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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Lou's Brews & BBQ

    $ | American

    You won't find any frills at Lou's Brews & BBQ—just barbecue pork, smoked chicken, and a lot of beef. There's a choice of hearty sides from...Read More

  • 9. Pacific Whey Cafe

    $ | American

    The ovens rarely get a break here; everything is made from scratch daily. Pick up a BLTA (a BLT with avocado) for a picnic across the street...Read More

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