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La Jolla, California's Newest Ocean-View Café

Caroline’s is perched on a sandstone bluff and serves up a 180° blue-water panorama, as well as healthy, California-style meals.

Some time ago, I wrote about “San Diego’s Best Beach Breakfast,” which described Snackropolis on the SIO (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) campus. However, that landmark closed in early August when Caroline’s Seaside Café opened in the nearby Scripps Seaside Forum.

Caroline’s is named for the wife of Nico Nierenberg, whose father William A. Nirenberg served as director of SIO from 1965 to 1986. Dr. Nierenberg helped build Scripps into one of the world’s leading environmental research institutions.

I’m so nuts about this place, that I’ve already enjoyed lunch and the amazing view at least a half dozen times. So far my favorite midday meal is the chicken Caesar salad, but I also really enjoy the poached pear and goat cheese salad, and the turkey wrap. I’ve been told that Caroline Nierenberg’s favorite is the tuna melt.

Breakfast items include oatmeal, housemade buttermilk pancakes, and freshly-baked bagels.

This is Chef Giuseppe Ciuffa’s third café in San Diego. The others are the popular Museum Café at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla and The Sculpture Garden Café in Balboa Park.

Born in Ferrara, the food capital of Northern Italy, Giuseppe relies on fresh ingredients from regional California farms and olive oil from his family’s farm in Italy. He arrived in San Diego in 1994 and shortly thereafter opened La Taverna in La Jolla.

Caroline’s is open 7am to 4pm Monday – Friday and 8am to 3pm weekends, except during UCSD holidays and campus closures. Diners have the choice of indoor or terrace seating – both provide a view of La Jolla Shores Beach and the ocean from Scripps Pier all the way south to the village area of La Jolla.

No need to worry about the dress code here, but a few tips about parking are in order. Please note that there is no public parking Monday - Friday in the lot near the café (8610 Kennel Way). On weekends, diners may park here, but must purchase a permit at the pay station in the parking lot and display it on their dashboard. During the week, I suggest you park on one of the streets in the adjacent neighborhood (such as El Paseo Grande or Paseo del Ocaso) or find a spot in the lot at Kellogg Park and walk up the beach to the café.

Trust me. You’re going to love this place.

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