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.
Located in the Mission District, Range serves contemporary American and Californian cuisine crafted by executive chef Phil West and his wife Cameron. Inside, the restaurant has hardwood flooring, brick-colored leather banquettes, and mirrors hanging on the cream walls.
First Crush opened its doors in 1989 and specializes in a seasonally changing menu of Contemporary American cuisine. Located in the Theater District, it attracts tourists, shoppers, and locals, and a wine grotto is available for private groups.
Situated in the lobby of the historic Roosevelt Hotel, this 24-hour haunt adds a little punk to Hollywood Boulevard. Black-and-chrome tiles line the bar shelves and surrounding wall, while red leather upholstery covers bar stools and rounded booths.
Set directly on the shore of Tomales Bay, this oyster farm is located just 10 miles north of Point Reyes Station. Established in 1909, the company harvests fresh oysters, clams, and mussels from the adjacent bay and sells them by the pound in a small clapboard shack.
Since 1980, Tom White has featured local shellfish at his eatery at the end of Stearn’s Wharf, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Views have remained the same, but offerings at this fish shack-designed restaurant have expanded over the past three decades.
An offshoot of the Surfas Restaurant Supply & Gourmet Food shop, this casual café serves breakfast and lunch dishes that incorporate artisan ingredients from the adjacent store.
Like vintage Buicks and aging divas, old delicatessens preserve themselves well in the southern California sunshine. Canter’s, Nate ’n Al, Greenblatt’s: all unimpeachable specimens. But the sine qua non will always be 1947-founded Langer’s, source of the finest pastrami this side of the Hudson.
Located at the upscale Shutters at the Beach hotel, this restaurant is noted for its proximity to Santa Monica's pier and beach, both of which are visible from large windows throughout the dining room.
The pizza bakery sells to the West Coast’s Whole Foods. Friday through Sunday, it morphs into a restaurant and serves the pies fresh. Look for toppings like wild chanterelles and nettles.
Adds a twist to classic soul-food, like buttermilk fried chicken—ask for a side of truffled honey to drizzle on top.
El Cuervo is a popular mom-and-pop taco shop in an aging Hillcrest strip mall. The red tile roof and neon sign outside signal the casual interior with heavy wooden tables and chairs and a blue-and-white tiled kitchen.
The Alembic Bar is renowned for mixologist Daniel Hyatt’s cocktail program, but executive chef Ted Fleury also delivers adventurous snacks like pickled quail eggs and jerk-spiced duck hearts.