Restaurants in California
California restaurants range from the four-star to fast-food joints, and everything in-between. Because the state is a melting pot, it’s easy to find a wide range of cuisine. Mexican, South American, Chinese, Japanese, American, French, Ethiopian cuisine – you name it, and you’ll likely be able to find multiple California restaurants that serve it.
The Golden State enjoys an enviable culinary reputation. For instance, French Laundry, located in Napa Valley, isn’t just considered to be one of the best restaurants in California, but is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world. Reservations are hard to come by, but those who manage to get one are in for a treat. Everyday, the Thomas Keller-helmed restaurant delights guests with a nine-course tasting menu made solely from local, fresh ingredients.
On the other side of the coin, restaurants in California include a number of quality fast food joints, most notably In-N-Out Burger, which enjoys something of a cult following with locals and tourists alike.
Attached to a clothing boutique and gallery, this tiny café serves excellent poached eggs, but the caramel French toast may appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
Meat-centric small plates reign at Box and Bells, the latest from chef James Syhabout of Michelin-starred Commis. Try the country pork rillettes and blood pudding poutine. BART stop: Rockridge
Farm-to-table meets nose-to-tail at this casual New American bistro/butcher. The kitchen uses California-raised meats (including unusual cuts like pig’s ears and goat chops) and local produce, while the charcuterie, bread, and even the pickles are made in-house.
The retro diner Hopscotch puts a Japanese spin on hearty American dishes. Take the soba ragù, with buckwheat noodles, braised pork, Manchego, and shiso. BART station: 19th Street/Uptown Oakland
The booths are the best way to enjoy Elite’s California Cajun cuisine. They’re only remaining element of the original space built in 1922, and they offer a unique amount of privacy and charm. Don’t miss the deviled eggs and gunpowder martinis.
At Duende, chef Paul Canales channels his Basque heritage into pintxos and paellas in a whimsical setting (colorful murals; fence posts as floorboards). BART stop: 19th Street/Uptown Oakland
Bun Mee’s fusion Vietnamese sandwiches are light enough for lunch but filling enough for dinner. Don’t miss the Belly Bun, piled high with its braised kurobuta pork belly, salted radish relish, pickled carrot and daikon, and jalapeños.