California

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.

The city’s top new restaurant may not, at first, seem very L.A.: plain, boxy interior; “Don’t Fear the Reaper” on the stereo; and a menu of the pig-happy, nose-to-tail Dude Food you’d expect in Brooklyn or Chicago.

Try the Greyhound Proper, a cocktail made with fresh grapefruit juice, gin, and candied grapefruit peel (or any other drink from their menu, which is constantly changing based on what’s fresh from the farmers’ market.)

Chef and owner Tony Najiola's downtown Petaluma restaurant serves locally sourced New American cuisine inside an open dining room.

With over 25 years of service, Masa's near Union Square exudes Old World elegance, from the toile print fabric on plush chairs to the red silk lampshades and fresh roses on each table. Chef Gregory Short offers a four, seven, and nine course tasting menu of his classic French cuisine.

Start the day with a breakfast burrito.

R23

The exceptional Japanese food has drawn locals and adventurous West Siders since 1991.

The cavernous, casual restaurant has an open-air dining patio, tasting bar, and a barrel aging room. Sunday brunch, with its carving station, pastry bar, omelette station, Belgian waffles, and even a Mexican bar, is over the top—and the most popular in town.

The bacon-and-egg topped “breakfast pizza,” available on weekends, is worth the drive from anywhere.

Designed to resemble a traditional Italian trattoria, Marzano is housed in a white-stucco building with a terracotta-tile roof. Inside, glass demijohn light fixtures hang from exposed wooden beams, and an ebonized bar runs almost the entire length of the room.

LA’s Millenium Biltmore Hotel is home to this swank sushi bar and Asian fusion restaurant. More minimalist (and Zen) than its opulent surroundings, Sai Sai features clean lines and blonde woods against stark black accents.

A16’s sister restaurant, SPQR, opened in September 2007 and serves—as you might guess from its name, which refers to the seat of government in ancient Rome—Roman food.