15 Best Restaurants in San Juan Capistrano, CA 2023

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, San Juan Capistrano in California has a wide variety of high-quality dining options.

The culinary scene in this city is diverse in style and cuisine; from sophisticated French bistros to casual American eateries, there’s something for everyone. Of course, that does raise an important question: out of all these choices, which ones are the best restaurants in San Juan Capistrano?

For this list, I looked at the restaurants in San Juan Capistrano that have the highest average ratings online (at least 4.5/5 stars) from at least 150 Google reviews each, from which I focused on notable aspects of each place’s menu and ambiance that customers have pointed out.

I also only considered restaurants that have official websites, where I looked into their menus and what makes each place unique according to the owners. Fast-food restaurants such as In-N-Out Burger have been excluded.

1. L’Hirondelle

$$$ | (949) 665-0425 | WEBSITE

San Juan Capistrano, CA Best Restaurant

The high quality of this French bistro’s appetizers, entrees, and desserts has made this restaurant a staple in San Juan Capistrano’s culinary scene. Their food even won them the “People’s Choice Best Entree” award in the annual Taste of San Juan event!

What is even more notable than their menu is the ambiance of the restaurant; the rustic yet romantic atmosphere has an old-fashioned charm to it that makes customers feel as if they’re in a small bistro in Europe.



2. Himalayan Taste

$$ | (949) 312-2391 | WEBSITE


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For those who prefer authentic Indian cuisine like tandoori chicken and garlic naan, Himalayan Taste is located in the Plaza del Rio Shopping Plaza.

Many reviewers have described the food here as freshly cooked in filling portions, although some have advised that this restaurant is not for those who can’t handle spicy food. One notable thing about this restaurant’s menu is that there are many vegetarian options available, such as the Nawaratan Korma.



3. Five Vines Wine Bar

$$ | (949) 800-9145 | WEBSITE


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This family-owned wine bar in Capistrano Plaza serves various drinks from boutique wineries alongside craft beers. They also pride themselves on a “hearty menu” including (but not limited to) fish and chips, angel hair pasta, and various sandwiches such as burgers and flatbreads.

Many customers have considered eating at this particular restaurant –which is also known for its intimate and comforting atmosphere according to several reviewers online– for dinner parties, birthdays, and even romantic dates.



4. Pizza Amore Cafe

$ | (949) 234-0071 | WEBSITE

Restaurant in San Juan Capistrano, CA

Pizza Amore Cafe, located in the Plaza Del Obispo Shopping Center, is described by reviewers as small and comforting but usually not too crowded. In addition to their selection of pizzas and pasta made of fresh and high-quality ingredients, they also serve a few Mediterranean dishes like gyros.

Compared to most of the other restaurants on this list, this is a very inexpensive place to eat; they even provide free WiFi for customers to use!



5. Trevor’s at the Tracks

$$ | (949) 493-9593 | WEBSITE


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Once a train depot in 1894, this “historic” location has been remodeled to now be a trackside eatery with a patio dining area in a courtyard.

This American restaurant specializes in common yet upscale dishes such as hamburger sliders, baby back ribs, and prime beef filets. This place also doubles as a venue for live musical performances, where local musicians get to perform and share their music with others.



6. Ramos House Cafe

$$ | (949) 443-1342 | WEBSITE


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Ramos House Cafe is another popular American restaurant in San Juan Capistrano, but its menu leans a bit more toward the South. They mainly serve brunch dishes such as fried chicken served alongside waffles.

They also have an a la carte version of the main brunch menu, a separate seasonal menu, and large Bloody Marys. The restaurant itself is described by reviewers as a cozy cottage, albeit rather small.



7. Mollie’s Famous Cafe

$ | (949) 240-9261 | WEBSITE

San Juan Capistrano, CA Restaurant

Located in the Plaza Del Rio Shopping Center, this family-run eatery is another popular spot for those seeking a good American breakfast or lunch, but they also have a dinner menu available.

Their three most popular menu items according to reviewers are their biscuits and gravy, lobster eggs benedict, and Monte Cristo sandwich. The overall atmosphere in this casual restaurant is warm and friendly thanks to its staff and historical photos along the walls. It’s no wonder why people say it’s a very busy place!



