So, I hear you’re visiting Ojai. Good call.
I get asked about restaurants, hikes, yoga and what there is to do in this sleepy little town, quite a bit, so I thought I’d write it up.
Great places to eat & drink:
Ojai Beverage Company.
665 E Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA
Affectionately called the OBC. It has 20 beers on tap and 900 more in the fridge. Jason gets the 5 beer sampler every time we go. You can get 5, 10 or 20 beer samples. It has fancy bar food: they do a veggie version of their fish tacos for me, as well as truffle fries, hearty salads. And I hear the burgers are stellar. Their wine list is sparse, but you can buy anything from the store, and bring it to the restaurant. That’s usually what I end up doing. Or I’ll bring an orange (no joke) and order from their specialty sipping vodkas or tequilas. They don’t make mixed drinks. So I bring my own. Local style. Big selection of high end chocolate bars. Honestly, this would be my first stop in town, if I were you.
Farmer & the Cook
The best local, organic, season food in the valley. Great smoothies, incredible bakery items. Just be patient. They are SLOW… If you’re hungry, buy something already prepared or help yourself to the salad bar. Because this is the poster child for the s. l. o. w. food movement. But I’ll tell you… it’s worth the wait.
Sweet, casual, family owned pizza place. Great fancy salads, homemade gelato, Italian patio… Great if you’re bringing the kids or a big party.
Jimmy’s Pub at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
I really like eating outside on their patio. It’s a gorgeous place to watch the Pink Moment, the sunset colors on the Topa Topa Mountains.
This is a surprising treat. They have great food and a tiny little patio, right downtown a few doors over from the movie theater.
Los Caporales Restaurant & Tequila Bar
Order by the pitcher. Get the Original with the fresh juice. (not the mixer)
Agave Maria’s Restaurant & Cantina
106 S Montgomery Street
I get the Skinny Margarita on the rocks with salt. Fresh local juice. Mmmm, so good.
Jimmy’s pub at the Ojai Valley Inn
They do some sweet seasonal drinks, like the Pixie Martini and the Snooty Lady (Vanilla vodka, fresh grapefruit and mint).
Favorite places for coffee:
Ojai Coffee Roasting Co.
337 E Ojai Avenue
They roast their own coffee beans in the back of the store. They’ve got a full selection of baked goods: bagels, muffins, scones. And they do lunch salads & sandwiches.
311 E El Roblar, Closed Sundays
469 E Ojai Ave
Last time I checked they only have french-press coffee. No espresso drinks. But they have a sweet little patio and some of the best (if not most expensive) baked goods around. And for good reason, they’re hand making it, with local, organic, season ingredients. If you like fancy food, you’ll love this place. Bring cash. No credit cards.
Bocalli‘s Pizza is about 3 miles east on the main street, a great place to watch sunset (pizza is ok, not fabulous.) Don’t miss the seasonal tomato salad and save room for their enormous strawberry shortcake. Also, bring cash as credit cards are not accepted.
Suzanne‘s = fancy California food, nice patio
Azu = Mediterranean, dates wrapped in bacon, great salads, grilled chicken, good bar scene
Thai food restaurant is MUCH better than the Chinese food place, if you’re considering that. Neither is destination worthy, but if you’re in the mood…
Friday nights in the summer, there’s a mini farmer’s market stand at Knead bakery, right next to Azu. They serve wine & light food. Checkout the local hipster farmers. they’re cooler than anyone I know.
The main farmer’s market is Sunday mornings on Matilija Street, from 9ish to 1 ish. (2pm? something like that.)
Rainbow Bridge is our main health food store. They’re great, smoothies, a limited cafe menu.
I haven’t been to the Deer Lodge since the new owners took over. I hear they have vegetarian and vegan dishes now. I’ll report back after I go.
Rainbow Bridge, Westridge Market both have some great fancy food, if you want to make your own picnic: cheeses and crackers, olives, fig paste, that sort of thing.
Hip, has a great date shake, vegetarian and vegan food.
Need a gift? Pretty Boutiques & Shopping:
Modern Folk Living, 306b Matilija Street. Beautiful stuff, curated selection of home and apparel.
Kava (in the Arcade shopping area), 238 E Ojai Ave, gift cards, books, candles, and gorgeous house accessories.
Fig Ojai, home and garden, local artists and exquisite items.
Hattie‘s 109 N Montgomery St., Gorgeous clothes, jewelry, a few hand made cards.
Julia Rose, clothes, jewelry, shoes.
Ojai House, Funky, fun, eclectic collection. You will laugh once inside. It’s a good thing.
Made In Ojai, Co-op type shop with all locally made and crafted goods. BIG selection of local author books, signed editions.
New Leaf Skin Care, 321 E Ojai Ave, it’s a spa plus makeup, jewelry, and clothes. Sweet hidden little treasure.
Soul Centered, 311 N Montgomery St, for all of your crystal needs. Metaphysical heaven.
Need to do a little work? Get Office supplies? Ship something home?
323 E. Matilija Avenue.
Follette, the owner is amazing and makes things possible! If you bought art, or need to ship a new sculpture, she can do it.
Ojai Business Center
I think they’re all stoned or high on printer fumes. But they’re nice and mello and help out when they can.
There’s a stationery shop that used to be a Hallmark, but it’s not now. Next to Vons.
They have office supplies and that sort of thing. Pens, cards, envelopes, printer cartridges
606 E Ojai Ave.
Art supplies, pens, avery labels, envelopes.
Also next to Vons, has Fedex pickup, drop off. Shipping supplies.
Ojai Post Office
(the big beautiful tower on the corner of Ojai Avenue & Signal Street)
201 E Ojai Avenue
There’s a bike shop in town call the MOB shop. They may know of bike tours, bike rentals, and that sort of thing.
Lake Casitas is just 5 miles from town and you can rent fishing boats and that kind of fun:
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and Soule Park for golf
*Disclaimer… I’ve never done any of these things! But people ask, so here it is…
Need some cash? Banks:
Bank of America
205 W Ojai Avenue
Wells Fargo Bank
202 E Matilija Street
There are a few others and a local bank, too.
Other Local Treasures:
The Lavender Inn
Super sweet bed & Breakfast, right in town. Gorgeous garden. This is where I would stay if I were visiting.
Lulu Bandha‘s Yoga Studio
It’s famous and funky. It’s a place to wander & browse. Not a bookstore where you can ask if they have a specific book.
Ojai Valley Athletic Club
Pools, jacuzzi, workout rooms, spin classes, workout classes. Ask about buying a day or week pass. Family pass.
Forest Service Local HQ
They have maps, and will tell you the latest news.
Bicycles of Ojai will take really good care of you. Whether you want to rent a bike or need some help with your own. They’re all good folks.
PS You’re welcome to send me your comments, feedback and recommendations. This list is my personal opinion, not sponsored or endorsed by any of the businesses listed… and may change at any time.