Fallbrook is a lovely suburban town with the benefits of both a rural feel and big-city arts and culture. Fallbrook has become one of the hottest Southern California cities in which to live and is known as the “avocado capital of the world.” The city is rich with trees and sweeping mountain and canyon views.
Fallbrook feels like a magical refuge away from fast-paced and overcrowded bigger cities like San Diego and Los Angeles, yet Fallbrook has all the same amenities. It is less than an hour from the beach and international airports and is home to stunning estates, gardens, wineries, and golf courses — it even has its own music hall for symphonies and chamber orchestras.
When it comes to eating out, more than a handful of restaurants in Fallbrook, CA, have made a name for themselves. Whether looking for a five-star four-course meal surrounded by elegance or a quaint cafe with one-of-a-kind bites, Fallbrook has you covered.
The Veranda Restaurant
Perhaps the most exclusive restaurant with the most sought-after tables, The Veranda is more than a place to eat —it’s an entire experience. Located at Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens, the restaurant offers tables with a view, situated along, you guessed it, a veranda that overlooks a breathtaking lake with a fountain in the center.
The menu changes to accommodate the season, and The Veranda only offers lunch and brunch Thursday through Sunday, which means most visitors will make reservations well in advance. Of course, the gourmet cuisine is worth the wait. Whether you order the avocado crostini or the Wellington benedict for the main course, a plate of beignets is a must-have with a fresh cup of coffee or even a mimosa while you wait.
For top-quality Mexican cuisine with a south-of-the-border vibe, Casa Estrella offers its clientele slow-cooked food, outdoor dining, and even live music on the weekends. Fallbrook locals flock to this traditional Mexican restaurant for its authentic flavors and fantastic customer service. You’re treated like royalty when you step through the doors, which have become much larger now that the family has expanded the restaurant due to high demand.
The carnitas plate is probably the most popular dish on the menu, and the margaritas are strong and delicious. And, of course, chips and salsa are made fresh daily, with a unique blend of corn and flour tortillas for the chips.
Cafe des Artistes
For those seeking a European flair, Cafe des Artistes aims to please. Diners enjoy their delectable plates surrounded by art. As the cafe is located within the Fallbrook Art Center, it is no surprise this eatery offers a nod to its neighbor.
With menu items designed to be healthy and delicious, visitors can choose from small plates of everything from mussels to asparagus and eggs or opt for a larger dish of flatbreads or paninis. Lunch or brunch can be paired with wine or even a wine-based fermented cocktail.
Another much-beloved eatery in the Mercantile Center, Brothers Bistro, is one of the most popular local restaurants. This Italian eatery is owned and operated by a husband and wife team determined to bring New York flavor to Fallbrook. (And by all accounts, they are doing a spectacular job!)
With a reputation for excellent service and delicious food, accompanied quite frequently by live music, Brothers Bistro serves classic Italian dishes with a Northeast Coast spin every day of the week except Sunday.
Garden Center Cafe and Grill
For exquisite food in a garden setting, make a reservation at Garden Center Cafe and Grill. Featuring a stunning waterfall, robust flowers, fairy lights, and a fountain, dining outside in the garden is a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Menu items include prime rib, a rack of lamb, fresh salmon, and homemade pasta dishes paired with an extensive selection of wine, beer, and champagne to complete your meal. Ideal for private parties, rehearsal dinners, and family get-togethers, Garden Center Cafe is an upscale dining experience that goes above and beyond in ambiance, hospitality, and delicious food.
A hidden gem along Reche Road in Fallbrook, El Parque boasts authentic Mexican cuisine in a fun and upbeat atmosphere. Bring the dog and a group of friends for lunch on the patio, and enjoy a sampling of over 14 craft beers on tap. The menu includes dozens of taco and burrito options, breakfast dishes, burgers, and house specials like avocado lime salad or fish and chips. The rustic atmosphere and relaxing patio provide the perfect spot for casual lunches or dinners with large groups. They’re open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Aquaterra Restaurant at Pala Mesa Resort
Finally, Aquaterra is located within the Pala Mesa Resort, so you know you’re eating in style. It has an outdoor patio dining that overlooks the Pala Mesa Golf Course, one of the most challenging in Southern California. The interior has a European bistro vibe, and the food ranges from decadent to casual.
Visitors enjoy the sweet and salty Brussels sprouts or a baked avocado as a starter before jumping into a crab-stuffed king salmon for dinner or a Tuscan chicken sandwich for lunch. Your palate will certainly be delighted to taste the menu offerings at Aquaterra, and all the rest of your senses will simply enjoy the ambiance, which often includes live music al fresco.
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*Header photo courtesy of Unsplash