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.
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.
Fourth-generation islander Steve Bray opened this seafood and steak restaurant, just steps from the pier, in 2001. The upstairs dining room has panoramic views of Avalon Harbor from the arched bay windows.
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.
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.
Lunch on a chicken-spinach-feta sandwich on homemade panini.
The izakaya Nombe—its name translates, roughly, to “drunkard”—serves haute Japanese pub food (grilled shishito peppers with bottarga; grilled skewers of chicken thigh with ume and shiso) accompanied by a great sake list.
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.
Centrally located near Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, Jar is a modern chophouse that draws inspiration from supper clubs of the 1940's. The dining room has brown banquettes surrounded by wood-paneled walls covered with old black-and-white photographs.
Chef Charlie Palmer has been a busy fellow since he first opened his landmark NYC restaurant, Aureole, back in 1988.
Authentic home-style Italian cooking—simple, rustic, and delicious—is the focus at chef-owner Gino Angelini’s unfussy restaurant.
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.
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.