CARDIFF BY THE SEA, CALIFORNIA is more commonly known as simply Cardiff, and this beautiful community is located right on the beach, between Encinitas and Solana Beach. The population at last count was just about 12,000. It's a very popular destination for surfers, including both novice and professional surfers, and the amount of people who surf those waves has steadily increased since the fifties. There's a beautiful reef here that you can admire when the tide is low. If you'll be visiting Cardiff, these are our favorite places to eat and drink in the 92007 zip code.
The Beach House Restaurant - CLOSED
has got to be one of our favorite restaurants in Cardiff. There's a beautiful view to enjoy while you wait for your food to arrive, and the service is simply fantastic. It's hard to find a waitstaff this attentive. We're big fans of the seafood items on the menu. It's fun to dine upstairs at the bar which gives you a much more special view of everything. This restaurant has been going strong for many years now, at least twenty that we know of, and we imagine it always will. You can find it on South Coast Highway near the intersection with Chesterfield Drive.
has been recommended to us many times by friends who gush over them having the best breakfasts in town! We finally gave in and headed over there to give it a try, and we definitely agree! They give you really large portions, and the prices are so low. Everything is home cooked and so fresh. There's always a long line on the weekends, but note that it moves really fast so you shouldn't be intimidated by it or pass up that great breakfast just to avoid the line! We definitely recommend this cafe, and you can find it on Liverpool Drive between San Elijo Avenue and Newcastle Avenue!
Cicciotti's Trattoria Italiana and Seafood
is one of the most romantic spots in all of Cardiff, where you can bring that special date to enjoy the beautiful view from the outdoor seating area, plus great live music and an incredible ambiance that we just love. In certain spots you'll notice that the live music is too loud to carry on a conversation, so you may want to ask to be seated furthest away from the band if you're planning to have those intimate conversations! Really wonderful Italian specialties here, including cannelloni that will really please your tastebuds! You can find Cicciotti's on San Elijo Avenue between Birmingham Drive and Mozart Avenue!
Las Olas Mexican Food
has got to have the freshest Mexican food in all of Cardiff! There is nothing like this home style delicious fare, including their super tasty fish tacos! They pair very nicely with one of their mouth watering margaritas too! They're also available in pitchers, which we love when we're in a group setting. If you're more of a beer drinker, you'll love that they have Dos XX Amber on draft! Great chips and salsa, and the portions are really giant here too. You'll find this one on South Coast Highway 101 near the intersection with Chesterfield Drive.
is another great Italian restaurant that we love to visit when we're in Cardiff. The food is some of the highest quality we have ever tasted, and we can definitely say the same about the exquisite service. They've got some wonderful Neapolitan flavors here, and some Italian fusion dishes that will really tickle your tastebuds in a whole new way. Very highly recommended for those romantic dates and special occasions. You can find Trattoria Positano on San Elijo Avenue between Chesterfield Drive and Aberdeen Drive.
Chart House Cardiff
is a great American restaurant with a heavy lean toward seafood dishes, and we love everything on the menu. It's perfect for those special dates with the one you love thanks to the amazing view of the sunset while you dine. We would highly recommend just about anything on the menu, but the salmon and steaks are probably our top choices. They've got a nice banquet room for your private events too. You will find this wonderful steakhouse and seafood restaurant at 2588 South Coast Highway 101.
is a fabulous sushi restaurant in Cardiff that you need to become familiar with if you aren't already! We're big fans of this place as much for their great bar as much as we are for the sushi! Everything is priced affordably, and of the utmost quality. Really great sashimi, including yellow tail and fluke, and great drink specials too. They've got very good music playing here that really gets you in the mood for a great meal and some really wonderful conversation with your dining partner. You'll be able to locate Zenbu on San Elijo Avenue between Liverpool Drive and Birmingham Drive!
is rumored to have the "best Chinese in Cardiff" and we certainly agree! We're very particular about our egg drop soup and they really make it just right here. They've got a great won ton soup as well. Try the crispy beef, it's a nice change of pace from all the usual Chinese dishes that you've tried a million times. The Yu-Shang Chicken is amazing too! All the food is very fresh and delicious, and the service is outstanding. You can find Mandarin City on Birmingham Drive between Villa Cardiff Drive and Playa Rivera Drive.
is one of the coolest little hole in the wall bars that we've ever had the pleasure of visiting, and it seems that anytime we're near Cardiff by the Sea, we find ourselves here for a few drinks and some great conversation. It really is just a cozy little dive bar, with a friendly staff and cool locals who really know how to chill. Lots of great drink specials to keep your wallet thick, and just an overall fun bar atmosphere that makes us recommend it so highly. You can find The Shanty on Chesterfield Drive near the intersection with Newcastle Avenue.
The Kraken Bar & Restaurant
is another one of our favorite "after beach" bar hangouts where you can stop in for a few drinks and perhaps some nice conversation with the bartender or the locals. It reminds us of those cool bars from the sixties that you only see in movies, and often they've got great live music that will really keep you dancing. Big biker crowd here, but everybody is friendly and cool. Located on South Coast Highway 101 near the intersection with Chesterfield Drive!