Vegin’ Out in Ventura County


California Street, Ventura California

I recently got back from nine days of lounging on the beach. Not really. I was on a trip and I was near the ocean, but I never stepped onto the sand. In reality, I was scrubbing and painting the 3-story Oxnard, California condo that my husband and I used to live in to get it ready to put on the market.

It was a working trip, but I still had to eat. And boy did I eat (hey, I was working hard). Anyway, I discovered some wonderful restaurants that you might want to try if you’re lucky enough to venture to Ventura county. Or you could move there – I know of a great condo for sale – hehe.

1. Midtown Cafe, Ventura

My husband and I drove to Ventura on a Saturday morning, and we were famished when we got to town. A Yelp search brought us to Midtown Cafe for a late lunch. The atmosphere was quaint and they had a nice selection of vegan and raw vegan fare. My husband and I both ordered veggie burgers (I know it’s dull, but we were tired and didn’t feel like experimenting) and they were delicious! We didn’t have the chance on this trip, but someday we’d like to go back and try their breakfasts, smoothies and Raw Veggie Burger.


Midtown Cafe’s Raw Veggie Burger

2. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, Oxnard

We had dinner that Saturday night at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana located in The Collection. The atmosphere was lovely and they actually had a cheese-free pizza, the Marinara, that was amazing!! I have to admit that we didn’t ask to make sure it was vegan, so check before ordering. We also enjoyed the Insalata Grande which was made with artichoke hearts, roasted mushrooms, olives, pine nuts and cracked pepper. This is a great place to stop at if you’re traveling, because it’s just off the 101 freeway.


A photo from Settebello’s website

3. Red Brick Pizza, Ventura

One of our favorite casual restaurants when my husband and I lived in the area was Red Brick Pizza. We liked sitting on their patio with our dog, Mambo, and ordering a big salad and pizza to share. Despite the fact that we had pizza the night before, we wanted to go to our old haunt. It was too cold that night to sit on the patio, so we sat inside. This would have been great if we had kiddos because they had a TV at every booth. We, however; found cartoons that we couldn’t turn off distracting, so I put my sweater over the screen.

The food was as good as we remembered. My favorite part of our meal was the huge Veggie Proteina Salad (without the cheese). It was loaded with goodies like artichoke hearts, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, kalamatta olives, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans, corn and tomatoes. This would have been enough for me, but we still shared a Veggie Gourmet Works pizza that you can get with Dayia cheese. This time I asked and was assured that the pizza was vegan. I didn’t get a photo, but here’s one  from blogger Debbie Woodruf.


Veggie Gourmet Works pizza

4. Whole Foods Juice Bar/Hot Bar, Oxnard

We didn’t eat anything share-worthy for the next two days and then my husband left me all by my lonesome to finish the job (can you hear the violin playing?). I don’t like going out to restaurants alone, so I ate most of my meals for the next few days at Whole Foods Market. They have an amazing juice bar, so I ordered green smoothies for lunch. Then for dinner I’d get something off their hot bar like a big salad, sautéed veggies with rice or their delicious and oil-free White Bean and Kale Soup.


Whole Foods Market Juice Bar

5. Sticky Fingers Baking Company, Ventura

When the work was done and my husband came to pick me up, I wanted to celebrate. I’d read that Sticky Fingers Baking Company made vegan baked goods, so that’s where we went. The shop was adorable and they had lots of vegan, gluten-free and vegan and gluten-free options. We shared Mocha Chocolate Chip and Coffee Cake muffins (the coffee cake one was to die for!) and we brought a selection of cookies home with us which were all wonderful. Next time we go, we want to try their almond milk latte’s.

l6. Mary’s Secret Garden Cafe, Ventura

My husband and I didn’t get to Mary’s Secret Garden on this trip, but I wanted to share about this wonderful restaurant anyway. It’s an organic vegan bistro in the heart of downtown Ventura. We’ve been there many times and have always enjoyed our meals. Click here for a post I wrote about them.


The Deluxe Raw Tostada from Mary’s Secret Garden

I have to be honest, I’m feeling sad about putting our condo up for sale. I liked Ventura and I know that we’ll probably never move back. Don’t get me wrong, I love where we’re living now. It’s closer to where my sister lives and it’s actually a better place to be vegan. It’s just that being back in our old town reminded me of all it’s charms (and I didn’t even get to the best part – it’s lovely beaches!).

Photo Credits

California Street photo courtesy of, Whole Foods Juice Bar photo courtesy of Midtown Cafe Raw Veggie Burger photo courtesy of Midtown Cafe. Sticky Fingers photo courtesy of http;//


About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
This entry was posted in Daily Life, Dining Out and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Vegin’ Out in Ventura County

  1. Stacey says:

    It all sounds so yummy! Thanks for the recommendation and good luck with your condo!

  2. SO jealous of all those amazing restaurants. We have NOTHING like that in our little town. Healthy restaurants will open then close, yet the A&W had a line around the block when it opened…how sad is that!? The only good side is I do all my cooking at home..but it’s always nice do be able to go out and treat yourself. Good luck on selling your condo!!

  3. diahannreyes says:

    As usual, adding to my list of recommendations by you. Thank you for making the vegan world more user friendly and accessible as I feel my way around.

  4. Yum, some awesome recommendations for restaurants here! I hope I can make it out there sometimes and try them! I unfortunately live on the other side of the US! 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    Looks like a delicious trip – and even if you didn’t step foot on the beach, at least you got to enjoy the weather!

