California

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.

Urbane Banker's hill meeting place

The largest fast food chain in Latin America, Pollo Campero (meaning “country chicken”) was first founded in Guatemala in 1971. Then, in 2002, the franchise expanded to the United States, beginning with this flagship location in downtown L.A.

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.

The Chef: Rick Bayless is often credited with introducing Americans to more refined south-of-the-border cooking at his Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (a favorite of the Obamas).

The Salt House, located inside a 1930’s printing press warehouse, serves contemporary American cuisine to an eclectic crowd of locals, passersby, and tourists.

Chef John Toulze and proprietor Sondra Bernstein—the same duo behind The Girl and the Fig—set their sights on rustic Italian cuisine with this new eatery, which they opened in 2008 in a spectacular 1864 Victorian mansion.

A.R. Valentien is the signature restaurant at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Inspired by namesake Albert R. Valentien, this farm-to-table establishment is decorated with California impressionist art and indigenous Craftsman-style architecture.

Brentwood’s most popular sushi destination happens to be the chain restaurant Katsuya by Starck.

Minimalist décor and maxi-prices mark this West-LA sushi spot featuring traditional Japanese cuisine with California influences. Unassuming in its location if not in price, Mori Sushi occupies an industrial gray building on a dodgy stretch of Pico Blvd.

Pick over a smorgasbord of Danish meats and cheeses, meatballs and smoked fish—or maybe some hakkebøf (ground beef and onions)—at the friendly, homespun restaurant.

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Shelley Lindgren, co-owner of this southern-Italian favorite (named for the highway that runs through Naples), has built a wine list that practically demands exploration; the 350-bottle list is stocked with obscure varietals like Aglianico, Casavecchia, and Pallagrello.