The Best Restaurants & Bars In Ojai

Our 14 favorite spots to dine out before a vineyard wine tasting or hiking Meditation Mount.
The Best Restaurants & Bars In Ojai image

photo credit: Elise Freimuth

There are a bunch of reasons to spend a weekend in Ojai, and many of them have nothing to do with yoga retreats, babymoons, or “Oh, can I still use this gift card I got three years ago for the Ojai Valley Inn?” This small town just east of Ventura is only an hour and a half from LA (with no traffic) and is home to hikes, cute rental cottages, and plenty of places to eat produce grown down the street. But this isn’t a Napa Valley-like destination with too many fancy restaurants to count, either. Ojai is more laid-back, with lots of great casual spots suited for eating and drinking in the sunshine. These are our 14 favorite places in town to do just that.


photo credit: Nikko Duren



$$$$Perfect For:PastriesDessertBrunchLunchOutdoor/Patio Situation
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Right next door to Rory’s Place (currently under construction after a kitchen fire), Rory’s Other Place should be your first stop in Ojai. This all-day cafe from the Rory’s team doubles as a neighborhood market stocked with enough fancy sardine cans and orange wine bottles to last a long weekend. Starting at 7:30am, Rory’s serves cloud-like blueberry scones, big breakfast burritos, and fruit-topped granola bowls. In the afternoon, you can graze on a briny niçoise salad, braised white beans dusted with parmesan, or a smoked salmon platter—all while sipping a glass of chablis. Expect to wait in line on weekends and don’t leave without a cup of the buffalo milk soft serve.

For sushi and sake in Ojai, head straight to Full Moon Izakaya. It’s a walk-in-only Japanese spot behind a tea shop that brings some freshness to the whole speakeasy thing. Rather than relying on the charm of its semi-secret backyard at the end of a long alley, this fun dinner spot serves unique bar food that’s well worth the 45-minute wait. There’s bright yellow tempura corn, wagyu beef tataki, and steamed clams in miso broth that transform into creamy Japanese risotto. You can have a great group dinner under the string lights on the patio, but we’d also recommend sitting at the bar for date night (where you can share sake and BBQ skewers while watching the chef make handrolls).



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Pinyon is a sourdough bakery, wine shop, and pizza emporium that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sure, they use local produce and naturally-leavened dough in all their products, but they also have a green neon sign shaped like a frog and sell shirts that say “Pepperoni Star Stuff” on the back. During the day, you’ll find bagels, hoagies, and a couple of square slices on their old-school menu board. At night, they serve puffy-crusted, wood-fired pies topped with things like giardiniera, rainbow chard, ricotta, and confit garlic. If you’re lucky, you might even catch one of Pinyon’s special pop-up dinners—they’ve already done collaborations with LA spots like Little Fish and Greekmans. Keep an eye on their Instagram for the latest updates and fun weekly wine reviews.

Anyone visiting from LA is probably not a fan of waiting in line for tacos, but you should sacrifice a little of your vacation time for Ojai Tortilla House anyway. Just off the main street, this tiny shop serves a small menu of tacos, burritos, and quesadillas that you can take with you to the park just down the street. Get here early—they close at 3pm, but they’ll shut down before that if they run out of ingredients. Cash only.

If we lived in Ojai, the people working at The Dutchess would probably know our middle name, favorite song, and daily coffee order by heart. This all-day spot from the Rustic Canyon team is that comfortable. Much like every well-styled photo of "a boho cabin in Ojai" on the internet, this place is full of antique wallpaper, sturdy wooden furniture, and coat hooks shaped like ducks. Starting at 7am, they serve breakfast, lunch, and pastries, ranging from croque madames to samosa hand pies. If you stop in for dinner, expect a menu of Burmese-Californian dishes you won’t find anywhere else in town. They have a walk-in bar with a pool table in the back, so even if you can't snag a reservation, you can still drop by for a fun night out.

Ojai Rotie is a fantastic place to eat outside in downtown Ojai. If you walk up to the massive front patio, most people will probably be eating the Lebanese rotisserie chicken platters. You should do the same, but also know that Ojai Rotie makes some great sides to go along with your meat. Focus on the tabbouleh salad and the rotisserie potatoes, which are like whole fingerling French fries. And if you’re not interested in tearing apart a roast chicken at dinner, the sandwiches are great, too, especially the grilled eggplant with cabrillo cheese. Grab a glass of wine from the bar, soak in the views of the mountains, and brainstorm ways to convince your boss to let you work part-time from Ojai.

Most restaurants that look like hunting lodges have some giveaway that they’re not actually hunting lodges like a veggie burger, or the fact that they’re located in the middle of a large metropolitan area. But Ojai Deer Lodge is the real deal. It’s up the hill in Meiners Oaks, just outside of Ojai proper, and is the most fun place in Ojai to drink a bit too much after a hike. There’s a fantastic beer selection, solid cocktails, and live music most nights. The food is good enough to serve its purpose - get the tri-tip nachos—but the best time to come is on the weekends when there’s a smoker out front, and they’re serving pulled pork, ribs, and tri-tip sandwiches.

If you’re into craft beer, you might already know about Topa Topa Brewing Company. Started in Ventura, the popular brewery now has four locations along the central coast. The taproom in Ojai is a great spot for gathering everyone you like in one place—especially when you just want drinks and a light bite. There are over 15 drafts on tap at the bar, plus a takeout restaurant called Little Sama that serves modern Indonesian food from a small window inside. When it’s warm out, grab a seat on the patio out front and take in the views of the Topa Topa Mountains towering over Ojai Avenue.

The Nest is our favorite spot for a sort of healthy lunch in Ojai. It’s an order-at-the-counter setup on the main strip, with lots of outdoor seating and a menu that ranges from fish and chips and Chinese bao to Brussels sprout tacos. Those tacos are particularly good, but you’re really here to settle in on the patio and figure out how many years of work it’s going to take until you can afford to buy a house in Ojai.

Even if you’re not staying at Ojai Valley Inn, you can still visit the 220-acre resort by checking out its collection of restaurants. Our favorite of the bunch is Jimmy’s Pub—a surprisingly casual all-day spot that overlooks a massive golf course. There’s a long bar inside, but we recommend grabbing an outdoor table to take advantage of the scenic grounds and prime people-watching. Bring a friend and snack on things like crispy buffalo shrimp, creamy avocado hummus, and wood-fired pizza topped with fennel sausage. You’ll get the five-star service you’d expect from a country club without the membership fee.

Just west of town in Meiners Oaks is this health food store and cafe that is about as Ojai as it gets. The menu has a chai of the day and raw tacos, and we’ve seen people clearing chakras and inviting the mother spirit into their energy at the table next to us. But aside from all of that, the vegetarian Mexican food is great, and there’s also a market attached where you can buy chia seeds in bulk and loaves of bread made down the street.

The food at Boccali’s is fine, in a classic Italian red sauce kind of way, but you’re here to sit at a table on the back lawn, drink the wine you bought earlier that day, and then buy string lights on Amazon to replicate the whole setup once you get home. There are, however, two exceptional dishes: the excellent, only-served-in-the-summer tomato salad, and the enormous strawberry shortcake for dessert (swap the ice cream in for whipped cream).

Papa Lennon’s sounds like the pizza place by your high school, and like most small-town pizza shops, there are some hits and misses on the menu. The pizzas are generally pretty solid—especially the Thai Chicken, which comes with carrots and peanut sauce—but the non-pizza items are the real highlights. They have a great beet salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts, and the chicken parm sandwich is heavy, very flavorful, and exactly what you want after a day pretending you’re a person who hikes.

Air Pizza is about ten minutes outside  Ojai’s downtown village in an unassuming strip mall next to a drug store. But the New York-style sourdough pizza at this casual slice shop is well worth the trip. Whether you order a whole pie or a slice on a paper plate, the thick edges are crispy while the middle stays soft. Keep it simple and get the classic pepperoni, and if you’re feeling adventurous, order another slide of their mushroom-loaded Mira Monte. They also offer gluten-free options, vegan cheese, and salads for anyone who needs dietary alternatives.

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