Temecula may be best known for its wine, but the city’s innovative restaurateurs and skilled chefs are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the international culinary stage. There was a time when you had to look hard to find top-notch restaurants in Temecula, but those days are long gone. Now, there are plenty of excellent dining options in the city.
This historic town really knows how to celebrate delicious food, and it’s only about an hour’s drive north of San Diego. Temecula is home to a wide variety of drinking and dining establishments, including pubs, breweries, wineries, restaurants with cowboy themes, and upscale restaurants with white linen tablecloths.
The following are some restaurants that you simply must go to if you want an experience that will satisfy your taste buds.
You don’t feel like going out to a restaurant tonight, do you? Simply click this link to have Grubhub bring you delicious food delivered straight from the best restaurants in town to your front door.
During your time in Temecula, make sure not to skip out on the following opportunities to become more familiar with the city (and hurry up while you still can!):
- Wine Tasting and Lunch Included on This All-Inclusive Temecula Tour
- Amazing Treasure Hunting Thrill in Beautiful Temecula
- 1 15 Must Try Temecula Restaurants
- 1.1 Café Champagne Restaurant
- 1.2 Meritage Restaurant at Callaway Winery
- 1.3 The Pinnacle Restaurant
- 1.4 Creekside Grille
- 1.5 BOTTAIA Winery Experience
- 1.6 The Goat and Vine
- 1.7 The Nightingale
- 1.8 Bluewater Grill
- 1.9 The Gambling Cowboy
- 1.10 Devilicious Eatery
- 1.11 Havana Kitchen
- 1.12 Crush & Brew
- 1.13 1909 Temecula
- 1.14 Garage Brewing Company
- 1.15 PUBlic House
15 Must Try Temecula Restaurants
Café Champagne Restaurant
32575 Rancho California Rd. // 951-699-0099
Café Champagne is one of our favorite Temecula winery restaurants. Located on the grounds of Thornton Winery, the French country-inspired eatery serves up some amazing food with beautiful vineyard views.
No one comes to the Café without ordering the Signature Brie en Croute topped with warm honey and walnuts. It’s no surprise it’s been on the menu forever. Loyal patrons absolutely love it.
While you’re there, enjoy a flight of Thornton Winery’s sparkling wines made using the traditional French Methodé Champenoise. They have such a great service!
Meritage Restaurant at Callaway Winery
32720 Rancho California Rd. // 951-587-8889
On the grounds of Callaway Winery, you’ll find the restaurant Meritage, which offers a refined yet unpretentious dining experience perched high above the picturesque rolling hills and vineyards of Temecula Wine Country. Lunch is served Monday through Friday at Meritage, and dinner is served on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Customers have the option of ordering off the standard menu or selecting something from the Prix Fixe menu, which includes three courses.
We are big fans of the tapas offered at Meritage, particularly the Poke Nachos, the Roasted Pork Belly Cubes with Apple and Chilis, and the Rhode Island Tempura Calamari.
A variety of salads, sandwiches, and entrees, all of which can be paired with vintages from Temecula’s first and most renowned winery, can be found on the menu at Meritage. It’s the kind of experience that sticks with you. And there is no additional cost for taking in the breathtaking views of the setting sun.
The Pinnacle Restaurant
40620 Calle Contento // 951-676-8231
The Pinnacle Restaurant at the winery offers breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding landscape. The restaurant’s indoor and outdoor patio seating, along with its cuisine that is inspired by the Mediterranean, combine to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
One of the crowd favorites here is the crispy Brussels Sprouts, which are prepared with sliced almonds, goat cheese crumbles, and dried cranberries, and then finished with a fried egg and hibiscus drizzle. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of adding an egg to the plate after the main course, but this dish may have changed my mind.
35960 Rancho California Rd. // 951-699-9463
The Sunday Buffet at Wilson Creek Winery’s Creekside Grille Restaurant is by far one of the best buffets we’ve ever experienced. In addition, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner throughout the week as well.
The buffet includes an array of incredible food stations-especially the Prime Rib carving area and fresh seafood section consisting of you-peel shrimp, crab legs and claws, omelets, waffles, desserts and so much more. At $55.95 per person, it may sound pricey, but it’s worth every penny especially when it includes your choice of unlimited sparkling fine wines.
Surrounded by picturesque verdant grounds with fountains and waterfalls, Creekside is a superb fun place with excellent food in Temecula!
