Sail to Catalina Island for respite – and great dining – press enterprise
Summer travel is back! According to booking.com CEO Glenn Fogel, 85% of travel searches this year are for domestic destinations. The adjacent outdoor locations and beaches have sparked people’s interest after being locked indoors most of the time last year.
Catalina remains a hotbed for Southern Californians. Previously, the island’s dining options were… let’s just say “limited”. But now tasty and sustainable dining abounds at Avalon. From candle-lit venues such as the Descanso Beach Club to the new Naughty Fox at the Bellanca Hotel, the island is bursting with flavor. Some culinary tips for your next visit:
Descanso Beach Club
A 20-minute walk from ferry transportation is Descanso Beach Club, the only beachfront restaurant in Avalon. Reserve a cabin or lounge chair while you relax under white umbrellas dotted in the soft sand.
Ahi tuna sashimi with minced cabbage, radish sprouts, pickled ginger and wasabi is packed with spicy flavors. The comforting beach dish continues with crispy nachos topped with pulled pork or carne asada, house cheese sauce, pico de gallo and mashed avocado. The crowd-pleasing dish is large enough to share and pairs well with a bucket of iced Modelo Especial.
Kids can snack on grilled cheeseburgers and splash around in the ocean just yards from your beach chairs. Free water and towel service makes for a relatively stress-free day on the shore. If you are going to venture into the water, a recommendation: bring a pair of beach shoes. The rocky coast of Catalina is rough at the feet of the earthlings.
1, chemin Sainte-Catherine, Avalon
Blue water grid
For happy hour, ask for a table on the waterfront patio and enjoy the sunset with a margarita in hand. The menu at the Bluewater Grille is packed with sustainable seafood options such as oysters on the half-shell, blackened chipotle swordfish and cedar plank salmon with roasted leek vinaigrette.
While watching the yachts drift in the harbor, try a creative cocktail or a big oyster shooter. There are three options: a Michelada version with a salty edge, beer, Worcestershire, tabasco and lime; the island’s oyster shooter with tequila, orange juice, black currant, lime and ginger beer; and the Bloody Mary-inspired Shucker’s Choice with vodka, horseradish and lemon.
Creamy New England-style clam chowder and buttered lobster roll combined with this seaside vibe invite you to spend the night. A day trip is not long enough to discover the wonders of Catalina.
306 Crescent Avenue, Avalon
The Evil Fox at the Hotel Bellanca
The recently opened Hotel Bellanca is a welcome addition to the Catalina thoroughfare. The in-house restaurant, Naughty Fox, concocts a delicious Buffalo Milk. Catalina’s official cocktail is a nod to the resident bison herd that roams the island. Originally created on Harbor Reef at Two Harbors, the drink sips like a chocolate banana White Russian. The Naughty Fox serves up a delicious version that is raved about on Yelp.
The menu offers a mix of island flavors inspired by the Mediterranean. The blackened fish is sandwiched in a brioche bun with tzatziki, pickled red onions, tomato and arugula. Creamy scallop chowder and mac and cheese are family favorite (read: kid-friendly) options. Spice up the dish by adding lobster, shrimp or scallops.
Finish the meal with a Root Beer Flavored Cinnamon Ice Cream Float or opt for the White Chocolate, Macadamia Nut, Rocky Road, and Caramel Biscuits Sampler accompanied – you guessed it – by Buffalo Milk . Yeh!
111 Crescent Avenue, Avalon
Ice cream scoops
If you prefer your dessert to go, stop by Scoops Ice Cream shop. The selection of ice cream and homemade ice cream is often a last stop for guests before boarding the ferry to the mainland.
Amarena Cherry Ice Cream can be a bit syrupy, but the Salted Caramel Straciatella and Mint Chip Ice Cream will satisfy your sweet tooth. Creamy vanilla will make children dizzy, especially after discovering the wide choice of toppings: chocolate and rainbow chips, gummy candies, chopped nuts and cookie crumbs galore!
For diners looking for a dairy-free and somewhat healthy option, try the dark chocolate covered banana. It’s a Southern California classic and a soft finish for any Catalina getaway.
501 Crescent Avenue, Avalon