The award-winning menu features popular American Grill cuisine at affordable prices, with specialty beers brewed on the premises from the private recipes of Master Brewer Karl Strauss. The resort setting of this location promotes a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere for both business and pleasure dining at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Favorite Dish: Start off with the Chicken Lettuce Wraps (it's diced boneless chicken, water chestnuts and celery stir fried in a delicious spicy red chili sauce served with lettuce cups and cucumber relish to wrap your own). For dinner, try the Argentinean Top Sirloin which is U.S.D.A. choice top sirloin flame grilled to perfection and served with basmati rice, black beans, fresh tortillas and chimichurri sauce. To wash it down, try the Apricot Amber Lager which has a smooth, rich lager with a hint of apricot essence.
Whether you choose pizza, pasta, salad, a meat or chicken entree, you can't go wrong at Spirito's. Pleasant decor but not fancy, Spirito's is a favorite with local families (casual attire is fine and there's a children's menu).
Favorite Dish: Pizza and the antipasta
The first Islands was started in West LA in 1982. It has since grown to 27 restaurants in Southern California. This upscale, casual dining chain offers gourmet hamburgers, soft tacos, and fresh salads in a funky tropical/surfer atmosphere. Islands serves generous portions at reasonable prices. Their specialties are the hamburgers, which are named after popular surf terms such as 'Big Wave', 'Pipeline', 'Makaha', and 'Sunset'. They also have excellant french fries (2 lbs of fresh cut taters with the skins on). The soft tacos, chicken sandwiches, and salads are also very tasty. There is also a special menus for 'Gremmies' (the surfer term for kids) that is priced around $4.00. They also offer a full service bar, with great vacation drinks such as Mai Tai's, Pina Colada's, and other umbrella favorites.
Favorite Dish: Try the Hawaiian Burger which comes with Islands special teriyaki sauce, fresh lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion, Swiss cheese and mayonnaise. Also order a basket of their famous Island Fries (Two pounds of seasoned fresh cut fries with skins on).
The following are picks of my favorite Carlsbad restaurants. For a complete list of restaurants, pick up the Dining Guide from the Carlsbad Convention and Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 1246, Carlsbad, CA 92018 or call 1-760-434-6093
Spirito's----Italian restaurant in Carlsbad Village Faire that has great pizza, salads, and classic Italian entrees.
Don's Country Kitchen---classic coffee shop/greasy spoon breakfasts, downtown.
Vinaka Coffee House--also in Carlsbad Village Faire. They have the usual coffees/teas/desserts, and good ice cream, too. Families are more comfortable there than other coffee houses in town.
The Farmer's Market on Wednesday afternoons from 2-5 pm.
---NORTH (PLAZA CAMINO REAL MALL)---
Olive Garden (Italian), 1884 Marron Rd., 434-1016
Souplantation (salads, pastas, and soups), 1860 Marron Rd., 434-9100
Tony Romas (steak and ribs), 1814 Marron Rd., 720-0700
---CARLSBAD VILLAGE (DOWNTOWN)---
Armenian Cafe, 3126 Carlsbad Blvd., 720-2233 Traditional european restaruant, outdoor dining near beach.
Fidel's Norte, 3003 Carlsbad Blvd., 729-0903. Mexican.
Fish House Veracruz, 417 Carlsbad Village Dr., 434-6777 Lots of fresh fish.
Claim Jumper, 5958 Ave. Encinas 431-1085. Hearty American food, ample portions (take some home).
In-N-Out, 5950 Ave. Encinas. Good hamburgers in a retro setting.
Karl Strauss Carlsbad, 5801 Armada Dr., 431-2739. A microbrewery with hearty, excellent food.
Marie Calendars, 5980 Ave. Encinas, 438-3929. American.
Pea Soup Andersen's, Holiday Inn, 890 Palomar Airport Rd., 931-1400. Soups and breads.
Palomar Runway Cafe (American--right on the runway and sometimes crowded), 2162 Palomar Airport Rd., 431-9150
Tip Top Meats, 6118 Paseo Del Norte, 438-2620. Landmark German market and restaurant. Very European feel, but not for vegetarians!
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