We have updated 45 results for Famous restaurants in california

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Below are 45 results for famous restaurants in california.

thetoptenchefs.com

The list of top 10 chefs in California sharing their great food restaurants and loved among the Golden Celebrity chefs in California. The list also include the top chefs in California and their restaurants with Various Awards throughout the …

yelp.com

5. The Ivy. “Perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion or take a friend visiting town, or just to have” more. 6. Providence. “the cooking contest shows I watch! We came in March to …

statebliss.com

With all the new diners booming, it might be a great time to look back and get to know those classic diners that had been the states favorite for years. So today we have listed …

msn.com

Sunny California is home to world-famous beaches, mountains, gardens, national parks, and wineries, and it also boasts having more Michelin starred restaurants than …

thetravel.com

RELATED: 10 Restaurants That Serve the Best Craft Beer In The US. But one of the big reasons to visit LA is to take in the glamor of the movie-making business and do a little …

businessinsider.com

Of the 50 restaurants that made our list, 16 of them hail from California. From San Francisco to Los Angeles, here are the best places to dine the next time you're in the …

theculturetrip.com

Osteria Mozza. LA chef Nancy Silverton may be best known as the founder of the popular La Brea Bakery chain, but she also established four highly praised Italian eateries. …

yellowpages.com

View all 9 Locations. 2851 White Ln. Bakersfield, CA 93304. Love this location! This location has the fastest and most friendly staff. We bring our kids on tuesday nights for kids eat free night …

boam.com

People from all over visit Berkeley for the acclaimed restaurants and art scene. Also home to the University of California. Oakland's uptown is popular for the art deco Fox and Paramount …

foodnetwork.com

Top Restaurants in Northern California 17 Videos. Best Holiday Restaurants 17 Videos. Best Charleston Restaurants 18 Videos. Pacific Plates: The Best Ocean-View Restaurants in Los …

eater.com

California, for those of us who live to eat, is everything. Its very name invokes a thousand different ingredients and dishes. Forty years …

tripadvisor.com

Best Dining in California: See 3,290,680 Tripadvisor traveler reviews of 104,519 California restaurants and search by cuisine, price, location, and more.

13 Best Restaurants in California to Taste the Golden State

The best restaurants in California rival those of any state in the USA. San Francisco is hands-down one of the best cities for food in the world, and no city has seen its culinary reputation grow ...

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The best restaurants in California rival those of any state in the USA. San Francisco is hands-down one of the best cities for food in the world, and no city has seen its culinary reputation grow over the past decade like Los Angeles. Whether your focus is Michelin star recipients or you make a beeline for fabulous cheap eats, you can’t go wrong in the Golden State.

“California cuisine” can be found on menus throughout the country, elevating veggies and healthier cooking, while the modern food truck movement, which began on the streets of Los Angeles, has been embraced by cities, towns, and even fast food companies. And thanks to generations of diverse immigrants, Californians enjoy the nation’s best tacos, Thai food, and much more.

So if you're looking for quintessential things to do in California, we suggest lots of dining. The problem? Deciding where to eat in California can be an overwhelming task. But we’re here to help, with our picks for the best restaurants in California, where you can taste the flavor and the bounty of the Golden State with a memorable meal.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in California

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French Laundry
Photograph: Courtesy The French Laundry
State Bird Provisions
Photograph: Ed Anderson
Chez Panisse
Photograph: Amanda Marsalis
Gjusta
Photograph: Courtesy Gjusta
Guerrilla Tacos
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Langer’s Deli
Photograph: Joshua Thaisen
The 23 best things to do in California
Photograph: Unsplash
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thetravel.com

For the next stop on our list, we’ll head a little further south in California to San Diego. Home to sand, surf, sun, San Diego is the perfect spot to stop and grab some fish tacos and highlight the local catch. Blue Water Seafood uses the best possible catch of the day to make sure that their guests get the most delicious, freshest meal. Sometimes they even catch the …

onlyinyourstate.com

You can find Mister A's at 2550 5th Ave., San Diego, CA. 3. Spago googlemaps/martin chan googlemaps/chris hinshaw Spago has been a fixture in Southern California about as long as Wolfgang Puck has been a celebrity chef. Although this spot may be the kind of place you go for a splurge, it's worth it to experience this restaurant at least once.

california.com

Santa Barbara is an entirely new addition to the list of Michelin-starred restaurants in California with not one, but two entries! The amazing Sushi | Bar Montecito and the wonderfully rustic Bell’s are the two restaurants that put Santa Barbara on the Michelin star map—they’re as delicious as you expect them to be.

guide.michelin.com

Starred restaurants, Bib Gourmand, all the MICHELIN restaurants. Find the best restaurants in California on the MICHELIN Guide's official website. MICHELIN inspector reviews and insights

tripadvisor.com

Best Dining in Los Angeles, California: See 223,516 Tripadvisor traveler reviews of 11,906 Los Angeles restaurants and search by cuisine, price, location, and more.

14 Most Iconic Los Angeles Restaurants

LA's urban history may be shorter than East Coast and Midwest cities, but there are iconic Los Angeles restaurants that have stood the test of time. Some endure because they have awesome food, others because they have a unique venue or convenient location, and a …

LA's urban history may be shorter than East Coast and Midwest cities, but there are iconic Los Angeles restaurants that have stood the test of time. Some endure because they have awesome food, others because they have a unique venue or convenient location, and a few have all three.

Here are the most historically iconic​ LA restaurants in order of when they were established. 

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Cole's is the oldest restaurant in LA in its original location, but not under the same owners. It went from an old-timer rendezvous to a hipster hangout after a takeover and makeover by 213 Nightlife group that operates a dozen Downtown LA establishments. The dinner menu is true to its roots, but the two bars, including the backroom Varnish, add appeal for the younger crowd. Cole's claims to be the originator of the original French Dip sandwich, but so does LA's next historic restaurant. 

02 of 14

Philippe's also opened in 1908, but at a different location. It was forced to move in 1951 to make room for the 101 freeway. Its current location is across from Union Station at the edge of Chinatown. Phillipe's also laid claim to creating the first French Dip sandwich, and in a KCET poll, Philippe's French Dip won out over Cole's as being the most "iconic" LA dish, and won out over most other Los Angeles foods for LA icon status, with the exception of the strawberry donut from the Donut Man, which was voted most iconic.

03 of 14

Musso & Frank has been a Hollywood staple since 1919 and plenty of history has been quietly made in its dark booths. Some of the waitstaff seem to have been around about as long at the restaurant. The menu has been around forever too and has lots of stodgy favorites from the early 20th century. A seat at the counter is my favorite spot to feel part of history.

04 of 14

First class dining, 24 hours a day, in a restaurant built to resemble an old railway car is what you'll find at the Pacific Dining Car, which opened in 1921 in Downtown LA. Originally the restaurant was at 7th and Westlake, but it moved to its current location in 1923. The food is really good and very pricey, but it's the only place you'll find fine dining at 3 a.m. when you're hungry after clubbing. 

Continue to 5 of 14 below.

05 of 14

Tam O'Shanter was opened in 1922 by the same folks who later opened Lawry's Prime Rib. It is the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles operated by the same family in the same location for its entire history. The Scottish establishment in a half-timbered building with multiple fireplaces in LA's Atwater Village was a favorite of Walt Disney and is still popular with the Disney Imagineers. Walt's favorite table is marked with a plaque and has drawings by Disney Imagineers scratched into the wood surface of the table. The Tam is known for their annual Robbie Burns Night celebration every January 25. 

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Moody Man/Flickr/CC BY-NC-2.0

The Pantry Cafe opened in 1924 in another ​Downtown LA location, but like Philippe's, was forced to move to make room for a freeway. It has been at its current location on Figueroa since 1950. It has also changed owners, with former LA mayor Richard Riordan as current proprietor. He didn't change the "greasy spoon" menu, which is written on the wall. Part of the breakfast menu is offered 24 hours a day. The prices are average for a non-chain diner in LA, which is more than you'll pay at IHOP or Denny's for the same breakfast, but it's a local legend. The food is on the heavy side, which is awesome or disgusting, depending on your preference – better for sopping up a night of drinking than pre-shopping. There is often a line out the door on weekend mornings or at 2 a.m. on club nights. They only take cash, but there's an ATM inside. It's a few blocks from of all of the activity at L.A. Live and Staples Center, so draws post-event crowds. 

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Pig 'N Whistle opened its doors next to the ​Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in 1927 to serve hungry theater patrons before the days of in-theater concession stands. Its fancifully carved wooden ceiling was covered over for years but was restored to its original glory in 1999. A regular stop on Hollywood pub-crawls, the English-style pub hosts live bands and DJs and serves up a quite decent shepherd's pie.

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Kent Kanouse/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Taix's original location opened in downtown Los Angeles, as part of the Champ d'Or Hotel in 1927. The restaurant moved to Echo Park in 1962, where it continues to be run by the Taix family. Its menu offers original French country cuisine favorites like ratatouille, escargot, moules marinière, trout almandine and frog legs Provençales.

Continue to 9 of 14 below.

09 of 14

El Paseo Inn opened in 1930 at the other end of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site at Olvera Street (W-23) from its current location. The building it's in now was originally part of the Pelanconi Winery, which opened sometime between 1871 and 1875 in the days when this was the heart of LA's Italian community. It changed ownership as a winery a couple times before a Mexican restaurant called Café Caliente opened in this space when the Mexican Marketplace was established in 1930. In 1953, El Paseo Inn moved to its current location at E11. It was purchased by Andy M. Camacho, whose Camacho Incorporated continues to own this restaurant, as well as Camacho's Cantina at Universal CityWalk and Mariasol Restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier.

There was once a dance floor in the middle of the restaurant, but the live music these days comes from strolling folk musicians and mariachis. The bar within El Paseo Inn is a historic landmark as well. Given its location, you'll find more tourists than locals dining on the house-made tortillas and traditional Mexican fare. 

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Casa La Golondrina relocated from the former La Mision Café on Spring Street, which opened in 1924 and was razed to make way for the new City Hall. It was one of the original restaurants on the new Mexican Marketplace on Olvera Street in 1930. La Golondrina was the first local restaurant officially identified as serving Mexican food as opposed to "Spanish." The restaurant is in the oldest brick building in Los Angeles, the original Pelanconi House, part of the Pelanconi Winery complex. There are two rooms inside with completely different décor, and a patio opens onto Olvera Street.  

Unfortunately, the most historic restaurants on Olvera Street are unreliable as far as quality and service, so your chances of having a satisfactory dining experience are 50/50. 

11 of 14

David Liu/Wikimedia Commons/CC by 2.0

Still in the hands of the original Canter family, Canter's Deli has been a Los Angeles institution since 1931, when it opened in Boyle Heights. It moved to its current location on Fairfax in 1953 after a short residence down the block. The restaurant maintains its 50's décor, although the façade and signage had a makeover along the way. As one of few restaurants open all night on the west side, Canter's has been popular with TV and movie industry types, as well as rockers coming off performances on the Sunset Strip. The authentic Jewish deli experience depends on the day and is not kosher, but you'll find matzo ball soup, house-made pickles, lox, and bagels, and they regularly trade awards for best pastrami with Langer's Deli downtown.

Canter's added a bar next door in 1961 called the Kibitz Room. It has live music or comedy almost every night, but unlike the restaurant, closes at 2 a.m. (no entry after 1:40 a.m.). Regardless of who is on stage, evenings often evolve into jam sessions, since the musicians in the audience are often bigger names than the ones on stage. 

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This taquito stand at the end of Olvera Street has been selling taquitos since 1934, shortly after the Mexican Marketplace was established. In order to get approval to sell food on Olvera Street, the Guerrero sisters were told they had to sell something different from what the other restaurants were selling, so they came up with their own special recipe for taquitos with a thin guacamole sauce and opened Cielito Lindo. They eventually added a couple burrito options, tamales and chiles rellenos, but still don't sell the ubiquitous tacos you can find everywhere else.

Continue to 13 of 14 below.

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TripSavvy / Amanda Blackard

Paul Pink started selling 10 cent chili dogs from a cart in a field at the corner of La Brea and Melrose in Hollywood 1939. In 1946, he built a small building on the same corner, which is now Pink's Hot Dogs. You'll still find people—including the occasional star rolling up in a limo—lined up for the dozens of fancy hot dog variations. Some are named after celebrities like Martha Stewart (relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut & sour cream), Rosie O'Donnell (mustard, onions, chili & sauerkraut), Emeril Lagasse (mustard, onions, cheese, jalapenos, bacon & coleslaw) and Giada de Laurentiis (sauteed peppers, onions & mushrooms, chopped tomato, shredded mozzarella cheese). These are hot dogs you need to eat with a shovel. They also serve some insane burger concoctions and tortilla-wrapped burrito dogs. For your sweet tooth, there's cake by the slice. 

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Miceli's, just a half block from Hollywood Boulevard, is Hollywood's oldest Italian restaurant. The dark, carved wood décor, red-checked tablecloths and Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling are classic. The singing waiters make any occasion festive. The food is OK, but it's the ambiance​ that makes it worth a visit. They have a second location in Universal City that maintains a lot of the same feel.

visitcalifornia.com

From mouth-watering fried chicken spots to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State.And even if you don’t know these culinary stars from the TV shows and appearances that have made them famous, you can taste the delicious results of their unique cooking styles.

yelp.com

1. Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles - West LA 2984 Chicken Shop $$Mid-City This is a placeholder “because this is the one Obama went to. Gotta follow all the famous people.” more Delivery Takeout Start Order 2. Bottega Louie 17134 Breakfast & Brunch $$Downtown This is a placeholder Proof of vaccination required “went absolutely HAM for 2 girls.

adequatetravel.com

Therefore to allow you to have much better dining here we recommend you some b est places to eat in California. List of Restaurants in …

timeout.com

You can argue over L.A.’s best hot dog, but Pink’s is the city’s most famous. The stand, open since 1939, most notably serves up dogs named after local legends and Hollywood heroes, from the ...

elitetraveler.com

Manresa. Another three-Michelin starred restaurant on Elite Traveler’ s Top 100 Restaurants list, Manresa is David Kinch’s California dining destination. A nightly tasting menu offers the best of seasonal cuisine, utilizing local farms for ingredients. The Relais & Chateaux restaurant also maintains a relationship with winemakers in the ...

familydestinationsguide.com

1. Musso & Frank Grill. 6667 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. (323) 467-7788. The Musso & Frank Grill, known as the Genesis of Hollywood, is an award-winning steakhouse. It is the oldest restaurant in the neighborhood, established in 1919.

