Orange County and Catalina Island Restaurants

Much like L.A., restaurants in Orange County are generally casual, and you’ll rarely see men in jackets and ties. However, at top resort hotel dining rooms, many guests choose to dress up.

Of course, there’s also a swath of casual places along the beachfronts—seafood takeout, taquerias, burger joints—that won’t mind if you wear flip-flops. Reservations are recommended for the nicest restaurants.

Many places don’t serve past 11 pm, and locals tend to eat early. Remember that according to California law, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas.

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  • 1. Studio

    $$$$ | American

    In a nod to Laguna's art history, Studio has house-made specialties that entice the eye as well as the palate. The restaurant occupies its own...Read More

  • 2. 3-Thirty-3

    $$ | American

    This stylish eatery attracts a convivial crowd—both young and old—for midday, sunset, and late-night dining. A long list of small, shareable...Read More

  • 3. Anaheim White House

    $$$ | Italian

    Although a massive fire gutted the Anaheim White House in 2017, owner Bruno Serato rebuilt and expanded the local landmark known for its specialty...Read More

  • 4. Basilic

    $$$ | Balboa Island | French

    This intimate French-Swiss bistro adds a touch of old-world elegance to the island with its white linen and flower-topped tables. Chef Bernard...Read More

  • 5. Bear Flag Fish Co.

    $ | Seafood

    Expect long lines in summer at this indoor/outdoor dining spot serving up the freshest local fish (swordfish, sea bass, halibut, and tuna) and...Read More

  • 6. Bluewater Grill

    $$ | Seafood

    Overlooking the ferry landing and the entire harbor, the open-to-the-salt-air Bluewater Grill offers freshly caught fish, savory chowders, and...Read More

  • 7. Bluewater Grill

    $$ | Seafood

    On the site of an old sportfishing dock, this popular spot offers a variety of seafood, from Idaho rainbow trout to locally caught swordfish...Read More

  • 8. Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    Famed chef Joachim Splichal guides his staff to take a relaxed approach at this bi-level Mediterranean spot, where more than 30 wines by the...Read More

  • 9. Cedar Creek Inn

    $$$ | American

    Just across the street from Mission San Juan Capistrano, this restaurant has a patio that's perfect for a late lunch or a romantic dinner. The...Read More

  • 10. Descanso Beach Club

    $ | American

    Set on an expansive deck overlooking the water, Descanso Beach Club serves a wide range of favorites: buffalo wings, hamburgers, salads, nachos...Read More

  • 11. Duke's

    $$$$ | Seafood

    Freshly caught seafood reigns supreme at this homage to surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku; it's also a prime people-watching spot right at the...Read More

  • 12. Gemmell's

    $$$ | French

    Accomplished chef Byron Gemmell's moderately priced bistro offers a taste of France in the midst of a SoCal harbor. In a laid-back but romantic...Read More

  • 13. Gulfstream

    $$$ | Seafood

    This on-trend restaurant has an open kitchen, comfortable booths, and outdoor seating. The patio is a fantastic place to hang out. Especially...Read More

  • 14. L'Hirondelle

    $$$ | French

    Locals have romanced at cozy tables for decades at this delightful restaurant. Such classic dishes as beef bourguignonne and a New York strip...Read More

  • 15. Luciana's Ristorante

    $$ | Italian

    This intimate family-owned eatery serves simply prepared, tasty Italian food. Try one of the homemade soups or gnocchi classico—Grandma's homemade...Read More

  • 16. Morton's

    $$$$ | Steakhouse

    This upscale steak house sits a block from the Anaheim Convention Center. Besides its usual menu of prime aged beef and freshly caught seafood...Read More

  • 17. Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant

    $$ | American

    Cordelia Knott's fried chicken and boysenberry pies drew crowds so big that Knott's Berry Farm was built to keep the hungry customers occupied...Read More

  • 18. Napa Rose

    $$$$ | American

    Done up in a handsome Craftsman style, Napa Rose's rich seasonal cuisine is matched with an extensive wine list, with 1,500 labels and 80 available...Read More

  • 19. Ocean at Main

    $$$ | American

    Set in a handsomely renovated former bank from the 1940s, Ocean at Main’s dishes are artfully presented and feature the best of California produce...Read More

  • 20. Sapphire Laguna

    $$ | International

    This Laguna Beach establishment set in a historic Craftsman is part gourmet pantry (a must-stop for your every picnic need) and part global...Read More

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