Catalina Island is a place like no other. Consistently named one of the best island getaways by media outlets and digital influencers nationwide, Catalina Island, located just 22 miles off the Southern California coast, is a unique blend of laid back vibe, rich and historic past, features water and land activities to suit any taste and modern day amenities and services for every budget.
The Island is constantly evolving to offer visitors the best experience, whether it’s to relax and rejuvenate or rev up the action. Following are some of the most exciting new happenings on the Island this year, from new restaurants, hotels, cultural attractions and retail stores.
RESTAURANTS AND SHOPS TO TRY
El Galleon (pre renovation)
The iconic El Galleon Restaurant has been acquired by the owners of Bluewater Avalon, Jimmy Ulcickas and Richard Staunto, along with local entrepreneur, Caleb Lins, and other local investors, with a plan to update the historic destination for the next generation of Catalina Island visitors and locals.
Opened in 1967 by Jack and Nora Tucey on Crescent at Front Street, El Galleon is an Island institution known for its eclectic atmosphere, extensive menu and karaoke bar.
The new owners will maintain the legendary El Galleon name and concept, update the interior and simplify the menu to combine the most popular items – ribs, steaks, prime rib and chicken, classic sandwiches and burgers, and fresh, locally sourced fish in season – with a series of rotating specials. Plans call for El Galleon’s lively karaoke bar, neighborhood happy
Toyon Grill by Bluewater is now open and is a result of a partnership between Bluewater’s owners and the Catalina Island Conservancy. Located at the new Trailhead Visitor Center, which also has a retail store, tour operation, gallery and roof deck that doubles as an educational, event and wedding venue, Toyon Grill is named after the Toyon bush, or California Holly, native to Catalina Island and Southern California. According to legend, the Toyon is so plentiful in Southern California that developers of Hollywood mistook it for “holly” and named the burgeoning community “Hollywood” by mistake.
Consistent with the Conservancy’s commitment to sustainability, Toyon offers fresh, hyper-local ingredients. Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner, Toyon will feature specialty coffees, small-batch craft beers, cocktails and California wines. Grab-and-go picnic boxes will be available for adventurers exploring the island. Much of the Pacific swordfish, white seabass and other fish served at Toyon Grill will be caught in waters off the Island by Bluewater’s own boat, Pilikia, or by local fisherman.Info: 310 510 8599