As I was writing this food journal on Ojai, I started to miss it. If you have been to Ojai then you know what I am missing. Ojai is a quiet mountain valley town with restorative energy that you can feel the moment you arrive. This is where artists and organic lovers reside due to the perfect surroundings and fresh ingredients. I am missing it and I need to return soon, so I can write another blog post on ‘What else I ate in Ojai’!
Ojai Farmer’s Market (above)
If you read this as a food journal or a list of places to eat while in Ojai, I hope it inspires you to visit and taste the deliciousness that this town has to offer. There are many other restaurants and cafes to try in Ojai that I hope you discover as well. With that said, there are many other places for me discover in Ojai too. Cheers to eating well!
Ojai Valley Inn
When you start reading my food journal and scroll through my pictures, you will notice a leaning towards Ojai Valley Inn! I have an adoration for this Five Star Resort and was fortunate enough to have stayed a couple of times. If you are looking for a quiet place to get away, play a round of golf, indulge in their top rated spa or dine on fresh creative dishes, Ojai Valley Inn will have what you are looking for.
Located inside Ojai Valley Inn, Jimmy’s Pub is the inn’s casual dining experience. If you know golf, then you would guess that the pub is named after, no other than Jimmy Demerit! This golf legend had strong ties with Ojai Valley Inn and this pub represents his style. It is a favorite with golfers as it is right off the green, as well as families who are wanting a casual style meal.
You honestly cannot go wrong with whatever you choose from Jimmy’s Pub. A few of our favorites are the Brussel Sprouts, the Braised Wagyu Tacos or the Chicken Bahn Mi. If you are like me and want something lite, I recommend the Farmhouse Salad with salmon plus their Alcoholic Lavender Lemonade.
If you ask for my two cents, I believe that Olivella is Ojai’s top restaurant for fine dining and wine. Chef Andrew Foskey creates delectable dishes that are a fusion of California Cuisine and Italian. The focus with any California Cuisine dish is the focus on using fresh local produce and seasonal ingredients. Every bite at Olivella is DELIZISO!
If you enjoy wine, Olivella also has an excellent wine program that presents wine from California and Italy. My usual suggestion is to order the tasting menu with the wine pairing. That way you will get the full spectrum of Olivella’s wine selection and cuisine pairing.
A few of my favorite courses from the seasonal tasting menu were the Spanish Charred Octopus, when I used to eat octopus. The Maine lobster tail over asparagus risotto, basil oil with a truffle béarnaise was my favorite of the night. Plus, the complimentary dessert plate of sweets was a delicious ending to a glorious meal.
When ordering from their menu, you have your choices of different courses or the tasting menu. I preferred the tasting menu with the wine pairing, although Keith and Madeline ordered by courses. For our table, this was a good decision as we could try each others dishes.
For more information, please visit their official website: https://www.ojaivalleyinn.com/dining/olivella-restaurant/culinary-inspiration
Wallace Neff Heritage Bar
This classic establishment is perfect if you are wanting a more upscale casual experience of handcrafted cocktails, wine and small bites. Their seasonal lounge menu ranges from appetizer style dishes like charcuterie, calamari, bruschetta and wings.
If you are looking to elevate your Olivera dining experience, I suggest that you set a time to have a cocktail or glass of wine at the Neff Heritage Bar. After winding down with a glass and an appetizer, head in for your Olivera dinner reservation. Enjoy and appreciate those delicious moments.
Fresh food – Fresh air – Pretty Fresh!
The Oak is a gorgeous place to have a meal and/ or a cocktail. This Ojai Valley Inn location offers relaxing and inspiring views of the golf course while surrounded by majestic oak trees. A very serene location to enjoy quality time with friends and family.
The Oak is the perfect place for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner! The menus are true to the tradition of California Cuisine using local produce and seasonal ingredients. The Oak also offers cocktails, which is great if you are wanting to relax with a drink and a small plate.
I am in love with Libbey’s! Whenever I find myself at Ojai Valley Inn, I cannot help but walk into this artisan market and drool over the pastries. I also purchase a few goodies to go before I leave the valley because I want to take a bit of the inn with me. Libbey’s is a delicious place for baked goods, salads, wraps or fresh packaged sandwiches.
The Lavender Scones are not to be passed over! Ojai Valley Inn is known for these freshly baked scones using on property lavender. When ordering your scones, make sure you accompany them with their house made honey butter. Together, the lavender scones and house made honey butter create a divine noshing experience.
