The Pillbox Tavern in Solana Beach

Jake and I were invited to check out the Pillbox Tavern up in Solana Beach one sunny weekend.

Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

We sat outside for a minute until I realized the sun would be shining directly on us while we were eating and then I opted to go indoors. 

Interior at Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

It’s a pretty cozy little place. Not too big, but not tiny either.

Interior at Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

Tastefully decorated, very bright and inviting. 

Menu at Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

Here’s the menu! Side one with appetizers, sandwiches, and plates. 

Menu at Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

Side two with chicken wings, brunch, and their featured specials. I kind of wish it had been Friday night so we could have tried one of the mac n cheese specials! 

Chicken Wings at Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

Jake and I started off with some wings. They had so many different varieties it was hard to choose which flavors to try! 

Honey Teriyaki Wings - Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

We did a half and half, 5 wings, 2 different flavors [10 wings for $12]. One half had some Honey Teriyaki Wings. I liked the slight sweetness on these and more importantly, the crunch of the chicken skin! 

Maple Bourbon Bacon Wings - Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

We also tried the popular Maple Bourbon Bacon wings. The bacon is quite prevalent on top, in nice larger chunks so you definitely know you’re biting into some bacon! These had a distinct sweetness to them from the maple. I wasn’t sure if I liked these at first but then the flavor kind of grew on it. It’s got a sweet-savory thing going on that ended up appealing to my tastebuds. I really liked that you could see the bacon slathered on top of the coated wings. 

Tater Tots - Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

Our other appetizer was a plate of crispy Tater Tots [$5]. Jake asked for cheese on top (you can add chili, cheese, and onions for $4 extra). There was a mix of cheeses melted on top in the middle of the plate plus a side of creamy, dreamy ranch dressing. The tater tots were hot and had a wonderful crunch to them. They were light and fluffy on the inside and maintained a nice crunch on the exterior. The ranch dressing was excellent here – a good creamy, herby flavor that paired really well with these little potato nuggets. I could do without the extra cheese, myself, as the cheesy tots lost their crunch. I left those for Jake while I hunted around for the non-cheesy-extra-crispy tots. 

Seafood Po Boy Sandwich - Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

I was feeling like having a bit of seafood that day and I ordered the Seafood Po Boy [$14]. The Seafood Po Boy comes with a mix of fried shrimp and fried mahi mahi on a toasted Amoroso roll with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and a Cajun sauce drizzled over the top. I actually didn’t eat this as a sandwich, but I just used a fork to eat the contents of the po boy. I was prettttttttty sure I wouldn’t be able to eat this without making a mess and I figured I didn’t really NEED the extra bready carbs. The shrimp and mahi mahi use the same batter so it was hard to tell them apart just by looking at the pieces. They had a nice coating. The cajun sauce gave it a nice boost of flavor. I preferred the plump shrimp pieces to the mahi mahi, but that’s not really any kind of surprise. It’s a solid sandwich and quite a lot of food! 

BBQ Plate - Pillbox Tavern | Solana Beach - San Diego, CA

Jake choose to get the BBQ Plate [$13] which I thought was the winner of our entrees. It’s a plate of smoked tri tip, macaroni salad, BBQ baked beans and a house salad. Jake got the pineapple ginger vinaigrette as the dressing for his house and I LOVED IT. It had a wonderful flavor from the pineapple and notes of ginger. The tri tip was incredibly tender and had a good amount of smoke on it. I normally don’t really care for tri tip but this was a winner – especially with the house made BBQ sauce! The BBQ sauce is on the sweet smoky side, which Jake and I really liked. YUM! 

Solana Beach, CA

After our nice lunch, Jake and I walked down the block to a park we saw, which had a ramp that leads down to the beach. It was a gorgeous day out that afternoon and I was trying hard to enjoy it. My thoughts had kept flickering back to my friend who had just passed away a couple days before, and I kept thinking about how I got to enjoy the day and he didn’t. It made me sad to think about, but it also made me appreciate having another day to see that blue horizon and to enjoy that cool ocean breeze with the one I love. 

Mary + Jake

This picture is kind of weirdy fuzzy since I didn’t clean the camera screen, but I dig it anyway. Enjoy the day, my friends, and remember to hug the ones you love. 

Pillbox Tavern
117 Plaza St.
Solana Beach, CA 92075

Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at the Pillbox Tavern on behalf of the restaurant. Our meal was complimentary. All opinions stated here are my own.

Author: Mary

Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 11+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

2 Replies to “The Pillbox Tavern in Solana Beach

    1. Hi Soo! The bacon adds a nice layer of flavor to the wings. They stayed on the wings quite well, probably due to the stickiness of that maple bourbon sauce. It’s a good combination, I think you’d enjoy it!

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