TOP 7 Dana Point Restaurants You Should Not Miss

Dana Point, with its beaches, cruise tours, fancy boutiques, and other luxurious deeds, is a place of interest for many travelers. Being the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the world, wildlife enthusiasts arrive in succession for private boat adventures and delicious food at one of the many fancy restaurants here. Listed below are the best restaurants in Dana Point for a phenomenal dining experience.

Whether you prefer to eat Italian, South American or other cuisines, dining indoors or outdoors, the restaurants mentioned below have something for everyone. With the descriptions provided, pick the one that resonates with you the most.

The Best Dana Point Restaurants

There are plenty of restaurants in Dana Point with good ambiance and satisfying service quality. You can choose the one for you from the list below.


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PERFECT FOR: Enjoying Latin American Dinner with Picturesque views
raya laguna

Raya is a resort in Dana Point, California near Laguna Beach. Along with other luxuries the resort offers, it has beautiful dining overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The in-house restaurant offers; famous South American coastal cuisine by Chef Richard Sandoval. This restaurant also claims to use locally produced goods, and you can taste the authentic tastes of the land in the dishes they serve.

The resort offers various dining spaces like; an indoor fancy dining space, a pool café, a bar, and a beautiful outdoor sitting area with breathtaking views of the ocean.

The indoor spaces are decorated with beautiful art pieces that make the entire space so artistic and chic. And the outdoor spaces with views of the ocean and the pool are magical and intimate.

As far as the food is concerned, they offer South American cuisine and also have vegan, vegetarian, and seafood options on their menu. Some of the things you will regret if you miss out on are

  • Brussels Sprout
  • Halibut
  • Thai Curry
  • Al Pastor with Spicy Shrimp

Last but not least, as clichéd as this sounds, their burgers are amazing. If you also love a good burger you might also want to visit these amazing burger spots in Norfolk, VA.

With its beautiful decor and scenic views, it’s a perfect place for a romantic dinner with your significant other. We recommend visiting this place at sunset for a romantic evening! The serene atmosphere of the outside with the yummy food is an experience one should not miss.

Luciana’s Ristorante

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PERFECT FOR: Italian Dinner
Luciana's Ristorante dana point restaurant
Luciana’s Ristorante

Luciana’s Ristorante is a family-owned restaurant that was originally set up about 25 years ago in Paris. Luciana’s Ristorante is a branch of it, in Dana Point.

This family restaurant has continued its legacy of excellence and is still super famous for its authentic Italian taste even after so many years. The modern taste blended with the typical spices makes up for a perfect recipe for a heartwarming meal which seems to be the forte of this place.

The ambiance of this place is exceptionally outstanding! There are two dining places

  • An indoor space, which gives off a royal vibe; with the red and white color scheme.
  • An outdoor patio which has a very cozy and warm feel to it. Reserving your table on the patio is recommended as the Californian weather, mostly if not all the time, is perfect and adds to the dining experience.

The food over here will definitely make you drool! Luciana’s Ristorante specializes in Italian cuisine and also offers vegan-friendly options. You might have had lasagna and pasta at various Italian places before, but this freshly made one is going to make you forget about all of those.

If not for the great ambiance, you will be coming to this place again and again for its out-of-this-world taste.

Also if you are into Italian cuisine you have to visit these Italian Restaurants in Laguna Beach.

For the service, we will rate it a 4/5. Their servers are very professional and make you feel comfortable in no time. However, sometimes, the order gets delayed if their is rush hour! You can also book their hall; if you want to entertain a larger audience and their patio for a cocktail hour.

The restaurant is also really affordable, and considering the amazing food, it is definitely one of the best restaurants in Dana Point!

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

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PERFECT FOR: Juiciest Burgers
Jimmy's Famous American Tavern
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern is another one of the top restaurants in Dana Point. Even though the restaurant doesn’t have a patio, the windows provide a good enough view of the beautiful harbor across the road. The interiors of this restaurant are very luxurious, with woods and dark and cool tones blended well, providing a very exclusive sort of touch to the overall ambiance of this place.

You can also see their amazing wine collection displayed on the racks. As a side note, you have to taste their wine; it was exquisite.

