Flemings La Jolla Hosts Whiskey & Wine Dinner

On Friday, October 26th at 6:30pm, Flemings La Jolla will host an incredible Whiskey & Wine Dinner at their restaurant. The event will feature an incredible five-course meal prepared by Flemings exclusively for the event, paired with a series of barrel-aged wine and handcrafted whiskey cocktails – and we are giving away two tickets!

GIVEAWAY

We are giving away two tickets to this exclusive Whiskey & Wine Dinner! Tickets are valued at $100 per person. Entries must be submitted by October 24th, 2018. To enter, visit our Giveaway PageIf you win, you’ll receive an email with instructions and details on the event!

Here’s the menu breakdown for this delicious five-course dinner pairing.

flemings la jolla wine whiskey dinner

First Course

King Crab Salad: roasted corn, avocado, smoked chili lavash crackers
Beverage Pairing: Bourbon Smash (fresh lemon, house-made simple syrup, basil)

Second Course

Seared Ahi Tuna: roasted cauliflower, arugula, Castelvetrano olive vinaigrette
Beverage Pairing: Watermelon Rye (Jack Daniel’s rye, alpine vermouth, watermelon, mint)

Third Course

Maple-Bourbon Glazed Pork Belly: butternut squash, brussels sprouts hash, toasted hazelnuts.
Beverage Pairing: Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon served neat.

Fourth Course

Duo of Beef: Wagyu New York strip, Braised Short Ribs, shiitake mushroom risotto, cabernet demi glace sauce, pickled onions.
Beverage Pairing: 1000 Stories Gold Rush Red California, 2016

Fifth Course

Apple Bacon Butter Cake: warm butter cake, sautéed apples & bacon, vanilla ice cream
Served with: coffee & hot tea.

About Flemings Prime Steakhouse

Fleming’s La Jolla is located at 8970 University Center Lane, San Diego 92122. Flemings’ menu is filled with your fresh favorites and a local chef’s table that changes monthly with fresh produce and seasonal flavors. The bar manager here has curated a wide selection of locally selected wines, handcrafted cocktails, and distilled spirits for all palettes.

This fall’s Whiskey & Wine Dinner features several select, high quality whiskeys, including Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniels, and Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. The fourth course will be paired with a delicate barrel-aged wine: Gold Rush Red California (2016) by 1000 Stories Wine.

Where to Find the Best Mexican Food in San Diego

One of the best things about San Diego is its plethora of incredible authentic Mexican food – from quick and easy to sit-down fine dining, there is no shortage of it here! We’ve rounded up the very best Mexican food spots in San Diego, all the way from downtown to North County. Here’s where to go next time you’ve got that craving!

Puesto

Puesto put down its roots in La Jolla several years ago, and has been a beloved local favorite ever since. The cozy, open air restaurant has reached national acclaim for its Mexico City-style tacos complete with blue corn handmade tortillas, crispy melted cheese, and scratch salsas courtesy of Executive Chef/Partner Luisteen Gonzalez and Executive Creative Chef Katy Smith. Puesto has been awarded as the people’s choice for best taco at the notable Tacolandia competition for the past three years, and has been named a delicious taco destination by USA TODAY.

What to get: tacos! Come here for your next Taco Tuesday – their taco options range from traditional carnitas to zucchini with nopales (a type of cactus), in addition to snacks like chicharrónes and ceviche. The drinks menu is basically an homage to Mexico, and includes tequila and mezcal, plus beers and wines from Valle de Guadalupe.

El Indio

Opened in 1940, this landmark in Mission Hills is a casual, family-run Mexican restaurant that still manages to be cozy, delicious, and consistently good. Their menu includes an extensive lineup of classic authentic Mexican dishes, including enchiladas, tamales, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, chimichangas, beans and rice, and more.

What to get: some say El Indio invented the taquito, and although that might be up for debate, they are definitely the restaurant’s specialty. The crispy rolled tacos come in beef, chicken, or potato and can be topped with cheese, guacamole, or sour cream.

