Just south of Carlsbad State Beach in the funky community of Leucadia along the Coast Road is my favorite restaurant, LE PAPAGAYO.
La Papagayo is a place to gather with friends at Happy Hour, to enjoy California, Pacific Island and Mediterranean cuisine (check out the dinner menu) while listening to live music, surrounded by large paintings of jazz musicians, or have a casual brunch on Saturday morning on their patio. Cuban Night, on Thursday, is well worth a visit, with special food and drink offerings.
Le Papagayo is casual yet upscale, the food is flavorful and artistic, and the service is friendly and efficient (ask for Shannon). There are several seating areas inside, as well as a front and side patio. Yes, the train goes by periodically, but that is part of the charm of being just a couple of blocks from the beach. Know that it can be crowded, especially during the summer and it’s smart to make reservations. Music normally starts at 7 and it can sometimes get noisy, making dinner conversation a little tough, depending on the musician and where you sit.
We’ve gotten to know Le Papagayo’s owner, Francois, who always makes a point to come over to chat. If you stop in for breakfast, lunch and especially dinner, tell him I sent you.
This is a right-off-the beach kind of place,or you can dress up if you prefer. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy the atmosphere and the food.
1002 North Coast Highway 101 (west side, between La Costa Avenue and Leucadia Blvd)