Places To Eat In Ventura
Central Coast

15 Best Places To Eat In Ventura, California

When visiting or moving to a new city, finding a place to eat can be challenging. The choices always seem endless and spending time scrolling through Google Maps and Yelp is the last thing that we want to do, especially when we’re short on time. That’s why we’ve put together this restaurant guide covering all the best places to eat in Ventura, California for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

After living in this cozy coastal city for several years, we have been all over Ventura in search of the top places to eat in town.

In this guide on the best restaurants in Ventura, we cover a ton of different options, from nice dinner spots to local hidden gems that have a welcoming ambiance, well-curated menus and stand out from chain restaurants in a unique way.

Here are 15 amazing places to eat in Ventura that we love, and hope you do too!

Best Places To Eat In Ventura:

1. Best For a Fun Night Out – Rumfish y Vino

Photos by @rumfishyvino

Rymfish y Vino is one of our go-to spots for dinner in Ventura. Whether we’re entertaining friends in town for the weekend or going out for a date night, Rumfish y Vino is always on top of our restaurant list!

This restaurant is a local favorite for its modern, beachy décor, relaxed ambiance, excellent menu items, and fun drinks. Their menu is relatively small but consists of well-thought-out plates such as Peruvian ceviche, Caribbean fish stew, Pork Belly Posole, and Belize BBQ.

And let’s not forget about their delicious drinks! If you’re looking to take your friends out in Ventura and show them a good time, this is where you’ll want to go!

Some of my favorite drinks to try are Orange Jalapeno Margarita, Watermelon Mojito, and Dragonfruit Caipiroska. The drinks are made with fresh ingredients and fruit so they won’t give you a bad hangover the next day (even if you have a few).

If you’re looking for a fun place where you can catch up with loved ones or take your significant other for a special date night, Runfish y Vino is truly one of the best restaurants in Ventura CA for its overall setting and food!

2. Best Breakfast Spot – Pete’s Breakfast House

Pancake Roll with yogurt and berries – one of Pete’s Breakfast House specialties! (Photo by @petesbreakfast)

If you’re visiting Ventura for the weekend and are looking for a great breakfast spot, you’ll love Pete’s Breakfast House Restaurant! This place is affordable, it serves delicious food and it’s always buzzing full of energy and people.

This restaurant is managed by a husband and wife duo and the friendly staff is one of the first things that you’ll notice as you enter the restaurant doors. It was even featured on Food Network’s famous Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives showsomething that this eatery takes pride in!

Not sure what to order? Try the Chorizo Burger or Pancake Roll with yogurt and berries that Guy Fieri himself was raving about! I usually go for one of the buttermilk pancake plates that come with a stack of fluffy pancakes, homemade syrup, and whipped butter.

Pete’s Breakfast House serves some of the best breakfast dishes in town. They focus on sourcing only the freshest ingredients and many of the food items are made from scratch daily.

This breakfast joint is only open until 2 pm so be sure to come early to get a table inside or on their cozy patio. This is a very popular dining option for breakfast so it can get busy and there is typically a small wait to get a table on the weekends. Pete’s Breakfast House is also pet friendly so bring your four-legged friend along!

3. Best Food Truck – The Jolly Oyster Ventura

At the Jolly Oyster Ventura, you can try a variety of fresh seafood! (Photo by @jollyoyster)

If you’re looking for something a bit different, be sure to check out The Jolly Oyster Ventura food truck! This food stand is situated within San Buenaventura State Beach with an excellent ocean view!

Tip: When entering the State Beach, tell the attendant that you’re heading to The Jolly Oyster Ventura shuck shack to avoid paying entrance fees.

The menu at this food truck is small, but the seafood is as fresh as it gets! We usually get a plate of raw or grilled oysters along with fried oyster tacos. For something more unique try the Uni Ceviche Tostada that comes with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin.

After you get your food, you can enjoy it at the outdoor picnic area next to the food stand. This location also allows dogs so we always bring our pup along!

It can get chilly and windy right next to the beach, so I recommend bringing a warmer jacket, even in the summer.

Read Next: 15 Top Dog Friendly Activities In Ventura, California

4. Best For a Nice Dinner – Lure Fish House

The oyster bar at Lure Fish House (photo by @lurefishhouse).

Planning a date night, birthday, or anniversary dinner? For special occasions, we always recommend Lure Fish House – one of the best restaurants downtown Ventura!

This family-owned restaurant features plates made of locally sourced ingredients and fresh seafood. As you step into the restaurant, you will be amazed by the beautiful upscale nautical-inspired interior.

If you’re a fan of oysters, we recommend ordering a plate of oysters on the half-shell or trying out the charbroiled oysters (if raw oysters are not your thing). Other of our favorite dishes include the Lure Cioppino, Lobster Ravioli, and New England Lobster Roll.

