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Lunch & Leisure at Catalina Express

Now that we know a little history about the Catalina Terminal, we can talk about all the ways we can use this piece of the waterfront. The most obvious way people from all over use it is well, as a terminal where they can catch a boat to Catalina Island. When the old Princess Pavilion was renovated to become this new beautifully modern facility, they made some great improvements to the ferry going experience.

First of all, let’s talk about the big green elephant in the room- the Vincent Thomas Bridge! What a difference 500 feet makes. The slight move south gives the terminal a stunning emerald backdrop.

The biggest upgrade of the new terminal, hands down, is the enormous outdoor patio. Those days of sitting on your luggage in a dingy dated building are long gone. Now you can wait for your boat in style at one of the many outdoor seating areas on the patio.

If you want to be first in line to get on the boat, you can take a seat under the giant boarding tent. But if you want to get your vacation started right away, why not start up a checkers or backgammon game on one of the outdoor gaming tables or get some practice in on the putting green.

Even your food options at the terminal were massively upgraded. You have two options, the Express Grill that has both pre-made grab-n-go options and food made to order OR the Catalina Bistro, a sit down restaurant where you can grab a drink and/or meal before you catch your boat.

The cool thing about eating at the Catalina Bistro is that you can sit outside and get served on the patio, not to mention being able to order from both the Bistro AND Express menus.

But you don’t have to be leaving on a boat to enjoy a delicious lunch beneath the Vincent Thomas Bridge! In fact, I HIGHLY recommend it! We’re really spoiled with some great restaurants in San Pedro so we’re overwhelmed with dining options when we’re deciding on where to meet for breakfast or lunch. But I’d like to argue that the Catalina Bistro is probably one of the best outdoor dining experiences in town. The food is awesome, but no where else in town can you eat with the Vincent Thomas Bridge looking over your shoulder at the menu! I mean, if this was San Francisco, there would be a wait to get a seat on the patio.

The bistro menu is always changing, but everything I’ve ever had there has been delicious. Let’s not forget the full bar. This would be a great place for a drink. The only downside to the bistro are the hours. It is currently open Monday-Thursday from 8a-3p, Fridays from 8a-7p, Saturday 7a-5p and Sunday 8a-5p. I think if the word got out about this little gem, that the hours and staff could be expanded into a regular restaurant.

The terminal patio would also make a peaceful place for you to meet up with some friends or catch up on your summer reading.

The Catalina terminal has so much potential as a waterfront hangout for San Pedrans. The hard part is keeping it in mind when you’re throwing out options for places to meet up with your pals. I know about it and I’m always forgetting about it.

Imagine sitting around these little gas fire pits with a glass of wine and just chatting with your favorite people. Yah, we need to get on this, San Pedro. Tell your friends!

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