Nick's on State

Written by’s Local Expert
Nick's on State appetizer plate in Carlsbad, CA.
Interior dining and arch at Nick's on State in Carlsbad, CA.
Interior booths at Nick's on State in Carlsbad, CA.
Nick's on State butter cake.
Nick's on State patio dining.
Dining at Nick's on State in Carlsbad, CA.
Speciality dish at Nick's on State.
Exterior front door at Nick's on State in Carlsbad, CA.
Exterior view of Nick's on State.
Dining table at Nick's on State in Carlsbad, CA.
Nick's on State rib plate.
Salad and wine at Nick's on State.


Nick’s on State is a local favorite where everyone feels comfortable whether you’re just popping in for a cocktail at the bar or dressing up for a romantic evening out. Nick’s does an excellent job of having a space for everyone—casual and a little fancy— it’s up to you. 

When I first stepped into Nick’s on State in Carlsbad, it reminded me of the old-timey railroad depots when traveling by railway was the only mode of transportation and everyone dressed to impress, it even gives off vibes of New York City’s Grand Central Station. 

The bar area is very grand. And the spaces between the bar, restaurant, and patio offer so many different vibes though they all manage to seamlessly come together to offer a very cool and comfortable place to dine.

The first thing you notice as you enter Nick’s is the absolutely gorgeous bar area—this is where you get the Grand Central Station vibe. Industrial overtones reflected in the piping, décor, beautiful dark grain wood, and giant windows all brought together with the trifecta of huge lit wooden arches…so stately.

My sister-in-law drove down from Huntington Beach and was my guest for the evening. 

We opted for a patio table which is considered “outdoors” but there were layers of heavy-duty plastic and screens, and it was well buttoned-up, so no cold was felt. There was a mixture of seating between 2- and 4-tops as well as booths throughout the patio area in addition to the bar area. 

I can see where the patio would be the ideal lunch or dinner seating on a lovely SoCal day or night. 

Our server for the night was Karlee who was super attentive and sweet. We asked her about the most popular dishes and her personal favorites but first, we had to start with some wine. I was almost giddy when I saw their wine list offered one of my favorite Malbecs from Achaval Ferrer. 

Once our wine was served (excellent!) then we were off and running to pair it up with some starters. 

Nick’s on State is a good solid choice whether you’re looking for a casual outing with friends or a more upscale evening. It offers a surprisingly intimate atmosphere despite its wide-open spaces—another unique combination. 

Overall, Nick’s offers great service and food.


If you weren’t in casual Carlsbad and the staff wasn’t super cool and welcoming, one might feel a little intimidated even in their finest business casual dress. I actually did check the dress code before dining because it looked like they may have some attire requirements, but they did not, casual dress day and night. 

I saw everyone dressed from formal attire to Bermudas and Tommy Bahama Shirts—no one even blinked. The clientele was a melting pot of everyone.

Nick’s on State: Menu & Drinks

Taking in Karlee’s suggestions and our own tastes, we opted to order the Asparagus Fries, Shrimp Taquitos, and Bacon Deviled Eggs. I actually found it a bit odd that almost every restaurant I went to in North County offered some variation of deviled egg…guess it is a trend I wasn’t aware of, but I definitely found some interesting takes—Nick’s being one of them.

First up was the Asparagus Fries. Delish! Probably one of my favorite apps of all time. The asparagus spears were perfectly done, the breading was crispy and not greasy and the dipping sauce yummy. 

Next came the Shrimp Taquitos and then the Bacon Deviled Eggs. I very much enjoyed the Shrimp Taquitos which were blackened Mexican shrimp in a thin flaky coating, avocado sauce, and chipotle ranch. The Bacon Deviled Eggs were fun to eat being lightly fried – an interesting take. I would say if you have a hankering for Deviled Eggs, order them at Nick’s on State!

The appetizers and Malbec sparked our appetites so I ordered the Baby Back Pork Ribs and Eileen ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. 

Nick’s has a handful of lovely salads like the Spicy Thai and the Crispy Bleu Cheese Wedge and some incredible entrees like the Chilean Sea Bass, Maple Glazed Meatloaf, Prime Rib Dip, and Original Ribeye Melt just to name a few. 

Local Tips 

  • If you’re looking for All-American comfort food, Nick’s on State is exactly that. Everything was delicious.
  • Bring your appetite you’re going to want to try it all. 
  • The patio is the place to dine, especially on a lovely Southern California night. 
  • Don’t be intimidated by the fine dining feel, casual is very welcome.


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