BOTTAIA Winery Experience
35601 Rancho California Road, Temecula // 951-365-3388
Even though it does not have a restaurant, the newest winery to hit the Temecula scene offers something that cannot be found at any other winery in Temecula: the most magnificent seated Charcuterie and wine pairing experience.
The modern, sophisticated, and stylish BOTTAIA winery, which takes its inspiration from Italy, has raised the bar for high-quality wine and delicious food pairings. Charcuterie plates at this establishment feature an assortment of meats, cheese, olives, and other Italian delicacies, and these plates are paired with BOTTAIA’s impressive crafted Italian varietals in a manner that is both careful and selective.
Each and every bite and taste was described as “a match made in heaven” by both myself and my dining companion. The winery is only open on Wednesdays through Sundays, and reservations are required to visit.
The Goat and Vine
41911 5th Street Ste. 100 // 951-695-5600
The culinary staff at The Goat and Vine, which takes its name from a fable by Aesop, begins their day at four in the morning by gathering in the restaurant’s kitchen with a stone hearth to handcraft their homemade bread and pizza dough. The Goat and Vine prepares every dish from scratch, and although the menu isn’t particularly extensive, the items on it are outstanding.
The restaurant is known for its extraordinary selection of innovative pizzas, such as the Goats Garden pizza, which is topped with roasted cremini mushrooms, goat cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, spinach, white wine ricotta cream sauce, and sun-dried tomatoes.
You only need to take one bite to realize why people start waiting in line at 11 in the morning to get a table. But save room for dessert. The Jack Cappuccino Ice Cream Cake is a delectable dessert that features cookie crunch as well as chocolate and caramel drizzle.
41923 2nd St., Ste 102 // 951-506-9929
The proprietors of The Goat and Vine have introduced Old Town to their newest venture, which goes by the name The Nightingale. This modern-day elegant but charming restaurant is almost a throwback to the Great Gatsby era.
They have a menu that changes with the seasons and it is really well put out. The pasta served here is cooked from scratch, and the Short Rib Pappardelle is a crowd favorite.
Due to the fact that I am such a big admirer, I decided to give The Nightingale’s Ciopinno a go. I’m going to come right out and say that it’s the finest thing I’ve ever eaten, no matter where I was.
Even though we were too full for dessert, our waitress insisted that we had to at least taste one of their specialty desserts, which was the Salted Caramel Smores Bar. The fact that we were even able to complete this layered sweet pleasure inspired by s’mores speaks everything about how delicious it was.
26700 Ynez Court // 951-308-2722
Temecula’s Bluewater Grill is the place to go to dine if you’re looking for the freshest fish that’s been caught in an environmentally responsible way and sure to satisfy your need for seafood. The restaurant even has its own own swordfish harpoon boat that it runs off of Newport Coast, and it buys all of its other seafood every day from local fisherman.
There is little doubt that the Oysters on the Half Shell, their Chowder that won an award, the Cedar Plank Salmon, and the Whole Roasted Fish are the most popular dinner options.
You don’t like fish, do you? No issue. The comprehensive menu at Bluewater also features a wide variety of dishes that do not use fish.
The Gambling Cowboy
42072 5th Street // 951-699-2895
The sophisticated turn-of-the-century Gambling Cowboy and Saloon, which can be found in the center of Temecula Old Town, is known for serving corn-fed beef of the finest possible quality and does it in an atmosphere that is conducive to gourmet dining. The Gambling Cowboy is open for business for breakfast, lunch, and supper, but everyone knows that evening is when they’ll see the most foot traffic.
It is simple to see why the steaks served here, such as the Ribeye, Prime Rib, and New York Strip, are of such high quality. It’s a well-known fact that the servings served here are more than enough for splitting, so feel free to bring a friend.
Cowboy Kisses are our favorite must-have beginning. They are Applewood bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with serrano cream cheese and served over The Cowboy’s spicy Asian sauce. These Cowboy Kisses are sweet and spicy and will leave your mouth watering. You may not want to tell anybody about this one!
28693 Old Town Front Street // 951-506-4024
After sampling the tantalizing food options available at Devilicious Eatery, it is not surprising that what began as a well-known food truck has expanded into much more than it originally was. The cuisine at Delicious Eatery is a creative take on traditional American bar fare. Diners are sure to return for more of the Bacon Wrapped Mac and Cheese, the California Cheesesteak, and the famous Butter Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese if they order any of these dishes.
The Apparition Room, which can be found in the rear of Devilicious Eatery, requires that patrons make reservations in advance. This speakeasy’s claim to fame is that it boldly creates new fun and funky libations that dazzle the taste buds using traditional classic cocktails such as the Whiskey Sour and the Sidecar.
41955 5th Street #101 // 951-699-7300
The culinary traditions of Cuba are honored at Havana Kitchen, a cozy and laid-back restaurant nestled away in Old Town Temecula. Havana Kitchen is a hidden gem. We were there on a weekend trip when we happened onto it by chance at lunch, and we are very happy that we did.
From breakfast to supper, every item on the menu at Havana Kitchen is prepared from scratch and made to order. Customers place their orders at the counter, and wait staff brings it to them at their tables. Everything we sampled from their large menu was fantastic, and it did not disappoint. The Cubano Sandwich, which came with a side of delectable plantains, and the Cuban Joe, which was made famous at the iconic Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana, Cuba, were undeniably the highlights of the meal.
Those who like coffee really ought to sample the Cuban Sal Latte, which is prepared by combining two shots of espresso, milk, sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt (the secret ingredient). It’s great.
Crush & Brew
28544 Front Street // 951-693-4567
Crush & Brew is a lively artisan restaurant located on the main drag in Old Town Temecula that celebrates the local craft brew movement and wine culture along with some outstanding dishes like their tantalizing Lobster Mac & Cheese and tender, flavorful Steak Au Poivre. Crush & Brew also serves some of the best wine in the area. The Roasted Beet and Burrata salad is an absolute triumph and has a generous portion size that makes it ideal for sharing. Because it is crafted using only fresh components, it has a really pleasant taste.
The rear of Crush & Brew has a secret entrance that the vast majority of people are completely oblivious of even being there. However, beyond that hidden door is where you’ll find the other speakeasy in town, which is called the Thompson & Twain Prospecting Co. However, reservations are required in order to experience what can only be described as a “journey back in time.” Their cocktails pay homage to the inventiveness of their bartenders by using names like Rattlesnake, Dead Ringer, and Snake in the Sand. The interior design of the establishment is themed after the American Old West.
28656 Old Town Front St. // 951-252-1909
An antique historic building that resembles a warehouse and has a tin roof. It was originally used as a trade post and livery houses in Temecula in 1909. Don’t be fooled by the place’s seemingly rural atmosphere, however. This is not your typical fare served at a bar.
The restaurant prides itself on producing handcrafted fluids and foodstuff, and both the drinks and the meals are excellent examples of this philosophy. The Roasted Garlic and Gouda Mac was definitely one of our top choices. This is not the Mac and Cheese you had as a child since it is made with smoked Gouda, white and sharp yellow cheddar, cremini mushrooms, asparagus, roasted garlic, and is topped with panko bread crumbs, bacon, and green onion. A word of caution, though: you won’t want to split it with anybody else.
Every night, antique automobiles go up and down Front Street, which is the major strip in the town. If you are sitting on the outside patio, you will have a clear view of them.
Garage Brewing Company
29095 Old Town Front Street // 951-587-2537
The Garage Brewing Company is stepping it up a notch with its gutsy and top notch selection of craft beers, which includes 25 house-made craft brews that are available in draft form. Mango Hefeweizen, Hatch Chile IPA, and Marshmallow Milk Stout are some of the crowd-pleasers that can be found on tap at Garage Brewing Company’s taproom, where the company promises each and every customer an unforgettable experience.
Pizza and beer are a classic pairing, and you absolutely have to try out this place’s custom-designed and wood-fired pizzas. Before going through a minimum of two days of cold fermentation, the dough that Garage Brewing Company uses is prepared on a daily basis in their kitchen using the finest Italian milled double 00 flour.
What is the result? Incredible deliciousness that makes one’s mouth water.
41971 Main Street // 951-676-7305
At PUBlic House, a hip Temecula gastropub, seasonal farm-to-table offerings pay homage to the rich variety of Southern California’s produce, meats, and seafood by showcasing these items in creative new ways.
Diners have their choice of sitting inside, on the balcony, or in the lush patio garden for their meals. In addition to mouthwatering chicken, beef, pork, and fish options, the menu features a variety of delectable and inventive gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian dishes as well as other delicious food choices.
The Spicy, But Gouda Burger and the PeachPork, each an 8-ounce loin with creamy polenta and grilled squash topped with Chipotle Peach Plum Sauce and crispy arugula, are the restaurant’s two most notable dishes. The former features smoked grass-fed ground Wagyu beef on citrus slaw with smoked gouda, fried jalapenos, and roasted poblano, while the latter features smoked goud
Which of these restaurants in Temecula do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
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