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The best Ojai restaurants and bars

Find the best Ojai restaurants and bars, from Italian and rotisserie chicken to ice cream and a live music lodge

Written by
Time Out contributors
&
Kai Oliver-Kurtin
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From a hipster vegan food to homestyle Italian, the best Ojai restaurants and bars have lots to offer when it comes to flavor. Sure, this picturesque haven is known for its spiritual nature—it’s certainly a destination that loves a good spa—but the town sure knows how to indulge.

Locally-grown citrus is a given when in Ojai, but to get a taste of the area's full bounty of fruits and vegetables head to the Ojai Certified Farmers Market (held every Sunday just off the main drag downtown). And while there’s local, organic food around every corner, save room for guilty pleasures. You’ll find a local ice cream shop that feels like stepping into a time warp, plus authentic, small-town dive bars that double-down on the laid-back vibes. Looking for craft beer and live music? Ojai has that too, naturally.

Whether you want brunch, picnic fare or a romantic dinner, read on to see our top picks for where to eat and drink in Ojai — and while you're here, check out our list of things to do and cute places to stay.

RECOMMENDED: the best things to do in Ojai

Best Ojai restaurants and bars

The Farmer and the Cook
  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian

This lovely little market is in the neighborhood of Meiners Oaks, just west of downtown Ojai. Pop in for pre-made sandwiches, a fresh salad bar, and an abundance of local produce and picnic-friendly sundries for hotel cooking, hiking, or camping. If you have a little more time, order from a menu of eclectic lunch options (we suggest goat cheese and veggie tacos, or the house-made huarache), all of which can be made vegan upon request. There are also fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, and an ever-changing list of desserts (go ahead and treat yourself). Hoping to stick around? There’s ample seating inside and out, and you're bound to see some colorful Ojai characters come and go while you dine.

  • Restaurants
  • American

The Deer Lodge has been an Ojai institution since 1932. Part restaurant, part biker bar, part live music venue, the lodge-like space has a little something for everyone. Stop in for tasty, typical comfort food (think burgers, chili, and sweet potato fries) and dine amongst vintage hunting books, tin lanterns, and antler chandeliers. A thick wooden bar separates the dining room and the "Deer Ole Opry" where local and visiting bands play most nights (last time we were there, world-renowned fiddler Phil Salazar smoked through about four bows like it was no big deal). The outdoor fire pits make comfy spots for a beer or a smoke—and you can still hear the music from inside.

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors

This is the kind of ice cream shoppe worthy of the "shoppe" spelling. The sort of homestyle place that just wouldn't (read: couldn’t) exist in LA, with scratch-made penny fudge, a wall of bulk candy, and adorably-named local flavors such as "Ojai Pixie Orange" and "Pink Moment Strawberry" (named after the beautiful sunsets that grace Ojai's skies). All the signs are hand-painted, the teenage ice scream scoopers are friendly, and it smells like sweet, sweet childhood (and sugar). The best part? It's also surprisingly affordable.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars

Beer enthusiasts should not miss the Ojai Beverage Company, a bar/restaurant/liquor store with craft beers on tap and a 20-beer tasting. You can find almost any local craft brew here, plus well-curated picks from across the country and beyond. Wine tastings and liquor are also readily available, but beer is the main event—with very knowledgeable bartenders to give you the inside scoop on each brand. The food isn't too shabby either, although health nuts might want to steer clear. The Dark Seas burger (with battered lobster and crab bites, Muenster cheese, and a cajun tartar sauce) and blackened or truffle fries are some of the menu staples that you’ll want to wash down with tasty brew.


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Boccali's is a family-owned Italian joint set against a beautiful, outdoorsy backdrop. This locals' favorite has build-your-own pizzas, classic pasta dishes, and salads plus hot and cold sandwiches during lunchtime. But Boccali's is perhaps best known for its homestyle strawberry shortcake that comes stacked high with whipped cream—who would say no to that?

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan

You don’t need to be anything close to vegan to enjoy the tasty, fresh food at Hip Vegan. A locals’ favorite, the all-vegan and all-organic joint is located on the quiet east end of Ojai’s shopping district. Try menu highlights like the Old Fashioned Burger (we recommend adding avocado) and the Wagamama bowl, which comes with miso dressing. And don’t leave without knocking back a heavenly date cacao shake, simply a must-try. With a peaceful outdoor patio, welcoming staff and a dog-friendly policy, Hip Vegan is a great option for herbivores and carnivores alike.

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This rotisserie chicken spot is a self-proclaimed "Lebanese French Picnic," serving a la carte chicken meals as well as salads, sandwiches, and house-made sourdough bread (paired with house-made butter). It's a fast-casual eatery but has a charming dining area replete with string lights and a decent wine list.

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