Catalina Island (SoCal) - any good eats?

Hi Southern Californians. We are hoping to spend a few days on Catalina Island this summer as part of a trip to SD to visit family. Are there any good eats at all? There weren’t last time we visited (we used to be SoCal locals). It was all overpriced tourist food. But maybe there are hidden gems you know about? Thanks!

Bring a fishing pole


Lol that’s what I thought.

I have a very vague recollection of a nice dinner about a half mile inland, up a hill, at a restaurant near a country club. But I can’t find the name of it anywhere! It was fancy-ish American food, pretty sure I had scallops.

Sorry, not much to go on, I realize, and the restaurant may be long gone.

That’s ok. My own last trip there has to be 10 yrs ago…

You may be thinking of the Buffalo Nickel which is uphill but up the coast. There’s also a taco spot by the 9 hole golf course uphill inland. I’m not super familiar with the more recent stuff. Once they stopped the Fender Blues fest we stopped regular trips. I’m agreement with other folks here about the lack of good options and touristy stuff but still a lot of fun to be had. Try a weenie roast at Two Harbors.

I am 99% sure it was not Mexican food. And more upscale than that menu. It was old, though.

1 Like

I was there in August 2006, so my information is also old!

Unless they really built it up, there’s nothing to do at Two Harbors. You have to bring your own fun by way of bikes, kayaks, etc. We need the infrastructure of Avalon, as we’ll have a large group including kids.

have fun!

1 Like

I love Catalina! Unfortunately the food is forgettable at best - I know being on an island is tough but I don’t know why no one’s even trying anything interesting.

Bluewater is pretty ok for nicer dinners, and being on the water helps. NDMK is fine for casual stuff, and they do actually have fresh local fish sometimes, or so they claim. Otherwise, might as well cook if you’ve got a kitchen.

(Also would recommend trucking some beer, wine, and coffee over from Long Beach…)

1 Like

Thank you for confirming my memory of the dining options.

1 Like

In case we have future travelers, we were on Catalina (Avalon) for 48 hrs, and the food, as promised and remembered was between meh and eh. The absolute shining dining star, notable because not only did it not suck, it was actually good, was the Naughty Fox at the Bellanca Hotel. It’s on the main drag, towards the casino end of the commercial area. We had a beer cheese mac & cheese, a burger, a shrimp/coconut rice bowl, and a quinoa/chicken/papaya/cuke/avo/pear salad. Tasty and fresh.

Other places where we got our calories but were nothing to write home about:
Pancake Cottage and Toyon Grill for b’fast. Both were a 5/10.
Bluewater (coast) and Sandtrap (near golf course) for lunch. And eh, and a meh.
Cove Bar/Grill (uphill a bit in the Canyon hotel) and Naughty Fox for dinner. Also an eh, and a yay!
The frozen lemonade at Scoops was really refreshing on a hot day. We would’ve tried the pizza joint except for all the NRA & co. love all over that establishment.


Hi @Sasha ,

Thanks for the helpful report back on Catalina. Good reference. :slight_smile:

1 Like