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9 Best Places to Eat in Dana Point

Tray of fish & chips at waterfront restuarant

Whether you are visiting the Dana Point area and have a whole week or only a couple of hours to enjoy this spectacular Orange County hotspot, one “must-do” while you are here is to enjoy some of the best places to eat at local eateries in Dana Point, California. From local favorites to authentic Italian with recipes passed down from generation to generation, to the freshest caught fish and very best breakfast served up with a slice of “aloha”, Dana Point, California is filled with fabulous places and we are here to break down where to eat in Dana Point and sip on tasty adult beverages too.

BREAKFAST

A plate of breakfast pastries on a wood table

Coffee Importers

Family-owned since 1975, this multi-award-winning coffee hotspot is one of the best places to eat and a place where all the locals go. Centrally located right in the heart of the Harbor, Coffee Importers is known by the locals to have the most consistently delicious cup of joe.  The view here is one that is hard to beat too, making this stop our #1 spot to grab a hot or iced morning beverage. Delectable sweet treats and voted best bagels on this side of town too, your furry friends are most welcome at this outdoor-only seating location. This is one of the best places to eat and sip your favorite coffee drink before your morning boat ride aboard Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari is super close to our location and a caffeine haven to kickstart your morning routine.

RJ’s Cafe

Voted “Best Breakfast & Family Restaurant in Dana Point” for 12 years, RJ’s Cafe savory and sweet options will suit any palette at any age and for breakfast, it’s absolutely where to eat in Dana Point. This Southern California inspired menu has options for the entire family including fluffy pancakes and perfectly cooked eggs and hashbrowns and even south of the border favorites like Huevos Rancheros. They also have hands down the yummiest house-baked cinnamon rolls and delightful morning munchies for everyone in the whole family.  RJ’s Cafe is open through lunch with two parking lots on either side and located just across the street from the Dana Point Harbor making this an accessible location. If you know this is where to eat in Dana Point but you also have a longer wait, there are cute shops nearby and beautifully landscaped wide-open common areas to walk around. If you are needing some extra steps after an indulgent classic breakfast, be sure to bring your walking shoes and head up the stairs just north of RJ’s to the Dana Point Bluff Top Trail for spectacular views of the Dana Point Harbor. You are sure to feel the call of the ocean from atop these bluffs and can reserve your seat aboard Capt. Dave’s Whale Watching and Dolphin Safari from your phone while you take in the breathtaking views!

A’s Burgers

Next on our list of the best places to eat is A’s Burgers. If you are looking to grab some food and go, and you are not sure if a burger, a burrito, or a fish plate is calling your name, then A’s Burgers is the choice for you. So many people ask us where to eat in Dana Point and whether you are coming to surf the break at Doho and need a breakfast that rivals the flavors of In and Out, As’s Burgers is where it is at and an absolute fan favorite amongst the locals. Have an early morning boating trip to see dolphins and whales aboard Capt. Dave’s Whale Watching and Dolphin Safari and need to eat quickly but want to fill up? No problem! A’s Burgers offers an easily accessible drive-thru option where you can grab some pancakes or try one of their famous breakfast burritos on your way over to Dana Point Harbor or on your way to surf the waves at Doho. This establishment does observe Sundays as a day of rest so if you’re craving food from one of the best places to eat this local spot requires a visit Mon-Sat or call ahead to be sure they are open before you head down on a Sunday.

LUNCH & DINNER

Fresh fish on a table being prepared with vegetables and seasoning

Maison Café

Maybe one of our top choices for the best places to eat is located just across the street from the Doheny Beach Campgrounds and next to famous Surf Shop Jack’s, Maison Café feels like a gathering place rather than a restaurant. Their scrumptious farm-to-table atmosphere serves up not only the freshest seasonal organic ingredients inspired by the rustic countryside of France and Italy while remaining micro-local to the seasons and farms of Southern California. This is a place that you will share with your friends when they ask where to eat in Dana Point. Delectable house-made pastries and generous lunch and dinner portions are served without the long wait always with the most beautiful culinary presentation. Chef and owner, Danielle Kuhn is often on-site and always interested in connecting with visitors and open to a quick chat when not helping to prepare her delicious dishes. If you are joining her after a boat trip out to see dolphins and whales, stop in and shop the market pantry located inside and bring home some of your favorites or bring home something special from the cabinet filled with wine, cheeses, desserts, and pre-prepared heat up at home dinners. If you are looking for something that will feed the whole family, we recommend her famous braised beef mushroom pie. YUM!!