The 16 Best Restaurants to Eat in Hollywood, Los Angeles ...

21-12-2018 · The original Spare Room is a quirky place, a hideaway with a bowling alley attached that’s buried deep inside the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel on the second floor.

21-12-2018

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Just beyond the Walk of Fame and a stone’s throw from the Dolby Theater are over a dozen restaurants worth battling tourists and traffic for. From old school haunts like Musso & Frank to New York City-inspired hotspots, Hollywood has a little bit of everything. Those looking for something more casual can find excellent banh mi, Thai food, dim sum, and even healthy Japanese. Here are the 16 essential restaurants to try in Hollywood.

Added: Sightglass, Gigi’s, Tartine, Rao’s, iXLB Dim Sum, L’Antica Da Michele, Banh Oui, Delish Hollywood

Removed: Stella Barra, Pizzeria Mozza, APL, Bowery, El Matador, Papilles, Yai

Read More

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Martinis done right and a menu that’s barely changed since opening day has kept this restaurant relevant and running since 1919. Though closed for the past fifteen months, the iconic Hollywood restaurant is back in operation. Grab a booth and dig in to continental favorites like mushrooms on toast, Seafood Chiffonade Salad, and Turkey á la King.

2. The Spare Room... Somewhere Else

The original Spare Room is a quirky place, a hideaway with a bowling alley attached that’s buried deep inside the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel on the second floor. But because of the pandemic, the award-winning bar team — known for turning out what may be the best cocktails in the city — has moved its setup outdoors (hence the Somewhere Else name), opening an evening drinking experience under the Hollywood sky, and right by the historic pool.

Looking for a quick, delicious grab-and-go lunch? Banh Oui has reasonably priced, well-built Vietnamese banh mi, plus some excellent saucy chicken wings if sandwiches aren’t enough.

Pork belly banh mi at Banh Oui

4. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

Legendary Neapolitan pizzeria L’Antica opened with a gorgeous patio and wood-fired oven in the former Cafe des Artistes space serving wide, elemental pizzas that reflect the unique style from Naples.

A whole wood-fired pizza resting on a steel pizza paddle that is set on a wooden table

Firmly established as one of Hollywood’s go-to Chinese restaurants, this to-go dim sum specialist har gow, chow mein, and baked char siu baos at an approachable price.

iXLB Dim Sum in Hollywood.

Part butcher shop and part restaurant, Gwen is Curtis and Luke Stone’s temple for all things meaty. Stop in for house-made charcuterie and meats to go or linger a while over a proper meal with wine. Think of it as a modern steakhouse with everything from a stellar dining room to inventive dishes.

Gwen by Curtis Stone

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A Thai restaurant located in a rundown strip mall isn’t notable in this neighborhood, but this spot stands out for its well executed southern Thai cooking from chefs Noree Pla and Fern Kaewtathip. The Phuket-style crab curry, jade noodles, and Hat Yai fried chicken are popular with the regular crowd.

Dine here for a little slice of Peru in LA. Brothers Jorge, Eduardo, and Walter Rodriguez serve up a smattering of traditional dishes, modern plates, and family favorites like grilled beef hearts, arroz con pollo, and lomo saltado.

Los Balcones

Delish Hollywood is a wonderful find with home-style Japanese classics. The agedashi tofu, croquettes, gyoza, and simmered kabocha pumpkin are popular favorites. But they’ve also leaned into a ramen mashup menu, taking noodles and adding more international flare and flavor with grilled garlic shrimp, or a ramen a la caprese with tomato, burrata, basil, and dashi.

Chris Phelps’ daytime restaurant has a focus on breakfast and lunch, with its signature oat griddle cakes and other morning fare preceding tasty sandwiches, salads, and entrees for lunch.

Legendary Harlem restaurant Rao’s has occupied this somewhat secluded space for years, though it’s likely going to relocate in the next year due to a planned redevelopment of the block. However, until that happens, Rao’s in Hollywood will continue to serve amazing meatballs, veal parmesan, and cheesecake along Seward Street.

Rao’s Italian restaurant in Hollywood

San Francisco’s famed bakery has a handy Hollywood location with fantastic morning baked goods like croissants, plus a solid daytime array of sandwiches and salads. The fried chicken sandwich is the star of the lunch menu.

New York City-inspired upscale restaurant Gigi’s has a dining room with high design and hand-drawn murals that has all the makings of a modern classic Hollywood haunt. The fare is grounded in familiar American food, like a raw bar, cheeseburger, and halibut entree to go along with well made cocktails.

Parisian gnocchi at Gigi’s in Hollywood.

San Francisco import Sightglass has a massive space that opened in 2020 with pastries, coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and pizza by the slice on a block already occupied by Gigi’s and Tartine.

A teal counter for ordering food from behind a glass case.

Ludo Lefebvre’s original French bistro Petit Trois continues to charm diners with classic renditions of Parisian fare. It’s hard to go wrong with the classics, like the snails bathed in butter and the slow-cooked omelette filled with Boursin cheese.

One of the last bastions of fine dining in Los Angeles, Providence serves one of the most elegant seafood-oriented tasting menus in the city. Michael Cimarusti’s exceptional cooking is only matched by Donato Poto’s warm and efficient service.

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Martinis done right and a menu that’s barely changed since opening day has kept this restaurant relevant and running since 1919. Though closed for the past fifteen months, the iconic Hollywood restaurant is back in operation. Grab a booth and dig in to continental favorites like mushrooms on toast, Seafood Chiffonade Salad, and Turkey á la King.

The original Spare Room is a quirky place, a hideaway with a bowling alley attached that’s buried deep inside the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel on the second floor. But because of the pandemic, the award-winning bar team — known for turning out what may be the best cocktails in the city — has moved its setup outdoors (hence the Somewhere Else name), opening an evening drinking experience under the Hollywood sky, and right by the historic pool.

Pork belly banh mi at Banh Oui

Looking for a quick, delicious grab-and-go lunch? Banh Oui has reasonably priced, well-built Vietnamese banh mi, plus some excellent saucy chicken wings if sandwiches aren’t enough.

A whole wood-fired pizza resting on a steel pizza paddle that is set on a wooden table

Legendary Neapolitan pizzeria L’Antica opened with a gorgeous patio and wood-fired oven in the former Cafe des Artistes space serving wide, elemental pizzas that reflect the unique style from Naples.

iXLB Dim Sum in Hollywood.

Firmly established as one of Hollywood’s go-to Chinese restaurants, this to-go dim sum specialist har gow, chow mein, and baked char siu baos at an approachable price.

Gwen by Curtis Stone

Part butcher shop and part restaurant, Gwen is Curtis and Luke Stone’s temple for all things meaty. Stop in for house-made charcuterie and meats to go or linger a while over a proper meal with wine. Think of it as a modern steakhouse with everything from a stellar dining room to inventive dishes.

A Thai restaurant located in a rundown strip mall isn’t notable in this neighborhood, but this spot stands out for its well executed southern Thai cooking from chefs Noree Pla and Fern Kaewtathip. The Phuket-style crab curry, jade noodles, and Hat Yai fried chicken are popular with the regular crowd.

Los Balcones

Dine here for a little slice of Peru in LA. Brothers Jorge, Eduardo, and Walter Rodriguez serve up a smattering of traditional dishes, modern plates, and family favorites like grilled beef hearts, arroz con pollo, and lomo saltado.

Delish Hollywood is a wonderful find with home-style Japanese classics. The agedashi tofu, croquettes, gyoza, and simmered kabocha pumpkin are popular favorites. But they’ve also leaned into a ramen mashup menu, taking noodles and adding more international flare and flavor with grilled garlic shrimp, or a ramen a la caprese with tomato, burrata, basil, and dashi.

Chris Phelps’ daytime restaurant has a focus on breakfast and lunch, with its signature oat griddle cakes and other morning fare preceding tasty sandwiches, salads, and entrees for lunch.

Rao’s Italian restaurant in Hollywood

Legendary Harlem restaurant Rao’s has occupied this somewhat secluded space for years, though it’s likely going to relocate in the next year due to a planned redevelopment of the block. However, until that happens, Rao’s in Hollywood will continue to serve amazing meatballs, veal parmesan, and cheesecake along Seward Street.

San Francisco’s famed bakery has a handy Hollywood location with fantastic morning baked goods like croissants, plus a solid daytime array of sandwiches and salads. The fried chicken sandwich is the star of the lunch menu.

Parisian gnocchi at Gigi’s in Hollywood.

New York City-inspired upscale restaurant Gigi’s has a dining room with high design and hand-drawn murals that has all the makings of a modern classic Hollywood haunt. The fare is grounded in familiar American food, like a raw bar, cheeseburger, and halibut entree to go along with well made cocktails.

A teal counter for ordering food from behind a glass case.

San Francisco import Sightglass has a massive space that opened in 2020 with pastries, coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and pizza by the slice on a block already occupied by Gigi’s and Tartine.

Ludo Lefebvre’s original French bistro Petit Trois continues to charm diners with classic renditions of Parisian fare. It’s hard to go wrong with the classics, like the snails bathed in butter and the slow-cooked omelette filled with Boursin cheese.

One of the last bastions of fine dining in Los Angeles, Providence serves one of the most elegant seafood-oriented tasting menus in the city. Michael Cimarusti’s exceptional cooking is only matched by Donato Poto’s warm and efficient service.

15 California Coast Waterfront Restaurants

30-01-2015 · 13. Nick's Cove, Point Reyes. Set above the shallows of Tomales Bay, Nick’s Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar feels like a secret retreat, about two hours north of San Francisco. Order a craft beer and some fresh local oysters, then settle onto the deck to …

30-01-2015

Travel the California coast and you quickly discover that the waterfront dining is as varied as the state’s ocean scenery. From simple seaside shacks to lavish event restaurants, you’ll find caught-that-day seafood in settings ranging from flip-flop casual to all-dolled-up. But wherever you go, these restaurants share one common trait: world-class water views. Here’s a standout selection, listed south to north, to get you started.

Got a boat? That’s the only way you’ll get a better view of San Diego’s waterfront skyline and twinkling bridges than the one you get from Coasterra Modern Mexican on the city’s Harbor Island. The menu offers creative twists on Mexican classics: ceviche with bay shrimp and blue crab, or fresh-shucked oysters with fire-roasted cocktail sauce. But it’s easy to get distracted from your food: Every table in this sleek, multilevel dazzler has a view that will have you Instagramming throughout your meal, especially if you’re there at sunset. (Coastaterra)

2. George's At The Cove, La Jolla

This acclaimed San Diego restaurant is actually three dining destinations in one. The centerpiece is the fine-dining spot California Modern, with its spacious, contemporary interior, combined with Chef Trey Foshee’s award-winning, locally sourced fare. Upstairs, relax with handcrafted cocktails and vistas of turquoise-blue La Jolla Cove at the Level2 bar. Or take in panoramic ocean views while digging into spicy, marinated grilled fish tacos at George’s rooftop Ocean Terrace, which was once named one of the world’s “hottest rooftop restaurants” by Travel Leisure.

3. Studio, Laguna Beach

Ocean views, architecture, and California-inspired French cuisine all come together at Studio, perched atop an oceanfront bluff at Orange County’s Montage Laguna Beach resort. Walk into this modern Craftsman-style beach cottage—with its elegant wood details, vaulted ceiling, and windows opening to the Pacific Ocean—and you might start plotting how to move in permanently. Fresh seafood is the centerpiece, but the menu also highlights organic produce from local farms and the restaurant’s own gardens and fruit trees. Struggling to choose between the seared swordfish with spicy lentils and the king salmon with heirloom carrots? Don’t worry: You can indulge in the tasting menu and sample it all.

4. The Lobster, Santa Monica

Just steps from the Santa Monica Pier, The Lobster is a local classic that first opened in 1925 specializing in—you guessed it—whole, grilled, and steamed lobster. After a storied history, The Lobster sat empty for a decade before reopening in 1999, newly renovated and under new ownership. Today, gaze out of the contemporary dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows, or from the expansive terrace while enjoying Chef Collin Crannell’s grilled Yucatan or California spiny lobster. Other seafood choices include pan-roasted rockfish, espresso barbecue Columbia River king salmon, and an extensive raw bar. Afterward, make your way down the pier for a gentle spin on the solar-powered Ferris wheel—especially beautiful at night. (The Lobster)

It’s a two-for-one at Catch, located at the historic Hotel Casa del Mar: It’s a chance to scope out the dynamic Santa Monica beach scene out the windows while also dining on locally caught seafood and produce from Santa Monica’s famous farmers market. Dining options include shellfish from both coasts, as well as local fish entrees such as a mustard-marinated California black cod with green and yellow pole beans. (Catch American Seafood)

6. Geoffrey’s Malibu

From the Pacific Coast Highway, Geoffrey’s looks pretty unassuming. But step into the sleekly sophisticated dining room, and then out to the terrace, and you’ll be wowed. Designed by famed architect Richard Neutra, Geoffrey’s offers a seamless blend of ocean views (all the way to Santa Catalina Island), lush landscaping, and head-swiveling celebrity sightings. Catch a Malibu sunset while you indulge in the seafood paella at dinner, then treat yourself to the maple blueberry cheesecake or an espresso flan as the stars twinkle over the Pacific. Another great waterfront option? Duke’s Malibu, which honors pioneering surfer Duke Kahanamoku. (Geoffrey’s Malibu)

7. Copa Cubana, Ventura

Authentic Cuban cuisine meets harbor views at Ventura’s Copa Cubana, where you can watch boats glide in and out of the Ventura Harbor marina as you dine on arroz con pollo or ropa vieja alfresco. Music is an essential part of the experience here, with bands playing blues, laid-back rock, or Latin music taking to the stage during weekend brunch hours. If you’re in more of a comfort-food mood, the adjacent 805 Bar—which shares a kitchen and an owner with the Copa—specializes in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, along with soups, salad, and mac ‘n cheese.

8. Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

Stroll the entire length of Santa Barbara’s historic Stearns Wharf and you’ll get a nice reward: first-rate seafood in an unpretentious setting. The site of the former buying station for shellfish, the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company is a longtime local favorite, replete with weathered lobster buoys hanging from the roofline. Grab a table on the deck or nab a counter seat to watch the chefs in action, as the skillets flame up and the smell of fried scallops fills the restaurant. Scan the chalkboards above the grills for seasonal favorites such as fresh local Dungeness crab or spiny lobster. (Santa Barbara Shellfish Company)

Overlooking landmark Morro Rock and the busy harbor at Morro Bay, Windows on the Water stands out for both its top-notch view and for creative dishes showcasing Central Coast ingredients. Start off with an appetizer featuring abalone raised in nearby Cayucos, then take your pick from Morro Bay halibut in an heirloom tomato salsa, or a balsamic-glazed, grass-fed filet mignon (which could be from nearby Hearst Ranch). Watch the chefs working in the open kitchen—if you can take your eyes off the panoramas through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. (Windows on the Water)

10. Sierra Mar, Big Sur

Looking westward from this dramatic building—cantilevered down a stretch of Big Sur coastline—Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn gives you the feeling of floating above the ocean. Reclaimed woods, slate floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows lend an understated, natural elegance. Magical? Yes, and so is the menu, with many dishes drawing inspiration from the Big Sur region—such as Morro Bay oysters, Monterey red abalone, and cheeses from Monterey County’s Schoch Family Farmstead. (Sierra Mar)

11. Nepenthe, Big Sur

This cliff-topping restaurant on Highway 1 in Big Sur belongs on anyone’s bucket list, offering views of the coast that can only be beaten if you’re a seagull. The mellow, family-owned restaurant was first opened by Lolly and Bill Fassett in 1949 and today you can still enjoy Lolly’s signature dish, the roast chicken with sage stuffing, along with the famous Ambrosia Burger or a variety of vegetarian entrees. Take in the view from the unfussy patio, or step inside the main building that was designed by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. (Nepenthe)

12. Sam’s Chowder House, Half Moon Bay

Thanks to the folks at Sam’s Chowder House, about an hour south of San Francisco, you don’t have to travel all the way to Maine for great lobster and chowder. Exhibit A: The Today show named the lobster roll at this waterfront spot in Half Moon Bay one of the five best sandwiches in America. Settle in along the deck, or snuggle up by the fireplace, to dine on California king salmon prepared in a pomegranate reduction, or local rock cod served with Brussels sprouts from nearby Giusti Farms. Shellfish fans may have met the ultimate dish: a lobster clambake featuring a full Maine lobster, mussels, and clams. (Sam's Chowder House)

13. Nick's Cove, Marshall

Set above the shallows of Tomales Bay, Nick’s Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar feels like a secret retreat, about two hours north of San Francisco. Order a craft beer and some fresh local oysters, then settle onto the deck to watch sandpipers and egrets dabbling in the water. Or, relax in the main dining room, which feels like a stylishly worn hunting lodge. Locally sourced entrees include Tomales Bay clam chowder, butter-roasted California halibut, and decadent Dungeness crab mac & cheese. Make a weekend of it with hikes in Point Reyes National Seashore and a stay in one of Nick’s Cove’s rustic-chic cottages. (Nick's Cove)

Surrounded by bobbing fishing boats, squawking gulls, and clanging riggings, Spud Point can’t help but serve fresh-as-it-gets seafood, including an award-winning chowder. A scenic two-hour drive north of San Francisco, via Highway 1, this authentic spot serves the freshest of crab and king salmon, straight from the boats of owner Tony Anello and his son Mark. There are also outstanding crab cakes and sandwiches featuring the catch of the day. Nothing fancy here, but it doesn’t have to be: the view from your picnic table is all you need.

15. Little River Inn, Mendocino County

Overlooking a rocky cove in Mendocino County, the Little River Inn has been offering romantic getaways since 1939. But it also makes a worthwhile detour just for lunch or dinner: The 1853-era main building houses the inn’s elegant-yet-relaxed restaurant, known for fresh seafood like a sole meunière using petrale sole caught by fishing boats in Noyo Harbor, just up the coast. For a more casual dining option, tuck into Ole’s Whale Watch Bar, a local favorite thanks to its tasty craft cocktails and own incredible views. (Little River Inn)

seecalifornia.com

California has 47 out of 100 of the most popular restaurants in the USA according to YELP (yelp.com) online voters. There are 16 in Los Angeles County; 13 in Bay Area; 8 in San Diego …

foodnetwork.com

The Rawbar. 346 Broadway St, Chico, CA 95928. This pan-Asian joint goes above and beyond the average sushi menu with items like Tom Kha Thai Steamer and Pork Belly Bibimbap. After …

50 Things to Eat in California Before You Die

12-02-2016 · With chains all around California, you have no excuse not to hit one up. 4. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese at Eggslut. PIN IT. Photo by Jen Hayashi. The only thing slutty about this place is the amount of yolk porn you’ll see from every single egg dish. 5. Godmother from Bay Cities. PIN IT.

12-02-2016

California natives will tell you that there’s no place better than California and people from all other states will tell you that there’s no better place to visit than California. Because not only does California have golden beaches and endless sunshine, it also has some of the best food out there. There’s a reason why so many California restaurants have been featured on “before you die” type bucket lists, with the most recent being Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2016.

But with so many amazing places to eat, how can you even possibly know where to begin? That’s where this list comes in clutch. We’ve compiled this handy guide of the fifty best things to eat in California — perfect for both locals and visitors alike. Enjoy, and happy eating!

1. Any Dog at Pink’s Hot Dogs

california

Photo courtesy of Huishi L on yelp.com

Normal hot dogs are boring. Pink’s hot dogs are epic. They’re named after infamous celebrities and are topped with anything from bacon to sour cream to nacho cheese.

2. A Fully Topped Donut at California Donuts

california

Photo courtesy of Sheila A on yelp.com

California Donuts also proves that Californians love their toppings. While there’s a good selection of your normal sprinkle and maple bacon donuts, this famous donut shop also has must-try cereal and candy-topped donuts.

3. Chicken and Waffles at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

california

Photo courtesy of expatthought on Tumblr

Roscoe’s is the only place to have the classic chicken and waffle combo. With chains all around California, you have no excuse not to hit one up.

4. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese at Eggslut

california

Photo by Jen Hayashi

The only thing slutty about this place is the amount of yolk porn you’ll see from every single egg dish.

5. Godmother from Bay Cities

california

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

Good Italian subs are hard to find in California, but Bay Cities has got you covered. Pick one up for your next beach day — the Godmother is their best-selling one.

6. Animal Style Anything from In-N-Out Burger

california

Photo courtesy of fastfoodlover21 on Tumblr

The not-so-secret “secret” menu at In-n-Out includes both animal-style fries and an animal-style burger. Either one is good — or both, if you love that animal sauce.

7. Breakfast Burrito at Tacos Villa Corona

california

Photo courtesy of @welikela on Instagram

Nobody makes breakfast burritos like Californians do. This little hole-in-the-wall taco shop beats all the competition with its perfect combination of egg, potato and chorizo.

8. Custom Crêpe from Harajuku Crêpe

california

Photo courtesy of Chris C on yelp.com

Parisians aren’t the only ones who can make an awesome crêpe. Harajuku Crêpes is a Japanese crêpe place that lets you customize your own crêpe, and has options for add-ins ranging from sesame ice cream to mochi. Added bonus — everything is organic.

9. Açai Bowl from Banzai Bowls

california

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

Açai bowls may have originated in Brazil and first became popular in Hawaii, but they’re still a SoCal favorite. Topped with fruit and superfoods, you’ll feel healthy and fit right in as you stroll down the streets of Santa Monica.

10. Poke from Sweetfin Poke

california

Photo courtesy of Amy C on yelp.com

Poke is another Hawaiian favorite that Californians have adopted. Though nothing can beat true Hawaiian poke, Sweetfin comes pretty damn close.

11. California Burrito from Nico’s Mexican Food

california

Photo courtesy of burritosofsandiego on Tumblr

If you haven’t had fries in a burrito, you haven’t truly lived. This San Diego classic takes normal burritos to a whole new level and is a perfect post-beach meal.

12. Seafood Burrito from El Zarape

california

Photo courtesy of Allison J on yelp.com

San Diegans sure know how to do a burrito right. Instead of fish tacos, make sure to try a seafood burrito in San Diego — it’s much more filling and is better than your typical carne asada burrito.

13. Cheeseburger from Hodad’s

california

Photo courtesy of Matt De Turk on flickr.com

The beauty of this cheeseburger in its simplicity. It’s juicy and and sinful and everything a burger should be.

14. Carne Asada Tater Tots from Bull Taco

california

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

Carne asada tater tots are carb-y bowls of goodness — an upgrade to the classic carne asada fries.

15. Churros from Disneyland

california

Photo courtesy of disneychurros on Tumblr

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, and their churros will make you the happiest person on earth.

16. Tacos Al Pastor (Adobada) from Tacos el Gordo de Tijuana B.C.

california

Photo courtesy of Andrew S yelp.com

This Chula Vista place serves the most authentic tacos north of the border. The adobada is carved off a massive spit and plopped into warm corn tortillas topped with special sauce. Heaven.

17. The Rebel Within from Craftsman and Wolves

california

Photo courtesy of Lin Lin S on yelp.com

Surprise yolk porn is the best yolk porn. Just cut into this savory muffin and you’ll see.

18. Matt Cain Sandwich from Ike’s Place

california

Photo courtesy of @tylertsd on Instagram

Go to Ike’s and you’ll be guaranteed a full and satisfied stomach. Any of their sandwiches are good (it is a famous place, after all), but the Matt Cain has three different types of meat, automatically making it one of our top choices.

19. Sushirrito from Sushirrito

california

Photo courtesy of Nancy L on yelp.com

California is the land of the burritos, apparently. And the birthplace of the infamous sushirrito, aka everything that’s good about sushi wrapped up in a burrito body.

20. Carne Asada Super Burrito from La Taqueria

california

Photo courtesy of Mani B on yelp.com

SoCal may have the best California burritos, but NorCal has the best classic burritos. La Taqueria does it the authentic way, with no rice and lots of guac.

21. Porchetta Sandwich from Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

california

Photo courtesy of Alex P on yelp.com

If you’re ever in San Francisco, hitting up the Embarcadero market is the first thing you should do. Find the red tent and get in line to get these porchetta sandwiches — we promise you won’t regret it. And if you’re looking for a more carb-heavy meal (aren’t we always?), get the potatoes as well.

22. Secret Breakfast from Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream

california

Photo courtesy of facebook.com

Breakfast in ice cream form? Um yes. While the ingredients of this ice cream may be a secret (hint: it contains whiskey and cornflakes), the fact that it’s one of the most popular ice cream flavors in California definitely isn’t.

23. Mint Mojito Coffee from Philz Coffee

california

Photo courtesy of Philz Coffee on facebook.com

There’s not actually any alcohol in this coffee (sorry), but it’s the most unique coffee you’ll ever taste. They put actual mint leaves in, giving your coffee an instant pick-me-up.

24. All You Can Eat KBBQ from Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant

california

Photo courtesy of Steph S on yelp.com

AYCE KBBQ > any buffet you’ve ever been to in your life. Just pay a set price and you get as many plates of meat as you want, as well as many side dishes as you want.

#SpoonTip: Don’t order more than you can eat — they charge for unfinished meat.

25. Pork Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) from Din Tai Fung

soup dumplings din tai fung

Photo courtesy of Din Tai Fung on Facebook

This famous Taiwanese chain has moved to the US, which is a win for people who love soup dumplings. Which, to be honest, should be everyone. Thin skin, flavorful broth, and quality meat makes Din Tai Fun’s xiao long bao a definite dim sum must-try.

26. Garlic Knots from C&O Trattoria

california

Photo courtesy of cotrattoria.com

Garlic lovers, you have to try this. These garlic knots are like garlic bread on steroids: warm, fluffy, and wonderfully flavored with lots of garlic.

27. Ramen from Daikokuya

california

Photo courtesy of aisforaftan.wordpress.com

Perfectly chewy noodles and a rich, flavorful broth makes Daikokuya’s ramen the best in LA and subsequently, California.

28. Omusubi from Sunny Blue

california

Photo courtesy of Jay B on yelp.com

What’s not to love about a place that has the tagline “this little place has balls”? Sunny Blue specializes in Japanese onmusubi (also known as onigiri), which are filled rice balls. Any of the balls are a good choice, though the miso beef is one of the most popular choices.

29. Fish Tacos from Ricky’s Fish Tacos

california

Photo courtesy of Roland L on yelp.com

Fish tacos are a California beach classic. With so many options, you can’t really go wrong eating them anywhere in California. But Ricky’s has been dubbed the “best fish taco” from Serious Eats and LA Weekly, to name a few.

