Outdoor Dining in Ventura

Ventura has always been about being outdoors. We bask in sunny warmth almost all year. So why not outdoor dining too?

Why not indeed? And Ventura’s restaurants have taken up the sunny siren call. Ventura has long had outdoor dining — from Ventura Harbor Village restaurants lining the shimmering harbor waters to many of our restaurants downtown and all around town.

And, of late, Ventura has put our lovely outdoors to even greater use, closing down some five blocks of Main Street, so that restaurants can spill out into the street. What began with the pandemic may become permanent (stay tuned), but for now, on a soft Ventura evening, there is a European feel in the air: strolling couples and families, store owners chatting curbside, children skipping in the street, diners and cocktail enjoyers, raising forks and glasses in the evening light. Makeshift picket fences, white roses, jaunty umbrellas; the sea breeze enjoying the walk too, playfully lifting the corners of linen tablecloths.

So stroll downtown for outdoor dining options, but realize too that your outdoor dining options in Ventura are limited only by your imagination. Buy takeout at any of the restaurants lining South Seaward Avenue and walk a minute to dine at the beach (plenty of locals get their morning coffee fix and baked yummy at Kay’s Coffee Shop and head down to the water for a soothing taste of ocean). Get sushi to go from any of Ventura’s sushi restaurants and head, well, anywhere the sun is shining. Or sit outside and enjoy the lovely spicings of a real deal street taco at any of the Mom and Pop (read authentic) Mexican restaurants that line Ventura Avenue. Get a famous Tony’s Pizza to go and drive up to Grant Park (five minutes; it’ll stay hot), and eat it with a gorgeous panoramic view of the Pacific. Or a single slice from Jimmy’s Slice and walk around downtown trying to ignore all the jealous glances.

In Ventura, when it comes to outdoor dining, the world is your oyster. Oh wait. We have those outdoors too.

You get the point. In Ventura, when it comes to outdoor dining, the world is your oyster.

Ah, fresh oysters (and clams). You can eat them outdoors too, just back from the beach, at the one-of-a-kind Jolly Oyster. Operating out of a trailer parked in San Buenaventura State Beach Park, The Jolly Oyster sells fresh, sustainably grown oysters and clams still in the shell, and you can eat them, dripping fingers and all, right there on picnic tables with an ocean breeze. Bring your own beer and wine (the Park allows it); the Jolly Oyster folks sell sauces, shuckers, and even charcoal, should you opt to grill your mollusks.

If you can find better oyster fun, let us know.

Outdoor Dining Ventura - Jolly oyster

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