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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar and Cafe

    $$ | Mediterranean

    This relaxed bi-level Mediterranean spot offers more than 30 wines by the glass, craft beers, and craft cocktails that pair well with the Spanish...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. The Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove

    $$ | Seafood

    Beach culture flourishes in this Crystal Cove Historic District's restaurant, thanks to its umbrella-laden deck just a few steps above the white...Read More

  • 10. The Lobster Trap

    $$ | Seafood

    Seafood rules at the Lobster Trap—the restaurant's owner has his own boat and fishes for the catch of the day and, in season, spiny lobster...Read More

  • 11. The Rooftop Lounge

    $$ | American

    Another popular sunset cocktail and light dinner venue in South Laguna for its views. Located at the top of La Casa del Camino, be sure to make...Read More

  • 12. 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

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