The Orange County restaurant scene is loaded with choices… type of cuisine, service type, and location. But did you know that your choice can also include whether or not you include your dog in your dinner plans?
If you have a dog in your life, you already know how valuable their companionship is. Dogs warm your lap, provide free face-licking services when you’re sad, and heaps and heaps of unconditional love.
Why would you want to leave that unconditional love and companionship home just so you can eat out?
Fortunately, you don’t have to. It turns out that a lot of Orange County restaurants are happy to accommodate the pet parent who wants to go out to eat but not leave their best four-legged friend at home.
Every city in Orange County has at least a few dog-friendly eateries… some cities have over 30 restaurants to accommodate you and your pet. If you’re too hungry to do much research before dinner, don’t worry. We’ve already done it for you to find the best restaurants for both you and your dog.
Keep reading to discover our choices for 10 great dog-friendly restaurants in Orange County. As a bonus, we’ll even throw in a listing of chain restaurants with pet-friendly policies (remember, always check with your local restaurants to see if the policy has changed).
Pro-tip: When going to a restaurant, as with all pet-friendly public spaces, your pooch needs to be on a leash and have good doggy manners for both his safety and others’.
The Top 10 Dog-friendly Restaurants in Orange County
Located in: Brea, CA
Food: Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches
Bruxie specializes in gourmet-styled waffle sandwiches. Just park in the parking garage, come on in, and order at the counter. Slide into a seat while you wait to sink your teeth into the best chicken in Brea. After all, their fried juicy, crispy, flavorful chicken is Bruxie’s claim to fame.
The other fantastic feature is Bruxie’s outside patio where dogs are very definitely welcome. So maybe you want to make that two orders of chicken… you know. To share.
Located in: Brea, CA
Food: Seafood, Breakfast & Brunch
Another Brea staple is the Taps Fish House and Brewery. This seafood and steakhouse handles everything well. Taps is notable for customer service that makes patrons feel like movie stars, inventive and innovative seafood offerings like lobster dumplings and drunken mahi mahi, amazing salmon, and Chilean sea bass.
It’s also notable for being one of the few places in Orange County which caters to patrons who want to enjoy a cigar with their sunshine on the patio. The all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch service is a must-try!
Taps Fish House & Brewery treats guests’ dogs just as well as they treat the guests themselves. Your pup is very welcome on the lovely patio with both covered and uncovered seating. They even get their own complimentary water bowl.
Located in: Laguna Beach and Corona Del Mar, CA
No matter which location you go to, in either Laguna Beach or Corona del Mar, Zinc has fantastic vegetarian and vegan fare provided at superspeed. They’re known best for their brunches and breakfast items, but their lunchtime salad bar selections are completely on-point. The Avocado Toast is one of their signature dishes, and it’s as tasty as it is Instagram-worthy. Just order at the counter and then wander out to find a seat.
The patio is very dog-friendly, but small, and seating can be at a premium. Pigeons also think Zinc Cafe is a great breakfast spot, so be aware that your dog might find them a bit too tempting and want to play.
Located in: Dana Point, CA
If you’re looking to take in a true SoCal beach vibe with your food, The Shwack Beach Grill is your go-to place in Dana Point. They do their own unique take on French Fries and their hand-formed burgers are delish (but that’s not all they do. Check out the craft beer selection!)
The patio is dog-friendly, with water bowls and dog treats available for your canine dining companion.
Located in: Fullerton, CA
Food: New American
If you’re looking for a great place to eat good food, listen to great music, and have fantastic drinks, HopScotch is it. Now, it’s popular enough that it can get crowded, especially at night and on weekends, but the Cucumber Confidential cocktail and the crispy pig ear appetizer makes the trip worth it. The chicken pot pie is reported to be magical
The patio is totally dog-friendly… just be mindful of the crowds.
Located in: Tustin and Irvine
Food: Burgers and Drinks
Hopdoddy isn’t just outstanding, unique burger creations and delicious drinks (but that’s a good enough reason to go). Both Hopdoddy Tustin and Hopdoddy Fashion Island welcome dogs of all sizes on their outdoor patios. Plus they carry housemade dog treats and water bowls to make your four-legged friend’s dining experience as welcoming as possible!
