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. Basilic Restaurant

    $$$ | Balboa Island | French

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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. L'Hirondelle

    $$$ | French

    Locals have romanced at cozy tables for decades at this delightful restaurant directly across from the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Such classic...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. The Cannery

    $$$ | Seafood

    This 1920s cannery building still teems with fish, but now they go into dishes on the eclectic Pacific Rim menu rather than being packed into...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. The Ramos House Cafe

    $$$ | American

    It may be worth hopping the Amtrak to San Juan Capistrano just for the chance to have breakfast or lunch at one of Orange County's most beloved...Read More

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