30. Sushi Combination from Sushi Ota

california

Photo courtesy of John Pastor on flickr.com

Don’t let the strip mall location fool you. Sushi Ota has the best sushi in San Diego, and arguably some of the best sushi in the state. Plus, you can try live uni if you’re feeling adventurous.

31. Self-serve Boba from Class 302

california

Photo by Eileen Wang

Move over, self-serve fro yo. Self-serve boba is here, fulfilling all boba addicts’ dreams. You can customize your drink to your heart’s content, which is great for just about anyone.

#SpoonTip: Check out the do’s and don’ts of self-serve boba here.

32. Umami Burger from Umami Burger

california

Photo courtesy of umamiburger on Tumblr

“Umami” means a flavor with a distinct, pleasant savory taste, and the aptly named Umami Burger chain has burgers with unique combinations that will fulfill your umami receptors. Although all their options are interesting, go with the classic Umami Burger for your first time (Parmesan frico, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, and Umami ketchup) — it will be sure to satisfy your tastebuds.

33. Half Chicken from Zankou Chicken

california

Photo courtesy of Dikran I on yelp.com

Hungry? Get Zankou’s half chicken. Not hungry? Get Zankou’s half chicken and share. It’s crispy and crunchy and will make you rethink your previous concept of chicken.

34. Local Beer from Telegraph Brewing Company

california

Photo courtesy of Telegraph Brewing Co. on yelp.com

Though California is known for its Napa Valley wines, beer lovers should know that the locally brewed craft beers are something worth trying as well. Telegraph has seasonal beers as well as classic beers, all of which are made with locally sourced ingredients.

35. Green Tea Latte from Urth Caffe

california

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

This matcha latte is probably one of the most Instagrammed photos by anyone who has been to or lived in SoCal, and for good reason. It looks artsy and is made with care from ceremonial-grade matcha from a family farm in Japan.

36. Macarons from Bottega Louie

california

Photo courtesy of John L on yelp.com

Bottega Louie has food, but don’t even bother. Just go for the rainbow macarons — get a box.

37. Baby Back Ribs from Phil’s BBQ

california

Photo courtesy of Phil’s BBQ on yelp.com

You don’t need to go to Texas for barbecue — Phil’s was not only on Thrillist’s Best BBQ in America, but also was recently featured on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2016.

38. Praise the Lard from The Waffle Experience

california

Photo courtesy of Eric C on yelp.com

Sacramento is one of the most underrated food cities in California. But with restaurants like The Waffle Experience, it has recently come into the spotlight. The local cafe features creatively named waffle combinations like Farmer in the Dell, Praise the Lard, and Eggcellent. We suggest that anyone who has a hankering for pork belly go for Praise the Lard, which has cider-braised pork belly, a farm fresh egg, burrata cheese, a lard-stuffed waffle, maple syrup, and on-the-vine tomatoes.

39. Mac ‘n Cheetos from The Attic

california

Photo courtesy of Ivana T on yelp.com

Literally the stuff of college student dreams.

40. Oysters from Hog Island Oysters

california

Photo courtesy of facebook.com

They grow, harvest, shuck, and shell their own oysters, so the oysters are always unbelievably fresh. You can find them in Napa or in San Fran, but we recommend that you visit their farm at Marshall for the full experience.

41. Cioppino from Sotto Mare

california

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Cioppino is a tomato stew filled with seafood and pasta — aka the perfect meal no matter what the weather or your mood. You can’t get much more authentic than Sotto Mare, which is right in the heart of San Francisco’s Italian North Beach.

42. Short Rib Tacos from Kogi BBQ Truck

california

Photo courtesy of Michael S on yelp.com

Not only did Kogi BBQ basically begin the food truck craze, but they also began the Asian fusion craze with their Korean-Mexican dishes.

43. Carbonara Pizza from Pizzeria Delfina

california

Photo courtesy of Yuestudio Y on yelp.com

If you thought carbonara only works as a type of pasta, think again. Thanks to Pizzeria Delfina, you can now enjoy it in a pizza form, runny egg and all.

44. Dry Fried Chicken Wings at San Tung’s

california

Photo courtesy of Amy T on yelp.com

Chinese food is a big part of Californian cuisine. So instead of KFC or Chick-Fil-A, we have Sam Tung’s to satisfy our fried chicken cravings.

45. Brunch at Blu Jam Cafe

california

Photo courtesy of Blu Jam Cafe on yelp.com

No one loves brunch as much as Californians do, and with places like Blu Jam, that’s no surprise. They have everything from the healthy to the decadent, and it’s all Instagram-worthy.

#SpoonTip: They serve breakfast all day and offer vegan and gluten-free options, so there’s really no losing by going here.

46. House Meat Pie at Beijing Pie House

california

Photo courtesy of Chris H on yelp.com

There are dumplings and there are steamed bao, and then there are Beijing Pie House’s meat pies. Filled with the traditional dumpling fillings, these savory pies fit perfectly into your hand and taste wonderful in your mouth.

47. Chocolate Bouchons from Bouchon Bakery

california

Photo courtesy of facebook.com

New York has their fair share of famous bakeries, but that doesn’t mean that California’s desserts should be overlooked. Bouchon Bakery is famous for its innovative and gorgeous pastries, especially their decadent chocolate bouchons.

48. Whole Snook from Coni’Seafood

california

Photo courtesy of facebook.com

Jonathon Gold ate this, so you probably should too. Snook is rarely seen in the states, so it’s definitely a specialty.

#SpoonTip: Gold recommends trying the triple-spicy guac with this. We agree.

49. The Bambu Special from Bambu

california

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

Irvine is the Asian food hub, so it only makes sense that the most unique Asian food is found there. Bambu takes desserts one step further with its traditional Vietnamese Chè (sweet beverages, desserts, and drinks). They have a smashed avocado drink for die-hard avo lovers, but for everyone else, we recommend the Bambu Special, which is made with fresh coconut juice with longan, basil seed, coconut meat, and pandan jelly.

50. Julian Apple Pie from Julian Pie Company

california

Photo courtesy of Julie K at yelp.com

One of the most famous pie places in California, the Julian Pie Company grows their own apples and retains the original traditions from when they first started, making it a cozy, homey place to grab a slice of pie. Though based out of Julian, you can now find their pies in San Diego and Riverside as well.

atlasobscura.com

Latest Places to Eat & Drink. View All Places to Eat » ... Discover 59 unique restaurants & bars in California. Share Tweet. San Francisco, California. Prubechu.

uniforumtz.com

1 10 Best Restaurants in California 1.1 In-N-Out Burger 1.2 The French Laundry 1.3 Boulevard Tavern 1.4 Tender greens 1.5 Canlis Restaurant 1.6 The Grocery 1.7 Bouchon Bakery Cafe 1.8 The Dinex Group Restaurant Network 1.9 Au Bon Pain 1.10 The Modern Pantry 1.11 Conclusion 10 Best Restaurants in California

Los Angeles’s 38 Best Restaurants

03-10-2017 · 4163 W Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018. (323) 737-5050. (323) 737-5050. Visit Website. There are a bevy of excellent Oaxacan restaurants in Los …

03-10-2017

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Every quarter, Eater LA publishes a map of 38 standout restaurants that best represents Los Angeles’s incredible dining scene. In this massive metropolis, there are both new and decades-old street food stands, a cornucopia of international cuisines, and restaurants of every scale and size that use the best of the region’s unrivaled produce. An overarching theme of Los Angeles’s food is that flavors need to stand out — ideally heat, acid, and umami are present, in some form, in every dish. At its core, the city’s far-flung neighborhoods, cultures, and flavors coalesce into an array of culinary boundary-bending restaurants that make it the most compelling place to dine in America. Now that vaccination rates are among the highest in the country, Los Angeles has seen an uptick in dining out, a much-needed near-return to homeostasis for the city’s defining restaurants. Here now, the 38 essential restaurants in Los Angeles.

Removed: Me Crepe, Pa Ord Noodle, Love and Salt, Needle, Alta, Aqui es Texcoco

Added: Holy Basil, Moo’s Craft Barbecue, All Day Baby, Crossroads, RibTown BBQ, Bridgetown Roti

Restaurants are located in geographic order, from west to east.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Broad Street Oyster Company

Broad Street Oyster Co. has emerged as one of the best restaurants in Malibu in the past year, owing in no small part fantastic fresh seafood and drive-thru capabilities. Still, it’s hard to find laid-back seafood shack-style eats this great in Los Angeles, including what may be LA’s best lobster roll. —Matthew Kang

Lobster roll from Broad Street Oyster Co.

This prolific stand helmed by Indigenous taqueros serves some of the top al pastor in the city, though they also prepare carne asada, suadero, tripas, and more as vampiros, burritos, and tortas. Check its Instagram (or better yet, DM them) for the latest locations, which include Mission Hills, El Monte, South LA, and Torrance. —Matthew Kang

Al pastor tacos from Tacos Los Palomos.

Dave Beran’s Santa Monica French restaurant has developed into one of the Westside’s most impressive fancy restaurants, with stellar renditions of Parisian bistro dishes with a California mentality. Though Beran’s ambitious tasting menu restaurant Dialogue had to close due to the pandemic, the team’s efforts at Pasjoli show an extra level of creativity and execution, from gorgeous chicken liver-stuffed brioche to dry-aged ribeye with roasted fingerling potatoes. —Matthew Kang

Hollowed out brioche with chicken liver at Pasjoli.

4. Jon & Vinny's Brentwood

Longtime restaurateurs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, who also opened Animal and Son of a Gun, have opened their Westside location of their popular Italian-American place. Locals love the newer al fresco eating experience and all day fare, from breakfast bombolone to pizza, mozzarella sticks, salads, and the amazing spicy fusilli. —Farley Elliott

An outdoor patio with bright green booths and string lights during COVID.

Jon Yao’s adventurous, highly celebrated tasting menu restaurant draws from his upbringing in SGV and his Taiwanese heritage. One of the city’s most reliable and impressive destinations for upscale Asian food, with the price to match. —Matthew Kang

Dish from Kato

Barb Batiste made her mark on Sawtelle with dessert shop B Sweet, but her casual Filipino restaurant Big Boi continues to impress with combination plates of garlic rice and pancit with savory sisig and beef giniling. Order up an appetizer of crispy lumpia shanghai, plus a bowl of Filipino-style spaghetti for some pure nostalgia. Open for takeout and delivery only. —Matthew Kang

Big Boi combo plate

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Joshua Gil’s modern Mexican restaurant takes Baja California influences and flavors, and serves them right into the heart of Beverly Hills. The show stopping dishes boast flavor above all else, making Mírame one of the best new restaurants to open in the past year in LA.

Mírame, Beverly Hills interior with bar and tables.

Tetsuya Nakao’s impeccable attention to detail and service are why he remains one of the leading sushi chefs in the San Fernando Valley. Asanebo’s reopened in February, the perfect spot to try the halibut yuzu or toro carpaccio, though the counter is now available for omakase feasts. —Mona Holmes

Asanebo

San Francisco import Angler doesn’t change the recipe too much from the Bay Area original, except that the gorgeous Bay Bridge view has been replaced by a more insulated location inside the Beverly Center. However, the service and food are unparalleled in LA, with Joshua Skenes’s immaculate attention to detail and commitment to the best ingredients on the planet evident on each plate. —Matthew Kang

Dining room, dimly lit, with fish tanks and decor, at Angler, Los Angeles, California.

Chef Tal Ronnen opened Crossroads Kitchen in 2013, where his plant-based menu served on white tablecloths and accompanying wine list made quite the splash. The Melrose restaurant simply doesn’t feel like a vegan restaurant with the dim lights, cocktails at the bar, and carbonara complete with a runny tomato-based “egg” yolk. The dish is a huge step forward in plant-based cuisine, as fresh pasta usually requires the use of eggs. There’s plenty to appreciate about Ronnen, who co-founded Kite Hill Foods in 2014, and introduced vegan cheeses that simply taste better. Vegan cuisine has evolved considerably thanks to Ronnen, along with Plant Food and Wine by Matthew Kenney in Venice. —Mona Holmes

Vegan carbonara with ‘egg yolk’ at Crossroads on a dark bowl.

There are many terrific restaurants lining Fairfax Avenue in Little Ethiopia, but Rosalind’s is the one that started it all. Take owner Fekere Gebre-Mariam’s advice and order the iconic doro wat — a soul-satisfying, deeply ruddy stew fortified with ground chiles and spiked with warming spices. This chicken-and-egg staple has been on the menu since day one and is even considered the national dish of Ethiopia. —Cathy Chaplin

An Ethiopian feast at Rosalind’s Restaurant.

Brother and sister owners Ghazi and Sol Bashirian took over their father’s former Italian restaurant Gino’s Pizza in Inglewood, and modernized the look and menu. Growing up near Inglewood, the duo has served approachable old-school Italian fare to feed the community around them. The meatball sub and short rib ragu are both off-the-chain delicious. —Mona Holmes

Dishes from Sunday Gravy, including spaghetti and meatballs

13. Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen

Dulan’s is a soul food mainstay for Los Angeles, as is its amiable owner Gregory Dulan. The 22-year-old Inglewood spot is Dulan’s most famous restaurant to date, but his father Adolf Dulan spent decades running restaurants throughout LA’s Westside and South LA region. The locations on Century and Manchester are open, while Crenshaw is closed for renovations (the Dulanville food truck is parked out front). The cafeteria-style setup doesn’t skimp on happy service or big portions, particularly with sides like mac & cheese, green beans, and corn bread. The gigantic Sunday dinner specials even come with iced tea. —Farley Elliott

Steam table counter at Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen in Inglewood, California.

Pizza has been a winner for both diners and restaurants in the past year, and few do a better pie than Ronan on Melrose. Blistered, delicious, and best served with a serious side of meatballs and a cocktail or two, these pizzas have helped to put LA on the national map. The Cutler family behind the restaurant has been exceedingly open about their (common to all) economic struggles, pushing the conversation forward about what it means to make not just as a small business in Los Angeles, but anywhere right now. —Farley Elliott

Marinara pizza with anchovies on a white plate at Ronan

Chef Gino Angelini opened LA’s beloved Angelini Osteria in 2001, with an ease and charm that keeps longtime diners returning and newcomers arriving to see what all the fuss is about. That fuss is partly due to Angelini’s pasta skill, along with his signature lasagna verde or the salt-encrusted branzino, but there’s something special about sitting in this Fairfax District restaurant. There’s a lot to appreciate at Angelini Osteria from the low light, the emphasis on service, wines from all over the globe, all done in tandem with the chef’s confident and joyful presence that keeps this classic thriving. —Mona Holmes

Lasagna at Angelini Osteria

When Walter and Margarita Manzke took over the iconic Campanile space, they knew the stakes were high. And who in LA would have thought they would’ve succeeded this much, offering a breakfast-to-dinner menu with a French point of view? Throw in some pockets of new American and Asian influences, and the bill of fare will likely appeal to everyone. The desserts, breads, and pastries by Margarita are as good as one can expect, while the charcuterie board is sure to stun anyone. —Matthew Kang

Inside the colorful and soaring dining room at French restaurant Republique.

Kim Prince, one of the descendants of the famous Prince’s Hot Chicken from Nashville, the originator of the dish, has established her family’s hot chicken legacy in the heart of Baldwin Hills, frying up superb spicy fried chicken with an array of sides. —Matthew Kang

Hotville chicken on a tray with checkered paper and pickles.

There are a bevy of excellent Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles thanks to influx of settlers from the 1990s, and Gish Bac might be the best of the bunch thanks to the work of chef and owner Maria Ramos. This Mid-City classic serves a bit of everything from Oaxaca, including a great tlayuda and delicious torta, but the star of the show is the goat barbacoa enchilada, slow cooked for five hours in guajillo chiles. Truly one of LA’s best regional Mexican restaurants. —Matthew Kang

Torta from Gish Bac.

Bong Joon Ho made it a point to celebrate here after winning Best Picture for Parasite. The Koreatown restaurant specializes in ganjang gejang, raw marinated flower crab that tastes like the pinnacle of Korean cuisine with its rich, slightly fermented umami and buttery sweetness (especially over warm rice). —Matthew Kang

Ganjang gejang at Soban in Koreatown.

Rib Town BBQ pitmaster Lonnie Edwards has settled into this Jefferson Park parking lot with massive smokers hiding behind a colorful trailer that serves truly excellent Southern-style ribs, brisket, and even chicken. The smoky, saucy barbecue is so damn good you’ll probably opt to scarf it down on the patio tables right in front. —Matthew Kang

Two people wait in line on an overcast day for barbecue from a small trailer.

21. Madre! Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria

Torrance’s standout Oaxacan restaurant has everything from top-notch mezcal to an array of regional Mexican classics, like memelitas, mole estofado, and tacos. The recipe has worked well enough that both its enduring Palms location and newer West Hollywood spots have cemented themselves already has beloved neighborhood restaurants. —Matthew Kang

Memelitas with handmade thick tortillas, aciento, black bean sauce, and queso fresco at Madre

This is the Korean barbecue to end all arguments, with some of the highest quality meat and banchan one can find in Los Angeles, one of the world’s epicenters for Korean cuisine. Order prime American short ribs and eat with the restaurant’s well-aged kimchi and fresh lettuce wraps. Also the stews are sneaky good here, from the braised black cod to the kimchi jjigae. —Matthew Kang

Park’s BBQ

23. Langer's Delicatessen

Yes, the No. 19 pastrami sandwich is an amazing sandwich, but the pure pastrami on house-baked rye is simplicity at its best. There's a reason why people make pilgrimages to try this place’s pastrami and even corned beef: There is no better version anywhere in town. Pro tip: Try the No. 54, a blend of both the pastrami and corned beef in one sandwich. And don't skip the rest of the classic Jewish deli menu — it's all very well executed in one of the best daytime dining rooms in town. —Matthew Kang

Now that All Day Baby is living up to its all-day promise — swing in for some of Los Angeles’s most comforting cooking and thoughtful hospitality from morning until late night. Highlights from the daytime menu includes a breakfast burrito stuffed with longaniza sausage, fried eggs, and gooey cheese, and an irresistible selection of pastries from chef Thessa Diadem — the cinnamon rolls and banana cream pies are particularly fetching. Chef Jonathan Whitener takes the reins at dinnertime, and his deviled eggs, queso fundido, and oyster pot pie are the stuff of legends. There’s never a bad time to dine at All Day Baby. —Cathy Chaplin

Wide angle of interior of All Day Baby

Los Angeles is filled with sushi stars, but few are brighter than Morihiro Onodera. His eponymous new Atwater Village restaurant is the culmination of a career spent all across the city (most notably at Mori in West LA, and later at Shiki in Beverly Hills), seating celebrities and locals while quietly preparing some of the city’s best Japanese food. Now he’s doing things his own way, under his own roof, even using ceramics he made by hand. —Farley Elliott

Japanese bowls hold fine foods during daylight hours atop a wooden table.

Ria Dolly Barbosa opened this small but mighty Filipino restaurant in Downtown inside the former Rice Bar space, but taking the menu to new heights with familiar classics interpreted into modern dishes, like an adobo French dip or chicken sisig salad. Though LA boasts a lot of great Filipino food, Petite Peso is the place to see where the cuisine is going next. —Matthew Kang

The exterior of Petite Peso, the small Downtown LA restaurant.

Steve Samson opened this incredible homage to Northern Italian cuisine, especially from the region of Bologna and Emilia-Romagna. The modern dining room is one of the most attractive spaces in the city, while the wood-roasted meats and pastas would please anyone. —Matthew Kang

Rossoblu

Regarded as one of LA’s most impressive taco restaurants, this tiny Downtown LA spot prepares Sonoran-style tacos and quesadillas with grilled meats and flour tortillas. Don’t forget to order the chivichanga, a burrito with cheese and shredded chicken or machaca beef. It’s all really affordable too, though parking can be tough in this part of Downtown. —Matthew Kang

Sonoratown’s flour tortilla taco with guacamole salsa on top.

Holy Basil has been operating as a pop-up for over a year, finding a permanent space in Downtown LA earlier in 2021 and finding its stride as one of LA’s top new Thai restaurants. Inspired by Bangkok street food, dishes from green curry to barbecue chicken to dry-aged salmon ceviche, it’s hard to miss with anything on the menu. —Matthew Kang

Thai dishes from Holy Basil in Downtown LA.

Rashida Holmes’ tribute to Caribbean food, inspired by her mother Joy Clarke-Holmes, has wowed LA diners with incredible red pepper goat and chicken curry rotis, wonderfully crisp cod cakes, hearty oxtail-stuffed patties, and saucy, puffy doubles. Bridgetown pops up on weekends in Arts District and on Sundays at Smorgasburg. —Matthew Kang (Note: Eater LA reporter Mona Holmes is related to Rashida Holmes and was not involved in the writing of this entry)

Caribbean cooking from Bridgetown Roti at Smorgasburg.

Bestia is the hallmark of seasonal, meat-driven rustic Italian located in the heart of the Arts District. Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis cook fantastic Neapolitan-style pizzas, inventive pastas, house made salumi (a rarity in LA), and large plates like a great pork chop. Wines and cocktails are top rate, and the desserts from Gergis are simple, but prepared with a perfectionist’s attention to detail. —Matthew Kang

Bestia

Longtime LA operation Moo’s Craft Barbecue found a permanent home in Lincoln Heights and has quickly established itself as one of the top Texas-style barbecues in the city. Founders Andrew and Michelle Muñoz have done a great job of capturing the spirit of Austin with a walk-up counter, wide list of craft beers, and well-executed array of smoked meats with sides. Anyone who says LA doesn’t have good barbecue will be pretty quiet after taking a few bites at Moo’s. —Matthew Kang

Moo’s craft barbecue sits on a pink paper tray.

Gusto Bread is a Long Beach success story, the kind of place that can start in a living room and become a citywide sensation, thanks entirely to local support. The mega-popular 4th Street bakery, owned and operated by Arturo Enciso and Ana Salatino, makes some of the finest baked good anywhere in Southern California, and continues to innovate with collaborations, ancient grains, and recipes all their own. —Farley Elliott

A dark loaf of bread fresh from the oven.

34. Tamales Elena Y Antojitos

Tamales Elena has been a mainstay of South LA for well over a decade, serving out of a truck in Watts. The family recently located to a drive-thru location for early morning tamales, pozoles, and guisados from Afro-Mexican cuisine that makes it one of the most impressive regional Mexican restaurants in the city. —Matthew Kang

Banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena.

Long Beach taco truck La Carreta has been serving some of the city’s best Sinaloan-style carne asada for years, bouncing around the area before settling on a mobile kitchen operation. Jose Morales Jr. learned the ways of carne asada from his father, who worked as a taquero in Mazatlán. The menu is simple here: vampiros, tacos, papas locas (baked potato with grilleds beef), and quesadillas with all the salsas to match. —Matthew Kang

Carne asada tacos and quesadilla from La Carreta on a plastic plate on a food truck in Long Beach

Sichuan cuisine has had a resurgence in San Gabriel Valley in recent years, and none has been more consistent than Xiang La Hui, which has everything from a nuanced mapo tofu to wonderful toothpick lamb. —Matthew Kang

A bright red bowl of mapo tofu loaded with spices.

Find impeccably sourced ingredients and careful cooking at Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra. While the restaurant no longer serves the modern Chinese menu that made it a local and national sensation, chef Chris Yang’s updated lunch and brand-new brunch menus are chock-full of delightful flavors and ingredients that are truly just as great. Highlights from the lunch menu include salt-and-pepper fried chicken wings and cold sesame noodles, while mochi pancakes and a traditional Japanese breakfast are the early hits from the brunch menu. —Cathy Chaplin

A collection of brunch dishes like pancakes, and steak and eggs at Yang’s Kitchen.

38. Golden Deli Restaurant

Find Southern-style Vietnamese food at this perpetually busy, efficiently run, and solid-as-can-be restaurant. Come for the blistered cha gio stuffed with ground pork and woodear mushrooms, and served with herbs and greens for garnishing and wrapping, respectively. Then, settle in for a bowl of pho (rare beef, brisket, and tripe are the holy trinity of beef noodle soup), a platter of broken rice topped with a sunny side egg (the one with grilled pork, shredded pork, and steamed pork loaf won’t disappoint), or a bowl of cool vermicelli noodles. The nuoc cham (fish sauce vinaigrette) here is top notch, so spoon it on liberally or better yet, just dump the whole thing onto rice or noodles. —Cathy Chaplin

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Lobster roll from Broad Street Oyster Co.

Broad Street Oyster Co. has emerged as one of the best restaurants in Malibu in the past year, owing in no small part fantastic fresh seafood and drive-thru capabilities. Still, it’s hard to find laid-back seafood shack-style eats this great in Los Angeles, including what may be LA’s best lobster roll. —Matthew Kang

Al pastor tacos from Tacos Los Palomos.

This prolific stand helmed by Indigenous taqueros serves some of the top al pastor in the city, though they also prepare carne asada, suadero, tripas, and more as vampiros, burritos, and tortas. Check its Instagram (or better yet, DM them) for the latest locations, which include Mission Hills, El Monte, South LA, and Torrance. —Matthew Kang

Hollowed out brioche with chicken liver at Pasjoli.

Dave Beran’s Santa Monica French restaurant has developed into one of the Westside’s most impressive fancy restaurants, with stellar renditions of Parisian bistro dishes with a California mentality. Though Beran’s ambitious tasting menu restaurant Dialogue had to close due to the pandemic, the team’s efforts at Pasjoli show an extra level of creativity and execution, from gorgeous chicken liver-stuffed brioche to dry-aged ribeye with roasted fingerling potatoes. —Matthew Kang

An outdoor patio with bright green booths and string lights during COVID.

Longtime restaurateurs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, who also opened Animal and Son of a Gun, have opened their Westside location of their popular Italian-American place. Locals love the newer al fresco eating experience and all day fare, from breakfast bombolone to pizza, mozzarella sticks, salads, and the amazing spicy fusilli. —Farley Elliott

Dish from Kato

Jon Yao’s adventurous, highly celebrated tasting menu restaurant draws from his upbringing in SGV and his Taiwanese heritage. One of the city’s most reliable and impressive destinations for upscale Asian food, with the price to match. —Matthew Kang

Big Boi combo plate

Barb Batiste made her mark on Sawtelle with dessert shop B Sweet, but her casual Filipino restaurant Big Boi continues to impress with combination plates of garlic rice and pancit with savory sisig and beef giniling. Order up an appetizer of crispy lumpia shanghai, plus a bowl of Filipino-style spaghetti for some pure nostalgia. Open for takeout and delivery only. —Matthew Kang

Mírame, Beverly Hills interior with bar and tables.

Joshua Gil’s modern Mexican restaurant takes Baja California influences and flavors, and serves them right into the heart of Beverly Hills. The show stopping dishes boast flavor above all else, making Mírame one of the best new restaurants to open in the past year in LA.

Asanebo

Tetsuya Nakao’s impeccable attention to detail and service are why he remains one of the leading sushi chefs in the San Fernando Valley. Asanebo’s reopened in February, the perfect spot to try the halibut yuzu or toro carpaccio, though the counter is now available for omakase feasts. —Mona Holmes

Dining room, dimly lit, with fish tanks and decor, at Angler, Los Angeles, California.

San Francisco import Angler doesn’t change the recipe too much from the Bay Area original, except that the gorgeous Bay Bridge view has been replaced by a more insulated location inside the Beverly Center. However, the service and food are unparalleled in LA, with Joshua Skenes’s immaculate attention to detail and commitment to the best ingredients on the planet evident on each plate. —Matthew Kang

Vegan carbonara with ‘egg yolk’ at Crossroads on a dark bowl.

