California

Restaurants in California

Round red lanterns floating above the street guide visitors to the sidewalk patio of this Vietnamese café in Chinatown’s Central Plaza.

As in a small-town version of Cheers, you’ll see the same faces reading the paper or tucking into a bowl of homemade granola.

In the SoMa District near the James Lick Skyway, Zuppa serves Italian cuisine by chef-owner Joseph Manzare, who has worked in Italy and with Wolfgang Puck.

From its adjacent butcher shop, Café Rouge serves a variety of cured meats, fresh cuts, sausages, and pâtés. The menu changes fortnightly, but platters of house-made charcuterie and fresh oysters are always available.

Located off the beaten path in Yucca Valley, this historic “canteen” was first built in the 1940’s as part of Pioneertown, an elaborate movie set for some of Hollywood’s most famous Westerns.

Vibrant accents of red, orange, and green call attention to this quick-service Venezuelan eatery at Oxbow Public Market. Modeled after a traditional arepera, or 24/7 food joint, Pica Pica features an entirely wheat- and gluten-free menu comprised of various corn dishes.

Join the locals for a cup of house-roasted java (Clean Teeth Murray’s is a favorite blend).

Ryan Farr has become the latest "it" chef (and artisan butcher) to San Francisco's starstruck gourmands. And while his crunchy, porcine chicharrones are dangerously addictive, it's the wieners he pedals at the Ferry Building's Farmers Market (Fridays and Saturdays) that are truly special.

Chef and owner Ken Tominaga moved to Sonoma from Tokyo as a child, eventually opening this Japanese restaurant in 1990. The understated dining room is decorated in a color palate of cream, lavender, and blue, while a list of specials is displayed behind the sushi bar.

Sit right over the lake and watch the sun set over the bouillabaisse or the sake-steamed clams with cilantro-lime butter.

Serving Italian-style breakfasts and lunches, Caffè 817 sits on a tree-lined street in Old Oakland and is decorated with the work of select Bay Area artists, such as painters Julie Cohn and Jennifer Perlmutter.

1300 on Fillmore pays homage to southern fare and an integral part of the city's past.