Written by travelprone on 24 Aug, 2002
Opened in 1978 and very innovative for its time, this cluster of varied restaurants all in a large city block with spacious parking lot has not changed much in décor (a sort of faux Southern California old-looking adobe) since we moved into the area in…Read More
Opened in 1978 and very innovative for its time, this cluster of varied restaurants all in a large city block with spacious parking lot has not changed much in décor (a sort of faux Southern California old-looking adobe) since we moved into the area in 1988, but the particular restaurants included in its roster have.
Survivors include our favorites- Fish House Vera Cruz (the one here is larger than the one reviewed in my "Carlsbad-‘As Good as it Gets’" Journal, but the menu is the same), and Acapulco Mexican, the only survivor of what once was a chain of restaurants in the North County San Diego area. Newer entrants that have become favorites include the San Marcos Brewery & Grill that features handcrafted ales and the India Princess, which have joined another survivor, Katsu, an excellent Japanese restaurant with impressive longevity.
Changes in kinds of restaurants partly reflect changes in San Marcos’ demographics (more young people and many who eschew meat); hence, the death of Cattleman’s Choice which featured steak & prime rib and the opening last month in its place of the new Zip & Zack’s Filling Station, filled with a noisy, young crowd on the Friday night we passed by it on our way to the Indian Princess. Rockin’ Baja Lobster draws crowds here, though I don’t like it because it is too noisy and its seafood inferior to that of Fish House Vera Cruz.
Expansion has involved adding a row of shops called "The Village" to accommodate tourists primarily, though these souvenir shops don’t appear to me to be thriving. In the Village, every Thursday afternoon from 2 to 5 there’s a farmers’ market with produce and flowers. The location has grown even better with the years; this restaurant complex is just north of the Edwards Cinema Complex and this proximity inspired several restaurants to offer "Dinner & A Movie" Specials in the recent past (basically, packages, a set price for both dinner & movie). This complex is always busy, but especially at lunchtime, for it is centrally located and offers a variety of cuisines to choose from.
And ample, free parking assures busy people that they won’t waste part of their free time ferreting for a parking space. That little surrey in the photo is used to cart diners from the back of the parking lot on weekend evenings, though we felt the walk from there desirable on a "dine-out" evening. Rest Rooms in the Row, most off patios connecting and servicing patrons of a couple of the restaurants, like the Indian Princess and Marieta’s Mexican adjacent to it, need some up-dating, as I thought the one I visited needed painting and better maintenance.