Catalina Island

Are there any good places to eat on Catalina Island? May be venturing out on the seven seas and staying a night later this month. Having never been m’self, wondering if any of y’all have any recommendations.

Here is main Catalina site with some (all?) on-island restaurants listed: Where to Eat | Restaurants & Nightlife | Catalina Island


Good breakfast at Original Jack’s Country Kitchen

They don’t seem to participate on that site, but I’ve heard good things about C. C. Gallagher. I worked , for 6 years, in a shop where the Catalina Express comes and goes via Dana Point, so I got to talk to lots of people who had been there.

While not spectacular, the Bluewater Grills over on the mainland are decent. I have not been to the one on Catalina. Don’t expect too much in the way of food experiences over on the island.

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Short Answer: Not really.

Longer Answer: There are a few places that are totally fine, though not great and very not great QPR-wise (Bluewater, Cafe Metropole, whatever else Yelp tells you is ok). The cocktails at Luau Larry’s are actually decent in a fun/sugary/tiki/milkshake kind of way (and you can’t beat the view from table 1), as are the ones at the Descanso Club, and the $1 tacos for happy hour at the golf course a little ways inland are totally fine. Big Olaf’s has good waffle cones and fine ice cream, and it looks like Scoops may have actually finally opened up on the main drag.

If you can swing it the family and I usually prefer to grill stuff ourselves on the island, either things we bring in a cooler or buy at the grocery store there. It’s a nice place to be outside, and if you have access to a grill it’s a great way to spend an evening.

@wienermobile - Thanks, wienie.

@Midlife - That’s great intel!

@littlestevie - Figured as much, but since I’ve never been, tryin’ to get a lay o the land. Side-note: there’s a Bluewater Cafe in Vancouver that is fantastic. I don’t think there is any relation, but if you’re ever up in Vancouver, check it out, eh.

@Srsly - I saw that re: Scoops! And that’s a good idea about grilling. Seems like a good option would be to grill and then go out for drinks. Appreciate all of the info.

Catalina doesn’t even have a McDonald’s. WTF!

I know the secret good place to eat. This joint right here is crazy plain looking and most of the menu is wack, but you go here for Mexican food. Namely their carnitas plates and maybe rellenos. It’s right by the helicopter pad… you cant walk or drive there so you call them up and they send a damn shuttle for you into town :slight_smile:
be buzzed when you get there, then drink at least 3 tequila drinks here… then you order the carnitas… then you remember my fucking name!


Lolol… A lot of islands are like that. Corporate restaurants are bad for the local economy. Plus it messes up the aesthetics.

There are McDonald’s in Fiji - two, in fact.

And so many on Oahu it’s not even worth counting.

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@ipsedixit - I just created a Kickstarter to help rectify this atrocity and put a McD’s on the island once and for all. Pls donate thx


In Fiji yes, in Nadi and Suva - the two “major cities” on the main island - no loss to the local flavor and scenery. Actually, McDonald’s is probably welcomed by tourists and locals alike. One needs an occasional break from all the Indian and kinda-Cantonese food there. The other islands don’t have enough population masses to support a McD’s - thank goodness. If Taveuni ever gets a McDonald’s, it’s the definitive sign of End of Days.

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:relaxed: Fiji and Hawaii are beautiful, but pretty commercial. I should have said small islands like Catalina or Martha’s Vineyard, whose economy comes from small local business and the type of tourist who likes it that way. It’s actually Martha’s Vineyard law… No Golden Arches. The difference is nobody cares because there’s great food everywhere on MV. Catalina, probably not so much.

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Very true. I get that way, even in my beloved Mexico. A Quarter Pounder never tasted as good as the one I had in Cozumel. And I rarely eat McD’s here.

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The Vineyard is one of my favorite places on earth. Great food scene there, too.

As for McD’s, every time I eat there - which is once every five years or so - I feel like I swallowed a handful of gravel and my guts ain’t right for at least three or four days.

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Off topic alert!

Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard


And the digressions continue…

Red Cat was my favorite restaurant in the world (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration) back in the 1990s when they were located in that house in the West Tisbury woods.

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Okay we’ll keep it brief. I don’t want the topic police to arrest us. But isn’t Ben De Forest a mad genius?

I think he lost the plot when he closed that version of Red Cat to open Balance, which was trying to do the whole NYC, Soho “loft style” thing with a martini bar (ugh), etc. He also had a period where he was putting truffle oil on pretty much EVERYTHING but other than those complaints… Yes, he’s cranked out some of the most memorable meals I’ve had.

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Lolol… He’s gone back to his roots.

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