Restaurant & Market Reviews

Top 5 Real Food Hot Spots near Camp Pendleton

Navigating the outside world can seem more difficult once you have committed to a real food lifestyle. Just because you have made these changes doesn’t mean your old go-to restaurants and markets have – unfortunately. But, good news is that there are TONS of great options out there that are dedicated to serving and selling fresh, whole foods. And wait, it gets even better…they are just minutes away from Camp Pendleton!! Yes, you read that right! Today, I am going to share with you 5 of my favorite real food hot spots that are super close to Camp Pendleton (South/Oceanside).

Hot Spot #1: Swami’s Cafe (Restaurant)


Swami’s is probably the husband and mine’s most favorite brunch spot in Oceanside. Seriously, if it’s brunch time and you need to find me there’s a 70% chance that’s where I’ll be. They have a great selection of food and organic coffees. One of the main reasons we love this joint so much is that they have something for everyone. Omelets and scrambles? Check. Pancakes and waffles? Check. Acai and pitaya bowls? Check and check.


So, basically you can go with a group of family or friends and everyone can get their breakfast of choice freshly made out of quality ingredients. Is that not what brunch dreams are made out of or what. They also have kombucha on tap, gourmet coffee and tea drinks, as well as local beer. Prices are super reasonable too (from about $6 – $15) with, I think, the most expensive breakfast dish coming in around $12.95 for the Lobster Benedict. Yes, I said Lobster Benedict


Hot Spot #2: Cream of the Crop (Market)


This little family owned market sits right on Coast Highway and has you covered in all areas of your grocery needs. They carry organic produce, organic, grass-fed meats and cheeses and even raw milk! They also have a large assortment of high quality snacks and treats, as well as a complete vitamin and supplement section. This market also carries a great selection of natural soaps, candles, sunscreen, lotions, and essential oils. Seriously, they have got just about everything. Even a deli and juice bar! The folks who work there are also always very friendly and helpful if you have questions about any of their products or need info  on vitamins and supplements. They are kind-of pricey as they are a specialty grocer, but since their products are high quality they tend to be worth it. They do sometimes have coupons available on their website though, and usually have some type of weekly specials happening. They also always have free samples set out, and that is just good business if you ask me. Definitely worth checking out.

Hot Spot #3: Local Tap House (Restaurant)


Okay, I hope you’re sitting down for this one. Local Tap House & Kitchen is seriously one of the best restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating myself into a food coma at. While many of their items are definitely indulgent, and even though they are known for their vast beer selection (that’s where the whole tap house comes into play) this place still serves up some really good quality grub. They source all of their ingredients carefully and use fresh, real food ingredients and seriously turn them into mouth-watering masterpieces. My husband and I had lunch there recently and I got myself an order of their WTF Slow Cooked Brisket Fries. Seriously, wtf. They were smothered in a gouda cheese gravy that made me want to yell “HOT DAMN!”


If you can’t tell, I love this place. On top of all the great food and beer, they also choose different local charities to collect donations for. Yes, they win.

Hot Spot #4: Hill Street Cafe and Gallery (Restaurant)

hill st

This place is absolutely precious. Hill Street Cafe also sits right on the 101. It’s in a big yellow house, and one of my favorite things about this place is that they kept the inside looking like an actual house! They didn’t renovate it way too much. So it almost feels like you are having breakfast at your grandma’s friend’s house or something like that. They also offer one of the most banging outdoor seating areas of any restaurant I have ever been in. Their outdoor seating is in a really pretty and peaceful patio/garden area that is just super pleasant to have brunch at on one of our beautiful Southern California days. But, most importantly they have really good food and coffee.


They use organic, fresh, non-gmo ingredients including free-range poultry. They also serve a delicious, organic cup of joe and make fancy schmancy coffee drinks as well. They are totally cool if you have to make any subs to what’s on their menu – which has SO many options. This place caters really well to the vegan community, which is totally not my personal style, but it’s still a pretty cool niche of theirs. They are also committed to “green” practices – they recycle, compost, and use chemical-free cleaning products. Pretty cool, eh?

Hot Spot #5: Reap and Sow (Shop)


This place doesn’t really have much food. BUT they do have tons of cool knick knacks related to alternative and holistic health. I included it on this list because I love it, but also because it is pretty common for folks to start looking into other areas of their health once committing to a real food lifestyle. Changing your diet is often just a first step that leads into wanting to take charge of other aspects of your health. Reap and Sow has a great selection of essential oils, and other remedies that can be used to help treat conditions such as acne, PMS, eczema, colds and allergies and other health issues. They also have great supplies for urban homesteaders such as rain barrels and beekeeping starter sets

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Crop Swaps are also held there just about every Saturday in which you can bring in at least six homemade or home grown products and you are able to swap them with other folks. I am totally taking in some of my homemade sauerkraut to swap one of these days.

I absolutely love supporting local shops and restaurants, especially when they set as high of standards as these folks do. Well, I hope these real food hot spot suggestions make this big gmo-processed food-trans fat- filled world a little less scary for ya! If you have a favorite real food joint that wasn’t on this list let me know in the comments. I’d love to check it out!


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