California

Restaurants in California

At Conduit, the copper pipes winding through the dining room make you feel as if you've stepped inside the world's chicest computer. The food lives up to the setting, with such dishes as poached egg and black truffles on fresh fettuccine, and duck confit with roasted peppers.

This L.A. born coffee chain arose in 1963 and now competes with bigger chains in California. This longtime location in family-friendly Larchmont Village has limited space indoors.

Spanish surrealist painter Joan Miró inspired this upscale, dinner-only restaurant at northern Santa Barbara’s ritzy Bacara Resort. Chef de cuisine David Garwacki interprets the cuisine of Miró’s Catalan homeland through a California prism.

This Old Town restaurant is known for its hickory-smoked ribs, pulled pork, and brisket, all served with two homemade sauces—one sweet, one spicy—and traditional sides, like mashed yams and baked beans.

Kyoto native Akira Hirose honed his culinary style under the tutelage of famed Frenchman Joel Robuchon and opened this refined Asian-influenced restaurant in 1998. The brick building with a black awning boasts floral-patterned red drapes, high-backed chairs, and tables touting white tablecloths.

Run by celebrated chef Charles Phan (formerly of the Slanted Door), the Academy Café is a casual, cafeteria-style eatery located in Golden Gate Park’s California Academy of Sciences.

While there's a history of Union Hotel restaurants dating back to 1879, this Mission Boulevard location (built in 2006) is housed in a free-standing, ochre-colored stucco structure built to resemble an Italian farmhouse.

Order the Office Burger, a fancily dressed interloper made with ground dry-aged chuck, topped with a smoky bacon and caramelized-onion compote, Gruyère, Maytag blue cheese, and arugula, served on a disarmingly crunchy demi-baguette—less a burger than an exceedingly rich steak sandwich.

At first glance, Delfina might not look like one of San Francisco’s top restaurants: the zinc tables are linen-less, the waiters are heavily tattooed and pierced, and the room is filled with a happy clamor rather than a reverent hush.

The SoMa district is home to Heaven's Dog, whose name symbolizes great success in China. The restaurant specializes in Chinese cooking and pre-Prohibition cocktails, while the upscale cocktail lounge centers around a 30-foot cypress tree-trunk bar and serves a small plates menu.

You'll typically find chef Travis Lett at the farmer's market when he's not behind the stoves at his restaurant, the bright new light on ever-trendy Abbot Kinney.