While many visitors know Catalina Island for adventurous activities or relaxing on the beach, the Island also has a dining scene that deserves a culinary spotlight. With a wide range of cuisines, there is something for everyone on their island getaway.
What better way to enjoy a new place than know where the locals go and what they like to order? We asked a couple of Islanders where is one of their favorite restaurants and what do they order.
Maggie’s Blue Rose specializes in traditional Mexican food with a gourmet modern twist. The restaurant’s design mirrors its menu with artsy modern Mexican décor. Maggie’s has an impressive tequila inventory and takes personal pride in their cocktail options.
Due to restaurants only being allowed to serve outdoors for a time, Maggie’s moved to the beach so diners could enjoy their meal with some island flair.
Must-Have: Guava Margarita and Street Corn on the Cob
Known as the perfect stop after a round of golf or on the return hike from the Botanic Garden, the Sand Trap is a quaint place with a pet-friendly, outside patio. While many know this local dining favorite for their Happy Hour $1 tacos, The Sand Trap offers a great breakfast with many recommending the Chilaquiles.
The NDMK Fish House takes “locally sourced” to the next level. The restaurant strives to source their seafood from local anglers as much as possible. The proprietors themselves are local fishermen.
If you’re in the mood for sushi, NDMK is a great place to go to satisfy that craving. Given the seafood is so fresh, the grilled fish plate is a tasty option too. Whatever the catch of the day is, Catalina’s bounty will be sure to impress. Like Maggie’s, diners also can enjoy their meal on the sand.
Must-Have: Farnsworth Roll
Known for great food and outdoor patio, the Buffalo Nickel is a favorite for many locals as a place to relax and enjoy a meal. The restaurant is a little out of town which many like, but don’t worry you don’t have to walk. They have a shuttle that picks you up from the boat terminal.
Toyon Grill specializes in fresh, sustainable, local fare with and the outside deck offers unforgettable views of the harbor. If you are looking for a meal with a view, the outside deck offers an unforgettable spectacle of the harbor. Toyon is located in the new Catalina Island Conservancy Trailhead and is the closest restaurant to the Catalina Express check-in area. With a unique cocktail selection and a delicious menu, it is a great place to stop before jumping on the boat back to the mainland.
Must-Have: Prickly Pear Margarita
When on an island, you assume the seafood will be delicious and extremely fresh. The Lobster Trap will not disappoint with a variety of dishes centered on the concept of sea-to-table. Many enjoy the fresh lobster, but the swordfish is a must especially blackened. This local spot will have you rubbing elbows with the Islanders and learning about more hidden gems on Catalina.
Must-Have: Blackened Swordfish
This is just a sample of the hidden gems to be found on Catalina. Visit the Love Catalina website to see all the restaurants’ business hours and how to make a reservation. To make the dining experience extra special, Catalina is also allowing restaurants to serve beachside. This distinctive experience is something you are not going to want to miss.