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.
Sometimes, even when you’re traveling among the world’s high temples of gastronomy, all you really want is a good, messy hamburger.
Located within the Mount View Hotel in downtown Calistoga, Barolo is a small restaurant with red leather booths, a marble bar and tabletops, and varied artistic light fixtures.
Richmond-based Tommy's Mexican has been luring diners and tequila aficionados since it opened in 1965. Co-owner Julio Bermejo does not take tequila lightly: His regular trips to Jalisco have earned him the title of U.S. Ambassador to Tequila.
George’s California Modern is a restaurant within a restaurant.
Set in a restored, Mission-district Victorian house, Flour + Water focuses chef Thomas McNaughton's energy on regionally authentic Italian pasta and thin-crust pizza.
Grilled meat on a stick over an open fire pit and lots of free-flowing sake: this is how one dines at Kokekko, a longtime fixture in Little Tokyo and go-to spot for Angelinos craving authentic Japanese yakitori.
It doesn't get prettier than the outdoor seats at La Mar, right on the water’s edge on the Embarcadero, with a view of the boats and the bay.
The restaurant is hidden beside a Crown Escrow outlet in a derelict mini-mall. Despite the lack of signage, the long, narrow room is jammed from noon to night with Silver Lake and Echo Park hipsters, each of them nursing an outsize bowl of Vietnam’s beloved, breathtakingly fragrant noodle soup.
Set against a rocky hillside backdrop, Elmer’s is best known for its pancakes—served all day—topped with everything from strawberries to Oregon-sourced hazelnuts. Skillets are popular as well, particularly one with a mix of Dungeness crab cakes, hash browns, and Tillamook cheddar.
La Luna Market and Taqueria is a small strip-mall grocery with staple items and produce, as well as Mexican spices, salsas, and specialty products like persimmon preserves. The butcher sells raw, semi-prepared, or fully cooked meats.
Chef Sheamus Feeley grew up on an Arkansas farm with cows, chickens, and pigs, then received his tutelage in seasonal produce while living in Peru.
This Redding institution is known for its 16-ounce New York strip steaks.