Looking to try something new and cool? You’re in luck. The North County food/beer scene is showing no signs of slowing, and we have several new restaurant openings – and one tap room–to report. Behold the tasty goodness below.
1. Stella Public House
Just opened in the Block C area near Cal State, San Marcos, and Urge Gastropub, Stella Public House made its way to California by way of Texas. Stella’s original locations in San Antonio and Austin proved its wood-fired pizza and craft beer concept, and now us San Diegans get to enjoy it too. As for the rest of the menu, think shared plates, salads, and comfort food. You’ll also find a nice beer list with at least 20 rotating craft options and a nice wine selection. Hang out in the open concept dining area and grab yourself some lunch or dinner. Stella also serves a weekend brunch.
2. Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen
Landon’s is a casual farm-to-table restaurant with fresh, seasonal fare located in San Marcos. Want somewhere to take the family but worry about keeping your kids entertained while you just get one bite in peace, for land’s sake? Landon is all about family-friendly dining and offers on-site childcare. The play area lets kids get their ya-yas out, but also encourages reading, arts and crafts and other group activities. Video games, iPads and movies can also be made available for a little screen time if you’re desperate.
As for food, Landon’s serves brunch, lunch, and dinner with a focus on healthy fare like salads, stuffed avocados, tartines and more. Of course, there are ample kids specials, and they’ve got a nice beer and wine menu, too.
Located directly across from Stella and opening to a shared outdoor plaza with plenty of seating and hubbub, Halcyon is a sister location to Stella offering a modern coffeehouse vibe by day and a cocktail lounge mood by night. Open for morning coffee, lunch, dinner, and late night cocktails, Halcyon serves shared plates and comfort food. Hang in the free WiFi lounge, do a little work, and meet your people after you’ve closed the laptop for cocktails. You don’t even have to leave! Is that good or bad? Decide after you dip your toe into Halcyon for its daily happy hour from 4-6:30 PM where you’ll get $4 select drafts and cans, $5 house wines, and $2 off small plates.
4. Open House
Opened by the Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizza and The Craftsman American Tavern folks, and located just blocks from Moonlight Beach, Open House boasts four individual culinary concepts under one roof. The 7,000-square-foot restaurant concept is anchored by Asian Kitchen, serving Filipino, Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes, and the only late-night spot for ramen in Encinitas.
Signature menu items Shaking Beef with grilled onions, watercress, jasmine rice and Szechuan peppercorn sauce, and Bay Area Garlic Noodles with garlic butter, Chinese chives, and garlic chips. Top it off with the famous Blue Ribbon Butterscotch Pudding with sea-salted caramel, because you’re not dead inside, are you? If you’re in a bar mood, you’ll find two of them on both sides of Open House’s entryway. There’s the Driftwood with its interpretations on classic cocktails and upscale bar fare, and Saltwater, featuring a raw bar and serving over 100 varieties of tequila. Then there’s The Crafty Egg, a casual breakfast and lunch concept, cooking up brunch 7 days a week. The Crafty Egg also serves $5 mimosas and has an extensive Bloody Mary menu as all great brunch spots do.
5. Jalisco’s Cantina
This new O’Side cantina serves 100% made-from-scratch Mexican-inspired cuisine, craft cocktails, and the largest selection of specialty tequila in the area. Early reports mention that the birria tacos, avocado flautas, pineapple jalapeño margaritas and spicy mango cocktails are must orders. You can also request tequila flights for the tasting. Want to hear something else cool? Chile pecan ice cream in a cinnamon tortilla. That ought to get you through the front door.
6. The Goods
This artisan doughnut bakery on Carlsbad’s State Street specializes in gourmet (and regularly sold out) flavors including brown butter, stuffed Nutella and s’mores. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 AM until the doughnuts are all gone, The Goods is locally owned and operated by the couple who own Cafe Topes downtown. If you plan to go, join the line of locals waiting for their favorite flavors and cup of tasty coffee for the dunking.
If you want your sweet fix but the gluten gets you, know The Goods offers gluten-free creations on Tuesdays and Thursdays and some vegan options Wednesdays and Saturdays.
7. Taste of the Himalayas
New to Carlsbad Village, Taste of the Himalayas is a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with other well-known locations in La Jolla, Hillcrest, and Point Loma. Try the momos (dumplings) and the lamb appetizer. Taste also offers nice lunch specials and vegan and gluten-free menu options
8. Draft Republic
You may know Draft Republic from its UTC location, and if you’ve enjoyed this Cohn Restaurant Group’s outpost there, you’ll be thrilled to learn a new Draft just opened in Carlsbad. The gastropub expanded to coastal Carlsbad in mid-October and now NoCo residents can enjoy Draft’s 101 craft beers on tap, more than 50 TVs, ping pong, pool and video games. All of it spreads across 12,000 square feet of open space featuring communal seating, wraparound booths, and outdoor picnic tables; plus a private dining room with its own pool table perfect for larger groups. Food-wise, diners can order Draft’s house-made sausages, and gastropub fare like Buffalo Buttermilk Chicken Lollipops, Beer Brined Chicken Breast, Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops, Bahn Mi “Ramen” Burger, and a variety of flatbreads.
9. The Brewers Tap Room
As the name suggests, Brewers pours 25 rotating taps representing San Diego’s nano-breweries. Specifically, they curate from the small, independent breweries that you typically will not find anywhere but their own tasting rooms. This casual, neighborhood tasting room is located at the corner of El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard, close to food options, which is important to note because Brewers doesn’t serve food. Who cares though, when you’re downing unique beer selections you don’t taste every day in an open tasting room with a welcoming spirit.
Tuesdays tend to be tap takeover night, giving beer aficionados the opportunity to sip some hidden gems from brewers throughout the county.
As the brewers behind the tap room will tell you, they don’t brew beer, they honor the brewers that do. And that’s a pretty cool concept.
Have you tried any of these spots yet?