Chef Tal Ronnen opened Crossroads Kitchen in 2013, where his plant-based menu served on white tablecloths and accompanying wine list made quite the splash. The Melrose restaurant simply doesn’t feel like a vegan restaurant with the dim lights, cocktails at the bar, and carbonara complete with a runny tomato-based “egg” yolk. The dish is a huge step forward in plant-based cuisine, as fresh pasta usually requires the use of eggs. There’s plenty to appreciate about Ronnen, who co-founded Kite Hill Foods in 2014, and introduced vegan cheeses that simply taste better. Vegan cuisine has evolved considerably thanks to Ronnen, along with Plant Food and Wine by Matthew Kenney in Venice. —Mona Holmes

An Ethiopian feast at Rosalind’s Restaurant.

There are many terrific restaurants lining Fairfax Avenue in Little Ethiopia, but Rosalind’s is the one that started it all. Take owner Fekere Gebre-Mariam’s advice and order the iconic doro wat — a soul-satisfying, deeply ruddy stew fortified with ground chiles and spiked with warming spices. This chicken-and-egg staple has been on the menu since day one and is even considered the national dish of Ethiopia. —Cathy Chaplin

Dishes from Sunday Gravy, including spaghetti and meatballs

Brother and sister owners Ghazi and Sol Bashirian took over their father’s former Italian restaurant Gino’s Pizza in Inglewood, and modernized the look and menu. Growing up near Inglewood, the duo has served approachable old-school Italian fare to feed the community around them. The meatball sub and short rib ragu are both off-the-chain delicious. —Mona Holmes

Steam table counter at Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen in Inglewood, California.

Dulan’s is a soul food mainstay for Los Angeles, as is its amiable owner Gregory Dulan. The 22-year-old Inglewood spot is Dulan’s most famous restaurant to date, but his father Adolf Dulan spent decades running restaurants throughout LA’s Westside and South LA region. The locations on Century and Manchester are open, while Crenshaw is closed for renovations (the Dulanville food truck is parked out front). The cafeteria-style setup doesn’t skimp on happy service or big portions, particularly with sides like mac & cheese, green beans, and corn bread. The gigantic Sunday dinner specials even come with iced tea. —Farley Elliott

Marinara pizza with anchovies on a white plate at Ronan

Pizza has been a winner for both diners and restaurants in the past year, and few do a better pie than Ronan on Melrose. Blistered, delicious, and best served with a serious side of meatballs and a cocktail or two, these pizzas have helped to put LA on the national map. The Cutler family behind the restaurant has been exceedingly open about their (common to all) economic struggles, pushing the conversation forward about what it means to make not just as a small business in Los Angeles, but anywhere right now. —Farley Elliott

Lasagna at Angelini Osteria

Chef Gino Angelini opened LA’s beloved Angelini Osteria in 2001, with an ease and charm that keeps longtime diners returning and newcomers arriving to see what all the fuss is about. That fuss is partly due to Angelini’s pasta skill, along with his signature lasagna verde or the salt-encrusted branzino, but there’s something special about sitting in this Fairfax District restaurant. There’s a lot to appreciate at Angelini Osteria from the low light, the emphasis on service, wines from all over the globe, all done in tandem with the chef’s confident and joyful presence that keeps this classic thriving. —Mona Holmes

Inside the colorful and soaring dining room at French restaurant Republique.

When Walter and Margarita Manzke took over the iconic Campanile space, they knew the stakes were high. And who in LA would have thought they would’ve succeeded this much, offering a breakfast-to-dinner menu with a French point of view? Throw in some pockets of new American and Asian influences, and the bill of fare will likely appeal to everyone. The desserts, breads, and pastries by Margarita are as good as one can expect, while the charcuterie board is sure to stun anyone. —Matthew Kang

Hotville chicken on a tray with checkered paper and pickles.

Kim Prince, one of the descendants of the famous Prince’s Hot Chicken from Nashville, the originator of the dish, has established her family’s hot chicken legacy in the heart of Baldwin Hills, frying up superb spicy fried chicken with an array of sides. —Matthew Kang

Torta from Gish Bac.

There are a bevy of excellent Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles thanks to influx of settlers from the 1990s, and Gish Bac might be the best of the bunch thanks to the work of chef and owner Maria Ramos. This Mid-City classic serves a bit of everything from Oaxaca, including a great tlayuda and delicious torta, but the star of the show is the goat barbacoa enchilada, slow cooked for five hours in guajillo chiles. Truly one of LA’s best regional Mexican restaurants. —Matthew Kang

Ganjang gejang at Soban in Koreatown.

Bong Joon Ho made it a point to celebrate here after winning Best Picture for Parasite. The Koreatown restaurant specializes in ganjang gejang, raw marinated flower crab that tastes like the pinnacle of Korean cuisine with its rich, slightly fermented umami and buttery sweetness (especially over warm rice). —Matthew Kang

Two people wait in line on an overcast day for barbecue from a small trailer.

Rib Town BBQ pitmaster Lonnie Edwards has settled into this Jefferson Park parking lot with massive smokers hiding behind a colorful trailer that serves truly excellent Southern-style ribs, brisket, and even chicken. The smoky, saucy barbecue is so damn good you’ll probably opt to scarf it down on the patio tables right in front. —Matthew Kang

Memelitas with handmade thick tortillas, aciento, black bean sauce, and queso fresco at Madre

Torrance’s standout Oaxacan restaurant has everything from top-notch mezcal to an array of regional Mexican classics, like memelitas, mole estofado, and tacos. The recipe has worked well enough that both its enduring Palms location and newer West Hollywood spots have cemented themselves already has beloved neighborhood restaurants. —Matthew Kang

Park’s BBQ

This is the Korean barbecue to end all arguments, with some of the highest quality meat and banchan one can find in Los Angeles, one of the world’s epicenters for Korean cuisine. Order prime American short ribs and eat with the restaurant’s well-aged kimchi and fresh lettuce wraps. Also the stews are sneaky good here, from the braised black cod to the kimchi jjigae. —Matthew Kang

Yes, the No. 19 pastrami sandwich is an amazing sandwich, but the pure pastrami on house-baked rye is simplicity at its best. There's a reason why people make pilgrimages to try this place’s pastrami and even corned beef: There is no better version anywhere in town. Pro tip: Try the No. 54, a blend of both the pastrami and corned beef in one sandwich. And don't skip the rest of the classic Jewish deli menu — it's all very well executed in one of the best daytime dining rooms in town. —Matthew Kang

Wide angle of interior of All Day Baby

Now that All Day Baby is living up to its all-day promise — swing in for some of Los Angeles’s most comforting cooking and thoughtful hospitality from morning until late night. Highlights from the daytime menu includes a breakfast burrito stuffed with longaniza sausage, fried eggs, and gooey cheese, and an irresistible selection of pastries from chef Thessa Diadem — the cinnamon rolls and banana cream pies are particularly fetching. Chef Jonathan Whitener takes the reins at dinnertime, and his deviled eggs, queso fundido, and oyster pot pie are the stuff of legends. There’s never a bad time to dine at All Day Baby. —Cathy Chaplin

Japanese bowls hold fine foods during daylight hours atop a wooden table.

Los Angeles is filled with sushi stars, but few are brighter than Morihiro Onodera. His eponymous new Atwater Village restaurant is the culmination of a career spent all across the city (most notably at Mori in West LA, and later at Shiki in Beverly Hills), seating celebrities and locals while quietly preparing some of the city’s best Japanese food. Now he’s doing things his own way, under his own roof, even using ceramics he made by hand. —Farley Elliott

The exterior of Petite Peso, the small Downtown LA restaurant.

Ria Dolly Barbosa opened this small but mighty Filipino restaurant in Downtown inside the former Rice Bar space, but taking the menu to new heights with familiar classics interpreted into modern dishes, like an adobo French dip or chicken sisig salad. Though LA boasts a lot of great Filipino food, Petite Peso is the place to see where the cuisine is going next. —Matthew Kang

Rossoblu

Steve Samson opened this incredible homage to Northern Italian cuisine, especially from the region of Bologna and Emilia-Romagna. The modern dining room is one of the most attractive spaces in the city, while the wood-roasted meats and pastas would please anyone. —Matthew Kang

Sonoratown’s flour tortilla taco with guacamole salsa on top.

Regarded as one of LA’s most impressive taco restaurants, this tiny Downtown LA spot prepares Sonoran-style tacos and quesadillas with grilled meats and flour tortillas. Don’t forget to order the chivichanga, a burrito with cheese and shredded chicken or machaca beef. It’s all really affordable too, though parking can be tough in this part of Downtown. —Matthew Kang

Thai dishes from Holy Basil in Downtown LA.

Holy Basil has been operating as a pop-up for over a year, finding a permanent space in Downtown LA earlier in 2021 and finding its stride as one of LA’s top new Thai restaurants. Inspired by Bangkok street food, dishes from green curry to barbecue chicken to dry-aged salmon ceviche, it’s hard to miss with anything on the menu. —Matthew Kang

Caribbean cooking from Bridgetown Roti at Smorgasburg.

Rashida Holmes’ tribute to Caribbean food, inspired by her mother Joy Clarke-Holmes, has wowed LA diners with incredible red pepper goat and chicken curry rotis, wonderfully crisp cod cakes, hearty oxtail-stuffed patties, and saucy, puffy doubles. Bridgetown pops up on weekends in Arts District and on Sundays at Smorgasburg. —Matthew Kang (Note: Eater LA reporter Mona Holmes is related to Rashida Holmes and was not involved in the writing of this entry)

Bestia

Bestia is the hallmark of seasonal, meat-driven rustic Italian located in the heart of the Arts District. Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis cook fantastic Neapolitan-style pizzas, inventive pastas, house made salumi (a rarity in LA), and large plates like a great pork chop. Wines and cocktails are top rate, and the desserts from Gergis are simple, but prepared with a perfectionist’s attention to detail. —Matthew Kang

Moo’s craft barbecue sits on a pink paper tray.

Longtime LA operation Moo’s Craft Barbecue found a permanent home in Lincoln Heights and has quickly established itself as one of the top Texas-style barbecues in the city. Founders Andrew and Michelle Muñoz have done a great job of capturing the spirit of Austin with a walk-up counter, wide list of craft beers, and well-executed array of smoked meats with sides. Anyone who says LA doesn’t have good barbecue will be pretty quiet after taking a few bites at Moo’s. —Matthew Kang

A dark loaf of bread fresh from the oven.

Gusto Bread is a Long Beach success story, the kind of place that can start in a living room and become a citywide sensation, thanks entirely to local support. The mega-popular 4th Street bakery, owned and operated by Arturo Enciso and Ana Salatino, makes some of the finest baked good anywhere in Southern California, and continues to innovate with collaborations, ancient grains, and recipes all their own. —Farley Elliott

Banana leaf tamales from Tamales Elena.

Tamales Elena has been a mainstay of South LA for well over a decade, serving out of a truck in Watts. The family recently located to a drive-thru location for early morning tamales, pozoles, and guisados from Afro-Mexican cuisine that makes it one of the most impressive regional Mexican restaurants in the city. —Matthew Kang

Carne asada tacos and quesadilla from La Carreta on a plastic plate on a food truck in Long Beach

Long Beach taco truck La Carreta has been serving some of the city’s best Sinaloan-style carne asada for years, bouncing around the area before settling on a mobile kitchen operation. Jose Morales Jr. learned the ways of carne asada from his father, who worked as a taquero in Mazatlán. The menu is simple here: vampiros, tacos, papas locas (baked potato with grilleds beef), and quesadillas with all the salsas to match. —Matthew Kang

A bright red bowl of mapo tofu loaded with spices.

Sichuan cuisine has had a resurgence in San Gabriel Valley in recent years, and none has been more consistent than Xiang La Hui, which has everything from a nuanced mapo tofu to wonderful toothpick lamb. —Matthew Kang

A collection of brunch dishes like pancakes, and steak and eggs at Yang’s Kitchen.

Find impeccably sourced ingredients and careful cooking at Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra. While the restaurant no longer serves the modern Chinese menu that made it a local and national sensation, chef Chris Yang’s updated lunch and brand-new brunch menus are chock-full of delightful flavors and ingredients that are truly just as great. Highlights from the lunch menu include salt-and-pepper fried chicken wings and cold sesame noodles, while mochi pancakes and a traditional Japanese breakfast are the early hits from the brunch menu. —Cathy Chaplin

Find Southern-style Vietnamese food at this perpetually busy, efficiently run, and solid-as-can-be restaurant. Come for the blistered cha gio stuffed with ground pork and woodear mushrooms, and served with herbs and greens for garnishing and wrapping, respectively. Then, settle in for a bowl of pho (rare beef, brisket, and tripe are the holy trinity of beef noodle soup), a platter of broken rice topped with a sunny side egg (the one with grilled pork, shredded pork, and steamed pork loaf won’t disappoint), or a bowl of cool vermicelli noodles. The nuoc cham (fish sauce vinaigrette) here is top notch, so spoon it on liberally or better yet, just dump the whole thing onto rice or noodles. —Cathy Chaplin

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Los Angeles still has one of the most innovative, dynamic, and diverse food scenes in the country, despite nearly two years of pandemic-era dining restrictions. However, …

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Musso and Frank Grill. TripAdvisor, LLC. Musso’s looks like a place Dick Tracy would come to think. And drink. It’s manly, moody, dimly lit—outright noir, …

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And the restaurants of Los Angeles provided in spades. Dating back nearly 100 years, some of the most iconic L.A. eateries have been serving up sandwiches, Mexican food, burgers, and other ...

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4. Chez Panisse. This modest Berkeley restaurant (established by Alice Waters in 1971) introduced the world to California cuisine—highlighting peak-of-season products with basic preparation—and gave rise to its neighboring community, The Gourmet Ghetto.

