TASTE Bud’s TIPS
Must-try specialties and delicacies from our foodie-in-chief
“Temecula Taste Bud” is Visit Temecula Valley’s culinary ambassador. He has the very tough job of eating and drinking his way through town on a mission to introduce our visitors to the best dishes and sips. Here are 10 Taste Bud-approved local specialties for your dining radar. Follow our YouTube channel or watch his video series at visittemecula.com for more culinary inspiration.
Old Town’s 1909 is legendary for their branded 1909 Burger—the brioche bun is literally branded 1909. A specially blended 8 oz. patty comprised of three different meats is topped with sharp white cheddar cheese, bacon onion jam, tomato, garlic aioli and wild arugula.
Temecula has the good fortune of being home to one of six Donut Bar locations. Revered as the most award-winning donuts in the country, Chef Santiago’s decadent, Instagrammable doughy creations will blow your mind and wow your taste buds. Try a staple like the French Toast Donut, a gooey sweet-and-savory donut sandwich or one of the seasonal specials. Go early because they often sell out before the official 1:00 p.m. closing time.
Oak Grove Culinary Creations is a coffee shop and bakery that does amazing work to support foster children and at-risk youth. So, you can feel extra good about biting into their out-of-this-world sweet treats. You can’t go wrong with the cinnamon buns available on Cin-Fridays, the many riffs on S’mores and their signature peanut butter bars.
E.A.T. Marketplace (a.k.a. Extraordinary Artisan Table) is all about seasonal, wholesome fare prepared with locally sourced ingredients. There are so many tasty temptations on the breakfast and all-day menus and in the bakery case. Go for one of the hearty EAT Bowls so you can try a bit of everything—plus, the bowls give you a great base for a day of wine tasting.
Maurice Car’rie Winery
Maurice Car’rie Winery is renowned for their freshly-baked sourdough bread filled with garlicky brie. It’s downright addictive and makes the perfect accompaniment to their award-winning white wines.
Goat & Vine
At Goat & Vine, it’s all about the pizzas made in their stone hearth oven. Gravitate towards creative combinations like Jalapeño Lime Carnitas, Steak Gorgonzola and Hatch Chili Honey Chicken, or go for The Purist, a classic margherita-esque style.
Toast is a newer local favorite serving stellar brunch fare daily. “The Farm” Bloody Mary is a meal in and of itself with an elaborate garnish of beef bacon, breakfast meatballs, a deep-fried bleu cheese olive, smoked cheddar, pickled asparagus and more.
As the name suggests, Devilicious Eatery & Taproom is all about “food so good, it’s bad.” The celebrated restaurant got its start as a food truck that earned a ton of press. You’ll understand what the buzz is all about when you try the Duck Confit Grilled Cheese with gruyere, mozzarella, caramelized onions and a honey port reduction on butter toasted sourdough.
Crush & Brew
The Lobster Mac & Cheese is the most sinfully delicious dish at Crush & Brew. It’s prepared with lobster claw meat, white wine, cream, bechamel, gruyere, parmesan and cheddar. Talk about yum! Wash it down with one of the 30 craft beers on tap or a craft cocktail.
Cork | Fire Kitchen
Stroll into Cork | Fire Kitchen at Temecula Creek Inn to try a handcrafted cocktail while refreshing your vibe with a spectacular view of a championship golf course. Tip: extend your stay to indulge in a delectable brunch with your choice from sweet to savory selections!
Table for Two
The top restaurants for romance
There’s something inherently romantic about wine country, so it’s no surprise that Temecula is such a popular destination for couple’s weekends, proposals, honeymoons and weddings. Our dining scene serves up a feast for all of the senses and you can share memorable meals in settings that ooze ambiance. Think winery restaurants overlooking vineyards, softly lit stylish hot spots and Old Town classics with intimate nooks. When wooing is in order, you can’t go wrong booking a table at one of these leading eateries.
The winery restaurant experience is a Temecula signature. Take in the vineyard views while enjoying lunch or dinner on Avensole Winery Restaurant’s picturesque terrace. Their oyster selection offers just the right aphrodisiac to get your meal started. The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars specializes in award-winning, French-inflected California cuisine that’s perfect for sharing. And with all outdoor seating, you’ll have an extra excuse to sit even closer on cooler evenings while nestled under the glittering lights. The Restaurant at Ponte Family Estate Winery is deservedly rated among the top 100 restaurants in the United States for al fresco dining. The cuisine earns equally high marks, and the chefs are dedicated to sourcing sustainable and organic ingredients as reflected on the creative lunch and dinner menus. Mama Rosa’s Trattoria at Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery embraces the family’s Italian heritage with their comfort food classics. The brick oven turns out delectable pizzas that pair beautifully with their robust reds.
Enjoy a shared pasta moment à la Lady & The Tramp at Gourmet Italia. The cozy Sicilian restaurant has been pleasing palates for 20 years and has a charming Old World feel with white tablecloths and red walls. The classic Italian dishes are prepared with ingredients sourced from their six-acre garden as well as specialty products imported from Italy.
Bluewater Grill Seafood Restaurant is for seafood lovers. The family-run Southern California mini chain serves the best seafood in the heart of wine country. Dive into luscious shellfish platters and the freshest catch in the bright airy space with an understated nautical vibe. If you and your amour are seeking a lively night on the town, head to Baily’s Old Town Temecula where fine dining service is paired to live music. After savoring the menu of traditional American classics, keep your date night going with dancing at their nightclub.