A New Wave of Culinary Euphoria: North Coastal San Diego is one of top foodie destinations in the West. Uncover the gems with us.

When a James Beard Award-winning food critic proclaims Oceanside should be on your to-do list, that means book it. The region’s destination dining status is indeed cemented when the likes of Brad A. Johnson goes out of his way to dine here.

On his list: Valle, our neighboring restaurant, which earned a Michelin Star this year—making it the first ever Mexican-inspired establishment in San Diego to achieve this honor. With The Seabird as your home base, we present your map to culinary adventure. 

Book it now.

The Destination: Valle at Mission Pacific Beach Resort | 479 Feet

Under the genius of Chef Roberto Alcocer, dining at Valle embodies a new kind of culinary destination with its Michelin Star rating. It’s a soulful one, rooted in Baja Mexican cuisine while tapping into the youthful spirit of Oceanside, one of Southern California’s last authentic beach towns. 

Valle offers a striking sense of discovery. With more than 20 years of experience cooking across Mexico and in Michelin-starred kitchens in France and Spain, Alcocer is a visionary of Baja Mexican cuisine at Malva, his long-acclaimed culinary destination in Valle de Guadalupe. The presentation allures, especially when paired with the region’s hard-to-find varietals, reflecting immense terrier. 

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The Destination: Matsu, Oceanside | .9 Miles

Look for the mural. That’s the only marker on this nondescript black building, which has become a culinary beacon for the likes of Brad A. Johnson. Here, Chef William Eick dreams up a 6 and 10-course tasting menu, showcasing the seasonal bounty from regional farms while marrying the traditions and techniques of Japanese food. Having initially started as a pop-up restaurant, Matsu has become a permanent fixture since 2021 with a 6-course tasting menu also on offer. It was included in Food & Wine’s “Best Cities for Food in the U.S,” and Johnon recently said it was “one of the best restaurants in California.”



Photo by Leo Cabal

The Destination: Heritage Barbeque, Oceanside | 2.3 Miles

White tablecloths are not a prereq for this list of stellar dining. Exhibit A: Heritage Barbeque. With stacks of awards, including the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand, this is no ordinary barbecue eatery. Michelin awards the Bib Gourmand to restaurants that offer an entire meal—starter, main course, dessert and spirit drink—for around $40 or less. Heritage serves up glistening brisket (Johnson approved), ribs and sausage. The chicken is pasture-raised. The sausage is homemade and takes three days to make. Don’t miss Mexican riffs like brisket tacos.


The Destination: Wrench & Rodent, Oceanside, CA | 2.1 Miles

The highly creative Wrench & Roden Seabasstropub is essentially a playground for maverick Chef Davin Waite. The sushi and omakase menus are focused on hyper-local ingredients that are transformed and paired with playfulness top of mind. It never gets old here. And that’s the point. For 10 years, Waite keeps things fresh for locals, tourists and sustainability enthusiasts. A pioneer in sustainability, Waite has received global accolades for whole species utilization and his dry-age fish program, which reveals nuanced textures and flavors. Waite’s mini culinary empire includes Brine Box across the way on Oceanside Pier, 100% plant-based, zero-waste The Plot in Oceanside and The Plot Express at The Cottages in Carlsbad.



Photo by Kristina Wunsch

The Destination: Jeune et Jolie, Carlsbad | 3.1 Miles

Two sister restaurant concepts turned Carlsbad from sleepy to sensational. It wasn’t quite overnight, but the impact of Campfire and its Michelin-starred follow-up Jeune et Jolie ignited the neighborhood. Named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America, Jeune et Jolie blends Parisian polish with California culture. The French nouvelle fare is served in the high-designed restaurant, which embraces indoor-outdoor dining to the max. Inside, rose-colored velvet banquettes are front row seats to the open kitchen, where dining is most certainly theater.  Don’t be fooled by the too-pretty-to-eat plating. Executive Chef Eric Bost has earned accolades for his unique combinations and mature treatment of Cal-French fare with lively flavors. Two blocks south on State Street, Campfire utilizes wood fire and seasonal ingredients.



Photo by Lily Glass

The Destination: Valentina, Leucadia | 12.5 Miles

Hwy 101 in Leucadia is where one restaurateur is methodically building a tasty little monopoly. The town’s original slogan is “Keep it Funky” but this stretch has certainly been elevated by Mario Guerra’s The Leucadia Co. Don’t miss Valentina, his European-style neighborhood bistro and wine bar. Pro surfers and rock stars feel right at home alongside local families and tourists swirling glasses of Burgundian Brut. The Steak Frites are a serious contender alongside Weiner Schnitzel, Mussels Mariniéres and a crispy paella. The menu reflects his provenance, having grown up in Amsterdam and Mexico City. Wander down to his other establishments on The 101; they include Corner Pizza, Hamburger Hut, Moto Deli and next up, Nacho’s Oyster Bar, an oceanic experience inspired by Mexico, The Mediterranean and Japan. 



Photo by Dee Sandoval