Tutor and Spunky’s

Are you still wondering where to eat in Dana Point? If you are planning for a full day at the beach or looking for a delicious sandwich to bring aboard your trip out on the water while whale watching with Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari, then a Dana Point favorite, is the eclectic Tutor and Spunky’s Delicatessen. Their menu offers fresh classics and healthy options as well as local community favorites like Rosa’s Best, a Turkey, Avocado, Bacon, and Provolone served up fresh on succulent Squaw Sliced Bread landing it on our list of the best places to eat.

Jon’s Fish Market & Restaurant

Offering locally caught fresh fish, it doesn’t get any fresher than Jon’s Fish Market. Here you can order fish and chips any day of the week and of course on Friday too! If you are looking to bring home today’s catch, this little fish market sells the freshest fish by the pound so you can bring your pescatarian culinary skills to life. Soak in some rays in their outdoor patio while you listen to a local artist sing a new tune and whether you are on vacation or staycation you won’t be able to do anything else other than feel like you are a world away with these good eats! Where to eat in Dana Point is an easy choice when it comes to fresh fish and Jon’s is certainly the place with the freshest options whether you are dining in or taking the catch of the day home with you.

The Harbor Grill

If the sound of mesquite-grilled fresh regional seafood paired with picturesque marina views has your mouth watering and your senses feeling fulfilled, The Harbor Grill is one restaurant you will want to take the time to make a reservation for. What makes them one of the best places to eat is their eclectic wines, innovative and unique menu and attentive staff create the perfect blend for a spectacular fine dining experience that will be one to remember. Celebrating something special? This is the perfect location to honor your anniversary, memory of a loved one or birthday celebration and congratulations dinner. This is a place that takes pride in wine and dining so be sure to let the staff know before you arrive if you are celebrating something special. With a menu that is always on point, you will have no problem finding parking as this award-winning location is where to eat in Dana Point located in the Dana Point Harbor adjacent to the infamous surf shop Killer Dana and Harbor Pizza (our choice for best pizza), this beautifully crafted menu will have you salivating and talking about your dining experience for years to come.

Wind & Sea

You are not the only one who thinks that the best places to eat must include panoramic harbor views. Any trip to Dana Point Harbor is the perfect time to visit the Wind & Sea Restaurant. Open all day, every day, this Pacific Rim fusion inspired limited-menu prime steakhouse and seafood is set inside the comfortable ambiance of casual elegance enhanced by one-of-a-kind waterfront views. Located in Dana Point since 1972, this establishment is also home to the best voted Mai Tai’s in town. Be careful though, these Mai Tai’s pack a punch! If you decide on more than one, this is where to eat in Dana Point with the best drinks and a great menu to follow. If freshly caught seafood is something that delights your palette, then Wind & Sea is your best bet offering up to 10 fresh-catch selections crafted into beautiful plates offered daily. The Wind & Sea is one of the best places to eat and also boasts a grand outdoor seating area with 180-degree views of the harbor and is big enough to bring your pup if your furry friend also likes to relax around the firepit. Delicious clam chowder, a fabulous place to meet for happy hour and nightly plus live music by local musicians gives you the vibe of chillin’ in Hawaii.

Turks

Certainly, the most eclectic waterfront location lined wall to wall with nostalgic nautical memorabilia on the walls makes Turks our #1 spot for cocktails on our list of the best places to eat in Dana Point! Started in 1984, Turk, a former bodybuilder, surfer, movie star, fisherman but his biggest love was the restaurant and bar business. This watering hole located in the Dana Point Marina is not only a place to grab a cocktail and enjoy the marina views but also a place to take a look back through the history of the marina, the stars, and take in the salty air!

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