San Juan Capistrano, one of the most attractive communities in Southern California, may also claim to be the origin of Orange County. The town, famed for its historic mission, exudes history from every pore.
Tourists continue to visit and go at the city’s renowned railway station. Every March, the swallows magically return to the Mission to nest. And its Los Rios historic area has to be one of the quaintest and best kept in Southern California.
San Juan Capistrano also has a great gastronomy culture, with so many options, cuisines, and outstanding restaurants. Most are family-owned and run, making them really one-of-a-kind.
While this is a tiny town, there are plenty of San Juan Capistrano eateries. But we’re going to share our top San Juan Capistrano restaurants with you and explain why we love them so much!
Not in the mood to dine out tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver right to your door from the greatest restaurants in town.
Visiting other places in California? Check out our other tasty guides:
- 11 Must-Try Tustin Restaurants
- 8 Best Fort Bragg, CA Restaurants
- The 7 Best Oceanside, CA Restaurants
- The 21 Best Restaurants in Costa Mesa
Don’t miss out on these activities in San Juan Capistrano that will let you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):
- San Juan Capistrano: Scavenger Hunt Adventure
- 1 The 9 Greatest Restaurants in San Juan Capistrano
- 1.1 The Cedar Creek Inn
- 1.2 The Restaurant LHirondelle
- 1.3 Ramos House Cafe
- 1.4 Table Ellies
- 1.5 Trevors at the Racetrack
- 1.6 Barbecue Traditions
- 1.7 The Los Rios Tea House
- 1.8 The Capistrano Adobe
- 1.9 Bistro Sundried Tomato
- 1.10 Wine Bar Five Vines
- 1.11 Which of these San Juan Capistrano eateries piques your interest the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The 9 Greatest Restaurants in San Juan Capistrano
The Cedar Creek Inn
The phone number is (949) 240-222926860, and the address is Ortega Highway.
This is one of our favorite San Juan Capistrano restaurants, located in the middle of town with breathtaking views of the ancient Mission ruins.
We like eating on the beautiful patio with a trellised ceiling, running waterfalls, and an outdoor fireplace.
Lunch and supper are served on the same menu, which is known for its American classics and innovative drinks. Sunday brunch is also available.
Cedar Creeks Seafood Salad has shrimp, crab, scallops, asparagus, marinated cucumber, artichoke hearts, chopped egg, and tomato over iceberg and romaine lettuce with 1,000 Island dressing. Not only is the freshness outstanding, but so is the quantity of fish provided.
When my husband couldn’t decide on a sandwich (there are so many wonderful ones), he asked the waitress for advice.
His Reuben sandwich with sliced corn beef on rye, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing was delicious. It was mouthwateringly excellent when served with a flavorful Cole slaw and onion rings.
Additional standouts are the Monte Cristo and the Curried Chicken Croissant.
This is one of the top San Juan Capistrano restaurants if you want a lovely setting for traditional American cuisine.
The Restaurant LHirondelle
(949) 661-042531631 Capistrano Way
Ambience, romance, and allure.
These are only a few phrases to define San Juan Capistranos outstanding French and Belgian-inspired restaurant’s outside eating on a brilliantly illuminated patio.
LHirondelle is our top pick for eating with that special someone, with exceptional cuisine and excellent service.
Prices here are very low for the quality of the cuisine. If you think that purchasing a complete piece is too much, I suggest the Mini Plates. They are just lesser portions of the regular supper meals.
Our Mushroom Maison caps cooked in garlic butter were perfectly complemented by a shared bottle of California Pinot Noir. My Petite Filet Mignon was cooked to perfection and served with artichoke hearts and roasted potatoes.
My husband, who is a huge admirer of duck, ordered the seared duck breast with a delectable cherry sauce. Leave room for dessert, as the crme brulee here is the perfect ending to an outstanding dinner. This restaurant will offer you a flavor of the continent while savoring exquisite dining in San Juan Capistrano.
Ramos House Cafe
443-134231752 Los Rios St.
There is often a queue to enter this quaint bistro.
The restaurant, located in the center of the Los Rios Historical District, dates back to 1794, when adobe houses were erected to accommodate troops and workmen supervising the Mission’s construction.
Breakfast is served a la carte throughout the week, while a two-course brunch is served on weekends.
While the menu isn’t wide, it is well-planned, and everyone who has eaten here would agree that the cuisine and atmosphere are just lovely.
We enjoyed trying new cuisine combinations, such as Roasted Pumpkin Mac N Cheese with Duck Confit and Orange Gremolata. Crab Hash with Smoked Bacon Scrambled Eggs, Vinegar Tomatoes, and Sweet Potato Crispies is a morning treasure.
You can’t go wrong with this classic restaurant for breakfast in San Juan Capistrano; it’s absolutely where to dine in town and one of the greatest San Juan Capistrano restaurants.
(949) 558-531031892 Capistrano Way
Ellies Table is named after Eleanor Mastroianni, a well-known Orange County culinary prodigy and top caterer, and is located in the historic 1883 Egan House, the town’s sole Renaissance-Revival house.
Although the food is delicious, the restaurant’s main lure is its outstanding eye-candy bakery.
It’s difficult to pick between Ellie’s delicious cinnamon buns, croissants, blueberry scones, fresh fruit danish, and coffee cakes. The iconic Kouign Amann (pronounced queen-a-mahn) is a delectable circular, multi-layered pastry loaded with layers of butter and sugar, as well as a whole lot of love!
Breakfast burritos, salads, sandwiches, and soups are also available on the menu. Ellies also serves their famed carrot cake, as well as a variety of cookies, cakes, and crostatas.
