Growing up in San Diego, and with Mexico literally in my backyard, I have become quite the Mexican cuisine connoisseur over the years. In fact, I might go as far as to say that I’m bit of a Mexican food snob. But how can you blame me? I have access to some of the country’s, rather, world’s best Mexican restaurants and let me assure you-not all burritos are created equal. Therefore, when I’m asked for a personal recommendation from an out-of-town guest vying for a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine, or if I’m looking to unwind from a busy week with a margarita and the company of good girlfriends, I am always happy to suggest Miguel’s Cocina.
As a member of the Brigantine Family of Restaurants (which also owns the many Brigantine locations and Azul in La Jolla ), the Miguel’s Cocina restaurant chain boasts five locations across the county and has just added a sixth location in my neck of the woods, in Carlsbad, off Avenida Encinas. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the newly opened restaurant myself, and from the festive decor and the friendly staff, to the delicious cuisine and, of course, the refreshing margaritas, Miguel’s Cocina Carlsbad certainly lived up their already established reputation.
If you’ve ever visited Miguel’s Cocina, you are well aware of their famed white cheddar jalapeno sauce. Accompanying the complimentary hand-made chips, this white cheese queso is legendary and just one of the many reasons that this Mexican food establishment stands out above the rest. As if this condiment alone won’t get you in the door, Miguel’s Cocina’s vast and diverse menu certainly will! With everything from seafood fare like their Grilled Swordfish Tacos served with salsa fresca and ranch dressing, to their Tacos al Carbon, featuring grilled marinated steak wrapped in fresh flour tortillas and sprinkled with a spicy pasilla salsa, to their “Combinaciones” section which allows you to mix and match entree items, there’s something for everyone to savor. And if you’ve managed to moderate your white cheddar jalapeno sauce intake by the end of the meal and have room for a little something sweet to cap off your evening, you can’t go wrong with the restaurant’s Chocolate Empanadas or Coconut Flan.
Food aside, the atmosphere at Miguel’s Cocina Carlsbad is electric. Though the space itself is quite large in stature, the eclectic and vividly colored decor help to create a cozy feeling. I appreciated the fact that the bar area is partially blocked off by an ornately carved wooden wall so that restaurant diners can enjoy their meal without the sounds of the sports games acting as their dinner soundtrack. Furthermore, Miguel’s Cocina boasts a large dining room in the back of the restaurant which would be perfect to hold a large function such as an office Christmas party or High School/College graduation celebration.
With few Mexican food restaurant options in the North County community, there’s no doubt that the Carlsbad location of Miguel’s Cocina will thrive, especially come summer. And even if you have to fight the crowds of locals vying to satisfy their craving for some good old fashioned south-of-the-border cuisine, trust me, the white cheddar jalapeno sauce and their signature margaritas will be more than worth the wait.
Miguel’s Cocina Carlsbad
5980 Avenida Encinas
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Lunch & Dinner
Sunday -Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Monday 3 p.m. to close
Tuesday-Sunday 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.