The Most Iconic Foods in California

Known for serving up some of the best BBQ in California, Santa Maria’s simple style will keep you coming back for more. Cooked over an open fire with red oak or coast live oak, the grilled meat is seasoned with just salt, pepper, and garlic powder—it’s so good, you won’t miss the sauce.

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The most expensive restaurant in all of California, this three Michelin-starred eatery will set you back 8 for a single person, with meals for two often going over

,000, even before wine or drinks are factored in. Saison in San Francisco features some of the world’s most luxurious seafood served in unique and creative ways. The restaurant has only eight tables, and …

Most Popular U.S. Chain Restaurants, Ranked

The ribs and chicken were so tender that they fell off the bone with the first bite." The Food: Famous Dave's. What to avoid: The burnt ends. Even though this 1,270-calorie option is seared and caramelized, we recommend sticking with the more tender meats. What to order: Don't miss the award-winning ribs. You can have them in Sweet & Zesty ...

Which casual-dining favorites do Americans like best?

steak

When restaurateur Alan Stillman opened the very first TGI Friday's in New York City in 1965, he launched a casual-dining craze. Soon, restaurants like Applebee's, Olive Garden and Red Lobster were also serving satisfying staples in a relaxed atmosphere and opening outposts across the U.S. These days, chain restaurants are a dime a dozen. But which are the best?

We looked at the "Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report" by Restaurant Business to find out which chain restaurants in the United States are the most popular. Honing in on casual-dining restaurants (eliminating fast-food and quick-service hot spots), we took the top restaurants in terms of sales and ranked them by customer love, using the Market Force Information 2019 survey of top chains, Yelp and TripAdvisor average rankings, and social media as our guides.

The following are the cream of the crop when it comes to the most popular chain restaurants in the country. 

Brio

Annual sales: 7 million

Menu: Italian

 * All sales numbers were sourced from Restaurant Business, unless otherwise noted. 

Pasta Brio

Opened in 1992, the Brio original management team sold the chain in 2018, and in 2020, the team filed for bankruptcy. Wonder if they'll continue to make the list in years to come?

Reviews vary from three to four stars, as the chain gets its footing back. Says one reviewer, "I hadn't been to Brio in a few years. I remember last time being a little underwhelmed, but either things have changed or maybe I just had a weird experience last time because it was great."

It has some steep competition in the Italian market, but we hope they make it.

Brio Italian Grille food

What to avoid: Spaghetti Pomodoro, you can make that at home.

What to try: The signature Pasta Brio — rigatoni with grilled chicken, spinach, mushrooms and red peppers in roasted red pepper cream sauce.

Romano's

Annual sales: 8 million

Menu: A full Italian homestyle menu from antipasti to pasta to mains and dolce

Moms Spaghetti

Romano's Macaroni Grill was founded in Texas in 1988 by Philip Romano. The restauranteur imported ingredients from Italy to bring true Italian flavor to the southwest. Just a year later, Brinker International bought the right to franchise the restaurant, and it took off — until recently, that is.

Macaroni Grill has seen its franchises closing, Brinker letting go of its majority stake and a bankruptcy, but diners still love it. Yelpers average it at four stars — this is comfort food that works. If only the restaurant chain can get its finances in order.

Even one Yelper who admitted to not typically being a patron of chain restaurants called the Shrimp Portofino "hands down the best pasta I've ever had."

Romano's Macaroni Grill food

What to avoid: We're not sure how authentic the Signature Mac Cheese Bites are to an Italian restaurant, considering it's an American dish.

What to try: Mom's Ricotta Meatballs Spaghetti for that true, home-cooked meal you've been craving.

Legal Sea Foods

Annual sales: 7 million

Menu: Seafood

New England Clam Chowder

One of the most popular seafood restaurants of Boston began its expansion in the 1990s and is now beloved up and down the Eastern Seaboard. As one Yelper exclaims, "Legal Sea Foods is such a Bostonian classic!"

The majority of restaurants are still in the Boston area, which shows just how well "Legal" (as it is called) compares with nationwide chains.

The restaurant's beginnings date back to 1950, when founder George Berkowitz sold fish in an Inman Square market next to his father's grocery store. Nearly 20 years later, he opened a restaurant beside the market, ensuring diners were getting the freshest fish.

Legal Sea Foods food

What to avoid: A burger, added to the menu only to satiate landlubbers

What to try: The award-winning New England Clam Chowder (which is now sold in grocery stores)

Bahama Breeze

Annual sales: 2 million

Menu: Caribbean-inspired

Rum Raid

One of the newest restaurants on this list, Bahama Breeze was first introduced to the country in Orlando in the mid-1990s. Fittingly as kitschy as the nearby amusement parks, the concept was to make diners feel as if they were transported to the Caribbean islands.

You'll find Caribbean-inspired dishes and tropical drinks in a colorful atmosphere mostly found in the southeast of the country. One reviewer on Yelp who had to move to Hawaii makes a point to return every time she gets back east — "Omgggggg, this restaurant is absolutely one of my favorite restaurants!"

If that isn't a testament, we don't know what is!

Bahama Breeze Island Grille food

What to avoid: Beef empanadas, which one reviewer says has Middle Eastern seasoning instead of Caribbean.

What to try: If you're going to pretend to be in the Caribbean, do it right and sample the Rum Raid Drink Flight. (Just make sure you have a designated driver!)

Sizzler

Annual sales: 7 million

Menu: Buffet

Sizzler

It may be one of the oldest steakhouse chains appearing on the list — it opened in 1958 — but it's still in the top 40 chains with the more modern big boys.

The first restaurant opened in Culver City, California, to provide "a great steak dinner at an affordable price." Then, it was only 99 cents, but today, it continues to provide bargain steak dinners in a buffet setting.

You'll find the restaurants in the western part of the country, and reviews are mixed. Either you love this place or you hate it. Go in with the right expectations, and you'll be OK, like this reviewer: "This was a convenient stop yesterday, and my expectations weren't that high. The food is about the quality you'd expect, and the steak was better than I'd expected."

Sizzler food

What to avoid: Call us crazy, but whenever a steak place serves up seafood, we steer clear.

What to try: They only feature two steaks, a tri-tip 8-ounce sirloin and a 14-ounce ribeye — either of which will satisfy your steak craving.

Pappadeux

Annual sales: 9 million 

Menu: Lobster, crab, fried seafood, oysters, steak

Pappadeux

Market Force finds that seafood restaurants are slugging behind other casual dining options and have fewer visitors than other chains. Still, Pappadeaux makes it onto the list. One of the largest family-operated restaurants, it dates back to the Pappas brothers, who opened their first location in 1976.

Sharing recipes passed down from Greek ancestors and combining Louisiana-style favorites, there are nearly 100 locations, mostly in Texas, where the company is based (Houston). Six other states have their own loyal customers.

Family-owned seems to make a difference as reviewers love Pappadeaux, raving about generous portions, good service and high-quality foods.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen food

What to avoid: We suggest passing on filet mignon — the specialty here is seafood, not beef.

What to order: The Pappadeaux Platter fried shrimp, crawfish, stubbed crab, oysters and fish fillets

Bar Louie

Annual sales: 4 million 

Menu: Standard bar fare, some with a special take or kick

Chicken & Churros

This self-proclaimed "gastrobar" that wants to be your neighborhood watering hole got its start in Chicago in 1991.

When one of these restaurants opens, it excites newcomers. But it begins to lose its thrill with the years, as one Yelper described. "When Bar Louie opened up, it was such a novelty. Tons of quality beers on tap, creative cocktails, good food. We were all obsessed with the tater tots, and it was a happening place for birthdays and graduation parties. But it's been open for a few years now, and I really feel like the quality has slowly dropped."

Although Bar Louie pulls in millions around the country, it closed 38 of its locations in February 2020 (even before the pandemic hit). Will fans save it?

Bar Louie food

What to avoid: The chicken quesadilla — everyone has one and this one isn't any different.

What to order: Try the chicken and churros, which are a unique twist to chicken and waffles. The beer-battered chicken is covered in a buffalo maple glaze then drenched in syrup and served with an onion ranch dip.

Ninety-Nine

Annual sales: 4 million

Menu: American

Grilled Lemon Rosemary Turkey Tips

Another staple of Boston and the state of Massachusetts is the Ninety Nine Restaurant chain, considered a pioneer in casual dining after it first opened in 1952.

It's such a family joint that it's become a traditional dining spot for residents like this Cape Cod reviewer who tries to go once a week. "Love your food, atmosphere and employees!! See you soon!"

Founder Charlie Doe would be quite pleased.

99 Restaurants food

What to avoid: Nachos — one reviewer noted she could have done a better job making them herself.

What to try: Grilled Lemon Rosemary Turkey Tips, a different, healthy and savory take on beef tips

On the Border

Annual sales: 7 million 

Menu: Tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and burritos

OTB food

From the same company that operates Chili's Bar & Grill is a similar restaurant with a bit more emphasis on the Mex in Tex-Mex. The original restaurant got its start in Dallas in 1982 and was merged with Brinker International by the mid-1990s.

As the name suggests, these are the dishes you'll find near the Mexican border and across Texas. But many reviewers rate the food as just "average," allowing its Chili's big brother to get all the glory when it comes to Tex-Mex.

As one reviewer put it, "What you would expect from a chain, basic Mexican with large portions that are not very exciting."

On The Border food

What to avoid: The fajitas are similar to Chili's (since they are owned by the same company), so try something you can't get at the other chain.

What to order: Do not miss the Signature Queso that is so good they now sell it in stores. But trying it fresh in the restaurant is far better.

Famous Dave's

Annual sales: 9 million

Menu: Ribs, brisket, pork, chicken and burgers

Famous Daves Food

Located in 31 states, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, Famous Dave's is famous for its barbecue. What began as a man with a grill opening his first restaurant in 1994 has become what Dave Anderson calls the "longest-running backyard BBQ party."

The 'cue at this joint has racked (pun intended) up more than 700 awards. Said one TripAdvisor reviewer, "Everything was DELICIOUS! The ribs and chicken were so tender that they fell off the bone with the first bite."

Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que food

What to avoid: The burnt ends. Even though this 1,270-calorie option is seared and caramelized, we recommend sticking with the more tender meats.

What to order: Don't miss the award-winning ribs. You can have them in Sweet & Zesty sauce or a Memphis-Style rub.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Annual sales: 8 million

Menu: American

Risotto

It may have only recently launched in 2005, with the first location in Orland Park, Illinois, but it has quickly been becoming one of the most popular chain restaurants.

This isn't just a restaurant; this is a winemaker sharing his wine. Tim McEnery launched the combination and provides a Napa-style restaurant for those who can't get to Napa Valley. These wines, made in Illinois from grapes sourced from around the world, have won nearly 550 awards.

The reviews are great, too!

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant food

What to avoid: Ratings are so good that any complaint is due to a cooking error.

What to try: Red wine braised short rib risotto, a favorite of one Yelper who considers this one of the best restaurants in Chicago

Maggiano's

Annual sales: 7 million

Menu: Bruschetta, salads, steak, veal, chicken, seafood and pasta

Maggiano's

Serving family-style Italian meals — meaning giant plates full of food for sharing — Maggiano's can be found in 23 states and Washington, D.C.

While other Italian chains have more locations and have brought in more revenue, those who have been enjoying the food since it first opened in Chicago in 1991 turn to Maggiano's for special events, even though it's a casual joint.

The focus on sharing makes families want to celebrate here — plus the food is fantastic! In fact, Americans love Maggiano's so much, they ranked it No. 1 in the Market Force Information survey.

Maggiano's food

What to avoid: We dare you to find something to skip.

What to try: Sample various bruschetta at the Bruschetta Bar, where you can mix and sample numerous options for your own private tasting.

O'Charley's

Annual sales: 6 million

Menu: Southern comfort food like chicken pot pie, fried green tomatoes and fried catfish

O'Charley's

Named for its founder Charley Watkins, this chain is found mainly across the South and Midwest. While it appears to be bringing in the dough, in July the chain closed eight restaurants in one day — and it shuttered a total of 20 in the last three years. There is talk that the chain is failing.

Perhaps it is due to the low Yelp and TripAdvisor ratings, where 2.5's and 3's are common. It's not the food, however, but the service that is driving away loyal customers. With good reviews on the eats, we still rank O'Charley's higher on this list than a few others, despite the lackluster customer service and restaurant closings.

O'Charley's Restaurant   Bar food

What to avoid: As one of our North Carolina-born Southerner dads claims: "It's all good."

What to try: O'Charley's Famous Chicken Tenders are twice-breaded and buttermilk-dipped, and so popular that some locations offer endless chicken tender specials.

Miller's Alehouse

Annual sales: 6 million 

Menu: Flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, salads, fajitas, steaks and seafood

Zingers

This casual American food chain began in 1988 when a couple, The Millers, opened their first ale house in Jupiter, Florida. With a mission to make locals gather and feel like friends, the chain is growing by eight to 10 restaurants every year. 

Currently found in 13 states, the chain is more beloved by customers than many more traditional options, though there's some grousing about the service. We bet once more states feature MIller's Alehouse restaurants, the brand will quickly climb the ranks.

Miller's Ale House food

What to avoid: The secret is in the sauce, so avoid plain-old fare like grilled chicken or salmon.

What to order: Miller's is known for its 16 sauces. Try a few on the boneless, breaded chicken Zingers, which are served over French fries.

Mellow Mushroom

Annual sales: 1 million

Menu: Beyond pizza, Mellow Mushroom offers hoagies, salads, appetizers and desserts

Mellow Mushroom

If you have ever lived in Atlanta or nearby, Mellow Mushroom is probably a staple in your life. Founded here in 1974, the pizza joint was one of the first to offer fresh, local and organic ingredients — way before organic became a craze.

