Indulge in Avalon’s Finest: The Top 5 Restaurants on Catalina Island
Avalon, the picturesque gem of Catalina Island, boasts a culinary scene that’s as captivating as its stunning vistas. From delectable seafood to savory steaks, the island offers an array of dining experiences that are nothing short of extraordinary. Join us as we count down the top five must-visit restaurants in Avalon, each a culinary masterpiece in its own right.
#5 NDMK: A Sushi Haven with Local Flair
As we start our journey through Avalon’s culinary offerings NDMK (pronounced endemic and meaning native) takes the fifth spot on our list. Specializing in sushi rolls/sashimi and fresh fish, NDMK sources its ingredients locally when in season, ensuring a remarkably fresh entree. With access to the island’s freshest catch, NDMK promises something mainlanders just can’t get unless you have a fishing boat. Reservations aren’t taken and only during peak summer months would they be needed anyway. Hit these guys up for lunch or dinner, for more information click here: NDMK Fish House | A Catalina Fish House
#4 The Bluewater Grill: With the outdoor deck on the ocean
The Bluewater Grill has the best views and location. It easily beats all on this list. Favorite dish is the chicken under a brick and the seared scallops for the appetizer. If you have any room left, try the mudpie but make sure you have enough people in your group to share as it’s HUGE! Looking to save a little cash? Don’t miss out on their happy hour. It’s good and affordable. They also have a pet friendly space for your dogs and cats. The Bluewater, like many restaurants on the island source their fresh fish from Santa Monica Seafood co. on the mainland so while the fish is top quality is usually shipped in from around the world. Also check out their Bluewater brewery at their bar. Nothing beats locally caught. To check their menu: Bluewater Grill | Seafood on Catalina Island
#3 The Lobster Trap: Reel in Freshness
The Lobster Trap, our third choice, sets a remarkable standard by fishing for its own catch. These guys actually own a fishing boat and regularly bring in white seabass, yellow and bluefin tuna, yellowtail, albacore, and swordfish. During the lobster season they get those too. Insider tip: Lobster season on the island runs a short time after Halloween. Our lobster is called pacific spiny lobster and has a different taste than that of Maine lobster which most people are used to. Worth a try! The Lobster trap also offers sashimi and many other dishes, but I say stick with the fish because again these guys are the best for fresh fish. Open for lunch and dinner and don’t take reservations. Check them out here! Lobster Trap on Catalina Island (catalinalobstertrap.com)
#2 The M Restaurant:
A Culinary Haven with a View Taking second place, The M Restaurant invites you to savor a modern culinary menu while gazing out at Avalon Bay. With a menu that celebrates innovation and creativity. Their menu was created by famed chef Kathleen Bombard who owned the restaurant for many years. She is well known in town for her ability to bring flavors together and present them in an artistic way. Insider Tip: We have a little fish off the coast that looks like a mini halibut and called a sand dab. Only locals know where to find them and only locals’ fish for these guys. The M restaurant is one of the few restaurants that serves it on the island. The sand dabs are served island style and pan fried over garlic mashed potatoes with a drizzle of their famous lemon caper butter sauce. The M Restaurant also offer special diet food options such as Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options. They do this dish so perfectly that locals come to the M just for the sand dabs, it’s a local’s favorite. They are open for dinner only and do take reservations. Check their Menu: DINNER | M Restaurant (mrestaurantandevents.com)
Catalina Sea Spa:
Now before we get to our #1 recommendation let’s talk about the #1 asked question at the spa (right after do people live on the island? what?). We get asked everyday “Is it better to get a massage before or after you eat”. The simple answer to this trivia is there is no right or wrong way to do it. To me being full when I get a massage is extra relaxing as my food digests, to others they fear they will be uncomfortable on the table, so I think the answer is just personal preference and you won’t be able to answer till you try both ways. Check out Catalina Sea Spa to book now. Now back to our TOP contender.
#1 Steve’s Steakhouse:
Top quality steaks with a view. At the pinnacle of Avalon’s dining scene sits our top pick, Steve’s Steak House. With its vantage point overlooking the bay and the iconic casino, Steve’s boasts a five-star dining experience that revolves around exceptional steaks and locally sourced seafood. Steves also boasts one of the most beautiful dining room decors in Avalon with every detail taken care of at a 5-star level. From perfectly folded napkins to a fresh orchid flown in from Hawaii on each plate the art of the presentation wasn’t missed on these guys. Insider tip: The shrimp Avalon is a must try. I know I know it’s not a steak dish but it’s just as good in our opinion with 2 pieces of garlic toast topped with sauteed shrimp cooked in a tomato garlic lemon sauce and poured over top. Might sound odd but it really is one of their best dishes. Steves has many new dishes a week as Frank the chef is so talented, so ask what’s special that week. Frank the chef also makes a to die for tomato curry soup. Steves is open for lunch and dinner and does take reservations. Check them out here: Catalina Island’s Steve’s Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant
Now there are many excellent restaurants in Avalon so just read reviews on Yelp or Google to find what you are looking for, but these are our favorites. From sushi to steak, seafood to stunning views, breakfast to brunch and dinner, Avalon’s dining scene has something for every palate and preference. Our countdown of the top five restaurants on Catalina Island promises a gastronomic adventure that showcases local flavors, breathtaking vistas, and an unforgettable dining experience. So, whether you’re a seafood aficionado or a steak connoisseur, Avalon invites you to embark on a culinary journey that will leave your taste buds longing for more.