menu is the Oyster Hour. Order their famous shucked oysters on the half shell for just a $1 each. It’s a great deal, and they’re always incredibly fresh. The variety depends on the chef’s selection of what’s best on the market that day.

happy hour la jolla

Curried Mussels

This one is more of a full plate, which makes it optimal for sharing. If you usually shy away from mussels because of a “fishy” taste, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the subtle flavor here. Served with indian-inspired yellow curry, there’s a bite from the Calabrian chilies that’s balanced by the coolness of a little mint. Plus, on the side is helping of warm naan bread.

Arancini Risotto Balls

Filled with the creamy goodness of a three-cheese risotto cooked to perfection, these crispy delights are petite but very satisfying. They’re served with an herb aioli on the side for dipping.

Before You Go

Oyster Hour is from 4:00-6:00 pm Tuesdays through Sundays, and from 4:00 pm until close on Mondays. Since it’s a pretty casual event, Herringbone doesn’t take reservations for this time. However, you should be fine on any weekday – things usually pick up after 6:00 pm, or a little earlier on Saturdays.

Herringbone is located on 7837 Herschel Ave. There’s a private free lot for parking, and valet on Fridays and Saturdays. There are also some paid lots or free street parking on Herschel and Silverado (the two-hour spots are only monitored until 6:00 pm in La Jolla, so if you arrive at 4:00 or later try to find one of those).

Best Spots for Mother’s Day Brunch in La Jolla

Treat your mother to an incredible meal for Mother’s Day brunch in La Jolla by taking her out to these fancy spots! Delicious food paired with spectacular ocean views will definitely make it a day to remember. From unlimited buffets to specialty prix-fixe and à la carte menus, there’s definitely something for everyone on the list. Shower the mom in your life with love on Sunday, May 13th! Please note that a reservation is required for most of the restaurants on this list, unless otherwise noted.

NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar

When: Sunday May 13th, 7:30am – 2:30pm
Where: 910 Prospect St
Cost: å la carte
Treat Mom to a Mother’s Day she’ll never forget with our special å la carte brunch menu prepared by renowned Chef Jason Knibb. Also featured will be their acclaimed Pastry Bar, as well as bottomless mimosas for just $16 per person. This is a lovely spot within the Grande Colonial Hotel, and has a cozy and historic feel. The menu this year will feature items such as Brioche French Toast, gnocchi bolognese, chilaquiles, Salmon Benedict, Grilled Spanish Octopus, a Burrata board, and more. Top it off with a selection of specialty coffee drinks and pastries. Call (858) 964-5400 or make a reservation online.

The Marine Room

When: Sunday May 13th, 11am – 7pm
Address: 2000 Spindrift Drive
Cost: å la carte
The Marine Room boasts one of the best (if not the best) views in La Jolla. Situated right on the water, every seat in the house has incredible ocean vistas; the sound of waves crashing against the windows can be heard anywhere you sit! This year’s å la carte menu features items in their signature contemporary French/seafood style: Rooibos Tea Spiced Wild Prawns, Bacon Brioche Crusted Alaskan Halibut, Peri Peri Butter Basted Lobster Tail, and of course, their Signature Maine Lobster Bisque. Top it off with one of their incredible desserts: the Island Plantation Pie, Blackmaker Root Beer Crème Brûlée, or Lavender Lemon Cake. For reservations please call (855) 203-8511 or make an online reservation.

George’s At The Cove (California Modern)

When: Sunday May 13th, 10am-2pm for brunch
Address: 1250 Prospect St
Cost: three-course menu
Voted La Jolla’s best restaurant, George’s at the Cove is the perfect place to treat your mom to a special brunch. Mother’s Day is one of only two occasions throughout the year that they actually serve brunch, and this they are featuring a special 3-course menu. Enjoy dishes like Lobster Quiche with peas and green garlic; Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon and Meyer lemon hollandaise; Baja Shrimp Omelette with rajas and jack cheese; and desserts featuring Toasted Oat Ice Cream with caramelized white chocolate cremeux, coffee-milk foam and caramel.

Because it’s so popular, make sure to get a reservation ASAP. Call (858) 455-1616 or book a reservation online.

The Shores Restaurant

When: Sunday May 13th, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Address: 8110 Camino Del Oro
Cost: $64 per adult, $38 children 10 to 6 years, $5 per year children 5 and under (buffet style)
This ocean-view feast in the heart of La Jolla Shores shopping and dining district is a brunch to be remembered! Featured buffet items this year are Nutella Banana French Toast, Vanilla Bean Ricotta Blintz, Maple Mustard Glazed Bone-In Ham, and Buchmann’s Ranch Cage Free Egg Station. There is a special Children’s Station for the little ones, which will feature kid-friendly dishes and sides. Finish off with a scrumptious dessert, like their Butterscotch Banana Cream Pie or S’mores Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce. Call (858) 456-0600 or make a reservation here.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

When: Sunday May 13th, 10am-2pm
Address: 1270 Prospect Street
Cost: $49 adults (three-course menu)
This year Eddie V’s is pulling out all the stops for Mother’s Day! The 2018 brunch menu includes a three-course meal where you have a few different options for each course (however, with each meal you receive a basket of warm cinnamon rolls topped with a citrus glaze!). Dishes this year include Norwegian Smoked Salmon, Deviled Egg Trio, Lobster Quiche Florentine, Alaskan King Crab Omelet with three-citrus Hollandaise sauce, and plenty more. Brunch cocktails are $9, and there will also be a children’s menu available. Call (858) 459-5500 or make reservations online.

