Coastal and historic Ventura, California, is a unique seaside town. This small piece of heaven, just thirty minutes south of Santa Barbara and an hour north of Los Angeles, has so much to offer tourists and residents alike. Ventura restaurants provide something for everyone.
Ventura, founded in 1782 by Fr. Junipero Serra, is home of Fr. Serra’s last mission. Nowadays, Old Mission San Buenaventura is an operating chapel on the pedestrian-only Main Street in Ventura’s historic center.
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When in Ventura, don’t miss out on the following activities that will let you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):
- Ventura: 1.5-Hour Private Beginner’s Surf Lesson
- Ventura: Scavenger Hunt Self-Guided Walking Tour
- Santa Barbara: Wine Country Tour
- 1 Activities in Ventura
- 2 Ventura Beaches
- 3 Harbor of Ventura
- 4 National Park of the Channel Islands
- 5 7 Top Restaurants in Ventura
Activities in Ventura
On Saturdays, the Ventura County Certified Farmers Market is held in Downtown Ventura, and on Wednesdays, it is held in Midtown Ventura. I prefer the freshest vegetables from the farm delivered directly to my table and enjoy supporting local companies. The Ventura County Certified Farmers Market is a treasure trove of nutritious foods ranging from mushrooms to lettuce to tamales.
Numerous colorful murals enliven the Ventura environment while telling the narrative of its people and art. Utility boxes often dress up in inventive cloaks to make waiting at traffic signals more entertaining.
The Ventura Pier is one of California’s longest wooden piers. It is the oldest pier in California and has been classified as Ventura Historic Landmark No. 20.
Cycling pathways begin from the Ventura Beach Promenade and go to Santa Barbara and Ojai, with spectacular vistas along the way.
Four places along the Ventura beaches rent bicycles, family surreys, beach chairs, and bodyboards. The position near the dock was the most convenient and closest to the parking lot for me.
Surfers Point in Seaside Park, west of the pier, is one of my favorite beaches in Ventura. The waves come in at an angle. Of course, early morning surfing is popular here, as is dog walking on the Ventura Beach Promenade. The sandy terrain is littered with cairns. Some are memorials to loved ones, while others are architectural marvels of balancing.
San Buenaventura State Beach is located between downtown Ventura and Ventura Harbor. The entrance is located immediately south of the pier and is also accessible through the Ventura Beach Promenade. Your admission is collected at the entrance by a State Park employee. San Buenaventura State Beach is one of the few beaches in California that allows alcohol.
Harbor of Ventura
Ventura Harbor is located on the city’s southern outskirts, near the mouth of the Santa Clara River. Several great restaurants with gorgeous harbor views, shops, galleries, and water sports can be found in the Harbor. Kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, and standup paddleboards may be rented. You may get up up and personal with the marina’s resident sea lions and seals.
The harbor is an excellent area to watch a sunset while sipping a glass of wine, an alcoholic beverage, or sparkling water. With an average of 275 days of sunlight each year and a variety of boats cruising the port waters, resting and taking in the scenery is a possible option.
National Park of the Channel Islands
The Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary are located just off the coast of Ventura. Camping, snorkeling, diving, sea cave kayaking, whale and bird viewing are among the local activities on the islands.
Channel Islands National Park can only be reached by park concessionaire vessels, private boats, or aircraft. The concessionaire boats take between one and three hours, depending on the island. Since there is no public transit on the islands, you must go by kayak, private boat, or on foot.
Well, now that we know what to see and do in Ventura, let’s look at the seven top Ventura restaurants to alleviate our hunger.
7 Top Restaurants in Ventura
The Paradise Pantry
E Main St +18056419440222
Consider ordering all of your favorite things on a single platter. I’m referring about mac and cheese with thick maple-cured bacon and a fried egg on top. How does a chef know that’s a winning combination?
My morning breakfast at Paradise Pantry was complete with this beautiful combination on a recent visit. A kind service member assisted me in selecting the perfect wine to complement my dinner, providing me sips till my palate agreed.
Local vendors provide Chef Kelly with the most recent and freshest ingredients to produce her creations. She gets to experiment in her scratch-based kitchen, and her clients love what she serves.
Are you a true gourmand? I’ve collected a selection of the greatest gourmet presents for you and your loved ones. Subscriptions for cheese, meat, and sweets, as well as some classic must-have gourmet devices.
On pedestrian-only Main Street, Paradise Pantry is only steps away from San Buenaventura Mission. People-watching possibilities abound while eating outside with heaters at any time of day.
Within Paradise Pantry, the Artisan Market and Cheese and Charcuterie Station will surprise you. The options, like an art display, are designed to alleviate gifting issues or please your discerning preferences at home. Pantry Provisions are themed specials that feature a nation or are designed to help you reload your pantry.
Paradise Pantry is a terrific place to discover excellent deals on wine. The European Wine and Cheese Tour is a fun way to taste wines and cheese from Europe and the United States. The wines are combined with cheeses from the areas inspired by the producers’ rich heritage. A series of baskets lines one wall of the shop and holds Wine Club clients’ orders, adding to the ambience.
Be sure to include this unique Ventura eatery on your list of Ventura restaurants.
Raquel’s Taqueria Ventura
N Ventura Ave.
Ventura’s Taco Trail is a mile-long sector packed with 14 long-standing Mexican businesses owned by Mexican immigrants. Each restaurant has a distinct speciality. The Taco District is located on the north side of Ventura and is bounded by the Ventura River to the west, the Ventura Botanical Gardens to the east, and Surfers Point to the south.
