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Best Special Occasion Restaurants in North County San Diego

date night restaurants north county san diego

When you have a milestone event approaching and plan to celebrate with a dinner out, it takes a standout place to mark the occasion. Every detail matters – the atmosphere, service, and of course, the food. Fortunately, North County boasts some amazing restaurants that are perfect for celebrating graduations, anniversaries, engagements, milestone birthdays, and more. Looking to impress someone? The below restaurants have you covered there, too.

Pamplemousse Grille

Amazing French Continental cuisine, casual yet elegant dining room, an extensive wine list, exquisite service – those are just a few reasons Pamplemousse consistently tops fine dining lists and is perfect for special occasion splurges. (But don’t be ashamed to order the burger – it’s sublime.)

  • Address: 514 Via de La Valle, Solana Beach 92075
  • Website:

Argyle Steakhouse

One of Park Hyatt Aviara Resort’s fine dining destinations, Argyle’s prime meats, attentive service, lagoon views and patio dining have made it a favorite among locals for more than two decades. Sitting on the 18th hole of the Aviara Golf Club, the views add to the ambiance.


Also located at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Vivace is a AAA Four Diamond restaurant and winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. As you may have guessed, Vivace serves Italian cuisine that’s deemed outstanding by the most discerning of palates. The atmosphere is something special too – dine by the fireplace or out on the terrace if it’s warm.

A.R. Valentien

A Lodge Torrey Pines restaurant, A.R. Valentien serves farm-to-table cuisine and boasts inspiring ocean, pool and golf course views. Eat in the dining room featuring Craftsman-influenced architecture, wood- framed windows, beamed ceilings and stained glass lanterns or take in the sunset from the intimate patio. Named for an early-1900s ceramics, watercolors, and oils artist, the restaurant spotlights many of A.R. Valentien’s masterpieces in its design.


Located in the charming Carlsbad Village, Paon is known for French cuisine with California influences. Its Art Deco vibe, lounge and club setting make the restaurant and wine bar popular with anyone looking to impress dates, clients, or family . Enjoy cocktails in the aforementioned lounge and order prime meats, game, or fish for a luxe finish to a great evening. Paon is also a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner for 2016, so you know you’re in good wine-list hands.


This Five-Star/Five Diamond restaurant sits inside the exclusive Grand Del Mar. Expect contemporary French cuisine, arched windows and golf course views. Consistently ranked one of San Diego’s best restaurants, Addison never disappoints. If you’re still up for celebrating after dinner, visit the Grand Del Mar’s Club M for dancing.

Mille Fleurs

We love this elegant, intimate dining spot in Rancho Santa Fe, which is perfect for special occasions and celebrations. Its French-Californian cuisine, highly regarded wine list, piano bar, and intimate dining atmosphere are truly swoon-worthy.

san diego date night restaurants

Ponsaty’s Fine Dining + Lounge

Another Rancho Santa Fe favorite located in the Village, Ponsaty’s serves French-inspired cuisine in a beautifully appointed dining room complete with chandeliers and leather upholstered booths. Ponsaty’s executive chef Patrick Ponsaty was the former chef de cuisine at the former El Bizcocho in Rancho Bernardo and is one of only two French Master Chefs in San Diego (the other is the Marine Room’s Bernard Guillas). 

  • Address: 6106 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe 92067
  • Website:

Market Restaurant + Bar

An upscale restaurant close to the San Diego Polo Fields, Market serves creative California cuisine and highly touted craft cocktails. James Beard-nominated chef Carl Schroeder can be counted on to delight diners with his seasonal selections like Spice Roasted Golden Spotted Bass and Basil Gnocchi made with hand-selected ingredients sourced from local farms and suppliers.

Vintana Wine + Dine

Vintana is a penthouse-level restaurant located above an Escondido Lexus dealership. If that sounds different, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Vintana’s elegant dining room full of floor to ceiling windows and the cool crowd. Part of the Cohn Restaurant group. Vintana’s California cuisine menu offers plenty of delicious choices for every taste. For a more relaxed setting while still enjoying the Vintana atmosphere, take a seat outside and dine around the cabanas and fire pits.


AVANT’s farm-to-table California cuisine is inspired by wine-country dining and is arguably considered one of the best kept secrets in San Diego. Enjoy eating in the open dining room with views of the golf course, and stroll through the Rancho Bernardo Inn’s – where AVANT is located – lush grounds after dinner.


Looking for quiet and romantic? Request a corner booth. But first, start with a cocktail in the Rancho Valencia’s Pony Room before moving on to Veladora for your meal. Serving locally sourced “Coastal Ranch” cuisine, Veladora’s hacienda dining and valley views make it an exceptionally stunning destination for special celebrations.

Your Turn…

Where do you like to celebrate special occasions?

Photo Credit 1 & 2

Debbie Anderson: Debbie is a freelance writer and editor who’s been blogging at San Diego Momma since 2007. Debbie's been featured in Writer's Digest, the San Diego Reader, and San Diego Magazine, and was named Top 25 blog by Red Tricycle, nominated for an InfluenceSD "Best in Lifestyle" blog award, and appeared on NBC, Fox, and The CW Network as a blogger spokesperson. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or at Google+.