Las Cuatro Milpas

If you’re in the Barrio Logan area, this is definitely where to go for Mexican food. There’s always a long line outside this super no-frills, cash-only taqueria, so use that time to figure out what you want (don’t worry, the menu isn’t long).

What to get: the rolled tacos slathered in sour cream and cheese, along with the rice and beans with chorizo served with two flour tortillas. Everything is made right there in-house, and the spot has been a San Diego staple for decades.

Galaxy Taco

Located in the heart of downtown La Jolla Shores, this colorful, sunny restaurant is known for its non-traditional take on Mexican street food—you can add uni to your guacamole, and the Tres Leches cake is made of sweet potato. The spot serves a variety of classic and updated regional Mexican dishes, ranging from tostadas, to tlayudas, to grilled fish, alongside a stacked craft cocktail menu with plenty of agave spirits involved. The vibe is light enough for happy hour with friends, but still polished enough for date night, a work lunch, or a family meal.

What to get: any of the tacos or shared plates. Their fresh tortillas are definitely a must-try: they’re made in-house, using heirloom blue corn sourced from small-scale farms back in Oaxaca. With at least six taco options at any given time and an extensive roster of larger shared apps, you can’t go wrong with trying a combination of items.

The Taco Stand

What originally started in downtown La Jolla as a small, casual taco place has now expanded to three locations across San Diego County. The cozy spot, made to resemble a Mexican taco stand, is still cranking out Tijuana-style tacos in its original brick-and-mortar storefront in La Jolla.

What to get: favorites include the classic al pastor; the Sonora taco with steak, cheese, beans, guacamole, onions and cilantro in a flour tortilla and the grilled mahi mahi. Vegetarians can also try the nopal taco, with grilled cactus, cheese, cilantro sauce tomato and avocado—vegans can swap out the cheese for beans.

Tacos El Gordo

With its flagship location in Tijuana, Mexico, Tacos El Gordo delivers truly excellent authentic Mexican cuisine. The taco shop makes its own homemade corn tortillas, serves top-grade meat, and uses fresh ingredients in its house-made guacamole and salsas.

Located south of downtown in Chula Vista, Tacos El Gordo’s motto is that every customer is family. What to get: there is no wrong choice when it comes to the tacos, but popular ones include the tender and flavorful adobada (spiced pork), the succulent lengua (beef tongue) and the traditional tripa (beef tripe). The restaurant also serves Mexican soda. The best part? All tacos cost less than $2.50!

Super Cocina

Super Cocina seems like another unassuming storefront in City Heights, but what isn’t obvious on the surface becomes so once the food is sampled. The cooking here is more like what you’d find in a Mexican home than a traditional restaurant, with dishes like chicken in cilantro sauce or pork in a chile Colorado sauce often featured alongside red or green posole. Super Cocina also caters, which means you can bring its bright flavors to homes all over San Diego.

What to get: the Chicken Mole Poblano is a classic favorite. The chicken is simmered in a rich brown sauce made from poblano chiles and chocolate, and the flavor is like nothing else here in San Diego.

El Comal

El Comal is a cozy, homestyle Mexican joint in North Park that’s particularly loved for its thick, homemade corn tortillas, enchiladas, gorditas, red or green pozole, and variety of other regional Mexican dishes.

This place also has a long cocktail list, with many different kinds of margaritas, micheladas, and other Mexican drinks, as well as a happy hour special where beer costs just $3.
What to get: start with a cup of the Pozole, and finish off with an order of the enchiladas or gorditas. You can’t go wrong with any of the authentic classics!

La Puerta

If you’re looking for great, traditional Mexican food in the Gaslamp Quarter, this is the place to be! Street food-style tacos might be the meal du jour in San Diego, but this sleek place on Fourth Avenue also delivers heartier family recipes in quesadillas, sopas, and specialty burritos, like “The California” made with Arranchera Steak, French fries, and grilled onion.

