The Coast News Group
Chef and owner Gerry Daoussis with his grandsons Jeremy and Samuel Mariaca. Photo by David Boylan
ColumnsLick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Revisiting a favorite — Prontos’ Gourmet Market

When I first wrote about this place four years ago, I made a note to myself to get back there on a regular basis, it was that good. That can be difficult with all the new places popping up in North County and eating around like I do with Lick the Plate. That was when my office was in Carlsbad and with their location in the heart of Carlsbad Village that was an easier proposition. Working in Oceanside it’s a bit more difficult, but after a few recent visits to check out what’s new at Prontos’, it’s back on that list and if anything, it will become more of a dinner-to-go spot and those selections are more of what I discovered this time around. My point here is that this restaurant deserves your attention. Twenty-plus years of doing gangbuster business should validate that recommendation also.

First off, let me give a brief recap on the history of Prontos’. It was family-owned and operated by award-winning chef Gerry Daoussis and his wife Sylvia until last year when she passed away. Their daughters Christina and Willy are heavily involved in the business, with Willy tending to the pastry side of the market. She attended pastry school in New York City and has worked with some of the best in the business. Restaurants have been in the family going way back to the landmark fine dining Italian restaurant Trattoria Via Veneto in Toronto.

So it was the sandwich board that hooked me on Prontos’ and on the first of a few recent trips back those got my immediate attention. The Italian and the Meatball subs are both sizable and delicious and two of my favorites anywhere. My co-worker Brooks is a quantity guy and the Italian quells his appetite every time. I should note that there are some new additions to the sandwich list including the Chicago Sausage and Pepper Sub with Italian sausages, sweet bell peppers, onions, marinara and mozzarella all toasted in a homemade Italian roll. Hungry yet? There is also a new Greek Gyro, King Crab Club, Ham and Brie Grilled Cheese and a Grilled Angus Roast Beef Jalapeno and Artichoke Ciabatta Melt. Did I tell you they bake all their bread and rolls in house?

There is a decent selection of dinners to go and my three of my favorites have to be the Chicken Pot Pie, the Meat Lasagna and the Meat Loaf. The pot pie is oversized, no skimping on the chicken, a super savory good gravy and an amazing puff pastry courtesy of Willy. And while I’m thinking this is a sized for two, I had no problem devouring the entire portion. The Meat Lasagna and Meat Loaf were equally satisfying. I should mention that at some point in this recent dining adventure the stuffed grape leaves worked their way into the sample mix and they were fabulous as well.

In the sides and extras portion of the menu they have added homemade, house cut fries that could be a nice addition to any sandwich. Salads are represented nicely but I will admit I’ve not gone there yet.

Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. and includes a power scramble, breakfast burrito, easy egg BLT, a breakfast bagel and the new avocado toast.

With an in-house pastry chef, you might imagine the desserts being a cut above and that’s so true at Prontos’. They crank out a nice assortment of pastries, fresh baked bread, desserts and custom cakes. Dessert favorites include strawberry shortcake, lemonade bars, coconut cream cake, mini key lime pies, fresh blueberry cheesecake and walnut brownies. They also offer a full-service catering department where you can have fresh gourmet food delivered and served at your next party or event.

They did not stop at prepared foods with a nice wine department, a packaged gourmet food section both fresh and frozen along with deli meats and cheeses.

I’ve stated this before but it’s worth repeating; Prontos’ is worth checking out regardless of where you live in North County. My only complaint is that they are only open until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. I really could use that extra hour to pop in when I’m working later. They are also closed on weekends; but hey, good for them. If you can make it as a restaurant with weekday-only hours, more power to you. Prontos’ is located at 2812 Roosevelt Street, Carlsbad. They are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reach them at (760) 434-2644 or