Their food over here is the chef’s kiss! They specialize in local cuisine and also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options on their menu. From desserts to wines, beers, a kids-friendly menu, a brunch menu, and cocktails, they have got it all. You can also order from their day’s special which will not let you down in any aspect.

The dishes we recommend over here are

  • Fried Calamari
  • Jimmy Burger with Beer
  • Cowboy Burger
  • Sesame Crusted Albacore Burger

The staff here is accommodating and you don’t have to wait much for your order as they have a really quick service. They also serve generous portions so you can get your food packed too.

You can order their food at home through their delivery service. All in all, it is a great place to have a fun catch-up with friends and enjoy the juiciest burgers!

Harpoon Henry’s Seafood Restaurant

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PERFECT FOR: People who like seafood.

ThereHarpoon Henry’s Seafood RestaurantHarpoon Henry’s seafood restaurant is another one of the amazing restaurants in Dana point and is mainly known for the “freshest seafood in Dana Point“!

The interior of the place is minimalistic and has a very refreshing vibe to it. The best part is the stunning view of the harbor as well as the gorgeous view of the ocean outside. Enjoy the serene while taking bites of delicious food!

Harpoon Henry’s specializes in American cuisine and also serve seafood with all the modern twist. You can find everything from vegan to gluten-free meals and kids meals here. However, for the best experience, try out

  • Cioppino (Fresh fish with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams along with garlic bread)
  • Mahi Mahi Macadamia (Macadamia nut crust, orange mango sauce, and salsa)
  • Atlantic Salmon (The Best Salmon in Dana Point)

The outside patio is heated and beautifully designed, matching the overall calming aura of the place. Then there is a fancy dining area which is just as good as the patio, if not better. Sitting outside is recommended cause the scenery paired with their food is too good to miss out on.

It is a reward-winning restaurant too, from Southern California Restaurant Writers Association, and this is also one reason why we consider it among the best restaurants in Dana Point!

If you love seafood you might also want to check out the top Laguna Beach seafood restaurants.

RJ’s Café

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PERFECT FOR: Enjoying meal at a pleasant environment
RJ's Café
RJ’s Café

RJ’s Café is another one of the restaurants you will find while driving along the Dana Point harbor. What makes it so special and pleasant vibe and low-key environment where you can just sit back, relax and have a meal with your friends and family.

The owner’s concept of making a place where people feel like a home away from home while enjoying the amazing taste of food is reflected in everything in this café.

The indoors are decorated in a very funky way, with aesthetic beige being the main shade, and the outdoors also has a very basic café sort of vibe which is unlike any other diner in this area.

This café specializes in American cuisine and serves breakfast and lunch regularly. All of their food is great, but their breakfast menu has to be the best in the area. They have a wide range of stuff on their breakfast menu; from basic toast and bacon to pancakes, eggs benedict, biscuit, and gravy, or even healthier options like oatmeal and many more are available.

From their lunch menu, they have sandwiches, burgers, or again healthier options available like soups and salads. We recommend that you try out

  • Lobster Benedict
  • Swiss Cheese Burger
  • Club Sandwich
  • Stephanie’s Sandwich

You can check the full menu from RJ’s Cafe’s official website.

Their service quality is top-notch. The staff compliments the vibe of the place, which is super friendly. With an amazing staff and great food, you will love every moment of your experience here!

If breakfast is your favorite meal of the day, then you should also check out these phenomenal places in Boston that offer mouthwatering breakfast.

Chart House Restaurant

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PERFECT FOR: A fancy meal with gorgeous views.
Chart house Dana Point Restaurant
Chart House Restaurant

Chart House restaurants are known for having the best food and gorgeous views, and I can assure you they have crushed in both of those compartments. If you love having food beside the serene ocean waters, go here because it offers the best view of The Pacific Ocean in Dana Point, along with tasty food and fancy interiors.

Like many other restaurants in this area, they also have an indoor and an outdoor area. Both of those areas have a very magnificent and luxurious vibe to them. The indoors with chandeliers and fancy decors are stunning.

They specialize in American cuisine and also serve seafood. They also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available. More specifically, you have to try their New York Strip Steak, Mac Nut Mahi, and Wild Caught King Crab as these are just an “irresistable delicacy”, as suggested by Sara Anwar, our team member.