La Puerta offers over 100 different tequilas and mezcals, as well as raicillas, sotols, and bacanoras with fresh lime. Just ask the bar staff for guidance – they’ll give you a great recommendation. This is an affordable, casual, and festive spot that’s great for groups or even a casual date night.  What to get: Street tacos and the guacamole, or the delicious California burrito. Pro-tip: come for Happy Hour, which runs 3pm-7pm on weekdays and features half off a bunch of different menu items.

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Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

San Diego is well known for having some incredible fish tacos (and some of the best in the entire state), seeing as they were invented just down the road in Ensenada (which is about an hour and a half south of the border).

What to get: There are many places to find great ones in San Diego, but local mini-chain Oscar’s churns out a perfect version of the classic fried fish in a corn tortilla with cabbage, chipotle mayo, crema and salsa bandera. Head to their Pacific Beach location, which is right next to the ocean, for maximum effect.

El Agave Tequileria

If you’re looking for mole and mezcal, this is your spot! Some of the best mole turns up at this high-end Old Town San Diego Mexican restaurant featuring excellent, authentic regional dishes made with fresh ingredients. Their drink list consists of more than 2,000 types of tequilas and various mezcals, and their customer service in an upscale-rustic setting seals the deal.

What to get: Any of their mole dishes. You’ll find seven different variations, including the traditional mole poblano, mole verde, and mole negro as well as veggie mole and Ahogado en Natas, which is chicken or pork smothered in guajillo and puya chili and a touch of nata (reduced milk) and served with agave style rice. Pair it with a specialty drink with tequila or a margarita and you’re set!

For more restaurant and dining ideas, head to our complete restaurant directory or check out our La Jolla Restaurant Guide!

San Diego Restaurant Week: La Jolla Edition

San Diego Restaurant Week happens twice a year (January and then again in September or October) and is one of the most exciting culinary events of the season. Participating San Diego County and La Jolla restaurants offer designated fixed-cost menus throughout the week, each being two or three courses – an appetizer (sometimes two), a main dish, and a dessert. Most restaurants participate in either lunch or dinner, though some are doing both this year, and some choose to do a prix-fixe menu instead. Here are some of our picks for San Diego Restaurant Week in La Jolla!

For Lunch

Puesto

Where: 1026 Wall Street, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $15 per person
Cuisine/What to Get: Mexican, seafood. Puesto is a chic, casual spot that’s known for their epic tacos and incredible margaritas! Taco options include Chicken al pastor, zucchini and cactus, Maine lobster, and plenty more. There is a great selection of shared plates, bowls, and appetizers, as well as a few traditional Mexican desserts.

Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen

Where: 7734 Girard Ave #C, La Jolla 92037.
Cost: $10 per person for two courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Thai, Asian, fusion. From traditional noodle dishes like Pad Thai to main courses like yellow curry, cashew nut chicken, and Thai stir fry, there is plenty to choose from on this extensive menu! As one of the only Thai restaurants in La Jolla, this is a great spot to grab a casual lunch during the week – and it won’t break the bank.

Brockton Villa

Where: 1235 Coast Blvd, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $15 per person for two courses; two courses with wine pairing $20
Cuisine/What to Get: American, California, contemporary. Housed in a beautiful historic cottage right on the coast (with great ocean views), Brockton Villa is a great place for a more casual lunch. Main dishes include Beer Braised Corned Beef Sandwich, a Grilled Atlantic Salmon BLT, and a Cove Club. For dessert, we suggest their ‘world famous’ Coast Toast, which is a rich French Toast topped with vanilla ice cream.

Olive and Basil

Where: 8008 Girard Ave No 220, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $15 per person for two courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Greek, Mediterranean, Persian, seafood. Enjoy incredible Mediterranean food just steps away from La Jolla Cove! Olive and Basil is a great lunch deal for SDRW. The Hummus Platter is the way to go for the appetizer; main dishes include items like a chicken skewer plate, Gyro plate, and their signature Olive and Basil Pasta. You can add baklava or Persian ice cream to your meal for an extra $6.

Galaxy Taco

Where: 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $20 for two courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Galaxy Taco is a chic casual spot for tacos down at La Jolla Shores, and a great lunch spot for during the week. Shareable appetizers include made-to-order guacamole, Mexican chicken and rice soup, and a Mexican Caesar Salad. For the main dish, diners can choose any two tacos from their selection of nine – including Baja fried fish, Barbacoa short rib, Quesa Carnitas, and grilled avocado; to name a few! It’s a kid-friendly spot (complete with a kids menu), so this is a great place for families.

For Dinner

Catania

Where: 7863 Girard Avenue #301, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $50 per person for three courses; entire menu is available
Cuisine/What to Get: Italian, contemporary. Catania is known for its authentic, handcrafted Italian dishes. We recommend starting with the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio or the Braised Beef Meatballs, both of which are hit appetizers. Main entrées on the Restaurant Week Menu include a variety of pizzas, pastas, and a few select fish (including Whole Branzino and Grilled Swordfish) and chicken dishes.

Mustangs & Burros

Where: 9700 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla 92037 (at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa)
Cost: $30 per person for three courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Delight in a delicious three-course dinner on Mustangs & Burros’ hacienda patio this SDRW. This casual La Jolla restaurant serves up Baja-inspired cuisine for lunch and dinner; creative dishes are both locally inspired and locally sourced by the in-house culinary team, who also take a personalized approach to an innovative spirits program. Special new Baja-inspired entrée options for Restaurant Week include grilled Mahi Mahi, Bavette steak with lobster-corn risotto, and pan-seared duck with cherry balsamic.

The Grill at Torrey Pines

Where: 11480 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $40 per person for three courses
Cuisine: American, California contemporary. Complete with a beautiful backdrop, the Grill at Torrey Pines sits atop the cliffs next to Torrey Pines State Reserve and the golf course, inside the Lodge at Torrey Pines. The spot is known for its fresh take on California cuisine and dedication to farm-to-table fare. For appetizers, we recommend the Ahi Tuna Carpaccio or the Green Goddess Salad. Entrée items include Wood-grilled Tri-Tip and a yummy Hot Smoked Salmon.

NINE-TEN Restaurant

Where: 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla (inside the Grande Colonial Hotel)
Cost: $50 per person for three courses; $75 per person with wine pairings
Cuisine/What to Get: American, California. NINE-TEN is an award-winning restaurant in the heart of the Village, known for its fresh, farm-to-table California contemporary cuisine. Appetizers include items like Short Rib Ravioli and Grilled Octopus, entrée dishes include Prime Beef Short Rib, Steelhead Salmon, and Anson Mills Far Verde + Roasted Vegetables.

Duke’s La Jolla

Where: 1216 Prospect Street, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $40 per person for three courses, your choice of entrée from a prix-fixe menu
Cuisine/What to Get: Hawaiian, Seafood, Contemporary. Duke’s has a wide ranging menu with plenty of options, including seafood, steaks, and more. We suggest starting with the classic Maui Onion Soup, followed by either the BBQ Baby Back Ribs or the Sautéed Macnut & Herb Crusted, which is a parmesan and panko-dusted fresh fish topped with tomato lemon caper butter, jasmine rice, and bok choy macadamia nut slaw.

The Marine Room

Where: 2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla 92037
Cost: $50 per person for three courses
Cuisine/What to Get: French, Seafood. The Marine Room is a world-class restaurant that sits right on the water and treats diners to incredible views of the crashing waves as they eat. You can’t go wrong with any dish on the menu here! Our favorite appetizer is the Lobster Bisque, while some of the delicious dinner menu available specially for Restaurant Week include Red Walnut Zaatar Coated Maine Diver Scallops and Sea Salt Crispy Skin Branzino. Signature entrées (regular menu items) are available for $15 more per person.

George’s at the Cove: Ocean Terrace

Where: 1250 Prospect St., La Jolla 92037
Cost: $30 per person for three courses
Cuisine/What to Get:American, contemporary, California. George’s at the Cove is famous for its sweeping ocean views and incredible patio dining. You just can’t beat the atmosphere for a night out with great food! Appetizer menu items for Restaurant Week include an assortment of small seafood plates (grilled octopus, fresh fish tacos, and Ahi tostadas), and this year’s dinner options on the Restaurant Week menu include Spaghetti with Clams, Sesame Crusted Tombo, Grilled Faroe Island Salmon, and Pork Tacos; to name a few!

