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Top places to eat in North County San Diego

Yelp’s Top 50 Places to Eat is a list unlike any other “best of” out there. Sure, you’ll see your obvious local favorites on the list, but it’s also chock full of hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path joints like Peachy’s Market & Grill tucked away in Encinitas serving authentic Mediterranean dishes inside an international market. From a Michelin star restaurant to a small tamales kitchen using family recipes — find them all in Yelp’s Top 50 Places to Eat in North County San Diego.

Did your favorite restaurant make it into the top 50? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram. Remember, we only know how good a spot is if you take the time to review it. So share your thoughts on Yelp, and maybe your favorites will be on next year’s list! 

Topping this year’s best places to eat list is Sunny Side Kitchen, a local favorite in Escondido since 2015. Sunny Side Kitchen wouldn’t have happened if owner Kate C. hadn’t been craving a complete career change after being laid off from her PR job in 2011. She started by selling cookies at local breweries and farmers’ markets before opening the restaurant where they now continue to serve those beloved cookies in addition to panini, soups, salads, and lemonades.

Pro tip: You’re going to want to make a note of these spots, so we made it easy for you. For great businesses at your fingertips, get the Top 50 to-go. Follow this collection on Yelp.

1. Sunny Side Kitchen (Escondido)

Sunny Side Kitchen, Escondido

Cuisine:  Breakfast & Brunch, Coffee & Tea, Sandwiches

What they’re known for: Breakfast sandwiches like the “Wake Up Escondido” that stacks small-batch hot sauce, house-roasted hand-shredded chicken, baked egg, three types of cheese, and other local ingredients. Women-owned business.

Yelpers say: “Soups, salads, coffee, and of course, paninis, served up with expertise at this hole-in-the-wall-ish cafe. Yours truly is a big fan of sandwiches and Sunny Side doesn’t disappoint. Their paninis are sizable, grilled to perfection, and come loaded with the freshest ingredients your undeserving mouth could ask for. I’m a big fan of the pesto chicken and avocado bacon paninis but I highly doubt there’s a bad choice to be made here.” – Yelp Elite Jason L

2. Come On Over Cafe (Oceanside)

Photo by Johnny S on Yelp

Cuisine:  Coffee & Tea, Sandwiches

What they’re known for: Breakfast and lunch staples including signature coffee drinks, sandwiches, bagels, and more. They have a beautiful, pet-friendly patio. Women-owned business.

Yelpers say: “I read in previous reviews that this place is a hidden gem and I absolutely agree. It occupies a small space that’s connected to some kind of car repair shop, but what they’ve done with the space is fantastic. It gives you all the cute coffee shop vibes and there is lots of seating that invites you to sit and stay a while.” – Yelp Elite Katie M

3. Everest Himalayan Cuisine (Encinitas)

Photo by Michael B on Yelp

Cuisine:  Himalayan, Nepalese, Tibetan, Indian

What they’re known for: Halal and vegan-friendly options. 98% gluten-free menu. Family-owned and operated. Black-owned business. Women-owned business.

Yelpers say: “Absolutely delicious! We ordered takeout tonight and knew this would be a new favorite as soon as we smelled the amazing spices and curry. Everything was so good, spicy and full of flavor. If you like Indian food, please, do yourself a favor and try Everest Himalayan Cuisine! We ordered the vegetable samosas -they were absolutely delicious. Main courses were the chicken chilly, very flavorful, and chicken vindaloo, spicy and delicious. Side order of the garlic herb naan, melted in your mouth, and kheer (rice pudding) for dessert. Each main meal was enough for two servings, which we were so happy knowing we would be able to repeat the meal tomorrow!” – Yelp Elite Shane W

4. Greens Please Wellness Kitchen (San Diego)

Greens Please Wellness Kitchen, San Diego

Cuisine:  Juice Bars & Smoothies, Salads & Bowls, Wraps

What they’re known for: Gluten-free & vegan options made in-house with organic ingredients.

