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 an American Craftsman bungalow that housed the caretaker of a 1920's-era hotel once on the property, the Raymond serves American dishes with a sometimes-exotic touch: lingcod fish with clams and Spanish chorizo sausage, for instance, or lamb shank prepared with Moroccan spices.
The more casual portion of chef Traci des Jardins’ eponymous Hayes Valley restaurant is situated to the left as soon as guests walk through the front door. The room features brick walls, a full bar, wood floors, and cushioned, low-slung seating.
The multilevel lounge serves Southeast Asian fare.
Chef-owner Brenda Buenviaje calls on her New Orleans roots to create refined, Creole-influenced fare at her namesake French soul food restaurant. The beignet, a deep-fried pastry similar to a doughnut, is one of her specialties, with varieties including chocolate, apple, or crawfish.
Inventive tapas served in a loud, crowded dining room evoke the spirit of an authentic Spanish café at this West Hollywood eatery.
Angelenos have many options for Thai food—some of the best in the country, in fact—but significantly less so after 2am.
Le Colonial evokes the atmosphere of French colonial Vietnam through a pressed-tin ceiling, rattan furniture, shuttered windows and an inner courtyard filled with tropical foliage.
Housed in an early-20th-century brick building, Parkway Grill serves a dressed-up menu of American cuisine in two dining rooms of soft lighting and live piano music.
Hans Rockenwagner brings 30 years of cooking experience in Germany, Switzerland, Chicago, and Los Angeles to this small café and bakery in Venice. Given his background, it’s no surprise that many of the items on the menu derive from Europe before he adds his American twists.
Standing 70 feet high, this restaurant and bar overlooks the runways at LAX, making it a destination spot for taking in 360-degreee views. Encounter Restaurant serves classic and modern martinis in a circular space with brightly hued lava lamps and a crater-shaped bar.
Located off Highway 101, Willi’s Wine Bar pairs globally inspired small plates with more than 100 local and international wines.
This izakaya on Webster Street in the Marina/Cow Hollow district serves sushi and Japanese cuisine with a focus on organic, sustainable ingredients and cage-free eggs.
Upscale eats in a downscale neighborhood, Jitlada serves the finest in southern Thai cuisine in a cozy and colorful Thai Town joint on Sunset. Despite its less-upscale neighbors (a strip club and a 99-cent store across the way), the restaurant serves high quality food.