Ventura’s dining scene thrives thanks to Artisan chefs setting up eateries that celebrate California’s abundance of fresh local seafood, produce and eclectic fare. With wine country in our backyard, acres and acres of fresh crops grown locally, and multi-cultural influences, it’s no wonder Ventura and its restaurants have been popping up in publications like Gourmet, Sunset and Westways.
Starting in historic downtown Ventura, the choices are almost overwhelming. When you crave classic American food, Busy Bee Cafe is the old-fashioned diner that offers just that. Staying true to its 50’s theme, juke boxes and a checkered floor will take you back in time. Whether you go for breakfast or dinner, you’ll find out what all the buzz is about! For more favorites, head to Nature’s Grill, where you’ll find cobb salad, chicken avocado sandwiches, and veggie stir fry.
If seafood is your thing, dine at Lure Fish House. This place gets consistently rave reviews, and for good reason! Enjoy clam chowder, grassy bar oysters, or wild mahi mahi at this classy restaurant. For some of the very best fish tacos around, Spencer Makenzie’s is a must. With five different sauces and exceedingly popular tacos, you will understand why locals return to this casual joint over and over.
Ethnic food is in no short supply here. For example, Bollywood Indian Restaurant is the place to go for lamb tikka, chicken tandoori, and shrimp biryani. Choose from several types of naans, including garlic basil and keema naan. If Thai food is your taste, grab lunch or dinner at Rice by Mama. The drunken noodles and yellow curry are to die for. With egg roll appetizers and tom yum soup, your tasty Thai meal will be complete.
Coffee lovers can’t help but explore the many lovely shops downtown. Palermo is always a crowd favorite, serving an impressive variety of local coffee and tea. You can also find tempting gelato, gourmet dog treats, and beautiful gifts inside the shop. Kay’s Coffee Shop is another well-loved place. Customers love the chai tea latte and the friendly service. Don’t forget to grab a baked good to go with your heavenly hot drink!
Looking for appetizers and a drink for your night out on the town? Try Bombay Bar & Grill for some incredible fried pickles with a cold cold beer. Or what about Winchester Grill & Saloon fried duck strips with your well drink.
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Due to Ventura’s coastal location, no self-proclaimed foodie can forget the harbor. The Ventura Harbor Village has a variety of food, starring–surprise–seafood. Andria’s Seafood has been faithfully serving the freshest fish in town since the beginning. It has been hailed as Ventura’s best seafood countless times.
If a taste of France alongside the Pacific Ocean intrigues you, Le Petit Cafe Bakery is the place for you. Exotic eaters should order the escargots and crab cakes for dinner. In addition to French cuisine, the harbor also offers authentic Greek and Italian food. The Greek is well-known for its delectable dishes such as beef moussaka, gyros, and Greek salad. In addition to unforgettable food, you will also find table dancing and belly dancers. Talk about dinner and a show! For Italian lovers, Milano’s serves classics like seafood pasta, margherita pizza, and fettucine alfredo. Complement your lunch or dinner with one of many white or red wine options. You’ll be thrilled to enjoy a quality Italian meal while looking out at the water.
For a casual bar atmosphere, go to 805 Bar & Grilled Cheese, where you can enjoy Firestone’s 805 craft beer and listen to live music every week. Boatyard Cafe is also a fantastic option with a full bar and tempting menu. Grab a charbroiled Angus burger or some crab stuffed mushrooms as you unwind with live music on the weekend.
For a cold dessert, look to Coastal Cone for a delicious treat. It’s not easy deciding between dozens of flavors like chocolate malted crunch and strawberry cheesecake. Their new pineapple dole whip will satisfy your tropical taste buds.
You will find incredible restaurants all over Ventura in addition to downtown and the harbor. Want Mexican food? Go to Yolanda’s. Three words: fajitas, enchiladas, taquitos. Sip a margarita as you devour some of the best Mexican you’ve had for a long time. Craving sushi? There’s no place like I Love Sushi, voted best sushi bar in Ventura. If you’re even a remote sushi fan, you’ll get the albacore miso special roll. Popular with local sushi lovers, the golf pro hand roll is perfect for those who enjoy tempura. Seeking Chinese? Look no further than Golden China, where you can not only find divine food, but also nightly karaoke.
And if you love farmers’ markets don’t forget to check out downtown Ventura’s Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8:30am-12:00pm!
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