When a description includes mention of something that is only served on the plate as a garnish. Don't advertise your entree as "xyz with grassy knoll farms asparagus and spring greens" when it's served with garnished with two asparagus tips and one microgreen.
Also when it's a very dimly lighted restaurant, and the menu is impossible to read with its pale green ink on ivory paper, or some absurd combination.
Massively giant menu books in a restaurant with tiny bistro tables.
I'm a little late to this thread, but I'm a longtime Encinitas resident, everyone has their favorites, here's mine:
I'm intrigued by this Kaito talk. I wrote it off as another strip mall spot, but I'll have to give it a whirl. I haven't been to Tomiko in years, but if my memory serves, it was good. There's also Bubby's in the lumberyard for gelato. There's quite a few new spots I haven't tried because I can't keep up with the rotation. Falafel burger at Roxy is a nice snack.