Encinitas Cafe

encinitas cafe sign

Review #72

The only thing better than breakfast in the morning is breakfast for dinner.  Hubby and I went on a long hike this morning, and were going to see a show later at the Belly Up Tavern.  A large carby-gluten filled dinner was in order.  Isn’t there a saying like, “pancakes before beer makes your brain more clear”?  I’m pretty sure that’s it.

We brought our hunger over to The Encinitas Cafe.  A place we have driven/walked by a thousand times but had never been inside.  The Encinitas Cafe is a real authentic throw-back diner where you would expect to see Mel yelling at Flo and Alice from the kitchen.

encinitas cafe inside

It was a nice evening, not too cold so we opted for a table outside.  It was such a great place to people and dog watch.  We ran into a bunch of friends and really enjoyed being right on the 101 amidst the Saturday night hustle and bustle.

Our first server, Katie, was extremely sweet and attentive.  When Hubby told her to please forgo filling our waters and asked her to bring a whole pitcher, she obliged without question.  When he asked for some lemons, she brought a whole bowl full.  Which our friend Geoff proceeded to bathe in.  Hubby took some lemon and squirted it into his water glass (prevents kidney stones). Geoff took some lemon and squirted it onto his hands, arms and face  (prevents friendships.)  With a large piece of pulp hanging off his chin he asked what I was staring at.  Geoff understands the topical health benefits of lemon so doing a pre-dinner lemon cleanse isn’t really as weird as it sounds.  I mean, it may not be for everyone when they’re out in public, but at a certain age, you just stop giving a hoot. I know I have! I almost joined him, but decided nah.

Our next server, Claudia, came out and was as nice as could be.  I asked her for some history on the Encinitas Cafe.  She told me that it has been around for over 85 years as a diner of one sort or another.  The last owners had run the place to the ground, owing all of their employees tons of pay then they sold it and split.  What kind of person in charge would allow struggling people to work for days on end without pay? Hmmm?? The community came together to save the restaurant.  Someone bought it and one of the waitresses that had been working there, took over.  She turned the place around and paid back all the money owed to everyone.  Some of the employees here today have been around for over 40 years. Claudia wasn’t sure if she got this story exactly right and asked me not to quote her, so I’m not.  The point is, it is now owned by good people, keeping an old fashioned diner true to it’s roots while treating their employees and customers like family.  You can read the full story here: https://patch.com/california/encinitas/encinitas-cafe-a-local-favorite-with-strong-community-roots

Most of my group ordered this:


Basically, you are getting almost everything on the breakfast menu in one meal.  It’s a lot of food.  Hubby’s Banana Walnut Pancakes came out first and they were huge!

encinitas cafe banana pancake

Here were the eggs and potatoes that came with it.

encinitas cafe eggs

I ordered one Banana Walnut Pancake and one Oat Pancake with my Encinitas Special.  “Oat Pancake” sounded like some hearty, cakey, pancake treat.  It wasn’t.  It tasted like bland fried oatmeal.  Hubby liked it and finished it up.

encinitas cafe oat cake

Eggs, bacon and hash browns came with those pancakes.  It was quite a feast!

encinitas cafe bacon

Geoff ordered an Angus Beef Sandwich with Onion Rings.

encinitas cafe sandwich

He said the onion rings’ batter was too thick and the sandwich bread was too buttery.  His wife, Mary, rolled her eyes and gave it to him.  “Your bread is buttered perfectly and that’s exactly how onion rings should be!  Personally, when I come to a diner, I want overly-buttered bread and a little grease with my fried food.  That’s why we are at a diner!”  I lifted up my plate and showed her the grease underneath my hash browns and she nodded approvingly. Plus Geoff, they serve breakfast all day.  Skip the lunch and dinner food and get breakfast because you can!

Bottom Line:

Even though the 101 Diner and Honey’s Bistro are similar diner-style restaurants located across the street, there is good reason to choose the Encinitas Cafe.  They are open for dinner and serve breakfast all day!  Is it the best breakfast I have ever had?  No.  But you will get a huge portion of food for a good price.  It’s exactly what you would expect from a diner that has been around this long, it won’t disappoint.  Eating here makes you feel good supporting our wonderful community. The Banana Walnut Pancakes were excellent. And if you forget to shower or don’t smell as April fresh as you could, just ask Katie for a bowl of lemons.  They work in your water, your food, or all over your body just ask Geoff.

Join us next week, Saturday, February 2nd at 6:00 at

Plum Vegetarian Thai






Author: foodkibbitzer

I love to cook, especially soup, and bake challah. I ride horses, enjoy sarcastic people and am a food snob. I'm busy being mom to my two boys and I play mahj jong.

8 thoughts on “Encinitas Cafe”

  1. always so entertaining as well as informative. Who knew you could order a bowl of lemons?? In Florida, lemons were $1.00 each, so they were pretty stingy with their slices. Another good reason to live in Encinitas. Thanks Kori….


  2. I love your blog and share it with friends and clients. I sell real estate and manage vacation rentals in the Encinitas area, so it’s perfect. I think you are a terrific writer.

    What is your website? I’ve been just forwarding your emails, but I want to put it in my guest book for each property. Do you mind if I also put it in my website that I use to advertise my beach rentals? With full credit of course! I’m also putting together a local beach video about the area for these properties. I think it would drive some traffic to your site if you are ok with it.

    Keep noshing!


    Cathy McCall (760) 688-8787



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