Tucked away on a residential side street, Stratford Court Café is one of Del Mar’s coolest early morning eateries. The 1900s Cape Cod style home has been transformed into a tranquil oasis from the everyday buzz of a tourist town. A family-owned and operated American café, it’s a local favorite serving homestyle breakfast and lunch all day. Owners Terry and Greg Sonken actively run the café with the help of a few dedicated employees, and Terry bakes all the deliciousness herself. They’re never far away from their customers, many of whom they know by name.
Stratford Court Café Ambiance
This is where you go when you’re looking for three things: serenity, neighborhood conversation, and great food. When you arrive at Stratford Court Café it’s like going over to your neighbor’s backyard for brunch. The grey Cape Cod house surrounded by a white picket fence is the quintessential vision of home. Their serene outdoor wood patio sits amidst lush green trees and foliage with colorful garden flowers, a tiny water feature, and chirping birds. Patio tables and chairs are covered with bright blue and red umbrellas, and white French doors lead inside to the order counter. The ambiance is relaxed, friendly, and neighborhood casual.
Stratford Court Café Food
Stratford Court Café is one of those rare eateries that serves breakfast all day. Owner Terry Sonken must get up pretty early in the morning to bring customers an array of baked goods that she makes herself. Try an almost famous Lumpy Muffin with cinnamon, apples, raisins, carrots, and walnuts; a dense, moist blueberry scone; or a melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon roll.
Breakfasts are made to order with natural and organic ingredients. Favorites include the oatmeal topped with cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, and bananas, or the Powerhouse with egg whites, soy sausage, spinach, tomato, and feta cheese, with black beans and a spinach tortilla on the side. WOW, waffle of the week, is another excellent choice that gets rave reviews.
On a lighter note, the acai bowl – an acai smoothie over hemp granola, topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas and coconut is a local favorite. The café also offers croissant and bagel breakfast sandwiches, fresh squeezed orange juice, and delicious smoothie and coffee selections.
Although breakfast is served all day, you can order lunch from late morning until close. Choose from soups, salads, and sandwiches. Soups are homemade and change daily, with most being vegetarian, although if you happen by on a day with chicken tortilla soup, be sure to take advantage. Turf Club turkey sandwich with avocado, bacon, lettuce, and ranch dressing is a favorite, as is the La Jollan with roast beef and cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion and horseradish mayo. Most sandwiches are big enough to be shared, or satisfy a huge appetite.
Stratford Court Café Details
Stratford Court Café is between Camino Del Mar, the main drag through Old Del Mar, and the ocean. Turn toward the beach on 13th Street, and right on Stratford Court. It’s on the right surrounded by a white picket fence.
The café is open from early morning until mid-afternoon. This is where the locals of tony Del Mar meet up for morning coffee and conversation. It is casual and dog-friendly, and even has housemade doggie biscuits for your canine breakfast companion. There is only street parking on this largely residential side street; no private lot. There is, however, bike parking that locals take full advantage of each morning. The restaurant is ADA accessible. Families with children are warmly welcomed. They serve beer and wine, and of course – like any great breakfast place – mimosas. Stratford Court Café is counter service only; no wait staff.
Stratford Court Café Neighborhood
Del Mar has an undeniable vibe of prosperity and leisure. After all, it is home to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and the iconic Del Mar Racetrack, which is located three minutes north of Stratford Court Café. You’ll find upscale shops all along Camino Del Mar from 13th Street up the hill. On the beach side of the café are two of Del Mar’s best parks. Powerhouse Park offers beach access to family-friendly Del Mar Beach, and adjacent Seagrove Park has great ocean views from its vantage point on bluffs above the beach. Delmar is host the wildly popular three-week San Diego County Fair prior to the annual Del Mar Thoroughbred racing season.
If you’re making Del Mar your home base for your San Diego vacation, luxury hotel options include L’Auberge Del Mar two blocks north of the café, and Fairmont Grand Del Mar Golf Resort on the opposite side of Interstate 5. Del Mar Motel on the Beach provides an affordable stay at the only beachfront accommodations, and Hotel Indigo is a popular boutique hotel choice in this upscale neighborhood.