Translate this page
The ‘Teriyaki Salmon’ version of the Hawaiian Bowl is a fresh choice at Z Cafe.
‘Z Cookies’ are popular desserts at Z Cafe.

A little bit of Aloha and a lot of good food at Z Café!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Issue 39, Volume 16.
Nathalie Taylor
Special to the Village News
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

"We don’t see a lot of potatoes around here. We’re rice men."

-- Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) ‘Sleepless in Seattle’

At Z Café in Bonsall, diners will find an extensive and eclectic menu which includes several dishes inspired by the cuisine of Hawaii. Rice is the anchor for many of these dishes including one of the newer items dubbed, ‘Hawaiian Bowls.’ To a base of rice (either brown or white), broccoli and yellow squash is added. The diner may choose salmon, chicken or beef as the crowning element. I chose the salmon, which was slathered with rich teriyaki sauce, then sprinkled with sesame seeds. The teriyaki sauce seeped down from the flaky salmon onto the vegetables and then to the rice. The entire creation was a delicious, fresh, taste adventure.

The ‘Mac Salad’ is a recipe straight from the Hawaiian Islands. Eggs and a bit of tuna are added to this dish that begins with macaroni. The co-owner of the Z Café, John Toma, tells how this special recipe made its way to California. It was passed down from his grandfather, to his mother, and then finally to him. His grandfather was one of the original chefs at the Royal Hawaiian (The Pink Palace) on Waikiki Beach. This is no ordinary hotel, but a luxury resort catering to royalty, heads-of-state, and Hollywood elite. It is no wonder that Toma is so successful in the restaurant business. (He also owns Hukilau at the Fallbrook Golf Club.)

A must-have for dessert is the ‘Z Cookie.’ This scrumptious concoction starts with large cookie topped with vanilla ice cream, then whipped cream layered with stripes of dark chocolate sauce. Diners have a choice of three cookies: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin. I’m sure that they are all delicious, but I recommend the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut – it’s another flavor from the islands – plus it’s just heavenly!

John Toma formerly owned the Sunrize Café, also in River Village, and opened the Z Café with his son, Michael, who also serves as chef. The establishment opened its doors about two years ago after the smaller space at Sunrize proved to be too cramped for their growing base of clientele.

"I’m extremely happy we’ve made this move," noted Toma.

Sunrize offered only breakfast and lunch, but Z Café is also open for dinner. Chef Michael creates special dinner menus, including dishes with fresh fish, which are offered Thursday through Sunday.

Don’t miss ‘Game Nite’ on Monday and Thursday nights. San Diego Charger fans, and other football fans as well, can come out, cheer for their favorite players and enjoy specials including 25 cent wings, $1.50 hot dogs and ‘Stadium Nachos’ with stadium-style melted cheese. A rollicking good time for sure!

On a quieter, calmer note, the café has opened an art gallery downstairs, which is coordinated by artists Bob Abbot and Neill Ketchum. The duo displays artwork by regional artists with new works appearing every three months or so. Abbot, who creates under the name Jerome Gestaldi, has exhibited internationally. Ketchum, a Fallbrook artist, who is best known for her images of trees and prints of horses, has participated in exhibits throughout the United States.

In addition to great food, ‘Game Nites,’ and an art gallery – friendly servers and friendly bartenders abound at Z Café. This River Village establishment is open and airy with alfresco dining available on the second floor patio. What’s not to like?

Find Z Café in River Village at 5256 S. Mission Road in Bonsall. Call (760) 940-1751 or access



Comment Profile ImageVet and Citizen
Comment #1 | Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm
"Z" is a great place to watch football with great staff and great food.

Just be aware that the Thursday night and Monday night specials, are not the same. More specials on Monday night such as wings, etc.. but Thursday they still play the game and offer food.
Comment Continued : The comment above was written from the same location.
Post Continued
Comment Profile ImageVet and Citizen
Comment #2 | Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm
May I add, one thing a bit negative, is the placement of the screens. Could use a screen or two, out on the patio, for those nights. It may bring in more participants and give the place a bit more room for those "football fans".
Comment Profile ImageJoemamma
Comment #3 | Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 8:32 am
I've been going here since it was Sunrize. Good food, great prices, friendly staff. I feel it's one of the best places in Fallbrook. I haven't been for dinner but breakfast and lunch are good. I stopped going to other cafes in favor of this place a long time ago.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


Add your Comment


Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.


The Fallbrook Village News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter

Advertisement for Stellar Solar


Most Commented

Reach Local Customers

The Fallbrook Village News The Fallbrook Village News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2015
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds