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need restaurant in ventura/oxnard for anniversary

We are staying at a friends beach house for our 3rd wedding anniversary and are looking for a restaurant for dinner. We are looking for a fresh, creative menu and extensive wine list. We love Italian food but are open.
Around $50 person not including alcohol.
Thanks so much!

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  1. Drive to Hozy's in Santa Paula. It is about 20 minutes away. A quirky place in an odd setting so its novelty makes up for any other dining deficiencies. Hard to describe as it has both sophisticated and common roots with trendy decor, a dedication to wine, a creative menu but you will find it in the back of an industrial park section and it run by a race car enthusiast who apparently makes extremely expensive car parts for formula racing. Interesting, huh?

    Or explore Old Town Ventura on Main Street for a lot of small, unique restaurants and lively sidewalk scene. Capriccio (I think that is the name) was a very pleasant N. Italian choice.

    You looking in an area not known for good dining, unfortunately. That is why settling for the quirkiness of Hozy's might be your best choice.

    The local lemon packing company Limoneira, also based in Santa Paula, used to have wonderful dining in the orchard evenings. Check out their website to see if they are back. Beautiful views and a pretty nice dinner as well, along with some knowledgeable wine selections. This is a very romantic option if you insist on a table for two off by yourself under the avocado trees. Otherwise, they offer group tables like a cruise ship.

    1. The Ranch House in Ojai fits the bill -- it's my favorite restaurant in Ventura County. Most of the dining is on a large outdoor patio, surrounded by elegant gardens.

      Check out their website:


      2 Replies
      1. re: maxzook

        after looking at the website, it seems like it would be practically impossible to meet rhubarb's budget at the ranch house.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Wild Mushroom Strudel: $9.95
          Broiled Seabass: $26.95
          New Orleans Delight: $7.95
          Sales tax: $3.70

          Total: $48.55*

          *Per the OP, "around $50 not including alcohol"

        1. I would highly recommend Brooks. It has a very good menu and an excellent wine list. For a more exotic meal consider Moqueca ?sp in the Channel Islands Harbor for interesting Brazilian cuisine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gomermd4

            I also vote for Brooks. It's my favorite restaurant in Ventura. They have a 3 courses for $33 offer. Do NOT go to 71 Palms. I've been served over cooked foie gras and hard profiteroles there.

            1. re: noodlie

              Agreed, 71 Palm is awful. Worse than awful.

          2. agree with tierra sur.
            Also, with brooks
            and check out the sidecar restaurant in ventura. they have a website.

            cafe firenze has been mentioned to me, in moorpark. Owned by a topchef contesetant named fabio.


            1. Actually the restaurant scene is alive and vibrant in Ventura. For those who haven't been here in a while, it's worth a trip. There are also some pretty good places to eat in nearby Ojai. A lovely place to try that has Italian food and doesn't cost too much is the Garden Terrace in Ojai. Get a patio seat overlooking Soule Park at sunset and enjoy a pink moment with great food. More expensive, but worth is is Suzanne's, with a creative and finely executed menu. Azu along Ojai Ave is also great. In Ventura, I'm not a big fan of Capriccios. I WANT to like it, but I'm always disappointed. However, there are so many other great restaurants to try. While Brooks is great, there's also the Sidecar restaurant, which can be very good, as long as you avoid breakfast there. Cafe Fiore is also good, although a bit expensive. Ranch House is as expensive as it gets. People rave about the Watermark, but I haven't tried it yet. I've always enjoyed Jonathan's. For soul food with a twist try Charlene's. There's a whole slew of good restaurants in downtown Ventura these days. Ventura has come alive in the past five years, so for those who haven't been here for a wile, it's worth a visit. You won't recognize it.

              1. Glbtrttr is giving you proper advice re the food scene in the Ventura vicinity---not so good. Steer clear of Ojai as all things fresh and creative (except perhaps wine) are exported; there isn't even a real Italian food in town. Suzanne's, Ranch House, Azu are where people go, but the menus are tired, service uneven and really overpriced for what is served. LA or Santa Barbara. There isn't even a real Italian restaurant in the town---The scenery in Ojai is gorgeous, the food. . . not so much.