For the deserts, try out the New York Style Cheesecake. This place gets full pretty quickly, so you might want to go early or get your seats reserved beforehand.

The outdoors maintains the same opulent atmosphere as indoors. If given the option, sit outside as the earthy smells and views just add so much to the flavor of their yummy food.

One of the best things about this restaurant is that you can also get a private dining hall booked for special events like graduation ceremony, memorial day weekend, and even father’s day.

If you love dining at restaurants with gorgeous natural views, you might want to visit these restaurants in Niagara on the lake with a scenic view.

Wind & Sea Restaurant

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PERFECT FOR: A fireside dining experience.
Wind & Sea Restaurant
Wind & Sea Restaurant

Wind and Sea Restaurant is also in Dana Point and has views of the Pacific Ocean on three of its sides. This restaurant was a premium steak house which is now a posh restaurant in Dana Point, California.

As soon as you enter, they will provide you with a table and drinks in no time, so you don’t have to wait at all. Also, their staff is understanding and friendly. You can also get your order customized if you have dietary restrictions, and they will accommodate you as much as possible.

The interiors of this restaurant are elegant and understated. Since the views around and the architecture in itself are nice, the decorations are very minimalistic, which adds so much character to this place.

Food offered at this restaurant will exceed your expectations! We recommend trying out Fish of the Day, Hawaiian Chicken, Wild Caught Shrimp, and Australian Lobster Tail (Don’t miss this!).

Another plus point of this place is its fireside dining which they have recently added by extending their patio. Trust me when I say, “It is so tranquilizing and calming“.

Once you get to experience their hospitality and great food with outstanding views, you will come back for it in no time!

Things To Consider Before Going To A Restaurant in Dana Point

The following are few of the essential factors you should keep in mind before picking a restaurant in Dana Point.

  • Menu — Keep in mind that most restaurants in Dana Point are seafood restaurants, right beside the ocean. In case you plan on eating chicken or any other meat, check out the menu first online Make sure you like the cuisines that are being served at the restaurant you have picked for yourself. Also if you have dietary restrictions you should know beforehand if they have got you covered or not.
  • Ambiance — Before reservation, you need to make sure that the ambiance of the place is perfect for whatever event you want to celebrate. Like if you are having a family dinner you should see if they have a kid-friendly menu or if you want to have an intimate dinner the atmosphere should go with it. Fortunately, all places we mentioned have gluten-free and vegan-options available.
  • Location — Make sure you understand the location of the restaurant you will be dining at beforehand so that you don’t get stuck in traffic and reach right at the time of your reservation.

How Do We Pick Our Recommendations?

Dana Point is also known for being the whale-watching capital of the world, and as we are all really into wildlife and nature, this was the perfect spot for us. Apart from the exploration of wildlife, we also enjoyed dining at the Dana Point Restaurants. We have formulated this list for you so that you only get to try the best restaurants this place offers. The recommendations are based on the service quality, ambiance of the place, and of course, the taste of the food. We also have taken into consideration the views of other visitors and online ratings before compiling this list.

Dana Point Restaurants for a Phenomenal Dining Experience - FAQs

What are the best restaurants in Dana Point that provide takeout?

Some of the most popular restaurants in Dana Point that provide takeout are RJ’s Café and Luciana’s Ristorante.

What are the best restaurants for large parties near Dana Point, CA?

The best restaurants for large parties near Dana Point, CA, include Salt Creek Grille and Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern.

Why is Dana Point famous?

Dana Point is famous for being the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World, for its private tour boats, luxury spas, cruises, and boutiques.

What airport do you fly into to get to Dana Point California?

You fly into John Wayne Airport to get to Dana Point California.

Does Wind & Sea restaurant offer drinks?

Yes, they do offer drinks.

Sara Anwar

Sara Anwar is hopdes' US director and a globetrotter. She joined the Hopdes team in July 2022. She has done more than 300,000 miles back and forth. She's been to more than 80% of the world, and her passion for understanding different cultures has only grown stronger with time. A traveler at heart, she loves to experience new cultures and learn new languages. Sara's wealth of travel experience makes her the perfect person to oversee a travel website – after all, who knows better what travelers want and need than she does?

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