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.
Round red lanterns floating above the street guide visitors to the sidewalk patio of this Vietnamese café in Chinatown’s Central Plaza.
Join the locals for a cup of house-roasted java (Clean Teeth Murray’s is a favorite blend).
From its adjacent butcher shop, Café Rouge serves a variety of cured meats, fresh cuts, sausages, and pâtés. The menu changes fortnightly, but platters of house-made charcuterie and fresh oysters are always available.
Sit right over the lake and watch the sun set over the bouillabaisse or the sake-steamed clams with cilantro-lime butter.
The food here is simple and fresh, much of it grown on the owner Dan Smith’s farm down the road. He operates a produce market at the restaurant on Sundays.
Vibrant accents of red, orange, and green call attention to this quick-service Venezuelan eatery at Oxbow Public Market. Modeled after a traditional arepera, or 24/7 food joint, Pica Pica features an entirely wheat- and gluten-free menu comprised of various corn dishes.
The restaurant is known for its frikadeller (meatballs) and medisterpolse (sausage).
Sister restaurant to nearby Piperade, this tiny tapas bar is located in Jackson Square just a few blocks from the Embarcadero. Behind a light-green and glass façade, the restaurant contains approximately three dozen seats, including a large communal table set with metallic Eames chairs.
Set within Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, this “outdoor” restaurant is a hit with fans of Creole dishes like jambalaya and Tesorla Island chicken. Don’t leave without a slice of pecan pie.
Stop at the funky restaurant, 25 miles outside the park, for pork loin with adobo sauce and Sierra Nevada on tap.
Limon serves up Peruvian cuisine to diners in the Mission district. Chef-owner Martin Castillo works in an open kitchen and is well known for his innovative dishes, such as the leche de tigre ceviche, cubes of fish, oysters, and sea urchin in a citrus marinade.
Small plates (tomato-and-basil-stuffed artichokes; smoked salmon on baguette) make up the menu at this diminutive tapas bar inspired by chef Laurel Moore’s travels in Spain.
Immortalized in the 1996 flick Swingers, this Los Feliz cocktail bar and Continental restaurant was established in 1954. The Rat Pack-era lounge has starburst chandeliers, leather booths, and dark-cork and stone-patterned walls.