The Best Restaurants in Bressi Ranch
Throughout this whole COVID-19 dining experience, one North County San Diego neighborhood really surprised me. Bressi Ranch in Carlsbad, California is a newer development just east of the 5 that has all your necessities; grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, workout studios, etc. However, it’s the Bressi Ranch restaurants that absolutely killed it this last year. They kind of led the pack with peaceful protests when dining-in got shut down the second time. The restaurant owners fought for their businesses and livelihood all while making some delicious food. I really do admire that.
While there are different types of restaurants in Bressi Ranch ranging from super casual order at the counter types to more sit-down date night spots, I wanted to highlight my 3 favorites! Trust me, I spend a lot of time here as my boyfriend lives within walking distance so we often walk over for dinner or drinks. The following three restaurants are the ones we find ourselves coming back to over and over again.
1. Ebullition Brew Works and Gastronomy
Ebullition Brew Works and Gastronomy was the biggest surprise for me and is currently my favorite Bressi Ranch restaurant. When they first opened, I did what one should not and judged a book by its cover. I know, I know, I’m sorry! I just thought it would be another brewery with bar food. Boy was I wrong.
While yes, Ebullition is a brewery, their tasting room is actually just a few miles up the road in Vista, and they do have a few bar food items, their always changing specials are where it’s at!
Chef Gunnar Scott Planter trained at the local fine dining French staple Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe before becoming the executive chef here at Ebullition so you know the food is going to be incredible.
An example of one of their killer specials was Tom Kha Mussels. We were skeptical but that completely vanished after the first bite. First of all, they gave you a lot of mussels which is always a plus, but the light Thai coconut broth with lemongrass and lime really made the dish. We soaked up every last drop of that broth which was perfect on a cool night sitting outside!
Chef Gunnar also offers special dining experiences if you order in advance. He’s currently offering a Tomahawk Steak special and I even saw a large group in a couple weeks ago doing a special tasting menu. I highly recommend hitting him up on Instagram @gunnarscottplanter and seeing what his current offers are!
Ebullition Brew Works and Gastronomy is your place if you’re looking for some good beers, tasty shareable appetizers and some amazing weekly specials!
- Black Garlic Shrimp: roasted black garlic, squid ink, spicy soli and crispy garlic ponzu.
- Korean Hot Wings: crispy wings tossed in tangy and sweet gochujang wing sauce with miso ranch dip.
- Whatever the weekly special is. There’s no doubt it’s going to be tasty!
2. Casero Taqueria
My favorite part about Casero Taqueria is that everything is made in-house. I’m even talking about their tortillas (corn and flour), all of their salsas and guacamole. All from scratch! So you know everything you’re ordering here is fresh and in season.
I’m not going to lie, when Casero first opened, I initially steered clear of this place because you had to order at the counter, grab your number and sit down. I personally do not like that type of dining and refused to go. I know, I can be a little high maintenance sometimes. However, after what I’m sure was a bunch of customer feedback, they changed into a fully sit-down restaurant! That’s when I ventured in and fully enjoyed my taqueria experience.
First of all, their margarita and tequila selections are top notch! They even had my current favorite, Fortaleza which isn’t found too often at more casual Mexican food restaurants. Their bar also has an indoor section and an outdoor section which I always appreciate. The décor is super cute and trendy with big comfy couches on their outdoor patio and cute cactus and succulent accents throughout.
Now let’s talk food. Casero’s motto is, “Baja inspired, Carlsbad made.” This Bressi Ranch restaurant is definitely community focused so seeing this motto really makes you feel proud to live in Carlsbad and have this gem!
Anywho, I can usually gauge how good a restaurant is by how they cook their shrimp. Shrimp tacos are my favorite type of taco so it’s always what I order (or a dish with shrimp) the first time I try a new Mexican spot. The shrimp was cooked perfectly! We all know shrimp can be easily messed up so when a shrimp dish comes out not overcooked or chewy, it’s a win for me!
If you’re looking for some good tacos, tortas and margaritas in a bright and trendy atmosphere, Casero Taqueria in Bressi Ranch is your spot! It would be a great restaurant to go with friends for happy hour or even on a cute date night.
- Empanadas: fried house masa filled with melted Oaxaca Cheese and garnished with cotija and guacamole. Served with chipotle ranch.
- Shrimp Taco: grilled or baja style, Casero seasoned shrimp, cilantro slaw, crema and salsa fresca.
- Torta Ahogada: fresh baked bolillo filled carnitas, refried beans, pickled onion, cilantro slaw, cotija cheese and a dried chile broth.
3. Giaola Italian Kitchen Bressi Ranch
Giaola Italian Kitchen in Bressi Ranch is becoming one of my go-to spots for a big comforting bowl of Bolognese Al Forno and a nice glass of red wine. The atmosphere is welcoming, the food hits the spot and the wine and cocktail selection is well-curated. You have to try their Italian Mule, it is so so good!
Giaola has all the classic homemade Italian dishes ranging from spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan and fettucine carbonara. They have all the staples you can think of and add their own little contemporary flair to make it their own.
Of course, this isn’t the best Italian food I’ve ever had in Carlsbad, but with it being so close to me, it’s very convenient and I mean, I love how much cheese they use in their dishes haha. What really makes this place is the wait staff and bartenders. Anthony and Bryce are my favorites there! They both work the bar, so if you’re looking for a good chat, sit at the bar and enjoy!
- Giaola Carpaccio: seared beef, shaved pecorino, arugula, fried capers, violet mustard, lemon pepper crème fraiche and crostini.
- Bolognese Al Forno: rigatoni, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and marinara.
- Chicken Parmesan: fettucine, garlic, basil, mozzarella, marinara and herb oil.
- Torchio Taranto: torchio pasta, prosciutto, English peas, marinara alfredo and oven roasted tomatoes.
Well there you have it, the 3 best Bressi Ranch restaurants! If you live in the area, or ever find yourself in this area of Carlsbad and are hungry, I highly recommend these three restaurants! I’ve been to each several times and they never disappoint.
Have you tried any of these spots? What are your thoughts? Or did this post help you discover some new restaurants you want to add to your list to try? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for reading!