Encinitas Local Food: Top 5 Foods to Try While on Vacation

Encinitas, California – located in northern San Diego County – offers beautiful coastal weather, nearly constant sunshine, and average year-round temperatures of 70 degrees. Among the many things to do in Encinitas, visitors enjoy chomping down on local food available at area restaurants. In fact, food is one of the reasons that travelers return year after year. The city is heavily influenced by Mexican culture and Spanish-American history, but French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Filipino and Vietnamese flavors are also served here. If you’re planning a trip, read about the Encinitas local food scene and what to eat.

Encinitas Local Food: Top 5 Items to Try on Vacation

Carne asada fries

Carne asada fries are a local specialty found in the taqueria restaurants in Encinitas. This dish contains finely chopped carne asada, shoestring fries, guacamole and sour cream topped with Cotija cheese, a cow’s milk cheese that originated in Mexico. In some restaurants, it is served with refried or black beans. Find carne asada fries at Juanitas Taco Shop and The Taco Stand.

Fish tacos

Fish tacos rank as another area favorite. San Diego’s location on the Pacific Ocean makes affordable seafood easy to order and try. One popular type of fish taco features deep-fried sea bass served on a hard or soft taco shell, and topped with pico de gallo sauce and chipotle chili cream. Order fish tacos from Oscars Mexican Seafood and Encinitas Fish Shop, two top-rated restaurants.

Ahi tuna

Many restaurants also serve sesame crusted ahi tuna. This popular fish in coastal regions — also known as yellowfin tuna — gets its name from the similar bigeye tuna. In Encinitas, ahi tuna is blackened, crusted with sesame seeds, and seared rare. It’s typically served with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, wasabi and a soy glaze sauce. Try it at Le Papagayo and Vigilucci’s Trattoria Italiana.

Fried calamari

Calamari is one of those affordable luxuries that’s done right in Encinitas. Area restaurants typically use sliced calamari, lightly crusted and deep fried, served with a smoked jalapeno aioli sauce. The trick to good calamari is to ensure it’s not too greasy. Head to Encinitas Fish Shop and Trattoria-Trulli for this fried treat.


Cioppino originated in San Francisco, but it has made its way up and down the Pacific coast. The dish includes fish, clams, shrimp, and squid or mussels, served with toast. Many diners compare it to Italian cacciucco or French bouillabaisse. Find delicious cioppino at Maurizo Trattoria Italiana and Trattoria-Trulli.

Don’t miss the chance to sample these Encinitas local food scene highlights. Book a North San Diego vacation rental today.

Love watching the sunset? Check out the top San Diego restaurants with the best views.