Ventura California – Dining Highlights and Lowlights
Expectations and reality have been two different things during our week of dining experiences in Ventura. We do quite a bit of research on where we will eat before we arrive using first tourist websites such as Tourism Bureaus, City sites etc and then on all of the review sites including yelp, urbanspoon, trip advisor and open table. On this trip some restaurants that we chose for location ended up having great food and another that we chose for the great food reviews did not do it for us at all.

Bombay Burger Bar – 143 S. California St.
We chose the Bombay Burger Bar to watch the Super Bowl because of its huge roll down screen and lots of TV’s. The atmosphere was good but it was the food that really impressed us. We were not really interested in burgers but the Super Bowl specials included bowls of chili, chili and cheese dogs and white truffle parmesan fries. With beer on special for $5 a pint and food for $5 or $6, plus the added bonus of getting to watch the U.S. commercials we had a great time. Jeff even said it was the best chili he has ever had!

Chicago’s Ribs – 692 E Main Street
During a walk about of downtown Ventura we ran into Chicago’s Ribs.  A few review checks on the Free Downtown Ventura Wifi and we gave it a try. The food was great! Again the winner was the chill for me but Jeff ordered the Jumbo Sampler ($22.99 and one of the smallest platters on the menu) and got a good selection of tasty baby back pork ribs, St. Louis pork ribs, beef ribs, chicken, wings, and shrimp. There was enough left over for a full BBQ meal the next day.

Margarita Villa Mexican Restaurant – 1567 Spinnaker Drive
For lunch on our last day we chose Mexican at Margarita Villa and were not disappointed. The Halibut Fish Tacos ($13) had nice light and flaky halibut that was not over cooked (yeah) and a tangy chipotle tartar sauce that was very good. For the Villa Combo ($12)  Jeff chose a crispy ground beef taco and a chicken enchilada. While the enchilada was good the crispy taco was better. I tried a classic margarita that was not quite up to Vancouver’s Las Margaritas standards but still good. A nice lunch at a good price.

Brophy Bros. – 1559 Spinnaker Drive
We had  heard much about Brophy Bros. (Purveyors of Fresh Seafood). When we asked at check in of our resort it was recommended, when we tasted wine and talked to other couples at the tasting it was recommended, 179 yelp reviews averaged 4 out of 5 stars and with 98 reviews on trip advisor 75% recommended it. Of all the places we ate in Ventura this was our biggest disappointment. Being from Vancouver, the land of fabulous, high quality, properly cooked fish this may make us a bit bias but the fish we had here was not very good.

Our first mistake was to try the Bay Scallop ($8.95) Appetizer. While we did note that it was breaded we expected a crumbly, panko-type light breading not scallops that were coated and deep fried beyond recognition. I would be surprised if they did not come out of a bag this way. I ordered the Swordfish ($22.95) which was ‘wet’ and completely bland and Jeff ordered the Sea Bass ($23.95) which was served pan-blackened but cooked in such a way that is was so dry and chewy it could have been a hockey puck. Both meals were served with bland coleslaw. The rice pilaf was not much better. The inappropriate wines glasses filled right to the rim topped off a not so good experience. The only small highlight was the clam chowder which was still a bit bland but had lots of clams and was smooth and creamy. I will be much more careful when choosing a seafood restaurant for the rest of this trip. 

Bay Scallop Appetizer

Blackened Sea Bass


Jeff & Tara Ciecko
 of CK Golf Solutions write two blogs on their website, one is their 19th Hole Blog where they share personal experiences and the Biz Blog where they share business best practices and golf industry related opinions. They have owned CK Golf Solutions for 5 years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries.