There are many fun experiences in Oceanside, a lively coastal city in California known for palm-fringed Harbor Beach, Oceanside Harbor and iconic long Oceanside Pier.
It is also known for incredible variety and quality of its restaurants. If you are looking for a spot for a romantic dinner, nothing beats sunset views from large terraces, colorful cocktails and delicious food. One thing most of better Oceanside restaurants have in common is abundance of fresh catch and seasonal produce from local farms. Whether you are going for a catch of the day or juicy steak, let the sommelier suggest a wine to pair it with.
1. Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill
© Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill
Located in Oceanside Harbor Village, Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill is a family-owned and operated restaurant open in summer 2010. Located near the old lighthouse and overlooking the boats in the Oceanside Harbor, it is the most romantic spot in town. The kitchen specializes in fresh surf and turf, but the menu offered by the renowned chef Luis Lopez Sr. is extensive and has something for everyone - burgers, tacos, steaks, salads and oysters. The restaurant has a nice selection of wines and beers. Small indoor dining room is modern and bright, with marble top tables and kitchen open to the guests. The main dining space is on the large deck overlooking the harbor. The views of the sunset are spectacular. There is a seafood market attached to the restaurant where all the seafood on the menu comes from.
Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill, 262 Harbor Dr South 201, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-433-1900
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2. 333 Pacific - Steaks & Seafood, Oceanside, CA
© 333 Pacific - Steaks & Seafood
333 Pacific is an elegant, upscale seafood Oceanside restaurant on the oceanfront with the magnificent views of the iconic Oceanside Pier. The high ceilings, comfortable furniture, cozy private booths and spectacular bar make this place very popular, whether you are trying to impress your clients or treating the love of your life with a romantic evening. The menu is innovative and diverse, featuring superb grilled steaks, lobster, crabs and much more. Seafood is fresh off the ocean- their raw bar includes oysters on the half shell, sushi and ceviche. The restaurant’s wine selection includes 200 wines from all over the world. The 333 Pacific Vodka lounge offers incredible list of 100 vodkas and just about anything else. The bar is hopping during happy hour.
333 Pacific - Steaks & Seafood, 333 N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-433-3333
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3. Hunter Steakhouse
Hunter Steakhouse is a classic American steakhouse, rustic, dark, with gleaming wood and cracking fire in the fireplace. A bit old-fashioned, but cozy and romantic. They have 40 years of experience and the chef spent it perfecting his hand-cut steaks, prime rib and surf 'n turf until they are so good they are considered the best in the San Diego area. It is great place for a romantic dinner – they have great selection of wines to choose from, mostly from California. There is a salad bar and classic American side dishes to go with your juicy meats. The Hunter is also very popular for brunch and they will bring the party to your house with their mobile Santa Maria BBQ.
Hunter Steakhouse, 1221 Vista Way, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-433-2633
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4. Oceanside Broiler
© Oceanside Broiler
Located in Oceanside Harbor Village, Oceanside Broiler is bright and pleasant seafood restaurant with great views of the harbor from almost any table. Enjoy big and small boats, sparkling blue water and occasional sea lion while you are sipping your cocktail and waiting for food. You can sit in the comfortable spacious dining room or enjoy fresh air on the large terrace. The menu has something for everyone - fresh sustainable seafood, great sushi, prime steaks, fresh pastas, delicious house-made pastries and plenty of beer on tap. Their Ahi Nachos is fantastic and it includes yellow fin tuna, wasabi sriracha aioli and crispy wonton chips. Char grilled oysters are a must try. They are grilled with herb butter and parmesan.
1325 Harbor Dr, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-722-3474
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5. Ocean Thai Cuisine
© Ocean Thai Cuisine
Located in El Camino North, Ocean Thai Cuisine is a relaxed Thai restaurant in Oceanside with simple, understated decor with a few beautiful decorative Thai pieces on the walls. The menu is enormous and has everything a Westerner would expect in a Thai restaurant. Traditional Thai soups, salads and curries are delicious and as spicy as the guests require. They serve classic Thai tea, beer and a nice wine selection. By far the most popular dish is House Fried Rice with shrimp, pork, chicken, beef, crabmeat, egg, peas, carrots, tomato and onion. Lunch is served with vegetable egg roll and soup of the day or fresh salad.
2455 Vista Way F, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-722-9779
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6. PAON Restaurant & Wine Bar
© PAON Restaurant & Wine Bar
PAON is very elegant high end French Restaurant in Carlsbad Village, with opulent Old Hollywood vibe and gorgeous outdoor garden seating. The 6,500-square-foot Art Deco-style dining room includes a 22-seat wine bar and a wine shop just around the corner. The menu offers expected French delicacies such as foie gras, caviar and escargot, but also Angus burgers, short ribs, Angus Flat Iron Steak, Pan Roasted Pheasant, Provencal Herb Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb and Black Pepper Roasted New Zealand Venison.
In spite of stained glass peacock window and marble statues, the place is unpretentious, bright and airy, with woven place mats instead of starchy white tablecloths. Attached 1,000-square-foot wine tasting room offers 35 to 40 wines by the glass and the selection changes daily. PAON is great place for special occasions such as a romantic date or an anniversary, but be prepared to pay for it.
PAON Restaurant & Wine Bar, 2975 Roosevelt St, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-729-7377
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7. Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub
© Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub
Cozy, eclectic and funky, Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub has décor that is curious mix of Oriental parlor, British club and Parisian bistro.