Located in: Irvine, CA
Einstein Bros. is a bagel institution all over the country, not just in Orange County. They have a wide selection of consistently good gourmet bagels, and they add to their roster with every season change.
But Einstein Bros. isn’t just a place to get your schmear on… their patio spaces are pet-friendly, and some stores carry doggie bagels. Finally, a place where you and Scruffy can enjoy a great bagel in peace.
Located in: Irvine, CA
Food: American and Seasonal
The Lazy Dog Restaurant practically has to allow dogs… after all, it’s in the name. Lazy Dog specializes in a creative spin on hometown from-scratch cooking, and its menu has everything from hatch chili mac and cheese to wild boar chili with fried blue cornbread. The lamb shank pot pie is a seasonal item that you’d be crazy not to try.
Oh, and you can bring your dog to Lazy Dog. Just grab a seat on the patio. Dogs will get their own bowl of water so they’re comfortable, and you can even order them a meal off the doggy menu. Your furbaby can have their choice of a bowl of plain brown rice, or a hamburger patty or chicken breast with brown rice.
Located in: Huntington Beach, CA
This gem of a restaurant is located inside the Shorebreak Hotel on the second floor. There’s direct elevator access to the restaurant entrance off 5th Street if you’re not a guest of the hotel. Their food (try the Hash Benny!) and amusingly named craft cocktail program bring visitors and locals alike flocking to the Pacific Hideaway.
Even better, they’re so dog-friendly that visiting pooches have their own section of the menu. Your furbaby can have their choice of beef and veggies, chicken and rice, or fish and sweet potato.
Located in: Laguna Beach, CA
Food: American, Beer Tasting Room
With a location right next to the Sawdust Festival, the Laguna Beach Beer Company is a little slice of heaven… as long as heaven has quality beer. The restaurant lets you top off your phone as easily as they’ll top off your drink: they have free chargers on the bar and a variety of cables.
Of course, excellent customer service isn’t the only thing that’s great at the Laguna Beach Beer Company. There’s also great food, including their justifiably famous baked pretzel, and a meat and cheese board that’s every bit as artistic as anything you’ll find at the nearby Festival.
The patio is designed for lounging and relaxing, and of course, your dog is welcome to lounge with you.
Located in: Laguna Beach, CA
Food: California Beach Cuisine
Right over the water and with a fabulous view, The Cliff Restaurant serves up great food (wasabi scallops, anyone?) to match that stunning ocean vista. The food ranges from the familiar (egg white omelet) to the adventurous (seafood tower), but it’s all presented beautifully and with a smile from friendly servers.
Their patio is dog-friendly and dogs can also order off their own menu… well, maybe you should order for them. Bowls of water are complimentary.
Bonus List: Chain Restaurants that Love Dogs
The Puppuccino at Starbucks is a not-so-secret item, but did you know that the coffee giant isn’t the only one that has a side item or two available for dogs?
A lot of chain restaurants have secret dog-friendly menu items. The offerings range from doggie treats to actual meals: always be a responsible pet parent and keep things like ice cream and whipped cream as the occasional treat.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that regulations and offerings are subject to change, so make sure you ask your local store to see if they still offer things for your furry bestie.
Secret Dog-friendly Menu Items
- Starbucks – Puppuccino, a cup of whipped cream so you don’t have to feel guilty for ordering a Frappuccino for you, but not Fido.
- Dairy Queen – The Pup Cup, a cup of vanilla soft serve. Ask your cashier for one.
- In-N-Out – The Pup Patty, a salt-free burger patty specifically for your furbaby. In-N-Out also offers the Flying Dutchman (2 burger patties and 2 slices of cheese).
- Sonic – individual stores may vary, but a lot of Sonic locations have dog treats on hand for your furry driving buddy. Just ask when you place your own order.
- Johnny Rockets – the Dog Burger, a cut-up burger patty that comes with water for your four-legged dining companion.
- Sprinkles – has its own Doggie Cupcakes with yogurt frosting.
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Kelly Smith is a freelance writer living in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side. Find her at www.bluerosecopywriting.com.