8. Sundried Tomato

$$ | (949) 661-1167 | WEBSITE


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This American bistro is a contemporary venue with modern decor and an overall comfortable atmosphere. Their all-day menu consists of classic main entrees such as vegetarian lasagna and salmon fillet, as well as various soups, salads, and pasta.

Not only that, but they also provide catering services and separate menus for those who wish to hold a classic American banquet.



9. Cedar Creek Inn

$$ | (949) 240-2229 | WEBSITE


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Awarded the title of “Traveler’s Choice 2020” by TripAdvisor, this restaurant specializes in burgers and seafood. The most notable thing about this location is its seating areas.

While the interior seating area has warm wooded decor, its patio allows customers to sit in a classy garden setting with live music performances and a great wait staff. Their patio is even dog-friendly for those who don’t want to leave their pets out on the experience!



10. The Olives Branch

$$ | (949) 373-5633 | WEBSITE


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This Lebanese restaurant is considered a relaxing and pleasant part of the Marbella Plaza. While their menu consists of numerous popular Mediterranean dishes like mansaf and moussaka, the one that most reviewers seem to enjoy the most is the hummus topped with chicken shawarma.

For those with special dietary needs, there are plenty of gluten-free and/or vegan options, as well. This restaurant even has a hookah lounge on a side patio for those looking for a place to smoke!



11. Tannins Restaurant & Wine Bar

$$ | (949) 661-8466 | WEBSITE


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Unlike Pizza Amore Cafe, Tannins Restaurant & Wine Bar doesn’t focus mainly on pizzas and pasta (though they still have those, of course). Their wine bar serves as their main focal point, as their menu is designed around wine and food pairings that will satisfy customers.

This restaurant features other well-known Italian dishes such as eggplant parmesan, bruschetta, and veal piccata that are highly praised by reviewers. The classic yet contemporary design of this restaurant’s indoor and patio seating areas also enhances the ambiance and the customer’s experience.



12. Ciao Pasta Trattoria

$$ | (949) 496-5002 | WEBSITE


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The Ciao Pasta Trattoria is yet another excellent choice for those who are looking for Italian cuisine. Their menu consists of staples of Italian cuisine like pizza and pasta, as well as other Southern Italian classics like parmigiana and branzino.

Interior seating is available, but many of its customers prefer to eat on the restaurant’s spacious patio; the patio area is described by reviewers as serene with romantic lighting, making it a perfect choice for date night.



13. El Adobe de Capistrano

$$ | (949) 492-1163 | WEBSITE


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Sitting in the heart of San Juan Capistrano, El Adobe de Capistrano is a popular Mexican restaurant for anyone in the area. It gained popularity through its mesquite-grilled food; classic Mexican dishes such as enchiladas and fajitas are just part of its vast menu.

The interior of the place sticks out the most as its 1797 design and wine cellar contribute to its overall ambiance. This is such a popular restaurant in San Juan Capistrano that some couples consider using it as a wedding venue!



14. Ricardo’s Place

$$ | (949) 493-4941 | WEBSITE


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In contrast to the previous entry’s more rustic atmosphere, this colorful hacienda-style restaurant is designed to cater to the whole family. Aside from the same classics as the previous entry, this restaurant focuses more on Mexican platters and party trays.

Kids can order items off of the place’s kid’s menu, while adults can order beer and margaritas to drink. The place has both indoor dining and heated patio dining, and they are even dedicated to following their current COVID-19 guidelines for the safety of their customers.



15. Thai Juan On

$$ | (949) 234-0332 | WEBSITE


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Although it was hard to pick one more restaurant from San Juan Capistrano’s vast culinary scene, this one was chosen as the final entry on this list for its unique Thai cuisine.

According to reviewers, two recommended items from its dinner menu are the Crying Tiger beef steak and the Golden Thread egg noodles. The atmosphere of this restaurant is described as casual and modern with craft cocktails and even a DJ on the premises!




There are so many unique restaurants in San Juan Capistrano to choose from for an excellent dining experience. With a variety of food types, international cuisines, and atmospheres, there is likely something for everyone. However, the entries in this list are considered the best restaurants in San Juan Capistrano.

Best Restaurants in San Juan Capistrano

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Restaurant Observer is the ultimate go-to destination on the web when looking for nothing but fantastic places to genuinely enjoy food across the United States. Inspired by the saying when there’s good food, there’s a good life, Birch Restaurant starts the food blog to scout the best food places across the country.