10 Best Restaurants in Ventura: From Fresh Catch to Tasty Indian

Ventura County offers a wide range of dining experiences that appeal to locals and visitors alike. Neighborhood spots and downtown restaurants bring in customers looking for fresh food, local ingredients and speciality cocktails. Seafood, Mexican and American cuisines are popular, but everything else from Irish to Thai is also well-represented in the area.

The busiest restaurants tend to come with an ocean or harbor view, but ambiance is equally important for those looking for a great sushi bar or barbecue joint. Ventura County restaurants take advantage of the fresh air and year-round sunshine, most opening outdoor patios. Some even make room for our four-legged friends!

Local favorites such as Lure Fish House and Brophy Bros have consistently pleased customers with classic menu items and great locations. These restaurants cater to both entree and drink orders, giving customers a balanced dining experience, but you'll have to make a reservation or wait in line. For a more casual seafood experience, head to Spencer Mackenzie's to experience the best fish tacos for miles around. 

Downtown Ventura is home to most of the dining choices on this list, while the surrounding area of Oxnard and Camarillo also host sister-restaurants and popular contenders. Several chain restaurants are also frequented in the area, but in a small town, family-owned businesses are often the most cherished. 


Banzai Marina
Photo courtesy of Tori Bodin

Local folks flock to this unassuming place, clamoring for great sushi and reveling in the friendly service. A sit-down bar runs along one length of the light-filled establishment; elsewhere, tables accommodate dinner patrons, and reservations can be made for larger groups or parties. Whether you want nigiri, sashimi or a dynamite roll with scallops, you'll find only the freshest seafood available and careful preparation to boot. Other innovative options can be had as well, along with tempura and teriyaki dishes. Casual and frequented by a diverse cross-section of patrons. Downtown Ventura is just steps away, also making the establishment a popular place for diners to grab a Japanese beer or sake with their order.

Recommended for Ventura's Best Restaurants because: Sushi Marina is not only in close proximity to downtown Ventura, it also has one of the largest sushi selections in town.

Geneva's expert tip: If you are looking for a fresh side, their seaweed salad is generous and served with ahi.

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Spasso Cucina Italiana
Photo courtesy of Tori Bodin

Spasso Cucina Italiana is a delightful Italian restaurant located just steps from the Pacific Ocean. A great setting and satisfying cuisine makes this a must visit for all destination diners. Their menu offers several of your favorites as well as some hard-to-find dishes you may not have tried. Pasta dishes include classic Italian favorites and innovative combinations with entrees of veal, chicken, pork or salmon. The pizza here is (almost) as good as being in Rome! There's no shortage of dessert, with choices that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth and finish an authentic meal. Wine is also available, and the lovely staff is happy to suggest recommendations and pairing. Outdoor seating is available. Truly a local favorite.

Recommended for Ventura's Best Restaurants because: Spasso is one of the best Italian restaurants in Ventura, serving authentic food at great prices.

Geneva's expert tip: Ask for advice on a wine pairing; their selection is large.

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Brophy Bros Restaurant and Clam Bar
Photo courtesy of Tori Bodin

Brophy Bros overlooks Ventura Harbor and serves some of the best clam chowder in town. With a seafood specialty, their cioppino and garlic baked clams are just a few of their most popular items. Their fish is served with seasonings such as cajun spices, mango and papaya relish, or roasted cashews. Locals also head to the clam and drink bar, where the appetizers are fresh and cocktails are served with a view of the water. Brophy Bros also has a location in the Santa Barbara harbor. It offers almost identical views and the same great menu served by friendly and attentive staff.

Recommended for Ventura's Best Restaurants because: Brophy Bros is a local favorite that serves customers delicious chowder with a harbor view.

Geneva's expert tip: Brophy Bloody Mary's are perfectly mixed and seasoned. A favorite in both Ventura and Santa Barbara.

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Lure Fish House Ventura

Lure Fish House opened locations in Ventura, Camarillo and Westlake, where it's gained immediate popularity. With charming and modern sea decor, Ventura's Lure offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as seats at their Oyster Bar. That's right, Lure serves at least five varieties of seasonal oysters alongside their full drink bar. Their menu boasts of fresh fish and unique sides such as pineapple coleslaw, parmesan potato cakes or cilantro corn salad. Their ingredients are local and mostly organic. Their happy hour menu offers incredible deals on some of their most popular menu items.

Recommended for Ventura's Best Restaurants because: Lure is a somewhat fancy fish house with a nice full bar... and an oyster bar too!

Geneva's expert tip: Their charbroiled oyster is unlike any oyster you've had before and available on the happy hour menu.

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If you love fish tacos, you've just struck gold! Spencer Makenzie's is well known for having some of the best fish tacos for miles and miles. This casual seafood restaurant is a spot you shouldn't miss on any visit to Ventura - even if you're just driving through. In addition to fish tacos, they also serve tasty clam chowder, ceviche and ahi pockets. Buy some of their signature sauces to take home with you before you leave. Even if you can't quite duplicate their fish tacos, you can still taste the memories! A second location is now open in San Luis Obispo.

Recommended for Ventura's Best Restaurants because: Best fish tacos ever! Don't miss their 2-for-1 fish taco happy hour every Monday through Thursday between 3 - 5 p.m.

Geneva's expert tip: Start your meal with an ahi pocket or two. These little rice morsels are stuffed with tuna and absolutely delicious!

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Do you like oysters? You do?! Then it's time for you to take a trip to The Jolly Oyster. Located beachside in beautiful San Buenaventura State Park, The Jolly Oyster actually consists of two walk-up food trucks. At one, you can buy fresh, raw oysters and clams to prepare and eat onsite or take home with you. You can even buy an oyster knife and enjoy them raw or BBQ them right there at the nearby panic tables! At the other tuck, you can get tasty hot dishes like fried oysters and steamed clams. The park allows you to bring beer and wine in, so we suggest you grab your friends and family, take over a table and make an afternoon of it!

Recommended for Ventura's Best Restaurants because: Osters, oysters, oysters (and clams)! Buy 'em fresh, straight from the farm and eat them there or take them home.

Geneva's expert tip: Bring your favorite beverages and camp out at a picnic table out front while feasting on fried oysters, steamed clams and more!

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Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva