While Oxnard might be the best-kept secret on the Central California coast, I’m here to share Oxnard restaurants that you must try when you are in the area.
Where is Oxnard?
Bordered on the west by seven miles of golden dunes on Pacific Ocean beaches, the Santa Clara River on the north, the Ventura County Game Preserve on the south, and Camarillo on the east, Oxnard is located between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
Getting to Oxnard
Oxnard is 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The inland route through Thousand Oaks, Highway 101, or the scenic coastal route, Highway 1, will take about an hour and a half on either route you take, depending on traffic.
Two Amtrak trains stop at the Oxnard Station–the Pacific Surfliner and the Coast Starlight.
Fly directly into Oxnard or neighboring Camarillo. Other nearby airports are Burbank, Santa Barbara, or Los Angeles.
During the year, Oxnard enjoys 276 days of sunshine. There’s no snow skiing in Oxnard but plenty of surfing throughout the year. The wettest months are in winter, with the highest rainfall in February, and the cloudiest days are in June. The annual average temperature is 69 degrees.
Things To Do in Oxnard
While I was hosted for some of these experiences and at Oxnard restaurants, the opinions are my own.
My introduction to Oxnard began with a visit to the Channel Islands Maritime Museum. Exquisite paintings and ship models made of bones are a few of the fascinating exhibits in the marina across from Hollywood Beach. It is said to be one of the finest privately-owned maritime-themed collections in the world.
Speaking of collections, the Mullin Automotive Museum, founded in 2010, educates its guests about 20th Century French automotive styling and design. Enthralled by all the shiny chrome and Bugatti’s in the museum, I had difficulty moving to my next destination.
Another collection worth seeing is The Murphy Auto Museum. Vintage automobiles, prototype trailers, and classic motorcycles share space with tiki masks (can you count them all?) and other memorabilia. It’s a fun place for muscles and mojo.
Oxnard is an excellent place for whale watching during winter and the early spring and is the closest access point for departures to Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary. A myriad of water sports plus gondola cruises in the channels will keep you entertained on the water.
If premier shopping is more your style, The Collection at RiverPark will not disappoint. An eclectic mix of major retail stores, boutiques, and fashion-forward brands share space with carefully curated public art pieces located throughout the shopping center.
History comes alive in Oxnard at the Heritage Square Museum. This Victorian-era neighborhood explores the settlement and development of Southern California from the Civil War to the early 20th Century.
Where to Stay in Oxnard
Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor with a marina view is a winner for comfort, cleanliness, and quiet. Plan your three-hour tour to become a castaway or walk to Hollywood Beach only five minutes from the door. Hampton Inn is an ideal location for trips to Santa Rosa Island and Channel Islands National Park.
Visiting other destinations in California? Check out our other delicious guides:
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7 Best Oxnard Restaurants
These Oxnard restaurants offer distinctive menus, and some add authentic cultural experiences that are memorable.
3500 Harbor Blvd #1-105 // +18052040008
An excellent way to start the day in the marina begins with a caffeine beverage and a healthy sandwich at Honey Cup Coffeehouse & Creamery.
Their specialty drinks are so appealing to my senses. Honey or lavender latte, a plum or hazelnut mocha, or the pièce de résistance–a rosemary vanilla white jasmine is irresistible.
Seven kinds of milk will surely meet with your approval, as will the handmade ice cream made by a master chef.
Biscuits, bagels, banana bread, and unique house spreads like oxberry, rhubarb, or pistachio peanut butter round out the menu.
The Avocado Toast was my favorite served on focaccia bread, with arugula and truffle salt. A delicious blend of flavors and textures.
Accessible parking is right outside the door, and the service is fast if you are in a rush.
2810 Harbor Blvd #B1 // +18058324945
The authentic Indian cuisine served at The Masala Twist is hearty and colorful. They are open for lunch and dinner.
I ordered the Mushroom Masala with garlic naan, which I thought would be a light meal. The large whole fresh mushrooms swam in a rich red tomato sauce with yogurt cream and curry spices. Perfectly balanced with the flavorful bread, it was a very filling meal.
They prefer that customers order by phone for pick up and they also deliver. Pictures of the meals on their website are pretty accurate but don’t do justice to the real thing.
212 W 4th St // +18052401122
Three generations of passion for the unique essence of Mexican gastronomy are presented at Xielo Artisan Desserts in the historic Woolworth Building in Downtown Oxnard.
Serving traditional Mexican pastries, fusion crepes, and raspados are the family specialties. Using Grandma’s recipes, Juan Ramirez (the father) is behind the counter creating the treats and happy to answer questions. At the same time, Carlos Ramirez (the son) runs the front of the house, assisting customers and explaining their history.
The best way to get your daily fruit is to have bananas blended into crepes. With the culinary technique perfected in France, the folks at Xielo fill them with sweet or savory fillings. The classic Nutella and banana was my choice. A savory fusion selection might include corn, Mexican squash, and roasted Poblano peppers. Another is ricotta cheese and berries.
Natural syrups are imported from Parque Morelos in Guadalajara that dress shaved ice called raspados.