For more information on all of the La Jolla restaurants participating in SDRW, including those in downtown San Diego and the rest of San Diego county, visit sandiegorestaurantweek.com!

 

 

Our Favorite San Diego Brunch Spots

Nothing says the weekend like a leisurely brunch with family or friends, especially in gorgeous San Diego! From classic egg omelettes and Bloody Marys to pastries and house-made sweet treats, these local restaurants are serving up all the best breakfast fare. Enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning at one of these essential San Diego brunch spots – and maybe a mimosa or two!

Farmer & the Seahorse

10996 Torreyana Rd.
San Diego, CA 92121
Farmer & The Seahorse offers al fresco brunch with amazing views and live music every Sunday morning/afternoon. It’s a popular spot for brunch near La Jolla, as it’s just a few minutes’ drive north. Menu favorites include multi-grain pancakes, chilaquiles, and a Moroccan scramble. Also: try one of their flavored mimosas, which come with unlimited bottle service for $20. Guests can choose from five juices to accompany each bottle of bubbly: triple rosemary berry, pineapple mango, traditional orange juice, grapefruit, and blood orange. Farmer & the Seahorse offers mimosa bottle service on Sundays from 10am-2pm.

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Madison

4622 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92116
Madison on Park is a local favorite for dinner and now, with their new brunch menu, is a great spot to dine on the weekends. New brunch items include brioche french toast, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, paleo bowl, white bean shakshuka with carnitas, banana strawberry Nutella waffle and classic favorites like the beet waffle, avocado toast and waffled churro sticks.

Madison’s bottomless Mimosas are available by the glass or pitcher, and include the Black Magic mimosas with activated charcoal, the Blue Dream mimosa with blue-green spirulina and the Purple Rain Mimosa with aloe vera juice and butterfly pea flower. Brunch hours are Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am to 2:30pm.

Herb & Wood

2210 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Little Italy favorite Herb & Wood launched a brand-new brunch menu this past April, which is served on weekends between 10am and 2:30pm. Though known for its excellent dinner options, the new brunch menu is definitely holding its own! Menu highlights include the dutch baby soufflé pancakes, a Jamón Ibérico Benedict, and scallop ceviche. Brunch cocktails and a special brunch dessert menu are also available.

 

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TRUST Restaurant

3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103
Since opening last spring, TRUST Restaurant has quickly become one of the city’s hottest gathering spots. Diners can people watch on the patio while digging into delicious brunch plates from executive chef Brad Wise and his team. Local favorites include the pancakes and fried chicken plate, spicy pork belly grilled cheese, and a seriously epic sticky bun – a show stopping cinnamon roll topped with cinnamon ice cream. Brunch is served on weekends from 9am to 2pm.

The Med

1132 Prospect St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
If you’re looking for a little glamour with your brunch, our very own La Valencia in La Jolla is the perfect spot! Executive Chef Alex Emery’s renowned weekend brunch includes dishes like house-cured salmon, a brunch board loaded with pastries, cheeses and seasonal berries, local spiny lobster Benedict, and grilled flat iron steak and eggs. There are fruit flavored mimosas as well, plus six decidedly different Bloody Marys – standouts include the Sriracha and soy sauce crafted Shanghai, to the namesake Lady V with its impressive crab claw and bacon garnish.

Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

Galaxy Taco

2259 Avenida de La Playa
La Jolla, CA 92037
Still one of our favorite taco spots in La Jolla, Galaxy Taco does not disappoint when it comes to Sunday brunch! Yummy menu items include a tasty pazole verde with pork, blue and white corn hominy, radish and avocado; and pork huarache (pulled pork flatbread) with fried eggs and roasted tomatillo salsa. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, try the fresh cream, banana, lemon zest, and Mexican chocolate dusted waffles while sipping on bottomless Mimosa and Micheladas.

Brunch at Galaxy Taco is served on Sundays from 10am to 3pm.