Lure Fish House has become a local favorite so much that they have opened up multiple other locations including one in Santa Barbara and Camarillo just south of Ventura.

5. Best Brewery – Ventura Coast Brewing Company

Photo by @vcbcbeer

There are quite a few great breweries in Ventura to choose from if you’re in the mood for a craft beer! One of our personal favorites is the inviting Ventura Coast Brew Co that’s located in downtown Ventura.

This brewery has a modern vibe that attracts a younger, hip crowd. They also often host fun local events like the Ventura Joggers Club, live music, and the Ventura Marathon post-party.

All of the beers served at this tap room are brewed in-house using only the best ingredients. Their rotating tap list includes a variety of beers from Hazy IPAs and West Coast IPAs to some more unique flavors like Mango Apricot Sour and S’more Stout.

Although Ventura Coast Brewing Company itself does not serve food, this brewery does feature food trucks in the back patio. You can find a weekly schedule of food trucks on the VCBC website here.  

Plus, this tap room is very pet friendly so we always bring our pup along when heading out for a few beers on the weekend!

6. Best Affordable Seafood – Spencer Makenzie’s

Spencer Makenzie’s serves THE best fish tacos in Ventura! (Photo by @spencermakenzies)

You can’t visit Ventura without trying Spencer Makenzie’s! This family-operated no-frills eatery puts quality and flavor into ‘fast food seafood’, something you don’t get to find very often.

The owners of Spencer Makenzie’s focus on creating high-quality, healthy dishes that are also very budget-friendly. We try to come here a couple of times a month when we want something quick for lunch and don’t feel like cooking a full meal at home.

Spencer Makenzie’s has a small indoor dining area, but most people grab food and a seat on the outdoor patio for fresh air and ocean breeze just blocks from the beach. A few of the must-try items include the world-famous fish tacos, calamari tacos (my personal favorite), grilled fish & shrimp burrito, and clam chowder.

7. Best BBQ – Wood Ranch

Photo by @woodranch

Wood Ranch is one of the best places to eat in Ventura CA for meat lovers! Wood Ranch’s food is always consistently good and it’s a great place to take colleagues out for lunch or your family when visiting Ventura.

This restaurant has multiple locations throughout California including one in Camarillo and Thousand Oaks south of Ventura. Although Wood Ranch does have a chain-restaurant setting and vibe, sometimes it’s comforting to return to a place and know exactly what you’ll be getting for lunch or dinner.

Wood Ranch specializes in American and BBQ plates made of high-quality ingredients. A few of the favorites include Wood Ranch trip tip, baby back ribs, smoked brisket, burgers, and steaks. For lighter fare, they have several salads to choose from (tri-tip salad is my favorite!).

8. Best Location – Brophy Bros.

Brophy Bros has the freshest seafood you will find in all of Ventura! (Photo by @brophys_vta)

There are a lot of nice restaurants in Ventura. Brophy Bros is another one of our favorite spots for a more upscale seafood dinner for Birthdays and special occasions!

One of the best parts about dining at Brophy Bros is the location overlooking the harbor and the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant is situated on the second floor and you have the option to grab a seat at the bar, in the dining area, or on the patio with views of the marina.

Eating here is an event in itself with a menu that covers a variety of seafood options. The pan-blackened Seabass is always a great choice along with the Oysters Rockefeller and the clam chowder. Don’t forget to order the delicious Brophy’s Bloody Mary or a glass of wine that goes so well with the seafood plates!

9. Best For a Modern Setting – Frontside Café

Frontside Café is one of my regular go-to breakfast spots in Ventura. This restaurant has a beautifully decorated interior matched by its simple yet tasty menu. With light wood accents, rattan hanging lamps, and light blue accents, this cozy café exudes modern beach vibes!

Frontside Café is not just your typical breakfast spot. Their menu offers a mix of healthy and comfort-driven items like Smashed Avocado Toast, Full Aussie Breakfast, and Aussie Meat Pie. Many of the items are on the lighter side like granola, acai bowl, and delicious homemade pastries.

Their beverage list includes an extensive list of coffee drink choices. I usually stick to drip coffee made by Beacon Coffee – one of my favorite local coffee roasters in Ventura!

Do note that Frontside Café closes early at 2 pm and the restaurant is closed on Mondays & Tuesdays.

Read Next: 12 Best Coffee Shops In Ventura, California

10. Best For Drinks – Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust

In the mood for a fancy drink? Then head over to Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust, an upscale cocktail bar at the center of Ventura’s downtown. We often stop by here after dinner or when our friends are in town for their fun craft cocktails. The cocktail lounge is named after the historic Bank of Italy building where it is located.

Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust isn’t afraid to play around with different ingredients to create unique drinks such as the Lambrusco Spritz (Cocchi Rosa, Lambrusco, Amaro Santa Maria, soda, orange wheel), and Order Of The Phoenix (Blanco Tequila, strawberry, Campari, vanilla, Mezcal, bitter rhubarb, lemon).

The interior is decorated with a classy vibe and mid-century modern accents like the beautiful hanging lights. You can grab a seat at the bar, at one of the tables, or relax in the beautiful couch area in the back for a more intimate setting.

If you’re hungry and looking to grab a bite to eat along with the drinks, they do offer a small menu featuring Italian food such as sandwiches, salads, charcuterie, and select hot plates including Eggplant Parm and Frankie D’s Meatball Surprise.

11. Best Outdoor Seating – Café Nouveau

Cozy patio seating & delicious food – what else could you ask for? (Photo by @cafe.nouveau)

Café Nouveau is one of those classic Ventura places to eat that you just have to visit at least once! This casual café has an eclectic setting and a spacious outdoor patio so you can dine al fresco.

Café Nouveau has charming, cozy décor, friendly service, good food, and a welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant mostly focuses on breakfast but they are open for dinner on select evenings as well.

Their menu is pretty extensive and covers everything from traditional breakfast, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and french toast to sandwiches, salads and so much more to satisfy any kind of craving.

Tip: Be sure to try the French Quarter Beignets starter – a local favorite!

  • Rating on Google: 4.6 out of 1650+ reviews
  • Location: Café Nouveau

12. Best American Food – Finney’s Crafthouse

Looking for a classy spot to head out for dinner and drinks in downtown Ventura? Then Finney’s Crafthouse is where you’ll want to go!

Finney’s Crafthouse is a family-owned restaurant and bar with multiple locations including one in Santa Barbara and Camarillo. The restaurant is situated within a historic 100-year-old bank building and has an interior decorated with a mix of modern and industrial furniture to match the setting.

This restaurant serves American food with a focus on burgers, wings, salads, and pizza. If you’re really hungry, go for the gourmet Jalapeño Egg Burger that comes served with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapeño, and chipotle aioli. My personal favorite is the Mini Finney Cheeseburgers that I like to pair up with an ice-cold beer.

13. Best Thai Food – Rice by Mama

Photo by Rice by Mama

If you’re looking for a casual dinner spot, or to grab quick takeout order, there is no place better than Rice by Mama! This family-owned restaurant serves authentic Thai food in a relaxed setting that will keep you coming back.

For dinner, we usually get a cup of Tom Kha Soup along with curry and something from the Wok. This local Thai restaurant also serves some more unique dish choices like Crab Fried Rice, Basil Catfish, and Pumpkin Curry.

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, don’t forget to try Thai Ice Tea and sweet sticky rice!

14. Best Pizza – Toppers Pizza Place

Nothing better than pizza & beer! (Photo by ToppersPizzaCalifornia)

If you’re looking for something fun and casual, be sure to check out Toppers Pizza Place that’s situated next door to Transmission Brewing! Both of these locations have joined forces and are situated in the same location with a connecting door so you can pair up your pizza with a pint of ice-cold craft beer.

Toppers Pizza strives to create the freshest pizza using high-quality ingredients and dough that’s made daily. We usually grab a pizza, and a salad from the salad bar and head next door to Transmission Brewing to enjoy a few beers to go along with the food.

For pizza options, you can go with classics like Toppers Combination (meat and veggies) or try something a bit more unique such as Carnitas Chipotle. As an alternative, you can build your own pizza by choosing the sauce and toppings.

15. Best Cofee – Prospect Coffee Roasters

The lovely interior at Prospect Coffee Roasters (Photo by @prospectroasters).

Although Prospect Coffee Roasters serves limited food such as pastries and cookies, they deserve to be listed as one of the top establishments in Ventura, especially for coffee lovers!

Whether I’m just looking for a morning coffee, a place to work on my laptop, or to catch up with a friend, I always head to Prospect Coffee Roasters. The interior of this coffee shop is decorated with beautiful, modern furniture with a bring, inviting atmosphere.

The coffee itself is worth raving about and is some of the best I’ve ever had! I usually get the Batch Brew drip coffee but there are plenty of other choices such as Espresso, Americano, Latte, hand pour, cold brew, Matcha, and many others.

The coffee is sourced from small-production farms and has a very distinct, strong taste with notes of acidity and fruit.

This list of local restaurants covers just a few of the top places to dine in Ventura! There are so many that if we didn’t mention your favorite spot, let us know your recommendations in the comments below!

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  • A customer

    The owners of Prospect also operate a restaurant, Model Citizen, that serves excellent food with local ingredients as well as fun cocktails and great wine.

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