The welcome mat is always out at Come On In. Even the name is inviting.
The restaurant has been a favorite with the local crowd for years, and it's no mystery why the friendly little eatery is still on top of the heap. Owner Albert Sifuentes takes pride in the fact that Come On In serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week, in addition to its full service bakery menu.
The wonder is that everything can be made from scratch in the restaurant's one and only kitchen. The bakery items alone number in the dozens, so even folks who don't stay for a meal often come for coffee and to stock up on cakes, breads, cookies, pies, tarts and other delectables.
With its warm and friendly interior - a mix of butter yellow walls, wood-beamed ceilings, table and counter dining areas, the restaurant is as welcoming as its name. Despite its cozy look, the seating capacity is 28.
When the weather is sunny and balmy, the outdoor patio - which Come On In shares with a few other little eateries off Torrey Pines Road - is bustling, especially during breakfast and lunch hours.
The lunch menu abounds with appealing salads, sandwiches and homemade soups. Don't miss the signature Come On In salad ($8.95), a mix of field greens, caramelized pecans, gorgonzola cheese and green apple slices and topped with chunks of grilled chicken. It comes with a delicious balsamic dressing.
Among the other tempting salads on the menu are traditional Cobb, arugula with shaved parmesan and poached chicken, tuna, curried chicken or standard chicken salad and baby spinach tossed with an apple pecan dressing. The salads range in price from $4.95 for Caesar to $8.95.
Try one of the focaccia sandwiches. Vegetarians love the roasted eggplant with grilled zucchini, bell peppers, tomato and mozzarella ($6.95). But this hearty sandwich is so good, you don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy it. Like all the sandwiches at Come On In, this one is served with assorted greens on the side.
If you love a good burger, try the Angus beef patties. These beauties, served with all the fixings and a green salad, cost $7.50 or $7.95 with cheese.
Come On In takes on a different personality for dinner. The lighting is softer, tablecloths and cloth napkins are used, and the wait staff provides sit-down service. No ordering at the counter for the dinner crowd.
As the menu states, "The idea of Come On In dinner time is based on a Euro bistro, with different flavors from all over Europe." Of course, the cuisine still has a California flair, with fresh ingredients and daily specials.
Come On In's dinner menu reflects that international flavor with fiesta di mare ($16.95), a dish of tiger shrimp, black mussels, clams and fresh salmon in saffron broth, served over linguini, and veal parmesan ($16.95), Italian-style veal scaloppini topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce.
The extensive appetizer list features black bean chili ($3.85), a vegetarian black bean chili topped off with cheddar cheese, sour cream and cilantro, and Mediterranean eggplant ($7.95) among other delightful dishes. The eggplant is rolled and stuffed with pinenuts, raisins and bread crumbs, then topped off with fresh tomato and mozzarella.
Dine on Thursday evening and savor the lamb shank ($18.95), a braised lamb shank prepared with fresh mint, apples and vegetables in a Barolo wine reduction. Salmon giudea ($17.95) is another interesting choice, with pinenuts, sweet red onions and golden raisins to perk up the flavor of the salmon.
Up until three years ago, Come On In was closed Monday, and some folks still don't know they're open seven days a week now. Since breakfast is served until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Come On In makes a great brunch destination, with items the likes of corn meal pancakes with banana, strawberries or two eggs ( $6.95), portobello omelette ($6.95), and homemade granola with milk and fruit ($4.50).
Come On In is a restaurant, a cafe, a bakery and a pleasant place to sip your coffee and enjoy a wonderful piece of pastry. The restaurant features a nice wine list and catering is available as well.
Come On In is at 1030B Torrey Pines Road. For information, call (858) 551-1063.