Oceana Coastal Kitchen

3999 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
Panoramic bay views and alfresco dining make Oceana’s Sunday Champagne brunch well worth the splurge! Located at the Catamaran Resort Hotel, you’ll be able to feast on sushi, nigiri, and sashimi selections from the cold bar, in addition to fresh fruit, pastries, salads, and antipasto. Larger plated options, like salmon and prime rib, can also be ordered, plus breakfast favorites such as the Waffle Romanoff, a Belgian style waffle topped with Grand Marnier, strawberries, whipped cream, and maple syrup. Brunch hours are Sundays from 10am to 2pm.

 

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Craft & Commerce

675 W Beech St
San Diego, CA 92101
For some serious next-level indulgence, head to the newly revamped Craft & Commerce in downtown San Diego. Brunch offerings from executive chef Ted Smith range from the goat cheese and orange marmalade topped grilled toast (dubbed ‘The Orange Rides the Goat Toast’) to an old-school hearty fried chicken and waffle plate. Other menu favorites include an over-the-top foie gras breakfast burrito filled with marinated skirt steak. Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 3pm.

Café 21

2736 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Lines for brunch are always out the door at this cozy Gaslamp Quarter restaurant (they have another location in North Park). Along with its popular mimosa and sangria flights, there are some new morning items worth the wait; with sweet and savory crêpes joining the menu’s cast-iron skillets, omelets, pancakes, and classic French toast with powdered sugar. Other brunch favorites include flavored pancakes like the tiramisu with espresso maple syrup, mascarpone cream, chocolate sauce and cocoa powder; shrimp corn cakes; and a fusion Eggs Benedict with cilantro cream sauce.

Bloody Marys are offered with a red, green or yellow heirloom tomato mix, while mimosa and sangria Flights are served on a tasting tree, with rotating weekly flavors. Brunch is served until 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Crown Room at Hotel Del Coronado

1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA
San Diego’s flagship fancy brunch is still running strong and remains a beloved favorite of locals and visitors, alike. Every Sunday, their Victorian Crown Room dining room fills up with food like King Crab legs, a gourmet Bloody Mary bar, sushi, egg dishes, french toast and much, much more. The regular brunch costs $93 per person for adults, $23 for children, but their Chef’s Table option has one seating at 10am and includes a garden tour, Champagne reception, specially plated courses and a reserve wine selection for $150.

 

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The Pearl Hotel

1410 Rosecrans St
San Diego, CA 92106
The Pearl Hotel’s new restaurant, Charles & Dinorah, is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Favorites include chilaquiles with two sunny eggs, black beans, farro and salsa verde; chicken fried steak with sausage gravy and hash browns; a Croque Madame with black forest ham, mornay, Irish cheddar and sunny side-up egg; and Nutella french toast with brioche and buckwheat pancakes with apple butter, both served with a house-infused cardamom maple syrup. Brunch hours are 10am to 3pm on Sundays.

Little Lion Café

1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA
Sunset Cliffs’ Little Lion Cafe is a brunch favorite for many locals in Ocean Beach and Point Loma — so much so that people forget they serve dinner, too! The granddaughters of the (now closed) Belgian Lion owners are serving up a rotating menu of superfood bowls, baked eggs in cream, savory lunch options, bruschettas, poached eggs and more in this cozy and super stylish restaurant. Another bonus: vegetarians, vegans and meat- eaters alike will all find something delicious to suit their needs. Don’t skip the vanilla latte and make sure you get there early on weekends to avoid crowds!

For other brunch and breakfast ideas, visit our favorite brunch spots in La Jolla or visit our restaurant directory!

Planning a Date Night in Encinitas

As a fun coastal beach town with a laid-back vibe, Encinitas, California is a great location to have a date night with your significant other! Because the gorgeous coastline stretches across this gorgeous San Diego neighborhood, 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.

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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, check out our 10 must-dos in Encinitas or browse surrounding neighborhoods such as Del Mar.

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 a date night in San Diego 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.

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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, major San Diego 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.

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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.