September 29, 2015

Best of San Clemente Dinners

California travel guide best of San Clemente top spots for an amazing dinnger

Calling all beach-lovers, foodies, and wanderlust explorers – look no farther to discover your new favorite San Clemente dinner haunts!

We’ve searched high and low, interviewed locals, read reviews, and stopped in ourselves to collect six of the most loved, most talked about, and most unique restaurants serving San Clemente dinners. Many establishments competed for these top spots, but those on the list below clearly stand in a class of their own. From romantic upscale dining, to authentic local hot spots, this list has an experience in store for tastebuds of all kinds. Enjoy the kaleidoscope of colorful atmospheres and flavors San Clemente has to offer. Here’s to pairing culture and cuisine!

South Of Nick’s Mexican Kitchen & Bar.
Judging from their 4.5 stars on Yelp and their #1 rank on Trip Advisor, it’s clear that South of Nick’s is more than just your basic Mexican eatery. The ambient atmosphere is complete with warm lighting, a friendly open kitchen, and vibrant bar scene, but what really gets foodies talking is . . . you guessed it, the food. From melt-in-your-mouth chipotle dusted sea bass, to pork carnitas gently braised in decadent coca-cola marinade, Nick’s offers the perfect marriage of traditional Mexican and the best of the sea. What could be more appropriate at the beach than blending classic with a dash of creative? Find out for yourself with crispy chips and flavor-packed guacamole on your right, and a fresh steaming lobster with a drizzle of cheese on your left. You can thank us later.

Hapa J's
Hapa J's takes Hawaiian/Asian fusion to a whole new level with a fresh spin on everything from poke to fried noodles to nachos and quesadillas. Diners rave about the huge loaded Man Fries and Kalua Pork Nachos, but you really can't go wrong with anything on this creative menu. Keep it simple with Loco Moco, or bring friends and get a bunch of different dishes to share. Hapa J's is also a great pick for Taco Tuesday!

The Riders Club Cafe.
Craving a good, down-home, American burger? The Rider's Club Cafe , a small low-key joint doesn’t look like much, but its power-packed burgers keep the Yelp ratings averaging 4.5 even with 600+ reviews. Maybe it’s the soft bun, maybe it’s the tender, juicy, meat ground in-house, or maybe it’s the rich cheeses and delectable extras. Regardless, it all adds up to be a dynamite burger that loads your stomach with seasoned goodness. Salivating yet? You’re not alone.

The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar.
Here’s a place voted by locals to win awards for best appetizers, best restaurant for outdoor dining, best restaurant for a romantic evening, best overall restaurant, best lunch spot, and best bar. Think you can’t go wrong? You’re right! Located on the San Clemente pier, The Fisherman’s Restaurant treats its diners to some stunning views of the sea. Enjoy watching the surfers or the sunset, while treating your tastebuds to thick creamy clam chowder or large, flavorful fish tacos. With a bright, sea-faring atmosphere and sister-bar nearby, this restaurant attracts a swarm of activity. While people are lobbying for dinner with a view, take a stroll along the beach or watch the waves crash from the pier. Enjoy true taste of the beach.

Vine Restaurant & Bar.
Looking for a guaranteed 5-start dinner, with a rustic, intimate feel? Stop by the Vine Restaurant & Bar , where “fresh” and “local” take on a whole new meaning. Let soft, crusted, sea bass melt in your mouth or nibble on manilla clams & rock shrimp with saffron pearl couscous. With a menu using only the highest quality seasonal ingredients, prepared daily from scratch, you can’t go wrong with delectable meats and hand picked produce from Vine’s garden. To top off the experience, explore this noteworthy restaurant’s diverse beverage selection, including signature craft cocktails, 8 craft beers on tap, and over 25 wine selections.

Sonny’s Pizza & Pasta.
Established in 1980, this little Italian joint is always bustling with energy and crowds. Choose to sit inside, or on the breezy outdoor patio and pick from a full menu featuring traditional Italian pizzas, pasta varieties, fresh salads, and large sandwiches. Reasonably priced, Sonny’s Pizza & Pasta is sure to be a favorite for the whole family.

La Tiendita.
By far the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in San Clemente. Authentic and humble, La Tiendita is a little shop that offers meats and products like a little grocery store, thus the name La Tiendita (Which literally means “the little shop”). From cane sugar sodas that read “Medio Litro” to generous helpings of freshly prepared mexican favorites, this hot spot screams “authentic.” Mariachi music typically plays in the background, and for most of the employees English is a second language. Need I say more?? Stop in for a bit of original culture and and economical dining.

Have we missed any of your local favorites?
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