For years we have been going to Ojai as a quick getaway, yet one thing that was always missing for us was delicious (and consistent) food options. As I’m sure you know by now, food is an integral part of every day for us and is a top priority for any vacation we take. In Ojai, there were always a few things, like the pancake from Rainbow Bridge Market or strawberry shortcake from Boccalis, that we enjoyed each trip. Still, outside of that, we would bring ingredients and cook our meals at the Ojai Rancho Inn because the restaurant options were pretty lackluster and only sporadically open.
People have flocked to Ojai over the past two years, and, with this new influx of residents, the food scene in this small town is finally in bloom. From artisan gelato to wood-fired pizzas and housemade naan, Ojai is setting itself up with restaurants worth traveling for and memorable dining experiences that will stay with you long after you have left.
Here is what we ate on our last trip…some old favorites and new gems that we will surely be visiting again on our next family getaway.
Andre and I dream of these sweet and spicy tamarind chicken wings. Sama Sama Kitchen opened in Ojai a few years ago (a second location to the original in Santa Barbara) and serves the most delicious Southeast Asian-inspired food using beautiful California ingredients. Open seven days a week (very rare in Ojai), you can always count on this place for a satisfying lunch or dinner. While staying at The Capri, we love to get it to go and enjoy a picnic on the back lawn with the kids. They have kid-friendly options that children will eat, like grilled cheese, chicken rice bowls, and tater tots.
Our Order: Signature Wings Crispy Brussel Sprouts Seasoned Tots Korean Fried Cauliflower Pickle Plate Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Woodfired pizza that travels well and tastes delicious once you get it back to the hotel? Pinyon is the answer to all your Ojai pizza needs and more. We ate pizza and salad after a long morning of entertaining the kids in the pool, and it was absolute perfection. Slightly charred, sourdough pizza with toppings like Bianco Napoli tomatoes, crunchy salads with farmers’ market lettuces, and good homemade bread and butter. They also have bagels and sandwiches during the day, but remember they are only open from Thursday-Sunday so you might want to plan your trip around those days!
A very exciting addition from the Rustic Canyon Restaurant Group, The Dutchess, is an all-day bakery and restaurant that elevates Ojai’s food to a new level. Chef Saw Naing’s Burmese-inspired menu is full of mouthwatering dishes that beautifully incorporate the local, seasonal produce of the region. And, don’t hesitate to go just because you have picky little eaters! All devoured the kids’ menu of Cinnamon Sugar Naan, Crispy Potatoes, Chicken Tenders, and Coconut Rice.
Sanders & Sons is a gelato shop that makes adults and kids happy. They make all of their small-batch gelato by hand and source the highest quality ingredients like Sicilian pistachios and Valrhona chocolate. The flavors change daily and are creamy and delicious. Paolo got the Mango Sorbet while the rest of us opted for the Pistachio. A place you must pop into when you are visiting Ojai.
Here are some other standouts and recommendations people have given us that we need to try next time: