For those looking for high-quality upscale cuisine in a nice environment with modest prices, I would recommend Sage Grill in Encinitas.
Sage Grill is delicious and it is comparable in price to chain eateries.
They have delicious appetizers, including the best calamari I have ever had (in fact I crave it). This calamari comes without a dipping sauce--it doesn't need it. It is superior to reknowned restaurants such as Pacifica del Mar and Sbicca.
Also terrific are their sandwiches, such as their Bleu Cheese Burger, also the best I have ever had. It comes with Applewood smoked bacon and a garlic aioli and served with their shoestring potatoes. A great dining experience for around $10. I have also had the chicken sandwich, tri-tip sandwich and the salmon burger--both are excellent.
Their entrees are supposed to be outstanding, especially their Miso Black Cod, but I usually get a sandwich. They also have steaks and chicken dishes.
The service is good as long as you aren't high maintenance, and the owners are congenial and take a sincere interest in your dining experince.
The restaurant has a full bar and a good and extremely well priced wine list.
For a fun night and delicious, affordable and not-so-fancy dining I highly recommend Sage Grill in Encinitas.