1. What do Foodies need to know about Carlsbad?
Carlsbad’s mild weather and stunning beaches make it one of the perfect southern California destinations all year round. But don’t mistake Carlsbad for a sleepy surfer village. Whether your tastes lie in fine arts, live concerts, classic cars or craft beers or fine eateries, Carlsbad is never short on amazing experiences.
Carlsbad’s Best Chefs:
Carlsbad has some exceptional restaurants with amazingly talented Chefs, here are a few just to give you a taste of what Carlsbad has to offer.
- Chef Robert Ruiz of the Land & Water Company continues to redefine what real sushi is. Ruiz’s strong desire for knowledge and inventiveness has given him a distinct household reputation as a destination chef. He has had extensive training under Hawaii’s finest chefs and he is now known as one of San Diego’s best non-traditional sushi chefs. Chef Ruiz is also very committed to saving and preserving our Oceans through his sustainability movement is changing how fish and sushi will be served worldwide.
- Executive Chef David Abella at West Steak and Seafood, an intimate and distinctive fine dining restaurant located in the coastal community of Carlsbad.. Abella started his career alongside the pioneer of Euro-Asian, Roy Yamaguchi and worked in the family for 20 years as Executive Chef and Corporate Executive Chef, traveling the world. Chef Abella was recruited and worked in Hong Kong at the world renowned Peninsula Hotel’s iconic eatery, Felix Restaurant. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Chef Abella has mentored many young chefs in his career. A lover of Italian, French and Mediterranean flavors, Abella plans to incorporate Asian herbs, Hawaiian Seafood, and a variety of vegetarian and modern styled appetizers to his new creations at West Steak and Seafood. West Steak and Seafood is known for its authentic farm-to-table approach, sourced from the restaurant’s private, three-acre farm, located just a few miles away and their USDA prime steak, chops and fresh seafood, which are the anchors to the signature menu items. West Steak and Seafood is among the few San Diego steakhouses to earn a rating of 27 by Zagat for food, West Steak and Seafood is renowned for offering the highest quality of prime steaks, chops and seafood. Dedicated to an authentic farm-to-table ethos, executive chef, David Abella, harvests fresh ingredients daily from the restaurant’s own 3-acre farm.
- Chef David Gallardo’s restaurant Paon offers California cuisine with French influences. Crafted by Chef David Gallardo (formerly of WineSellar & Brasserie), Paon Restaurant in Carlsbad is well worth a visit for seriously good food. With California-French cuisine, their menu features seasonal, locally grown organic produce fit for the palates of fine food lovers. The Grilled Lamb Salad, Organic Beet Salad, Pan Roasted Pheasant, and Provencal Herb Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb are all highly recommended.
- Executive Chef Andrew Bachelier is at the helm of Campfire a new restaurant in Carlsbad that is based on the concept of creating an environment in which we gather around a fire, create honest food, and share it with friends. Bachelier had been the chef de cuisine at CUCINA enoteca since it opened in Del Mar in 2013, before that, he was the executive sous chef at CUCINA urbana and chef de partie at Addison. He grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he helped his cowboy grandfather build fires for their family’s cooking hearth and says, “I feel that with Campfire, I’ve come full circle in my career, and am so excited to once again be working with the wood fire, a truly uncontrollable element that takes tremendous focus and technique, but when harnessed can yield unbelievable layers and complexity of flavor.”
- Innovative and understated, Chef Teri McIllwain’s menu at Chandler’s Restaurant features California cuisine expertly crafted with fresh, farm-to-table ingredients to satisfy the foodie in all of us. Highlighting North County’s coastal culture, fresh seafood has a superior place in the Chandler’s Restaurant kitchen. Teri’s team takes advantage of locally sourced ingredients, readily available here in SoCal, for a seasonal approach to everything from apps to desserts. Delight in dynamic presentations that are familiar but never ordinary, and give a sense of coastal San Diego in every bite, with stunning sunsets served daily. Chef Teri’s culinary knowledge and familiarity with the north county San Diego lifestyle give her a unique perspective on crafting and delivering truly flavorful and eclectic California cuisine. It is the love of the kitchen that drives Chef Teri to experiment, teach and lead as the culinary director at Cape Rey, promising to bring incredible dining experiences to the coast. Prior to joining Cape Rey, McIllwain served as chef de cuisine at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa working in nearly all of the resort’s culinary outlets, including Diversions Sport Lounge, Bluefire Grill, catering and banquets. While at La Costa, she also served as a nutritional chef for the on-site, wellness-focused Premier Fitness Camp and Chopra Center. McIllwain attended the San Diego Culinary Institute after entering the field as a private chef and Bon Appetit culinary instructor for Sur La Table stores in San Diego.
Gaetano Cicciotti serves authentic Italian food in San Diego, some say the Best in Italian Food in North San Diego County. He has been recommended by friends as the best Italian restaurant in San Diego County for Italian food. Despite his love for Italian food, Cicciotti didn’t come to the U.S. as a chef. He was serving in the Italian air force when he decided to move here in 1990 to get his commercial pilot’s license. He started training at Montgomery Field in San Diego and worked at Italian restaurants to pay for the pilot’s school. Cicciotti worked his way up from a bus boy and was about to return to Italy when he met his future wife. He decided to stay, and he continued working his way up. Cicciotti said some of his loyal customers have been following him from restaurant to restaurant since his first jobs in the ’90s. “I came from nothing,” he said. “A lot of people remember that and appreciate it.” At his restaurant, which he opened in 2002, Cicciotti uses local, organic food a much as possible, but he does import some cheeses, olive oils and sauces from Italy. He’s admittedly picky about his wines (there are 250 on his wine list) and has garnered Wine Spectator awards since 2003 to show for it. Cicciotti’s offers 50 percent off chicken and pasta dishes on Mondays, and hosts happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. with 30 percent off pizzas, $4.75 wines by the glass and mixed drinks, and $3 beers. But Cicciotti’s wouldn’t be what it is without its owner. “When I’m not here, people say its like going to Disneyland and not meeting Mickey Mouse,” he said. Cicciotti’s cookbook. “Cicciotti’s Kitchen” is available at www.cicciottis.com for $25 and includes a $20 gift certificate to the restaurant.
2. Top Restaurants in Carlsbad
Hyper-local seafood in a Victorian mansion, authentic Mexican eats against a background of live mariachi music and an exquisite farm to table venue. These are just some of the memorable dining experience that Carlsbad, CA has to offer.