SAN MARCOS, CALIFORNIA is one of the larger cities surrounding San Diego, with a sizable population of nearly 85,000. Many people are familiar with San Marcos because of California State University which is located here. We also love it because it's got some of the very best restaurants in the county, and that's a well-known fact! It will certainly be hard to choose our favorites. We'll try to keep the list limited to the more family-run type of restaurants because we feel that those are the best, but we also enjoy the popular chain restaurants in the area such as Chick-fil-A, In N Out, Cold Stone, Panera Bread, and Applebees. Here are our top picks for restaurants in the 92069, 92078, 92079, and 92096 zip codes!
Churchill's Pub & Grille
has one of the best English pub atmospheres that we have ever encountered, and not just in San Marcos! We love the fish and chips here, and the 39 cent wings are really great. You'll be pleased by the selection of more than fifty beers! We love to sit out back by the fire pit and just soak up that great atmosphere and enjoy some truly good conversation with friends. There's plenty to do here too, from shooting pool to playing foosball and darts. We highly recommend the breakfasts too! You can find Churchill's Pub & Grille on West San Marcos Boulevard between Park Place and Cribbage Lane.
Jumping Turtle Bar & Grill - CLOSED
is always a great time no matter when we show up! The food is wonderful, the people who gather here are friendly and fun, and even the staff is just outstanding! We absolutely love their ten dollar pitchers of beer, all day, every single day. We're also big fans of their Jumping Turtle Pizza which is loaded with one of our favorite pizza toppings that unfortunately is all too hard to find at other places... pepperoncinis! That's a flavor we just can't resist. Great bands too! You can find Jumping Turtle Bar & Grill on Capalina Road near the intersection with North Rancho Santa Fe Road!
Acapulco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
... We really love our Mexican food, and the quality of the dishes at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina is simply wonderful. We tend to come in on Monday nights for their margarita specials, because there's no better way to start off a meal! The chips and salsa are fantastic too, and the portions are very good. Not dramatically large, but generous enough. If you're catering an event or just want to bring a memorable meal for friends, pick up one of their burritos by the foot! So fun. You can find Acapulco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina on West San Marcos Boulevard between Via Vera Cruz and South Las Pasas Road.
Old Spaghetti Factory
is a great place to get some truly great authentic Italian food at a price that everybody can afford. It's very family-friendly, and if you grew up in the area, chances are you ate many dinners here back in the day! We love the Manager's Special with meat sauce, and it's so good! We're also huge fans of the tortellini. All of the pasta and salads are totally fresh here, made from scratch, and so delicious. It would be hard to find food this good at a price this low elsewhere. That makes it great for large groups too! You can find Old Spaghetti Factory at 111 North Twin Oaks Valley Road.
India Princess Restaurant
truly has the best Indian food we have ever tasted. We love the romantic atmosphere and the dim lighting, and yet it's understated and casual, and very comfortable. The basmati rice is fantastic, and we love their chicken curry dishes too. The lunch buffet is a really great treat in the middle of the work week, and though it will cost you a little more than other lunch buffets at $9.95 per person, we think it's really worth it. Fantastic soups too! You can find India Princess Restaurant on West San Marcos Boulevard between Via Vera Cruz and South Las Pasas Road.
San Marcos Brewery & Grill
is a fine place to enjoy your ice cold beers and great food. We're really hooked on their wings! We order them with extra hot sauce for an extra kick. So good. Also be sure to try their Cajun Chicken Caesar salad, it's fantastic! We absolutely love all their hand-crafted ales, made on the premises in their microbrewery, and it's served fresh from the tap just the way you like it. The service is outstanding here too. You can find San Marcos Brewery & Grill on West San Marcos Boulevard between Via Vera Cruz and South Las Pasas Road.
Market Street Cafe & Bakery - CLOSED
is one of the best breakfast spots in San Marcos in addition to just being an excellent French restaurant, and we love it any time of day for their fresh bakery items and wonderful entrees. We're big fans of the duck, and the Mexican omelette is a nice change of pace. All of the salads are fresh and crisp, and the sandwiches are packed with delicious healthy ingredients that will really tempt your tastebuds. You can find Market Street Cafe & Bakery on West San Marcos Boulevard between Via Vera Cruz and South Las Pasas Road.
Old California Mining Company
is an awesome steak house where you can indulge in all your favorites from steak to seafood and everything in between. The calamari appetizers is a must-have as far as we're concerned, and we also think that their hamburgers are a cut above the rest. Very cool interior atmosphere and a great outdoor eating area as well. Try the salad bar too... everything is supremely fresh and flavorful. Great drinks too! You can find Old California Mining Company on San Marcos Boulevard between Via Vera Cruz and South Las Pasas Road.
Bruno's Italian Restaurant
is our go-to spot for delicious pizzas in San Marcos, but that's not all they've got here. Their salads are also worth a trip, and we really adore their fresh pastas. The ambiance is low key and relaxed, but the prices are a little on the more upscale end. We think it's worth it for the food, but some people do complain about it being too pricey. The service is excellent. Definitely try the antipasto appetizer salad, it's a meal in itself and we just love it! You can find Bruno's Italian Restaurant at West San Marcos Boulevard between Via Vera Cruz and South Las Pasas Road.
Elephant Bar & Restaurant
is one of our favorite bars in the San Marcos area! The bar is separate from the restaurant, and it can get pretty packed with lively crowds, especially on the weekends. The service is fast and friendly, so you can focus on having a great time instead of chasing down that drink! We recommend arriving early to snatch a great table or a spot on the patio, because otherwise it's tough to get a seat here! The restaurant is great too, with lots of American and Asian favorites that you won't find elsewhere. You can find Elephant Bar & Restaurant on South Las Pasas Road near the intersection with Grand Avenue!