Libbey’s also has tasty take away like their breakfast wraps, salads and fresh sandwiches. One of my favorite to go sandwiches is their roasted chicken salad with grapes. It is perfect quick lunch especially on those warm California afternoon days.
For resort information, please visit their official website: https://www.ojaivalleyinn.com/
Honey everywhere! Heavenly Honey was such a cute little store in Downtown Ojai. If you enjoy this sweet elixir, you may never leave. Also, if you love honey then you know that all honey is not created equally. Heavenly Honey has it and brings it.
The great thing about this store is that for a small fee you can do a Honey Tasting. The owner is knowledgeable of her products and is very friendly. The store itself is a pretty sweet set up, no pun intended! 🍯🐝
Azu Restaurant & Ojai Valley Brewery
What a relaxing set up! AZU Restaurant & Ojai Valley Brewery is a fantastic find along the main drag in Ojai. It is a cozy, casual and friendly place for Happy Hour or dinner.
The cocktails are divine and that means something coming from this ‘Cocktail Darling’. I do love a cocktail! 🍸 I highly recommend the Pear Martini and the Rose’ All Day Sangria, both were pretty perfect. If I lived in the area, I would come back and try the remainder of the cocktail menu! As for the beer, I heard they were great. Not from me, as I do not drink beer but from the two beer drinkers I was with. They really enjoyed their Beer Flight. We also ordered a few items off the food menu including the hummus which was very good.
It is no secret, I do love Kombucha! I love everything about Kombucha! Walking into this cute café with different kombuchas that they brew themselves, on tap, was my cup of tea- or kombucha! They also have tasty Acai bowls so you really can grab a healthy meal and drink from here. All ingredients are natural and organic but what do you expect from Ojai?
My daughter has ordered the “Awesome Acai Bowl” a few times and has always enjoyed it. As for myself, my favorite is their Eclipse Kombucha made with charcoal. Revel is the perfect place in Ojai for that natural pick-me-up, light meal or a refreshing kombucha.
Ojai Olive Oil
Do you know where your olives come from? I purchased a few bottles of Olive Oil from here, so YES I do know where my olives come from. They come from Ojai! Actually whenever I pull into Ojai, I come home with a couple more bottles, as I just cannot get enough.
If you are particular on where your food comes from, Ojai Olive Oil is a very impressive place. Not only for their practice on creating delicious olive oils but for opening it up to the public to view their olive trees and understand the process. You know exactly where your olives are coming from.
The tour is very informative and is not too long. It consists of sitting under the oldest olive trees on the property, learning about what olives they use and then going into the small facility where the magical olive elixir is made! After the tour, you are lead into a small tasting room where you can try out different olive oils and balsamic vinegars. There are also beauty items like soaps and lip balms if you want to go all out Olive Oil.
Ojai Pizza Company
Although this pizza place in Ojai has raving reviews, Keith and I found it mediocre. Maybe we just ordered it on an off day? My daughter who used to live in Ojai ordered pizza from this location many times over, so we decided to give it a go. We placed our order for the Combination Pizza and the Potato Skin Pizza. I was not sure what that meant (Potato Skin Pizza) but when I opened the pizza box, it really was a potato skin pizza! I did not try it but apparently it is popular with younger folk.
I can only comment on the Combination pizza that had a lot of great sounding toppings on it but it was kind of underwhelming. I cannot describe it but all I tasted were the toppings and they were not that great! The consistency of the pizza crust was almost mushy and was there pizza sauce? I am not sure. Maybe it was an off day for Ojai Pizza Company? We may never know.
Great American style breakfasts here at Bonnie Lu’s! This retro themed diner is on the main drag in Downtown Ojai. There are not too many breakfast places in Ojai that serve traditional food fare at reasonable prices. That might be the reason why Bonnie Lu’s can have a bit of wait.
A couple of plates on the table at Bonnie Lu’s was The Titus with a side order of grits and The Oscar. It was a biscuits and gravy dish while the Titus was an egg white scramble. Very different tastes at the table but Bonnie Lu’s was able to accommodate! Both were very filling and very good but you really cannot go wrong with a traditional breakfast. I also ordered the Iced Coffee and it came in a VERY LARGE GLASS!
Cheers to you, to me, to us and good food!
🌎 Thank you for visiting my website and NEVER STOP EXPLORING!
📸 All photos are taken by me and are mine – Trixie Navarre