When I asked which of the hot chocolates I should have, the Mexican or the Spanish-style, the delicious traditional coffee from the state of Veracruz was the recommendation in the Spanish-style hot chocolate. I don’t know which was most authentic or traditional. I sure enjoyed it.
455 S A St // +18052470998
The fusion of Japanese and Latin flavors is a hit at SushiWay. I am a fan of sushi and seafood, too. This unique combination of cultures and tastes is natural together.
Many of the dishes at SushiWay include the generous use of yuzu, a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It’s authentic, tart, and fragrant and is a hybrid of the mandarin orange fruit.
I had the seaweed salad, a combination of mixed greens and seaweed with the housemade soy-ginger dressing, which was incredibly refreshing.
Two different hand rolls satisfied my craving for tempura and eel. The “entrée” was rolled into little roasted seaweed sheets around the sushi rice. Pickled ginger and spicy wasabi complemented each roll.
They don’t make substitutions, but there is no need to do so. They have already made terrific flavor and texture combinations.
SushiWay created a great casual lunchtime dining experience for me. Friday nights, however, at this Oxnard restaurant are hopping with dinner, drinks, dancing, and cool vibes. The cavernous interior allows for other special events like Taco Tuesdays, sports nights, sometimes DJs and other times live music, and Monday through Friday Happy Hour.
3201 Camino Del Sol // +18059831560
Oddly enough, one of the top-rated restaurants in Ventura County is in an industrial section of Oxnard surrounded on three sides by agricultural fields and is close to the Camarillo Airport.
Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars is an out-of-the-ordinary fine-dining experience. I had the pleasure of being escorted on a facility tour before my wine tasting and dinner. It was exceedingly interesting to learn about kosher grape growing and wine production, as well as the history of the Herzog family.
After the wine production tour, my evening at Tierra Sur began with a wine tasting. Impressed with the countless bottles of wine mounted on racks on the walls, I received a detailed education on the six wines on offer that evening. The California wines ranged from smooth to tart and dry to smokey. I chose the Rosé of Pinot Noir from Clarksburg to accompany my meal.
Seasonal ingredients are sourced exclusively from local growers at Tierra Sur. A pure foods dining experience is the cornerstone premise of the chefs at Tierra Sur. The waitstaff described each course delivered to my table.
Buckwheat Blini with Caviar was my First Course. Like a bagel with lox and cream cheese (one of my all-time favorite meals), the little blinis were pure with dill cured lox, vegan onion cream cheese, pickled shallot, and salmon roe. I enjoy 3-dimensional dishes, and the three blinis were perfectly stacked and balanced.
Grilled Salmon, direct from the fireplace at the outside of the dining room, included spinach, endive, shoestring potatoes, spaetzle, mustard, and whiskey glaze, was the Second Course.
The Sorbet Trio of watermelon with a rosemary sugar cookie, mango toasted coconut, and pineapple mojito with grilled pineapple was the perfect palate-cleansing Third Course that ended the dining experience.
1661 Pacific Ave # 11 // +18054862323
Make the Pacific Café the first stop on your way to tour the automotive museums in the vicinity. This classic neighborhood café serves its full menu of American food standards and Mexican favorites for breakfast and lunch.
In the office/industrial area, you can expect a relaxing meal with genuine service at this Oxnard restaurant. It is convenient with lots of indoor dining, a large, covered patio, and carry-out.
While I had a well-stuffed Veggie Omelette with Jack Cheese and Country Potatoes for breakfast, I could have had a burger or anything else on their menu.
Saturday hours are shorter at Pacific Café, and they serve the traditional Mexican soup for Menudo Saturday. It’s almost worth working on Saturday to enjoy this cultural treat.
1041 S Oxnard Blvd // +18054876933
The charming atmosphere at Cabo Seafood Grill and Cantina, along with the friendly staff, made for a delightful lunch. The sizeable plate of hot, cheesy Mexican food was striking. I had to wonder how they could make creamy cheese so delicious on a large plate of enchilada.
I am always fascinated by watching handmade tortilla production. You can also watch the Guacamole made at your table–it doesn’t get much fresher than that.
The large indoor dining room and expansive patio dining at this Oxnard restaurant help to give the feeling of calm and lots of time to finish your meal.
Later in the day, the spicy and savory Micheladas come in a mug, and if you pair them with the chips and salsa, you’ve got a winner for a snack or appetizer before dinner. The Happy Hour at Cabo Seafood Grill and Cantina features domestic and imported beers and Margaritas.
Cabo Seafood Grill and Cantina has been the winner of “Best Red Salsa” for 13 years. How can you beat that?
Your visit to any of these Oxnard restaurants will not disappoint. Appetizing breakfasts close to the automotive museums, flavorsome lunches, and pure, locally sourced dinner meals are worth the trip to the Central California Coast.
Julie Diebolt Price is a professional photographer, educator, travel writer, and journalist. She helps corporations and solo entrepreneurs establish their brands with imagery and business training. She educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures. Learn more at linktr.ee/PhotoTravelWrite.