After eating at this San Juan Capistrano eatery, you should go for a 5-kilometer run. But it’s well worth it.
Trevors at the Racetrack
Verdugo Street (949) 493-959326701 Verdugo Street
This trackside café, literally positioned next to the 1894 railroad station, is noted for its internationally-inspired cuisine while collaborating with local sustainable farmers and food sellers.
Trevor, the proprietor, fulfilled a longstanding passion by opening his restaurant in 2017.
Eating on the calm outside terrace by a peaceful fountain is extremely enjoyable, especially with live music seven days a week.
The restaurant is open for lunch and evening and serves arrivals (starters), soups, salads, grilled flatbreads, sandwiches, and main events.
What’s going on here? Everything.
The Fall into Spinach salad with champagne poached pears, drunken cranberries, spiced and candied pistachios, crispy shallots, goat cheese crumbles, and a shallot vinaigrette is one of my favorites.
This blend of tastes and textures is fantastic.
With fig tamponade, goat cheese, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and topped with a balsamic glaze, the Fig & Fungi flatbread is truly enticing.
This is one of the greatest San Juan Capistrano restaurants for unusual eating with a distinct flare.
There is no phone number (they want it that way) Camino Capistrano 31721
In this Central Texas-inspired BBQ place in the center of the historic area, you can smell the meat slow-roasting in smoke from a mile away.
Meats are slaughtered and smoked on-site, resulting in some really popular barbecue and sausages.
Their pasture-raised half chicken from Jidori Farms is soft and flavorful, and their Prime Beef Brisket is one of the finest weve outside of Texas.
Potato Mac Salad and Brisket Beans are excellent side dishes.
But reserve space for two Heritages Traditional Bread Puddings. It’s fantastic!
The store is open from Wednesday through Sunday till 5 p.m. (or until their meats are sold out). Seating is done on a first-come, first-served basis. Walk over to Heritage for the greatest BBQ in all of San Juan Capistrano.
The Los Rios Tea House
Los Rios St (949) 443-391431731
In this lovely tea restaurant in the Los Rios historic neighborhood, you’ll encounter women wearing trendy hats, joyful companions, multi-generational families, and even lovers.
Developing connections one cup at a time is their mantra.
This beautiful cafe, open Wednesday through Sunday, serves a range of tea services as well as lunch and brunch dishes and light nibbles.
Visitors may eat al fresco under a 150-year-old sycamore tree or indoors in one of the beautiful cottage rooms.
I suggest the Los Rios tea service, which includes a freshly baked currant scone with handmade raspberry jams and California cream, different finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, and a variety of fine loose-leaf tea.
Shepherd’s Pie, Bombay Chicken Curry, and English Pasti, a handcrafted crust filled with prime rib and root vegetables, are all traditional English meals.
This location is a true joy! Although the menu is specialized and not very broad, this is one of San Juan Capistrano’s greatest restaurants.
The Capistrano Adobe
Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, USA +1949493116331891
El Adobe de Capistrano is a terrific restaurant that serves amazing Mexican cuisine, has a gorgeous interior setting, and provides good service. Due of the historical importance of the location, the front appears deceptively plain, yet the inside is welcoming!
Their food is full and savory without being excessively hot or salty. Its menu include a range of meats such as chicken and pig, as well as steak tacos, carnitas tacos, and fish tacos.
Specialty beverages such as coffee, horchata, and manzanilla sherry are also available. The black bean soup was wonderful, but the potato soup was creamy and amazing!
I really suggest the blackened fish tacos, which were fresh and not greasy at all, as is frequently the case at other establishments.
The chicken enchiladas suizas, topped with a green (tomatillo) sauce, were very tasty. We were tempted to return the next day since the meal was so wonderful, but we’ll definitely return on our next trip!
Our waiter was attentive, and the service was prompt and professional. Adobe is a unique restaurant that understands that repeat customers return because of excellent service! Give it a go; you won’t be sorry!
Bistro Sundried Tomato
661-116731781 Camino Capistrano (949) 661-116731781
The name of this charming cafe comes from a sundried tomato marinade that is used as the foundation for their signature Creamy Sundried Tomato soup.
With just one bite, you’ll understand why the restaurant was called that way, and why we came here in the first place.
Soups, salads, bowls, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and huge plates are available all day. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a Monday night, the Chef’s two-course meals feature a soup or salad, followed by your choice of a main entree.
Marys Natural Half Chicken, marinated with preserved lemons, garlic, and rosemary beurre blanc, is a fan favorite.
This diner is intriguing, particularly in the evening, with a huge terrace replete with a comfortable fireplace and vast views; a perfect option for romantic dinner in San Juan Capistrano.
Wine Bar Five Vines
Camino Capistrano, Suite 11 (949) 800-914531761 Camino Capistrano, Suite 11
Five Vines, named one of the Top 25 Wine Bars in the United States by Travel & Leisure in 2018, offers over 65 boutique wines from generations of winemakers all over the globe. Hops enthusiasts will like their 15 on-tap artisan beers and ciders.
Bites, salads, flatbreads, gourmet sausage and charcuterie boards, and a selection of truffles are all excellent accompaniments to wine and beer sampling. As an extra bonus, the chef produces three new seasonal meals with wine pairings every two weeks.
The Cheese and Charcuterie board, which included three varieties of cheese (Camppo de Montaban, Beemster, and Capricho de Cabra), three types of meat (Toscano, Chorizo, and Smoked Prosciutto), house-pickled red onion and carrots, fig marmalade, pepper jam, mustard, and fresh strawberries, was delicious.
There is no better way to enjoy a glass of wine.
If you’re looking for a few days of history and good dining, our list of the top 10 San Juan Capistrano restaurants is a fantastic place to start.