Yelpers say: “Wow! Can’t say enough good things about Greens Please! The Mediterranean bowl was my favorite. It’s filling and so healthy. I loved the dressing and the sprouts. My boyfriend got the wrap and it was delicious, even after it was delivered it wasn’t soggy. They also do cleanses and smoothies… We went back for breakfast sitting down – still so amazing! The loaded avocado toast was delicious and each piece has a different topping which is so brilliant! They were both delicious though and loved having both.” – Yelp Elite Sarah H

5. Yoshino Japanese Deli (Carlsbad)

Photo by Nette P on Yelp

Cuisine:  Japanese, Sushi Bars

What they’re known for: This small cash-only, family-owned shop is a favorite for fresh sushi and poke bowls. They are take-out only with a simple menu that’s perfect for a picnic at the beach a few blocks away.

Yelpers say: “Delicious poke bowls at a good price…Very nice menu with a variety of rolls and poke bowls. If you haven’t had a poke bowl before, this is the place to go. Very traditional and the closest to Hawaii you’ll get in San Diego. Very nice owner. This was our first time here and I noticed that the owner knew what his regular customers wanted when they approached the window. That’s awesome service.” – Yelp Elite Ryan S

6. Gonzo Ramen (Carlsbad)

7. 508 Tavern (Vista)

8. Mr. Bibi (Oceanside)

9. 101 Bagels & Subs (Oceanside)

10. Full Metal Burgers (Oceanside)

11. Tandoori Palace (Encinitas)

12. Bologna Gourmet (Carlsbad)

13. 2051 Cucina Italiana (Carlsbad)

14. The Plot (Oceanside)

15. EscoGelato (Escondido)

16. Tamales Jovita (Escondido)

17. Elena’s Cafe French Crepes (Oceanside)

18. PITA 22 (San Diego)

19. Brown Cup Cafe & Lounge (Oceanside)

20. Elmisa Cafe (San Diego)

21. PizzaManiac (Vista)

22. American Heroes & Brew (Carlsbad)

23. Tropical Juices & Deli (Vista)

24. Pho Saigon Express (Escondido)

25. Peachy’s Market & Grill (Encinitas)

26. Curry Craft (San Marcos)

27. Jeune Et Jolie (Carlsbad)

28. Flavor of Himalaya (San Marcos)

29. Papa Duke’s Deli & Grill (Poway)

30. Irina’s Bar and Grill (Oceanside)

31. Don’s Country Kitchen (Oceanside)

32. Agrusa’s Super Sandwiches (Escondido)

33. Corner Grill (Vista)

34. Sunshine Kitchen (Oceanside)

35. Baba Kabob (Poway)

36. Eat Your Heart Out II (Poway)

37. Pho Truc Xanh (Escondido)

38. Cocina Del Carmen (Vista)

39. Son Tra Sandwiches (Escondido)

40. O’side Sports Bar & Grill (Oceanside)

41. Market Restaurant + Bar (Del Mar)

42. Connie’s (Vista)

43. Alice’s Italian Gourmet (Encinitas)

44. Beach Break Cafe (Oceanside)

45. Sinaloa Mexican & Seafood (Oceanside)

46. The Rib Shack (Fallbrook)

47. Oi Asian Fusion (San Diego)

48. Eugenio Italian Ristorante (San Marcos)

49. Tina’s Deli (San Marcos)

50. Del Lusso (Carlsbad)

Hungry for more? Check out list for the Top 50 Places to Eat in San Diego!

Top 50 Places to Eat in North County San Diego Methodology: This is an all-time list of the Top Places to Eat in the North County San Diego area according to Yelp. We identified businesses in the restaurant category on Yelp, then ranked those spots using a number of factors, including the total volume and ratings of reviews. This list looked at businesses in and around the North County San Diego area. All businesses were marked open on Yelp as of May 11, 2022. When available, all businesses on this list have a passing health score as of May 11, 2022.