The Med at La Valencia Hotel

When: Sunday May 13th, 10am – 2:30pm
Address: 1132 Prospect St
Cost: $89 per adult, $39 per child
Celebrate Mother’s Day at the “Pink Lady” and enjoy a Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet! This year’s menu will feature many La V favorites, as well as a few specialty items their culinary team has created in honor of every mom. Reservations include bottomless mimosas and sparkling wine. Enjoy a chef-attended crepe station along with items like Churro French Toast, 24-hour Braised Short Rib Benedict, a full Raw Bar, and assorted tea sandwiches for the lighter palate. Desserts feature a “Garnish Your Own Donut” wall and more! Online reservations are required.

Estancia La Jolla

When: Sunday May 13th, 11am-3pm
Address: 9700 N. Torrey Pines Road
Cost: $80 per adult; $35 for children 5-12
Mother’s Day is an all day celebration at Estancia La Jolla! This year’s brunch will feature a decadent chocolate fountain, a donut wall, a selfie booth for commemorative photo taking, and a complimentary sparkling glass of wine. Children will be entertained with special activities such as face-painting, an arts and crafts table to create the perfect card for mom, and lawn games for the whole family to enjoy. Guests can also celebrate later in the afternoon, enjoying live music and cocktails on the patio at Mustangs & Burros (3-6pm) or in the evening with a special Sunday dinner (3pm-11pm). Reservations are required.

Where To Have An Incredible Easter Brunch In La Jolla

la jolla brunch

Delicious food and quality time with loved ones is what Easter is all about – and Easter Brunch La Jolla comes with that, plus incredible ocean views! Celebrate Easter weekend at one of these world-class La Jolla restaurants. Some are offering a buffet this year, while others will be featuring a prix-fixe menu. Please note that a reservation is required for most of the restaurants on this list, unless otherwise noted.

Nine-Ten La Jolla

When: Sunday, April 1st; 7:30am to 2:30pm
Address: 910 Prospect St La Jolla, CA 92037
Cost: a la carte pricing
Nine-Ten’s Easter celebration is a world-class event! Chef Jason Knibb and Pastry Chef Jose Alonzo, III, will prepare a special Easter Sunday a la carte menu featuring everything from Salmon Rillette Toast and Brioche French Toast to a Salmon Benedict and Short Rib Hash. Also featured is their acclaimed Pastry Bar, and bottomless mimosas for just $16 per person. Reservations strongly recommended. Call 858.964.5400 or reserve online here.

marine room la jolla

The Marine Room

When: Sunday, April 1st; 10:00am to 4:00pm
Address: 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, California 92037
Cost: $78 for adults, $48 for children
Enjoy a fabulous brunch with one of the best views in La Jolla! The Marine Room is perched on the water and offers up incredible French/American cuisine. This year their Easter buffet will feature a seasonal menu that includes Mary’s Farm Chicken Forestiere, Spindrift Seafood Crêpes, Pomelo Kalbi Glazed Black Cod and more. For reservations please call (855) 203-8511 or make a reservation online.

la jolla shores

La Jolla Shores Restaurant

When: Sunday, April 1st; 9:30am to 2:30pm
Address: 8110 Camino Del Oro, San Diego, CA 92037
Cost: $64 per adult; $32 for children 6 to 10 years, and $4 per year for children 5 and under
Enjoy Chef Percy’s brunch on the beach and you’ll find something to satisfy every taste with a buffet that features favorites like Cinnamon Brioche French Toast and Thyme Roaster Coastal Sea Bass, along with Buchmann’s Ranch Cage Free Egg and Cheese Ravioli Station, Chef Percy’s Jambalaya, and more. Call (858) 456-0600 or make a reservation online.

the med la jolla

The MED Restaurant

When: Sunday, April 1st; 10:00am to 2:30pm
Address: 1132 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Cost: $89 per adult, $39 per child
Enjoy a delicious brunch for Easter at THE MED (at La Valencia Hotel), and dine on a buffet of incredible items including a chef-attended omelette station and their signature Baja Chilaquiles. The kids will enjoy a special appearance from the Easter bunny and an exciting Easter egg hunt outside in the garden. Easter egg hunt times are 11am, 12:30pm, and 2pm. Make reservations online or give them a call at (855) 818-6887.

herringbone la jolla

Herringbone La Jolla

When: Sunday, April 1st 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Address: 7837 Herschel Ave La Jolla, California
Cost: $40 per person for a 3-course prix-fixe brunch; $12 for children.
Herringbone La Jolla is treating guests to a prix fixe three-course Easter Sunday feast! Brunch offerings include Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Raspberry French Toast, a Farmer’s Market Scramble, and more. Children’s menu is available. Call (858) 459-0221 or make a reservation here.

the lot la jolla

The LOT La Jolla

When: Sunday, April 1st; 10:00am to 12:00 pm
Address: 7611 Fay Ave La Jolla, California
Cost: $50 per person; $25 for children.
Join The LOT La Jolla for their annual Easter Brunch celebration, where guests will get to enjoy an amazing buffet and a wide selection from their daily menu. Bring the kids too; Mr. Bunny will make an appearance, and there will crafts and activities for the children right before a traditional egg hunt. It’s a good idea to make reservations online ahead of time.