Le Papagayo

Written by www.casago.com’s Local Expert
Le Papagayo in Carlsbad, California showing their beet salad dish.
Recommended dish at Le Papagayo in Carlsbad, CA.
Le Papagayo ice cream dessert.
Interior bar at Le Papagayo Carlsbad, CA.
Le Papagayo exterior.
Live music at Le Papagayo.
Big screen TVs and interior bar at Le Papagayo, Encinitas, CA.
Specialty cocktail at Le Papagayo in Encinitas, California.
Le Papagayo patio seating.
Interior wine shelf at Le Papagayo in Encinitas, CA.


Le Papagayo, in Carlsbad, knocked it out of the park! I’m always on the hunt for a new Happy Hour spot and it’s rare when you find one that not only ticks all the boxes but then throws in a surprise or two. 

And it’s always a bonus to find a great spot that saves you a few bucks, has awesome food, ambiance, inviting indoor and outdoor spaces, tasty drinks, and—wait for it—live music on top of it all! Not only did I find one of the best Happy Hour spots in Carlsbad, but they also have locations in Encinitas and Leucadia too. Cha-ching!

I showed up with just about an hour left on their Happy Hour Menu offerings so I started off with a Firestone Walker 805 draft and perused the amazing menu. I asked the bartender, Darby her opinions on the most popular items and her favorites—but admittedly I pretty much had my mind made up as soon as I looked at the menu. 

Spending half of my life in Mexico I’m always in search of the best birria wherever I go—it has become a lifelong quest that has taken me from street vendors in Los Angeles to all over Mexico and many places in between. 

So when I saw the Birria Eggrolls it was a no-brainer. 

After ordering my Birria Eggrolls, I obviously needed some tacos too—so I opted for a couple of Duck Tacos and I also ordered the Papagayo Salad (roasted beets, avocado, tomatoes, goat cheese, chopped baby romaine, and sangria vinaigrette). 

As I waited for my food I chatted with fellow Happy Hour-er and local resident Marty who had just returned from a week in Mexico City with his wife and daughter. They all absolutely loved their trip—the scenery, history, architecture, and culture, so we had a lot to talk about. 

I then met Manny, the manager of Le Papagayo Carlsbad who has been going down to San Felipe, BCS since he was a kid. His family is best friends with one of the largest shrimping families in the area, so he had plenty of great experiences to share. 

I also learned that he has been to Puerto Peñasco, which is where I have a Ranchito and have spent half of my life, so we chatted for a long, long time. He was such a pleasure to talk to and it was so much fun talking about all of the stuff we had in common! 

It was lovely chatting with Manny so be sure to say hello when you stop into Le Papagayo.

And somewhere in between my tacos, great conversation, and waiting for my Buttercake, the Zach Gutierrez Trio began to play so I jumped off my barstool and went inside to watch a set. Note for next time, they live broadcast the band on a large-screen TV above the bar, so you can happily enjoy your meal. 

Whether you are looking for great food, yummy cocktails, or fun live music, I highly recommend Le Papagayo in North County San Diego as must stop! 


Le Papagayo in Encinitas offers a laid-back, vibrant vibe that is great for everyone in your group. With super friendly staff, great food, and live music, this sweet spot accommodates families of all sizes. 

And as the winner of the 2020 Diner’s Choice Award in North County San Diego, this incredible restaurant will have your belly full and dancing the night away, it’s no wonder why it’s extremely popular with locals!  

Le Papagayo: Menu & Drinks

Serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Le Papagayo has something for everyone! So whether you are off to Swami’s Beach for the day, or ready to get the night started, you’ll be able to fill up with some amazingly tasty food. 

And if you’re a happy hour enthusiast like me, here’s what you can look forward to. 

Keep in mind, happy hour runs every day from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM, with Tuesday Night All Night Happy Hour starting at 3:30 PM until they close. I definitely recommend getting there in time to enjoy it.

The Happy Hour Menu offers a variety of Tacos, a couple of types of Mussels, and Flatbreads as well as Birria Eggrolls, Salads, Shrimp, Calamari, Free Range Chicken Satay, Crispy Chicken Wings, Shanghai Style Ribs, Brussel Sprouts, and Truffle Fries just to name some of the menu items. 

I started with the Birria Eggrolls and the recommended Specialty Cocktail the Yuzu Lane. They were served with consume and dipping sauce and were delicious. As was the cocktail!

The Duck Tacos came next and were busting the handmade tortilla seams with duck, cabbage, salsa fresca, avocado, and chipotle ranch. They were a delicious, sloppy mess that you might not want to order on a first date because you may look like a rabid dog—they are that good and that big! 

And last to try out was the Papagayo Salad. Tasty and fresh, this salad makes the cut of favorites. And if you like desserts like me, the Butter Cake is a definite must-try.

With all this incredible goodness, you will likely find a favorite dish to call your own at Le Papagayo!  

Local Tips

  • The indoor spaces are great too with private areas, booths, high and low-top tables, a large bar area, and tables and seating in front of the stage as well.
  • For Happy Hour, in addition to their reduced-price menu items, they offer discounts on draft beer, house wine, the Papagayo Margarita, and Sangria.
  • If you get there early, you will have no problem with parking as they have a nice-sized side lot and lots of on-street parking.
  • Le Papagayo has a monthly music calendar with a different band performing every single night! You just can’t beat their Happy Hour and live music.


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