Claire’s on Cedros [Article]

Claire’s on Cedros is located in the beautiful seaside town of Solana Beach. It is a short walk from the Amtrak station on North Cedros. Claire’s has a very welcoming feel about it. From the moment you walk under the archway through the courtyard, up onto the porch and into the cafe you have a sense of comfort and being welcomed.

We arrived around 9:30 for brunch and were told it would be about a 20 minute wait. We opted to be sat inside or outside on the patio whichever was available first. We were in no hurry, it was a gorgeous pleasantly warm sunny day. To the left of the main door on the porch they had information about how Claire’s is a sustainable cafe and how they were the first restaurant in San Diego to achieved a LEED Platinum certification. I didn’t get too far into reading about it as we were called in to be seated. Our 20 minute wait was less than 5 minutes as they had two no shows. Awesome!

We were seated inside at a round table set for three. Looking around there were a few three seater round tables. Most restaurants would cram four seats around a table this size. I liked that they didn’t cram extra seats around tables. This gave the feeling of spaciousness and made you feel you weren’t being packed in as some places do.

Our waitress was Christina and she was awesome. She asked if we had been there before and we told her no it was our first time. She explained about how Claire’s was a bakery and all their breads, pastries, and desserts were made fresh on premises. YUM!! She then pointed to the menu and told us that Claire’s are known for their Clairecakes (pancakes).

Have2Brunch | Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Claire's on Cedros | Orange Juice
Large Orange Juice served in Mason Jars

Looking at the menu they also have Gluten free options on their menu. YES!! But then when faced with fresh baked goods I tend to throw the gluten free thing out the window and suffer the consequences later. We ordered large OJ and waters for our drinks. According to Christina they have very good coffees, but not being coffee drinkers we wouldn’t know and would just have to take her word for it.

I decided to go with my favourite brunch item Eggs Benedict, they had three types to choose from; Salmon Cake, Tuscan or Regular. I actually wanted the Salmon Cake Benedict alas, the Salmon Cakes had onions in them and as I’m allergic to onions that got crossed off the list. I then went with option number two Tuscan Benedict and added Canadian Bacon to it. I then had the option of traditional English Muffin or Croissant. Well I’d never had Benedicts on Croissant before so I opted for that. For my side I chose the roasted herb potatoes.

When my dish came out I was surprised to see I had a Tuscan Benedict Croissant Sandwich. The Croissant was light and flaky and not squashed after being sliced open as normally happens. It was lightly toasted on the inside. The Canadian Bacon had been chopped up and mixed in with the spinach, roasted tomatoes and pesto. Eggs were on top of the spinach mixture with Hollandaise Sauce over the eggs and then the top half of the croissant. I removed the top half of the croissant so I could get to the Benedict underneath.

Have2Brunch | Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Kasey Kiwi | Claire's on Cedros | Tuscan Benedict
Kasey Kiwi checks out Tuscan Benedict

The Tuscan Benedict was delicious! The eggs were poached just the way I like them…with very runny yolks. Using fresh ingredients in the dish gave the dish that something extra. There is a huge difference in flavours when something is made from scratch with fresh ingredients. You can’t replicate the flavours with canned or preserved ingredients. I love it when a restaurant uses nothing but fresh from the garden goodness. YUM!!! The top of the croissant was light, flaky and buttery. Haven’t had a good croissant like that since we were in Europe.

What did Brad think of his dish?

“I had the Lemon Ricotta combination pancakes. The serving comes with two generous size pancakes, two eggs your choice and a side of meat.  For the eggs I had two over medium and had sausage for the meat.  The eggs actually came over easy and not medium but for me that is fine. I tend to order over medium as I have had too many cases in the past if I order over easy the eggs just are not cooked enough for my liking.  In this case the eggs were cooked fine so I did not bother to send them back.

Have2Brunch | Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Kasey Kiwi | Claire's on Cedros | Lemon Ricotta Clairecakes
Kasey Kiwi checks out Lemon Ricotta Clairecakes

One thing I noticed right away was the light aroma of the lemon ricotta pancakes. The aroma gave hints of what was in store when I bite into the pancakes.  The pancakes themselves were light and fluffy.  You could easily taste the lemon ricotta in each bite but a few of the bites had a slightly stronger flavoring, which I found rather nice.  As I have grown older and dealt with various issues I have noticed that I can no longer eat as much as I once did.  The portion size was plenty for me and I was glad that there was not any more.”

When the check arrived it had two Oatcake Heart Cookies sitting on top of a napkin. They are a signature cookie of Claire’s, have no nuts and were delish! We were going to check out the bakery display before we left but it was too tempting after having that cookie. Maybe next time I will have a little more willpower.

Overall our impression of Claire’s on Cedros was very positive. We loved the atmosphere of the restaurant. It was relaxed and casual. They did not rush you through your meal and with how they had the tables laid out and the number of chairs the place was full but not packed. Lots of elbow room. When we left we checked with the Hostess on the wait time. At 10:30am on a Sunday morning they were at about a 30-40 minute wait. We were told this was not typical. There was an event in Cardiff by the Sea on that day that meant a drop in their normal Sunday business. Their normal wait time is about 1-1.5 hours at that time of the day and Sunday is their most popular day. The good part is you can call ahead and put your name on the list so you are not waiting around outside to be seated.

Have you been to Claire’s on Cedros for brunch? What were your impressions? Please leave your comments below and let us know.