The Orange County Register published a new blog series called “Train Station Dining Guide”? The train system in Orange County — stretching from San Clemente to Brea — has 11 stations, many of which offer a bevy of eateries, cafes and cocktail spots near the depots. Their first stop? San Clemente Pier and other San Clemente stations.
Notably, the carefully selected venues featured in this series are conveniently located within a reasonable distance from their respective stations, easily accessible by foot or wheelchair, and require no major roads or freeways for a delightful gastronomic experience.
San Clemente Pier Station
Although the station conveniently provides direct access to the beach and a nearby dining area, it's important to note that only four Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains, evenly distributed in both directions, stop at this station per day. On weekends, the Metrolink Orange County Line and Inland Empire-Orange County Line make stops at the station, offering a total of twelve stops (four for each line). Unfortunately, Metrolink weekday service does not include stops at the San Clemente Pier Station.
Passengers disembarking at this station are greeted with the opportunity to visit some of Orange County's finest small-batch coffeehouses and a selection of excellent eateries, all conveniently located within close proximity of each other. Furthermore, the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner operates in the area every day, making a pair of stops at the San Clemente Pier Station in both directions.
Bear Coast Coffee: Established by Jeff Clinard, a comedian-turned-restaurateur, Bear Coast Coffee has rapidly risen to prominence as a pioneer in the third-wave coffee movement within South County. This movement emphasizes the use of high-quality beans and brewing methods, prioritizing quality over trendy or flashy offerings. Bear Coast Coffee, which already boasts two other locations in Dana Point, is known for its expertly crafted espresso drinks and small-batch coffees, each brimming with rich flavors. Moreover, the establishment features an exceptional array of grab-and-go food options, such as a feta egg sandwich on a brioche bun, generously topped avocado toast, a bacon breakfast burrito, and ricotta toast adorned with seasonal jam. Visit them at 618 1/2 Avenida Victoria in San Clemente.
Caterina's Gelato: They offer a delightful alternative to traditional ice cream, boasting an array of over a dozen house-crafted flavors that rotate regularly. Some enticing options may encompass lemon cookie, s'mores, pistachio, and more. Additionally, they create homemade bone-shaped dog treats. Don't miss the chance to enjoy the scenic oceanic views and the charmingly adorned tiled exterior while seated outdoors. Find them at 614 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente.
Cosentino’s Pizza: At Cosentino's Pizza, pizza enthusiasts can indulge in an assortment of classic and contemporary pies, from the timeless margherita style to the modern chicken bacon ranch. The menu extends to boneless chicken wings served with blue cheese dressing, an assortment of salads, custom calzones, and a foot-long meatball sub on toasted garlic bread. Opt for patio seating to savor the beachside scenery. Discover them at 626 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente.
Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar: Established in 1982 along the San Clemente Pier, Fisherman's Restaurant and Bar is a haven for seafood enthusiasts, offering some of the finest alfresco dining experiences in Orange County. The menu showcases delectable offerings like fried calamari, crab and shrimp cocktails, clams, fresh oysters, mussels, coconut shrimp, clam chowder served in a sourdough bowl, and the delectable Oysters Rockefeller. Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this spot is sure to please. Visit them at 611 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente.
La Galette Creperie: At this establishment specializing in French comfort cuisine, you'll find a variety of delectable crepes with fillings such as mushroom and spinach, bacon, egg and cheddar, smoked salmon, berries and cream, and Nutella and banana. In addition to crepes, they offer dishes like avocado toast, French toast, goat cheese salad, and roasted chicken sandwiches. Visit them at 612 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente.
Pierside Kitchen and Bar: This restaurant is known for its contemporary menu featuring hearty options like short ribs, seabass, and shrimp scampi. Don't miss their inventive cocktail menu, with highlights such as the Papagayo, made with jalapeño tequila, lime, and pineapple; the Dust Devil, a mix of cognac, Jamaican rum, demerara sugar, mace, and allspice; the Wedding Crasher, a blend of vodka, cacao, lemon, coconut, and passion fruit; and Freefall, a potent combination of blanco tequila, lime, passion fruit, cilantro, Xila, and mace. You can enjoy brunch, lunch, and dinner here. Conveniently located at 610 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente.
San Clemente Station
The furthest northern train station in North Beach, approximately two miles from its nearby counterpart, doesn't offer as many dining options as the Pier Station. However, within a short walk from the platform, there are several excellent restaurants to choose from.
Metrolink's service halts at San Clemente Station during weekdays, making a total of 15 stops (six Orange County Line trains to LA Union Station, five Orange County Line trains to Oceanside, and two Inland Empire – Orange County Line trains in both directions). On weekends, there are 12 stops in total (four Orange County Line trains in each direction and two Inland Empire-Orange County Line trains in both directions).
Beach Hut Deli: Sandwich shop located in San Clemente (with an additional location in Dana Point) that offers a variety of sandwiches inspired by beach culture. You'll find options like the North Shore sandwich, featuring ham, turkey, pastrami, Monterey jack cheese, and Italian dressing. Another favorite is the Beach Bikini sandwich made with sliced turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce, sunflower seeds, spinach, and mayo on wheat bread. The Santa Cruz sandwich is a pastrami delight with avocado, bacon, and cream cheese. Additionally, they offer toasted sandwiches such as the turkey-and-cheddar Spicoli, a chopped pastrami-and-Swiss cheese Malibu, or the Righteous Ruben. The address is 1844 N El Camino Real, San Clemente.
Landers: Situated in a beautiful Spanish-Mediterranean building near the train tracks on El Camino Real, Landers presents a unique concept described in 2021 by our former food critic. It's a blend of a retail boutique, fashion brand, bar, and restaurant, embodying a fusion of Wild West aesthetics and California surf lifestyle. The menu at Landers showcases classic comfort foods like hamburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, pulled pork, house-made potato chips, steamed mussels, and fish and chips. The cocktail list is extensive, featuring potent, Western-themed concoctions with names like the Dolly Patron, the Copperhead, or the Calamity Jane. For those 21 and over, they can indulge in a Guinness float for dessert, though the place is welcoming for all ages. Landers is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is located at 1814 N El Camino Real, San Clemente.
Moulin: Moulin is a Parisian-style eatery where you can savor delightful French offerings such as croissants, fresh baguettes, and other favorites. Nestled inside the historic Casino San Clemente building dating back to 1937, this 60-seat bistro offers an ocean-view patio and an array of pastries, bakes, steak frites, sandwiches, and more. It's a great spot for breakfast and lunch, and you can find it at 120 W. Avenida Pico, San Clemente.
Published by OC Register