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Celebrated Coastal Cuisine

Celebrated Coastal Cuisine
Published

333 Pacific

Before embracing the challenge of bringing an eatery worthy of special occasion status to Imperial Beach or creating a gourmet establishment on the top floor of an Escondido luxury auto dealership, the Cohn Restaurant Group took a chance on then-fine-food-sparse Oceanside. The city has since become a fast-growing “it” spot for adventurous foodies. Even with the influx of trendier, more mysterious dining options, this early adopter remains among Oside’s elite restaurants behind a sterling California coastal menu coupled with a 110-label vodka lounge, great service, and a panoramic view of the ocean that shares its name. (760.433.3333, www.cohnrestaurants.com/333pacific)

Celebrated Coastal Cuisine
Pan Roasted Salmon with fingerling potatoes, Mediterranean relish, basil oil from 333 Pacific

Pacific Coast Grill

Few places offer the quintessential San Diego experience as well as this two-story beachfront restaurant serving a culturally diverse assemblage of dishes ranging from equally archetypal SD (house-made guacamole, lobster tacos) to Asian-inspired specialties that are high on both flavor and creativity. Prime examples include sous-vide sea bass over roasted corn-poblano risotto, plum- and ginger-glazed short ribs, and smoked tomato sauce-dressed pasta with lobster, shrimp, scallop, and mahi-mahi. Just in for a bite? House sushi rolls (try the surf-and-turf stuffed with Kobe beef, spicy lobster and soft-shell crab) or bivalves covered in a blanket of artichoke-studded cheese won’t disappoint. (760.479.0721, www.pacificcoastgrill.com)

Celebrated Coastal Cuisine
Macadamia Crusted Alaksan Halibut: Okinawan potatoes, carrots, papaya-mango slaw, ginger pesto from Pacific Coast Grill

Pamplemousse Grille

Solana Beach restaurants see a massive influx of diners come the summer care of the San Diego County Fair and subsequent seasonal running of the ponies, but it takes cuisine of the utmost quality to keep locals hungry year-round. This has never been a problem for chef Jeffrey Strauss, whose inspired continental fare has served as a honing beacon for foodies since before San Diego had a foodie culture — 19 years to be exact. Even after all that time, Strauss continues to wow with dishes like kimchee lobster and scallop ceviche, porcini-dusted John Dory, and creative mixed grills like a trio of game, spelling a smart and successful evolution. (858.792.9090, www.pgrille.com)

Celebrated Coastal Cuisine
Mixed Grill of Game: Telecherry crusted venison, lemon thyme marinated quail, smoked Muscovy breast of duck from Pamplemousse Grille

Casa del Q’ero

Soulful Peruvian food is elevated to top-tier cuisine courtesy of chef Monica Szepesy, whose passion for food comes from years spent touring South America via her father’s involvement in the Peace Corps. Along the way, she learned to love and do justice to some of Peru’s finest ingredients and classic dishes. Case in point — earthy baked empanadas, lomo saltado (steak in red chile sauce) or fish served in warm, golden-hued seafood broth. Wash any down with chicha morada, a rarely seen beverage made with purple corn, pineapple, cinnamon and clove. A more authentic Peruvian experience would be hard to find, especially in tandem with such amazing, worldly flavors. (760.944.4200, www.casadelqero.com)

Celebrated Coastal Cuisine
Pernil de Chancho: pork shank confit, sauteed mushrooms, aji amarillo sauce from Casa Del Q’ero

Vigilucci’s Trattoria Italiano

Of the numerous links in this family of coastally situated fine Italian eateries, Roberto Vigilucci’s lauded Leucadia restaurant edges out its siblings behind perfectly prepared, house-made pasta dishes ranging from the luxurious lobster ravioli in shiitake-cognac sauce to refined takes on rustica staples like tagliatelle dressed in a meaty Bolognese. Those looking to satiate a hunger for carnivorous fare will find a wealth of options ranging from a 20-ounce, red wine-braised veal shank to beef tenderloin with black garlic port sauce or, the sore thumb of the boot nation-focused menu — a half-rack of barbecue sauce smothered baby-back ribs. That’s one finger-licking good sore thumb! (760.634.6753, www.vigiluccis.com)

Celebrated Coastal Cuisine
Ossobuco alla Milanese: 20 oz. pounded and breaded milk-fed veal chop, pan seared and served with arugula and fresh chopped tomatoes from Vigilucci’s

West Steak & Seafood

Tucked away doesn’t adequately describe this literally hidden gem in a less-traversed section of Carlsbad. Aptly located just “west” off I-5’s Cannon Road exit, this fine dining restaurant offers a menu exploding with flavors derived in great part from extremely fresh, seasonal produce. The key to that farm-to-tableism is the fact the eatery owns both the table and the farm. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more are brought in daily and used to trigger executive chef David Abella’s whimsy and creativity. The result is menu items like a roast beet salad with sherry-truffle vinaigrette and jumbo scallops with sweet corn and truffle sauce that exhibit vibrancy exceeding that of similar but less tasty versions available across the county. (760.930.9100, www.weststeakandseafood.com)

Celebrated Coastal Cuisine
Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops: potato cake, sweet corn, black truffle sauce from West Steakhouse

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