Dominic's fresh, authentic Italian cuisine, served at lunch and dinner, pairs with a countryside wall mural, vines creeping down grotto-like archways, and red-and-white-checkered table cloths for a charming dining experience. For lunch, diners can partake in traditional plates, such as cheese ravioli ($8.75) and Ma's breaded chicken breast ($9.95), share a 12-inch pepperoni pizza pie ($9.95), or two-hand a classic muffaletta piled with ham, salami, cheese, and garnish galore ($8.99 for a whole sandwich). Dinner dishes support hefty helpings of lasagna ($12.95), chicken parmigiana ($14.95), and veal piccata sautéed in lemon-butter sauce ($19.95), like a tightrope supports a tightrope walker carrying a refrigerator, and can be paired with wine, such as a glass of Santa Cristina sangiovese ($5).
Joe's Glass Shack provides patrons with all the tools, materials, and guidance needed to craft novel pieces of glass artwork in an educational, constructive atmosphere. During the individually paced session, glass-whisperer Joseph Perez guides pupils through all the steps necessary to fashion a fused-glass vase or bowl, which are ideal for holding flowers or for use as a Cyclops's colored contact lens. Surrounded by the art studio's '50s-themed decor, students can unleash their creative talents onto the supplies included in the workshop or choose to pay extra for an upgraded arsenal of materials and tools. Workshops are typically scheduled Tuesday–Saturday, and customers should call ahead to schedule a time based on Joseph's availability and daily horoscope.
Though he didn't work in the restaurant industry, the very first time Rick Covert set foot in The Sand Crab Tavern—established in 1988—he knew that one day it would be his. Some 22 years later, he finally bought it, and though he's made a couple of changes, Rick has maintained the restaurant’s defining traits. A primary change was the addition of Rick's Black Pearl, a twice-weekly spread of raw oysters on the half-shell. What he hasn't changed, though, have been some of the faces customers have gotten to know before he took the helm: cook Lucy has been boiling crawfish at the tavern for more than 15 years, and server Kim has been doting on guests in the lantern-lit space for more than 19 years.
Perhaps almost as important as The Sand Crab’s food and faces are its surrounds. Dangling in the net that’s suspended from the ceiling, like delicious constellations hover starfish, shells, and realistic crabs. And, mimicking the barnacle-coated sides of a whale, the walls are encrusted with sepia-toned photos, nautical memorabilia, and navy patches. Wooden booths host enough dunking of Maine lobsters and king crabs into melted butter to be considered basketball courts. The Sand Crab Tavern hosts live blues music during Sunday brunch, but that's not the only time musicians visit. They're a common sight and sound in the warmly lit dining room, where guests can fill their ears while grabbing frosty bottles of beer sourced from local microbreweries.
On a sunny day, salty sea breezes tumble over the sands of Solana beach and through the open windows of Woody's Solana Beach eatery. Chefs complement the ocean-enriched air with fresh catches of the day prepared to diners' specifications and their classic seafood paella with chorizo sausage and saffron rice. The restaurant hosts brunch every Sunday, which, in addition to hot breakfast eats, features such drink specials as bottomless champagne, for which diners can enjoy while watching Sunday NFL games on Woody's eight high-definition TVs. Corrugated metal emulates the texture of water, covering the walls between exposed metal beams and wood paneling. The hammered-tin silhouette of a whale frolics amid the faux waves, creating a playful metallic seascape.
Oceanside eatery with steaks, seafood, and a bounty of gluten-free options.
Where to Sit: To make the most of this beachside experience, try snagging a table next to the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Pacific.
When to Go: Head in between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. for happy hour. Jake's specials extend beyond the typical drinks and appetizers into the realm of fresh seafood at persuasive prices.
While You're in the Neighborhood
For date night: Just next door, Powerhouse Park (1658 Coast Boulevard at 17th Street) sports an outdoor theater and palm-tree-studded lawns ideal for a romantic stroll.
For flying solo: About 3 miles away, the Del Mar racetrack (2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard) hosts summer-long thoroughbred-racing events, inviting guests to place bets on which steed will win the race and which jockey will be named Best Dressed.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: For a taste of Jake's at home, whip up the restaurant's breakfast potatoes using this recipe.