    • Yes, the weather was great. After living in Burlington, Vermont, I’ve learned never to complain about California weather. Thanks so much for all of your support Laura – I just want you to know that I appreciate it! Celeste 🙂

  6. I’ve never heard of Ventura, the first photo looks fab, and all the food looks amazing!!! X

  7. Ralph says:

    Hi Celeste 😀 Anyone who spends nine days scrubbing and painting close to a lovely beach and never even set foot on it deserves…….ummm…….needs to go back and partake in the delights of the playa. Hope you sell the condo quickly. Ralph xox ❤ 😀

  8. May says:

    Wow, I’m so envious – there are maybe two places I can go out to eat here and have more than one option. Even in London I didn’t find any vegan cafes! I am clearly in the wrong country.

  9. M. R. says:

    They all look marvellous, Celeste – luck you lot to have such places so readily accessible.
    New topic: may I ask you for a small bit of advice re vegan vs vego ?
    I can get eggs produced from farms when the chooks live better lives than their owners. And I can but vego cheese daily.
    Why should be vegan rather than vego, then ?
    This is a GEN-YOO-WINE question, I promise: I simply don’t know.

    • Great question Margaret! It’s also complex, so I’ll do my best to answer it and to do so concisely. First of all, I’ve got to tell you that I’ve never heard the term, “vego.” I looked it up online and I believe that it means vegetarian, or someone who eats eggs and dairy, but abstains from meat. So, I’m answering your question with the assumption that a vego is a vegetarian.

      Why go vegan? Isn’t being a vegetarian enough?

      Until two years ago, I didn’t understand why vegans didn’t eat eggs and dairy. Since cows and chickens aren’t killed to produce eggs and milk, what’s wrong with it? I’ve since learned that the majority of eggs and milk we consume come from factory farms where animals suffer horribly.

      But is it still wrong to eat eggs and dairy if you take the suffering out of the equation? I believe that vegans are divided about this. Some would argue that it is still wrong because you are exploiting the animals and using them for your benefit. Others might concede that in this situation it is okay.

      For myself, even if I could get eggs and dairy from animals that were humanely raised, I still wouldn’t consume them. For one, I don’t believe that eggs and dairy are healthful. They’re often promoted as wholesome foods, but research has shown that they contribute to diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

      I’m also wary about “humanely raised” labels farmers use. I’m sure that some farms that use such labels care about their animals and treat them well, but many do not. Humanely raised labels are often deceptive and don’t necessarily mean that animals are raised in humane conditions.

      Birds raised for meat, for example, may be sold as “free-range” if they have government certified access to the outdoors. In order to fulfill this, a door needs to be open for only five minutes a day.

      Why don’t I find a farm that I personally check out to make sure they treat their animals well and get my eggs and dairy from them? Other than the health reason I mentioned above, I’d be promoting eating eggs and dairy as well as farms that are deceptive about their humanely raised labels and I don’t want to do that.

      I’ve been on an egg and dairy-free diet for more than two years and I love it! I admit that it was a challenge at first (especially giving up cheese), but once I learned how easy it was to replace these items with delicious alternatives it was a cinch. It’s not the life of denial I thought it was going to be at all. I love my vegan diet and lifestyle and this is what I want to promote.

      Thanks so much for your question and support!! Have a great week! Celeste 🙂

  10. Yum! I think all these delicious eats made up for no beach. 😉

  11. Hi Celeste,
    Great interview about why you blog! I think that it is important to share our personal vegan journeys, to illuminate the way, and to support and hopefully, inspire others on the same journey, as well as those thinking of embarking.
    It was fun to read about your restaurant stops in Ventura. I am always excited by both vegan restaurants and non vegan restaurants which provide tasty vegan options.
    Many thanks!

    • Hey Anne! I SO agree with you that it’s important to share our personal vegan stories. When people say to me, “I could never be vegan,” I can relate to them because just two and a half years ago I felt the same way. So I usually tell them that’s how I used to feel, but here’s what happened to change my life. I rarely find out if sharing my story makes an impact on someone, but it’s my hope that I do at least sometimes. Thank you so much for all of your support Anne – it means a lot to me. Celeste 🙂

  12. Poppy says:

    I’m so glad you managed to get all this good food in amidst scrubbing and painting Celeste! Sounds like you sure earnt it! 😀

  13. Mike Lince says:

    We look forward to following your suggestions for places to eat out. You have never steered us wrong! We may even get back that way in another year of so. Naturally, I will let you know when our travels take us to your neck of the woods. Salud! Mike

  14. annetbell says:

    Wanted to tell you that my time in India walking in the streets with all the animals…mostly the cows, seems to have taken much of my taste for meat away. Have you been to India? I have no doubt you would love this intriguing country. And thanks ever so much for the follow. I will enjoy your blog as well, I am sure. I really cook very little but I love to eat! I roast veggies, and mix with rice and Curry sauces from Trader Joe’s! Big smiles. . . . .

    • How interesting that your time in India had an impact on your diet. Still, I can see that happening when you spend a lot of time around animals. It’s kind of like how we don’t eat dogs in the US because we interact with them all the time. It’s easier to eat animals that you rarely, or never, engage with. To answer your question, I’ve never been to India. In fact, I haven’t done a lot of traveling outside of the US (I’ve been all over the US, however). I’d like to do more traveling one day when I have the time and money. Thanks so much for the follow – I appreciate it! Celeste 🙂

      • annetbell says:

        Funny story about the cows….I wrote a post…Holy Cow. They all hang out pretty much at the intersections and get high on the fumes. They are very docile and laid back. I used to pat them on the head. I wrote another post on The Tiny Indian squirrel which gives you insight on how Indians treat animals. Where we stayed was pretty much veg only , though other places in India do each meat. I was happy as I didn’t want to be eating some strange animal parts like we did in Italy. Easier and healthier just to eat veggies!

    • Just read your Holy Cow post – very interesting! 🙂

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