If you’ve never heard of Temecula Valley, California, then you certainly won’t know where to eat there. That was my problem when I arrived in town to start my three-day adventure in Southern California wine country. I had no clue where to eat in Temecula. Does this town have a good food scene? Will I be able to get a good cup of coffee in the morning to start my day? These questions raced through my mind as I arrived. Thankfully, the first ting I did when I got to town was scout out Old Town Temecula to check out the restaurant options. A few places caught my eye which made me relax and start to get hungry. Time to start my culinary tour of Temecula Valley. God, please help my waistline.
E.A.T. Marketplace & Eatery – The first place I recommend you visit in Temecula, is one of the last places I visited. E.A.T. Marketplace is the type of place I would be visiting every day if I lived in Temecula. A great coffee counter serving Cold Brew, drip and pour over coffee from Roast House Coffee, a bakery counter serving up treats and a bistro with table service. E.AT. Marketplace does all that, and they are passionate about local, sustainable products with a focus on Gluten Free and other dietary concerns. For breakfast one morning, I had a Gluten Free Scone, a Paleo Breakfast Bowl and a coffee tasting to determine which roast was my favourite. Turns out it was the F-Bomb and the Italian roasts.
Devilicious – What do you get when you take a Food Truck, put it on Food Network’s The Geat Food Truck Race, become super popular and live in Temecula. Why you open up a restaurant version of the food truck. That is what the family who owns Devilicious have done. You can find the food trucks in San Diego, but their restaurant is in Temecula Valley, where they serve all of the favourites plus a few more options. It almost killed me but I gorged on the Pork Belly Melt Sandwich, Fried Onion Rings and Bacon Garlic Parmesan Fries. There are certainly lighter options on the menu but damn these were all devilicous!
Cork Fire Kitchen – A little ways out of Old Town Temecula you will find the Temecula Creek Inn, home to Cork Fire Kitchen. Absolutely worth a visit in my opinion. Start off with the Shrimp and Bacon Donut Holes for an appetizer followed by Roasted Mary’s Chicken Two Ways. Both are outstanding and if you still have room for more follow it up with a slice of Flourless Chocolate Ganache Cake. Simply divine and they have a nice wine list as well.
South Coast Winery Vineyard Rose – one of the wineries you are sure to visit on your wine tour through the region is South Coast Winery. Time your visit to include dinner and head to their Vintage Rose Restaurant where Executive Chef Gary Treahy will blow you away. I was craving steak the night I dined here and the 12oz Grilled Ribeye with Balsamic Brussels Sprouts was cooked perfectly. Dessert was an ice cream made with South Coast Wineries own Black Jack Cherry Port. I highly recommend you pair the ice cream with the Port… heavenly. Next time I’m back in Temecula I’m booking a Chef’s Table dinner with some friends so that Chef Treahy can wow us as we watch.
Crush & Brew – As the name suggests Crush & Brew offers something for both the wine lover and the beer drinker. Located in Old Town Temecula, I popped inside Crush & Brew within a couple of hours after arriving in town. My first order was a tasting flight of beer and a Burger to go with it. The beer quenched my thirst while the German Burger topped with Pastrami and Braised Sweet Cabbage filled me up. A great intro to the Temecula food scene and I bet at night it is a popular place to hang out and meet the locals.
Mad Madeline’s Grill – Since 1991 Mad Madeline’s has been serving burgers, fries and milkshakes to the people of Temecula and now in 2016, you can add me to the list. A Bacon Cheeseburger with home cut Fries and a Root Beer Float is what I ordered, and that is exactly what I got. It’s not fancy, but it is damn good. I am glad I don’t live in Temecula because there is no doubt I would eat here at least once a week, maybe more… No surprise that they’ve won Reader’s Choice awards for Best Hamburger multiple years in a row. Oh, and did I tell you that everything is made fresh daily? That includes fresh Beef never frozen and fries cut the same day you eat them. Excellence is in the details.
Havana Kitchen – Craving Cuban? In Temecula, you would visit Havana Kitchen in Old Town. I really did want to try out the food here, but unfortunately, I ran out of meal times and room on my belt. I did swing by to grab a coffee while I strolled Old Town though and if the food matches the coffee I will be back here the next time I’m in town. After all, you expect Cuban food in Florida and Mexican in California, so I’m curious to see how authentic they are. Next time.
So there you have six places I loved and one Cuban restaurant I will certainly visit the next time I’m in Temecula. Without a doubt, there are a few others places on my radar to try as well, but I think this solves the where to eat in Temecula quandary I had when I first arrived. If you are wondering where to find that Maple Bacon Donut at the top, check out E.A.T. Marketplace and tell them I sent you.