Savory Casual Fare serves delectable lunch and dinner menus in a modern and relaxed bistro. Give up lackluster napkin sandwiches with a selection of eclectic lunch offerings, such as a cilantro shrimp salad served with candied jalapeños and homemade vinaigrette ($15.75) or a spanish ham, grilled pear, and melted brie sandwich served on ciabatta bread ($14.50). Dinner selections (served Tuesday–Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) offer a West Coast spin on European traditions, similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting method. Launch supper expeditions with a shareable plate of black forest ham-laced mac ‘n’ cheese ($8 small, $15.75 large) or baked escargot with red wine and shallot in a puff-pastry cap ($11.25). The harissa braised lamb chop entree pairs up for salivary undertakings with polenta cake and roasted poblano pepper ($27.50), while the buttermilk fried chicken breast rubs shoulders with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy ($21.25). Herbivores and vegans are accommodated with custom-made dinner selections and four-course meals ($18–$39).
Beach Grass Café presents patrons with creative menus of California cuisine and a laid-back environment where reggae, Latin, and big-band tunes greet your eardrums with appetizing beats. For breakfast, give your mouth a wake-up gift of huevos rancheros––tortillas festooned with black beans, feta cheese, eggs, and homemade salsa ($9.50). Try the blue burger ($9.95), a lunch favorite that splices Kobe beef and blue cheese in the name of culinary science or give your adventurous inner dinner champion a chance to conquer the 12 oz. New York steak ($19.95). Smoothies, cocktails, margaritas, microbeers, and boutique wines are all available from the drinks menu and can be enjoyed near the front of the restaurant, where warm lighting and an oak bar make a classy meeting spot for your crime-fighter fighting union.
Adding a globe-spanning spin on traditional Mexican presentation, Bull Taco turns cultural preconceptions sideways with a delectable selection of remixed street tacos, bulging burritos, and tasty tortas. Pavement pounders beat a path to locations in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Oceanside, where the taco pendulum swings from traditional carne asada, chicken, and carnitas ($1.75 each) toward gourmet upgrades including duck confit ($2.50), abalone ($10), and foie gras ($10). Muzzle riotous stomach roosters with a sunrise selection from Bull Taco's all-day breakfast menu, with carnitas, bacon, and chorizo snugly snoozing through meaty dreams in the machaca burrito's ($7) tortilla sleeping bag.
A lifelong surfer from Southern California, Ryan Black—joined by his brother, Jeremy, and his friend Ed—ventured to Brazil in 1999 in search of perfect waves. During their explorations of the vibrant country, however, the ocean fell second to a new obsession: deliciously good-for-you açaí berries. They immediately knew that it was their calling to introduce the organic superfood to their native California culture.
With a clearly defined philosophy of caring for people inside and out, they launched a line of açaí products and eventually opened their first Sambazon café—there are now two locales—earning props in fitness and health magazines including Men's Fitness and InStyle. At both cafés, staff members serve 16-ounce smoothies blended with the star berries in addition to supergreens, fresh fruit, and chocolate. The signature açaí bowl features a blend of frozen açaí purée with banana and a sprinkling of granola.
Both of the restaurants were designed and decorated by eVocal, a group of local artists who specialize in eco design. They kept things environmentally friendly by using reclaimed materials for furniture and fixtures, recycled planks of century-old acacia wood for counters, and energy-saving bulbs to slowly toast oats toppings.
After graduating from high school, Reza Karkouti dreamed of opening his own teriyaki restaurant. He garnered support from family and friends, and he and his father, Ahad, opened a tiny eatery called Tokyo's Teriyaki in Encinitas in 1992. Through hard work and an attention to detail, the restaurant's reputation grew, and the demand for juicy, teriyaki-glazed chicken and beef quickly spread to other cities. This led Reza’s younger brother, Amir, to help open a second location. Now a seven-location, family-owned chain, Surf Brothers Teriyaki still sees its two siblings focusing on customer service and quality products.
The duo chooses natural meats that are minimally processed, hand trimmed, and grilled, avoiding shortcuts such as microwaves, frozen foods, and laser-based slicing. Their Hawaiian-themed restaurants and catering business have been featured in numerous television spots, radio shows, and newspaper articles. Michelle Murphy Zive of SanDiegoFamily.com says the restaurant offers "a taste of Hawaii" and "healthy food served fast." The brothers give back to the community that helped them grow by donating to charitable organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Homes project.
In her time abroad, Tomiko touched down in Taiwan, Turkey, and Korea, savoring the cuisines of each region and even delving into eats native to the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Thirteen years ago, she used her encyclopedic knowledge of world cuisine to found Tomiko Restaurant & Bar, an eatery that sits on a hilltop overlooking purple and pink ocean sunsets. The menu brings together diverse dishes that Tomiko sampled on her travels, from sushi netted via sustainable practices to Asian beef wraps tucked around Korean-style barbecue beef. Chefs add healthy touches to their signature dishes, including hormone-free meats, gluten-free rice, and soy sauce lighter than an astronaut's toothbrush. In the lounge area, exposed wooden beams come to a point overhead as diners sit at a horseshoe-shaped bar, topped with glasses of chilled sake, wine, and microbrew beers. DJ-spun beats prompt dancing or rhythmic sneezing every second Tuesday and last Thursday of the month.