Restaurants in California

La Trappe Café, located in the North Beach neighborhood, is part Belgian restaurant and part speakeasy-inspired bar.


Doug "Bix" Biederbeck founded this restaurant in 1988, and incorporated his love for jazz, art and hospitality into this 100-seat restaurant on Jackson Square. Enter a two-story columned room, often described as a fashionable supper club or elegant speakeasy, and listen to live jazz every night.

High-end comfort food is what you’ll find at this Wilshire Blvd eatery that reopened in 2009 in a more laid-back incarnation.

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.

Santa Monica native Josiah Citrin opened Mélisse in 1999, and it remains one of the city’s last bastions for fine dining. The space is decorated wtih violet and white walls, a central chandelier with a black-linen shade, and hand-blown crystal sculptures from France.

Mister Parker’s is an eclectic bistro located just off the lobby of the Parker Palm Springs hotel. Beyond the velvet curtain entrance is a dining area that is more gentleman’s club than restaurant, with dark-wood paneling, a mirrored ceiling, and seductive artwork.

Given the name of this eclectic Culver City café, it's not surprising that there's lots of attention given to just-picked produce. But in addition to tempting veggies like French beans with almonds and mint, you'll also find indulgences like chicken fried bacon and lamb confit.

This La Jolla restaurant is known for serving farm fresh, everything-made-from-scratch bistro fare. Despites its minimalist wood façade outside, inside Whisknladle has a monochromatic chocolate brown palate with vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, and wicker chairs.

Another master toiling in a low-rent location.

They say the third time’s the charm, and so it is for the third branch of this top-notch local temple to neo-Vietnamese cuisine.

Better than stale popcorn, the Foreign Cinema in the Mission serves up a full oyster bar and California/Mediterranean-influenced dishes with the movie. Enjoy a meal in the dining room or move to the outdoor patio with a movie screened on the high brick wall.

The bland façade may look quiet and unassuming, but inside, executive chef Scott Cater turns out some smart New American cuisine. His special Colorado rack of lamb with raspberry sauce and black truffles is to die for. The beach views aren't too shabby, either.