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. 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

  • 2. Las Brisas

    $$ | Mexican

    Located in what used to be the Victor Hugo Inn, Las Brisas is now a Laguna Beach landmark restaurant. Sit on the expansive patio to take in...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Anaheim White House

    $$$$ | Italian

    Although a massive fire gutted the Anaheim White House in 2017, owner and executive chef Bruno Serato rebuilt and expanded the local landmark...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Bluewater Grill

    $$$ | Seafood

    On the site of an old sportfishing dock, this popular spot offers a variety of seafood, from Idaho trout amandine and lemon pepper mahimahi...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Descanso Beach Club

    $ | American

    Set on an expansive deck overlooking the water, Descanso Beach Club serves a wide range of favorites: grilled burgers, street tacos, clam chowder...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Gulfstream

    $$$ | Seafood

    Established in 1999, this on-trend restaurant has an open kitchen, comfortable booths, and outdoor seating. The patio is a fantastic place to...Read More

  • 11. Sapphire

    $$ | International

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

  • 12. Shake Shack at Crystal Cove

    $ | Diner

    This Southern California landmark sitting on a bluff off the PCH is the perfect spot to get a quick breakfast or to sample a tasty Cove burger...Read More

  • 13. Steve's Steakhouse and Seafood

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    Within spitting distance of the bay, this second-floor restaurant keeps hungry diners happy with sizzling steaks and slow-cooked baby back ribs...Read More

  • 14. Taco Loco

    $ | Mexican

    This may look like a fast-food taco stand, and the hemp blackened burgers and brownies on the menu may make you think the kitchen's really...Read More

  • 15. The Cliff

    $$$ | Seafood

    Walk through the quaint Laguna Beach artist village to get to the Cliff and its 180-degree views of Main Beach and the Pacific coastline. The...Read More

  • 16. Urth Caffe

    $$ | Bakery

    A local favorite for organic heirloom coffee and hand-blended fine organic teas, Urth is also the place to go for health-conscious breakfast...Read More

  • 17. Wahoo's Fish Taco

    $ | Mexican

    Proximity to the ocean makes this eatery's seafood-filled tacos and burritos taste even better. The healthy fast-food chain—tagged with dozens...Read More

  • 18. Zinc Café and Market

    $ | American

    Families flock to this small Laguna Beach institution for reasonably priced breakfast and lunch options. Try the signature quiches or poached...Read More

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