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 Koreatown just two miles from the University of Southern California, this casual Mexican café often has visitors lining up outside the door for signature dishes like the burrito de carne asada, stuffed with tender grilled steak, and the tacos al pastor featuring marin
Coi's chef (and F&W Best New Chef 1997) Daniel Patterson combines his passions for local ingredients and avant-garde experimentation. With these seemingly opposite directions, Patterson is part mad scientist, part home cook.
Immortalized in the 1996 flick Swingers, this Los Feliz cocktail bar and Continental restaurant was established in 1954. The Rat Pack-era lounge has starburst chandeliers, leather booths, and dark-cork and stone-patterned walls.
Located in the Beverly Hills Hotel, this bar and restaurant remains a destination for entertainment-industry folks and tourists decades after its founding. The interior is tropical plush, down to the banana leaf wallpaper, fresh flower arrangements, live piano music, and deep booths.
Swinging London-inspired space
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).
Located in a hipster Venice neighborhood, Flake’s entrance is marked with a wood surfboard propped against the wall. Customers at the small place can sit at an outdoor table or indoors, with light wood and green banquette seating and white walls trimmed in orange.
The name, which stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (the French system regulating the quality of local wines and cheeses), clues foodies and oenophiles to this restaurant’s focus: wines, shareable small plates, and top-notch cheeses and charcuterie.
Order the barbecued-chicken pizza at this local favorite of everyone from grandmas to surfer dudes.
The Italian restaurant features a large live tree inside.
Dine at Michel Richard’s Citronelle, at the Carmel Valley Ranch resort—and be sure to order the Monterey Bay abalone with caviar cream.