We were both having a very busy day on Friday and I figured after I made us nice grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch at home that we might head out for dinner. I was thinking of something fresh made with great flavor and a bit different….turned out my wife was having the same thoughts and we agreed that it was CHIKO for dinner. We rocked up to the main entrance just after 6 pm and amazingly my wife parked her car within 10 feet of the front door.

The place was packed as we suspected it would be plus a bunch of customers were waiting inside for their take-out orders. A young dude placed menus in our hands within seconds of us entering… these guys are switched on to good & fast service ! I love the food here but sadly it’s been a fair while since we’ve been here. I checked earlier on Instagram and they said they had hazy IPA’s…my preferred liquid gold. So we fronted up at the counter to order after deciding on our dinner items.

A cheery young lady name Danyll took our order for Chicken Spring Rolls, Shrimp & Toast (a new menu item)…both appetizers and an entree of the sensational Orange-Ish Chicken ( we had to have it ). I found a Modern Times “Orderville” Hazy – Mosaic IPA in the self serve cold bin below the service counter with the help of a staff member. Lookin’ good here ! My God we even scored the same table as last time just inside the front entrance out of the draught. There were new customers walking in the door every 15 seconds…..these guys are rockin’ ! My hazy IPA tasted great and before we knew it the Chicken Spring Rolls plus dipping sauce arrived on our table. Love ’em…..don’t know what’s in that sauce but it’s great.

The new menu item…..Shrimp + Toast hit our table in a huge metal bowl. Eric the restaurant GM & Head Chef recommended it when I spoke with him earlier. What a huge serve with stacks of pan grilled shrimp and 2 big halves of Ciabatta Toast to scoop it up with. It was soooo delicious ! We were having a nice chat with a married couple at the adjacent table. They were here because they got tired of waiting for a table at Herb & Sea up the road. They said it was over a 2 hour wait to get a table.

Who cares…..the food here is probably better ! Our humongous serve of Orange-Ish Chicken came with dipping sauce plus a huge bowl of fluffy White Rice. Ha ha my wife barely touched it because the Chicken Spring Rolls and Shrimp + Toast had filled her little tummy. I’m knocking back my nice hazy IPA and chomping away on Orange-Ish Chicken..gee I missed the tasty food here ! So I pretty much demolished all of the crunchy chicken pieces and thought…..I can go dessert which I’ve never tried here.

I had a quick chat again with Eric the GM /Chef and he reckoned I would love the Sesame Custard. So back to the cashier desk and lovely Danyll to order dessert. Within a couple of minutes this huge metal bowl came out to our table. There was a lot going on in that bowl and I got stuck into it. Very unique combinations of all sorts of things with lots of tantalizing flavor bursts. Wow was I full or what ! This place really knows how to kick butt with fast friendly service and food with incredible flavor !

Restaurant Details


101 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024


(760) 230 1076

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About the Author

Michael Burke

Michael Burke

I'm an expat Aussie ( now a naturalized American citizen ) who moved to Southern California in 2006 with my American born wife Sherri. I like to write reviews about the most memorable restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, brew pubs and anything new that we find in our travels. I particularly look for excellent food & beverage consistency, good value for money plus friendly service.
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