The North County coastal region of San Diego is the epitome of trendy. Nowhere is that more apparent than the upscale hamlet of Del Mar. This small village is so full of itself that it changed the name of its main roadway, relabeling the historic California Hwy 101 to Camino Del Mar for its 2 mile stretch through town.
So it goes without saying if you open a restaurant here, it had better be good, or it will be gone quicker than a plastic surgeon can make an incision. Following are four of my favorite restaurants that have stood the test of time by providing good food, better service and the all important late night dining.
Brigantine Seafood Restaurant: If you enter Del Mar from the North you will pass by the “Brig”. Perched a top of a bluff the back patio looks out over the famed Del Mar Race Track. During the racing season it can be difficult to get a table, but if you do its great for people watching. The food is excellent as well and is why the establishment stays busy year around. Besides their fresh seafood entrees, they also offer an oyster bar, their own “Brig Brew”, and the surprisingly affordable Taco Tuesday.
Jake’s Del Mar: As stated earlier, Del Mar expects excellence, and Jake’s does not disappoint. Probably the restaurant that is most associated with the city, Jake’s sits on the sand. Its upscale beach flair provides for an enchanted evening. However, I prefer lunch as the daytime allows for the diner to watch the surfers navigate the waves as they crash down on Powerhouse Beach. Like the Brigantine, Jake’s specialty is also seafood. However, they also serve one of the best steaks in town. It too is open later, but to me much is lost when the light goes out on the ocean.
En Fuego Cantina & Grill: Del Mar’s answer to Mexico dining is a resounding “Si”! Located along the main business area of the town, the restaurant’s décor is a rambling maze of levels and rooms. It is quite easy to believe you are south of the border as you are led to your table. The fajitas are my favorite, but their margaritas are the best in town. For late night food and fun the downstairs bar provides entertainment for tourist and locals alike.
Jimmy O’s: The perfect place to catch up the latest sports scores while enjoying some spicy chicken wings or the restaurant’s signature OFB Burger. With the beach just a block it way it could be easy to feel guilty watching your favorite team on the big screens. However, the happy hour prices and appetizers will quickly wipeout that concern. Jimmy O’s also provides DJ’s and Karaoke for late night happenings.