Taqueria Ventura Doa Raquel, my first stop on the Taco Trail, was the ideal location to begin. Fish tacos are their speciality. The fresh tortillas, delicious creamy sauce, and three salsas served with the meal were all noteworthy.
Devin, a dining patron, raved about the shrimp tacos. With a single thick corn tortilla that housed the meat, cabbage, guacamole, and chipotle sauce, there appeared to be an unlimited supply of shrimp.
Although the restaurant is located on a busy street corner, the relaxed outdoor eating area adorned with potted palm trees provides a nice, family-friendly Taco Trail experience. Try this taqueria in Ventura for delicious tacos.
Tacos at the Beach
E Harbor Blvd.
Tacos and beer or a house-made Margarita are the ideal companion to live music events atBeach House Tacos. Offering breathtaking views of the ocean and Channel Islands, this informal diner should be your first or final stop while visiting the Ventura Pier. Start your day with hot chocolate and welcoming French breakfast, then grab the perfect lunch box or a sunset burrito at the finish.
Just place your order at the outside window and pick it up inside. Tacos, bowls, and burritos are neatly wrapped in little boxes for convenient travel. You may dine indoors or at one of the many picnic tables located around the pier.
Pick from soft shell fish or shrimp tacos, crispy potato, crunchy ground beef, or a combination dish. Start with beans, rice, and avocado, then add some sour cilantro-lime slaw, pickled vegetables, or chipotle cream.
There is no better place to be than by the sea with a taco in hand. Tacos at the Beach
The Waters Edge Restaurant & Bar
510 Anchors Way Dr. +180564212001
Waters Edge Restaurant is located in Ventura Harbor Village, nestled away in a nook on the sea. The stunning views of the marina and harbor provided by the large picture windows make this a great place to watch the sunset. Over my supper, I witnessed fishermen, kayakers, standup paddleboarders, and even a two-person, lit swan paddleboat navigating the marina’s waterways.
Waters Edge Restaurant provides reinterpreted cultural classics in the most fresh manner possible by sourcing local products.
Alaskan Halibut, Diver Scallops, Cornish Hen, cuts of beef, pork chops, Ahi tuna, and oysters are on the menu. Alex Montoya, the brilliant Executive Chef, develops vibrant and beautiful plated food arrangements with his innovative menu items.
My tastes were primed for the catch of the day on a bed of pureed sweet potato after a split of Ruffino Prosecco. A creamy, cheesy risotto served as a side dish was delicious. Each were adorned with tiny microgreens to offer a pop of color.
This finest of Ventura restaurant cannot be beaten for fantastic meals with a spectacular view.
Rumfish and Wine Gastro-Bar
Ventura, California +1805667928834 N Palm St
Rumfish y Vino Gastro-Bar, a combination pub, bar, and restaurant, attracts visitors to downtown Ventura and is a favorite place for Belizean cuisine. A gorgeous patio with a midnight outdoor fireplace invites customers for lunch, happy hour, supper, and brunch on Sundays.
Try the Smoked Fish Spread with Crostinis for drinks and snacks. With delicious yellow ginger, red onions, and cilantro, the red snapper was delightfully smoked. Every mouthful was divine. Combine with a Tangerine Spiced Old Fashioned, an Arctic Haze Beer, or a Pineapple Habanero Rum Fizz to feel wonderfully relaxed.
Combine the oak-fired flatbreads with the Small Plates or Soup & Salad options for a full supper. Vegan and vegetarian alternatives are distinctive and nutritious.
The Halibut Special had a curry taste and was served with a vegetarian entree and a goat cheese flatbread with a kick. We concluded with Crème de Pot for dessert. It is an absolute need. Visit this Ventura eatery for a unique Central American eating experience.
The Brophy Brothers
+18056390865 1559 Spinnaker Dr +18056390865
The cuisine and drinks at Brophy Brothers are consistently praised, from Bloody Mary time to Hot Combo Saturdays.
What about a typical beer-battered Fish & Chips served with Cole Slaw on a Monday afternoon? Please include me.
Then there’s the freshly made sourdough boule, which goes well with a boiling hot cup of clam chowder.
At the fantastic spot to dine in Ventura, no matter what meal you choose, it will arrive with a beautiful view of the port.
The Coastal Cone
Spinnaker Dr #104 +180565828371583 Spinnaker Dr #104
At Coastal Cone, the kid in all of us is tempted by 39 ice cream flavors, fish-shaped cones, hot Zookies, and the Fairyland Seacret menu. Create your own beautiful fish cone or go gluten-free with the Sea Unicorn (complete with unicorn eyes or sprinkles), Pixie the Fairy, or Babyshark with shark flippers.
Since 1983, Coastal Cone has been manufacturing sweet and tasty waffle cones on the Ventura coast. Coastal Cone established The Parlor, a family-friendly burger and malt store, in the early 2000s.
They sell breakfast sandwiches in addition to designer coffees, floats, milkshakes, malts, and a berry freeze in their Espresso Bar. Brioche Burgers, Brioche Hot Dogs, and Ciabatta Sandwiches are available for lunch and supper.
Don’t miss the Unicorn Poop or any of the other all-American dishes at this Ventura favorite.
That concludes our post on things to do and places to dine in Ventura. We’ve listed seven of Ventura County’s top eateries; be sure to try them all.