San Marcos is known for having some of the best restaurants in North County. In fact, one of the best ways to strike up a conversation with someone here in San Marcos is to ask them about their favorite restaurant. It’s surprising how easy it is to not only find something in common with each other – a shared favorite dining experience – but also to discover a restaurant right here that you haven’t yet tried.
On Sunday, August 24, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Roundtable is hosting the 2014 Taste of San Marcos event. It’s going to be a fantastic way to get out and enjoy food and libations from over 20 different restaurants, local craft breweries and wine shops.
In fact, before you read any further, grab your calendar, mark off the date and go buy a couple tickets. (We’ll wait. Seriously, just go do it now before you forget. Here’s a link.)
Okay, that was quick!
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about food. Are you hungry yet? (Warning – you probably will be by the end of this article.)
Have you ever stopped to think about the variety of food choices we have here in San Marcos? We have just about every major fast food joint you can name, as well as a slew of major chain restaurants, and a diverse mix of mom and pop / family-run restaurants. Sandwich shops, breakfast joints, gastro pubs, wine bars.
What’s even more interesting is that you can literally taste the world right here in San Marcos – Thai, Japanese, Indian, Italian, Argentinian, Mexican, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese, American and Lebanese.
Where do you even begin?
As we sat down to SHARE a bit about dining in San Marcos for this issue, it was actually a bit overwhelming. We have over 200 restaurants here in San Marcos. How would you possibly categorize them?
Do you showcase restaurants by cuisine? Or by neighborhood. Do you sift through the options by mealtime (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Or do you sort by date night, family night, kids favorites. You could also sort by chains, restaurant groups or family-run.
Even if you just focused on pizza – the varieties are endless (Rossi’s, Flippin Pizza, Lucky’s Pizza & Ale, Pizza Nova, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, Blackstone, Massachusetts Mike’s, Two Brothers from Italy, all the big chains…you get the point. It’s endless.) Same goes for burgers (The Habit, Slater’s 50/50, The Money Pit, George’s, 55 Yard Line, Five Guys, In-n-Out, on and on it goes.)
The fact that chains like Slater’s 50/50, Hooters and Sonic have recently opened in our city limits, shows San Marcos is definitely a desirable destination for food companies. But, simultaneously, the opening of new concepts like The Bellows that shows San Marcos is primed for creativity and style when it comes to dining.
Most of us have our ‘regular’ dining routines. You probably have a favorite restaurant or two that you always default to on a night out. You may even find yourself bored from time to time.
So, here’s our challenge for you this month…try something new.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Strike up a Conversation
Talk to a friend or community member – ask for their favorite. If you haven’t been there yet, go make it happen. (Better yet, take them with you!)
Discover a New Area
Explore another neighborhood in San Marcos and try something that’s off your beaten path. Chose an area you don’t frequent. If you live in Santa Fe Hills, venture over to San Elijo. If you live in Twin Oaks, head over to the College area.
- Try Lucky’s or Mariah’s over off of Melrose
- Or The RELM or Café Stoked in San Elijo Hills
- How about Curry & More or Broken Yolk in the Grand Plaza?
- Gauchito Grill, Ahi Sushi or Pizza Nova off of Twin Oaks Valley?
- The Bellows, Primos or Rakadeka at Campus Pointe?
- Old California Restaurant Row, Nattiya’s or North County Wine Company right on San Marcos Blvd.
Explore the World
If you always eat Mexican, try Indian for a change. Stuck on Greek? How about Thai? Italian? Japanese? Don’t get stuck in a rut. Be willing to open your taste buds and try new things. You just might discover a new favorite.
Learn Something You Can Share
There’s a story behind every restaurant. Don’t just walk in and eat. Talk to the owners. Where did they come from? What brought them to San Marcos? Why did they open their restaurant? What is THEIR favorite restaurant (if they ever manage to get a day off)?
Eat Local – Buy Local
Lastly, it’s good to remember that most restaurants give a lot to our community. They are forever hosting fundraisers, dine-out nights for schools, donations for auctions and youth sports, etc. During the recent Cocos Fire, so many of them stepped up to deliver food to firefighters, first responders and our evacuation centers. Our restaurants do a lot to support our community, think about what you can do to support them. When you support a local business, you’re supporting your community.
What’s your favorite restaurant in San Marcos? Let us know in the comments below!