It is a sushi and seafood restaurant serving sushi and other ‘things’ you have never seen before. All ingredients are carefully chosen, local and seasonal and put together in an imaginative and unique way. Chef Davin Waite makes truly unorthodox nigiri and sashimi. “Things” on the menu include Crispy Caulifower with honey serano fish sauce. House rolls include The Wet Brain with shiitake mushrooms stuffed with crab, spicy tuna and avocado and deep fried. “Social lubricants’ include local and craft beer, sake of course and nice selection of wines.
1815 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-271-0531, (website link)
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Venetos is cozy and romantic, pleasant traditional Italian eatery in Oceanside where people keep coming back for their delicious Linguine Pescatore, Osso Bucco, and Fettuccine Steak Toscana. Unpretentious décor creates a relaxed atmosphere where the food is what brings folks back. One of best sellers is Linguini Pescatore with a rich mix of fish, jumbo shrimp, calamari, mussels and baby clams. Their pizzas are fantastic and there is a nice selection. The Venetos have fairly large wine selection from both New and Old World. There is live local music every Friday and Saturday and wine (and beer) tasting every Tuesday night. There is nice outdoor seating for dining al fresco.
608 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-722-1228
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9. Vigilucci's Cucina Italiana
© Vigilucci's Cucina Italiana
Located in the heart of downtown Carlsbad, Vigilucci's Cucina Italiana is a popular Italian eatery famous for its excellent traditional Italian menu and extensive wine list. The dining room is very elegant and very Old World, with spectacular light fixtures and original art on the walls. White tablecloths give it a touch of formality, making Cucina Italiana a great place for a romantic night out. There is also a large, pleasant outdoor space. The menu covers all the Italian favorites, with pastas and Panini being lunch favorites and the pappardelle with field mushrooms and diver scallops in white-truffle-and-brandy cream sauce everyone’s dinner favorite. There is a full bar and the place is very popular during happy hour.
2943 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-434-2500, (website link)
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10. Harney Sushi
© Harney Sushi
Harney Sushi is a modern, sleek Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in Oceanside. Spectacular colorful art pieces behind the sushi bar dominate the scene. The dining room is spacious and airy and creative sushi made from freshest possible ingredients make Harney very popular among locals and tourists alike. Sunday Sushi Brunch is a hit. If you would like to start with something else before hitting the extensive list of sushi and sashimi, try Monkey Brains - mushroom stuffed with spicy tuna and mayo and served with faux-nagi dipping sauces. Harney is committed to using sustainable seafood only. They also have a large vegetarian menu.
301 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92054, Phone: 760-967-1820
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11. 264 Fresco
© 264 Fresco
Located in Carlsbad Village, 264 Fresco is a visual delight, from pots and pans sculpture at the entrance and massive slabs of wood for tables and bright green banquettes to soft lighting and magnificent outdoor space with fire pits overlooking the ocean. The menu is modern Italian at its best, focused on wood-fired pizzas and a variety of original interpretations of traditional Italian favorites. You might want to try the Gamberoni alla Nostromo with sautéed jumbo shrimp, white wine, garlic, lemon and risotto. Everything is made from fresh, seasonal local ingredients. The menu has a large selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. A full bar offers interesting cocktails. 264 Fresco is great place for a romantic dinner by a fire pit, but also for small celebrations and family dinners.
264 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-720-3737
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12. Cicciotti’s Trattoria Italiana & Seafood
© Cicciotti’s Trattoria Italiana & Seafood
Trattoria Italiana is a rustic-chic Italian eatery in the heart of Carlsbad Village, occupying a beautifully renovated former garage. The décor is minimal, with lot of recycled woods, warm and inviting. You can sit inside in the bright dining room or outside on the cozy dog-friendly sidewalk patio perfect for people-watching. The menu is modern Italian, with great pizzas, pastas, meat and seafood. If you are a meat lover, you will really enjoy Misto de carne alla braces, with Italian sausage, fillet mignon and port tenderloin with balsamic reduction sauce. All pastas and pizzas are available gluten-free. Trattoria has extensive wine list, with something for every budget. It is a nice spot for a romantic dinner.
Cicciotti’s Trattoria Italiana & Seafood, 595 Grand Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-994-0553
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13. Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar
© Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar
Located inside the luxury Sheraton Carlsbad Resort, Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar is an eclectic restaurant with the panoramic views of the ocean from the terrace. 20|Twenty offers California coastal ambiance with modern elegant dining room and spectacular outdoor terrace, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu focuses on fresh catch and farm-fresh ingredients sourced from within 40 miles. It is taking advantage of the bounty that Carlsbad has to offer, from the juicy citrus and ripe heirloom tomatoes, to creamy avocados and the freshest Baja catch. Elevated Southern California cuisine is paired with a choice selection from more than 100 bottles of wine from all over the world. Happy Hour is a popular local event, with worldly cocktails, carefully selected wines, international craft beers and cocktails that rotated seasonally.
5480 Grand Pacific Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-827-2500
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14. Vigilucci's Seafood and Steakhouse
© Vigilucci's Seafood and Steakhouse
Breezy and elegant, Vigilucci's Seafood and Steakhouse is beautifully decorated bright restaurant with magnificent outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean. There is nothing as romantic as enjoying breathtaking sunset over the ocean while waiting for a chefs to prepare one of the exquisite dishes from the extensive menu. The menu focuses on certified prime steaks and the freshest seafood with a traditional Italian flair. Hand-cut Nebraska Prime steaks and pork chops are served with fresh seasonal vegetables and choice of baked potato, fettuccine Alfredo, French fries or spaghetti aglio e olio with chili flakes. All of their seafood and fish are brought fresh daily from the best local and international sources. To go with superb food is an award-winning wine list.
3878 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-434-2580
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