Today, the artistic and eclectic chain brings good karma and good pizza across most of the Southeast. And it's beginning to spread further across the country as well. Reviewers are generally pleased, singling out not only the food, but the quirky atmosphere. 

Mellow Mushroom food

What to avoid: The Great White Pizza landed on a list of the most unhealthy pizzas in America. This pizza is saddled with so many cheeses, it has 480 calories per slice.

What to order: You can build your own pizza with a choice of 10 cheeses (one of which is vegan) and 34 toppings like applewood smoked bacon, portobello mushrooms and tofu.

Logan's Roadhouse

Annual sales: 6 million (22nd most successful casual-dining restaurant)

Menu: Steak, ribs, burgers, chicken and other grilled items

Logan's Roadhouse

Logan's invites its diners to come as you are, although we'd advise against flip-flops so you don't cut your foot on the peanut shells tossed on the floor. The roadhouse began in Kentucky to provide a casual dive with good food. It's not a dive, it just acts like one.

There are more than 200 restaurants in nearly half the states of the country. The Nashville-based chain keeps to its Southern roots with its steaks and grilled meat dishes. It definitely has its fans, but reviewers complain about overcooked, dry meat fairly regularly. 

Logan's Roadhouse food

What to avoid: The salmon is OK, but there are better options here. 

What to order: Of the steak options, your best bet is the Onion Brewski Sirloin, stacked with beer-braised onions and served in a sizzling skillet.

Dave & Buster's

Annual sales: 1 million

Menu: Greasy appetizers, salads, burgers, steaks, ribs, chicken, pasta

Dave & Buster's

You probably don't go to Dave & Buster's for the food — and that's for good reason.

Basically a Chuck E. Cheese for grownups, this entertainment center/sports bar that debuted in Arkansas in 1982 provides a plethora of games at its 130-plus locations across the U.S. and Canada. There's plenty of noise and plenty of drinks and plenty of people who have fun. But the food? Well, let's just say it's about as good as what you'll find at Chuck E. Cheese. 

This chain suffered a lot in 2020, having to shut down multiplayer games and reconfiguring arcades for social distancing. Major layoffs and a possible bankruptcy could be in its future.

Dave & Buster's food

What to avoid: Skip the salads — it's not about healthy eating here.

What to order: Stick with apps like the Asian Chicken Wonton Nachos and Five Cheese Lazy Fondue. Grease and goodness go hand in hand with arcade games and brews.

Annual sales: 7 million 

Menu: Mostly seafood, plus steak, seafood and pasta

Bonefish Grill

The newest chain to join the American food circuit is Bonefish Grill. Originating in St. Petersburg, Florida, its expanded rapidly over the past 19 years, and earned many fans along the way. 

Yelp reviewers average 3.5 stars, while TripAdvisor rankings average 4.5 stars. Diners especially love the Happy Hour deals.

Bonefish Grill food

What to avoid: The steak's just fine, but the seafood's better.

What to try: Sample the pasta with chunks of lobster and shrimp in a lobster-sherry cream sauce.

Annual sales: 9 million 

Menu: Salads, steaks, burgers, street tacos, pizza, sandwiches 

Yard House

Yard House is a chain mostly found west of the Mississippi, and it's the rare sports bar that isn't tied to hot wings. (Beer is the main focus; we can get on board with that!)

Launching in the mid-'90s in Long Beach, California, it now has more than 80 locations. A smaller chain, it's impressive that it lands in the top 20 for revenue, and consumers like it too, favoring its lively, affordable Happy Hour and nice mix of drinks and satisfying fare.

Yard House food

What to avoid: Everything's good here!

What to try: [Mac Cheese]² — yes, that's how it's listed on the menu — is a heavenly combination of chicken, bacon, wild mushrooms, truffle oil, parmesan and cheddar. 

Annual sales: 1 million

Menu: Lots of pizza, obviously, plus flatbreads, soups, meat and veggie bowls, salads, fish, pasta and tacos

California Pizza Kitchen

The only restaurant known for pizza to land in the top 20 (places such as Pizza Hut are considered "Quick Service"), CPK, as it is often called, opened in Beverly Hills, California, in 1985.

The first chain to bring California cuisine across the country, it favors innovative toppings and fresh ingredients and has rapidly expanded; it is now in more than 30 states with over 250 locations. Reviewers across the board like or love CPK, appreciating its consistently tasty food, cleanliness, variety of available wines and cauliflower-crust pizza options. 

Sadly, it, too, is another one that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020. It hasn't said yet whether or not it will close any of its locations.

California Pizza Kitchen food

What to avoid: The pizza is what shines here, so it's best to choose that over more off-the-beaten-path choices like the tilapia or garlic chicken. 

What to try: The original — and extremely popular — BBQ Chicken Pizza transformed the pizza world when it was introduced.

Annual sales: 3 million

Menu: Pretty similar to Olive Garden's, with lots of pastas, seafood and wood-fired pizzas

Carrabba's

Besting Olive Garden not by revenue but by taste, Carrabba's is the first chain to enter the top 10 on our list when it comes to customer love.

Founded by "Johnny" Carrabba III in Houston in 1986, Carrabba's uses family recipes passed down from Sicilian ancestors. Even Yelp reviewers are generally into this Italian grill, with people commending its good food at good prices. 

Carrabba's Italian Grill food

What to avoid: There are better things on the menu than the steak, which is often just ok. 

What to try: Oh, the meatballs! Like grandma used to make. Have them over spaghetti and go Old School.

Ruth's Chris Steak House

Annual sales: 3 million

Menu: Steakhouse

Ruth's Chris Steak House

We can thank a single mother in New Orleans for using all of her money to buy the Chris Steak House in 1965. Ruth Fertel's steaks were so renowned she began to franchise in 1977, and it's one of the most popular steakhouses found around the country.

A bit less casual and often visited for special occasions, reviews for Ruth's Chris Steak House are typically high.

Ruth's Chris Steak House food

What to avoid: Maybe skip on the appetizer, so you have plenty of room for the main course!

What to try: The signature 11-ounce filet is as tender as they come.

Annual sales: 4 million

Menu: Soups and salads, steak, burgers, ribs, sandwiches and pasta, as well as "lighter side" fish and chicken dishes

Cheddar's

Haven't heard of Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen yet? You may soon.

Founded in Arlington, Texas, in 1979 to provide down-home-cooked comfort food, the chain is found in 23 states — and counting!

Reviews are solid, if not awesome, with Yelpers and TripAdvisor reviewers typically giving the chain between 3 and 4 stars. "Decent" is a word that comes up a lot. 

Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen food

What to avoid: The pasta, which many describe as ho-hum and, at times, cold. 

What to try: If you're going to a place known for comfort food, dig into the homemade chicken pot pie.

Annual sales: 1 million

Menu: Steaks, pasta, ribs and chops, burgers, sandwiches, salad bar

Ruby Tuesday

After Fridays kicked off the casual-dining trend, four fraternity brothers from the University of Tennessee brought the concept down south with the opening of the first Ruby Tuesday in Knoxville in 1972. There are far fewer restaurants from this chain than its counterpart (under 600), but it fares a bit better with customers, with more restaurants in the 2 1/2- to 3-star range. 

Still, many say the restaurant is pretty meh, offering so-so food at not-that-great prices. Maybe that's why it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 and is set to close more than 180 locations across the U.S., leaving only about 230 left.

Ruby Tuesday food

What to avoid: The salad bar — it's not bad per se, but there are lots of complaints about it lacking options and not getting replenished enough. 

What to try: Sample Tennessee-style cooking by ordering the pork chop glazed with hickory-bourbon barbecue sauce. 

Annual sales: 8 million 

Menu: Burgers, wings, seafood, salads, sandwiches, tacos

Hooters

Another sports bar beloved for its wings (among other things) is Hooters. The creators were so unsure their Clearwater, Florida, concept would succeed, they opened it on April Fool's Day in 1983. It definitely succeeded.

Infamous for its scantily clad Hooters Girls, we're not so sure the popularity of this restaurant has anything to do with its food. 

Hooters food

What to avoid: The fries come out lukewarm or cold more often than is desirable...

What to try: Hooter's hot wings are a different beast than Buffalo's, but pretty good in their own way, though customer mileage tends to vary. These are breaded with 11 signature sauces.

Annual sales: 7 million

Menu: Asian staples including dim sum and sushi

P.F. Chang's

Bringing Asian food to the masses, P.F. Chang's first opened in the Scottsdale, Arizona Fashion Square in 1993.

Founded by Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang, lines wrapped around the door for a chance to sample the popular menu. Today, you can try its food in 40 states across America.

TripAdvisor reviewers love this chain — giving it four stars, on average. But Yelp reviewers don't seem to care for it as much, dropping its ranking. Troublingly, there are even a few reports of weird items like hair and "round smelly paper" found in the food. (Yikes.)

P.F. Chang's

What to avoid: While some people like the hot and sour soup, there are a fair number of complaints about it being bland and inauthentic. 

What to try: Maybe you tried lettuce wraps before, but P.F. Chang's perfected them.

Annual sales:

billion

Menu: Burgers, salads, sandwiches, soups, steaks, chicken, seafood, pasta

Fridays Drinks

TGI Friday's has been a fixture of the American chain-restaurants scene for over 50 years. Originally designed to be a cocktail-focused singles bar, the chain practically created the concept of casual-dining chains and was all the rage by the 1980s.

Today, however, TGI Friday's fails to live up to expectations, with most of its establishments earning a rather dismal 2 or 2.5 stars on Yelp. TripAdvisor reviewers favor other chains on this list, as well. Most complaints focus on the service (described, at turns, as "pathetic" and "extremely horrible") and subpar food, with many noting that the meat dishes in particular are not cooked properly. 

While the restaurant chain previously had 385 locations as of early 2020, the pandemic has not been kind to it, with reports that it may close up to 20 percent of its locations.

TGI Friday's food

What to avoid: The steak — reviewers have called it "the worst I've ever eaten" and a "rip-off."

What to order: Given that it began as a cocktail spot, sample one of the establishment's many drinks, including margaritas, rum punch and a few different versions of Long Island ice tea. After all, nothing says "TGIF" like boozy mixed drinks straight out of a college dorm.

Annual sales:

.1 billion

Menu: Salads, soups, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, tacos and (for the healthy-minded) quinoa bowls

BJ's

California cuisine is popular among hungry Americans, as evident by it appearing again among the top 10 chains with the Huntington, California-based BJ's Restaurant.

Here, you'll find award-winning craft beers and a hefty menu of dishes for every craving. The first location opened in Santa Ana in 1978, and there are today 13 states with a BJ's.

Based on reviews of the restaurant, which praise its diversity of food and drink offerings, it seems a lot of states are missing out.

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse food

What to avoid: Nothing in particular; the menu's pretty consistent here. 

What to try: Fully enjoy the California way of eating with the Enlightened Kale and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad. Or go in the complete opposite direction and indulge in one of the restaurant's signature pizza-cookies, aka "pizookies."

Annual sales:

.5 billion

Menu: Burgers, burgers and more burgers (oh, and some wraps, salads, soups and sandwiches, too)

Red Robin

Now that you have the "Red Robin... Yum!" commercial in your head, you shouldn't be surprised to see that the chain is among the most successful casual-dining spots in the country. 

The gourmet burger joint is generally well-liked by diners, with the bottomless fries in particular earning kudos. But there are enough complaints about poor service and food that doesn't quite deliver to keep it from a higher ranking. 

You'll find Red Robin (Yum!) in nearly every state.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

What to avoid: The soups and salads — they're generally fine, but that's not what you go to a Red Robin for! 

What to try: It's a gourmet burger joint: Try one! The Banzai with Pineapple Burger, Chili Chili Cheeseburger, Guacamole Bacon Burger and Royal Red Robin Burger (shown) are especially good choices.

Golden Corral

Annual sales:

.7 billion

Menu: America, buffet

Golden Corral

This restaurant's goal when first opening in North Carolina in 1973 was to make dining out affordable. Needless to say, the Golden Corral succeeded, with its buffet serving nearly 300 items.

There are now restaurants found in 42 states and growing.

As with any restaurant that is affordable, you'll sacrifice quality, but they must be doing something right because they just missed the top 10 by revenue.

Golden Corral Buffet & Grill

What to avoid: The No. 1 rule of eating in a buffet, in our opinion, is to avoid fish, just to be safe.

What to try: It's a buffet, so pile up on the foods you'd enjoy at a BBQ.

Annual sales:

.8 billion

Menu: Steak, obviously, plus the usual suspects (burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, seafood)

LongHorn Steakhouse

We may love Outback, but LongHorn had our hearts first. Initially opening in Atlanta in 1981 as a steakhouse and a saloon, the restaurant today touts 500-plus locations. While this isn't as many as Outback has, steak-lovers give this chain higher marks — an average of 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor.

Yelpers, too, tend to have good things to say, applauding the quality of the food as well as its elegant presentation.

LongHorn Steakhouse food

What to avoid: The seafood here is by no means gross, but the steaks are better.

What to try: Flo's Filet is 6 to 10 ounces of melt-in-your-mouth tender-cut beef. 

Annual sales: .1 billion

Menu: Basically everything you can imagine and more

Cheesecake Factory

With a menu that feels as big as a dictionary, choosing something from the never-ending pages of dishes at the Cheesecake Factory is only part of the popular chain's appeal. Add on the namesake cheesecake and food that typically earns at least 3 stars from Yelpers and 4.5 stars from TripAdvisor reviewers, and you can see why the Cheesecake Factory has been a hit since 1972.

Fun fact: This is yet another California-launched chain.

The Cheesecake Factory

What to avoid: The pasta preparation can be a little spotty;  it's probably best to turn your attention elsewhere.

What to try: Cheesecake is the name of the game, so sample one of the 34 menu offerings, like the tiramisu.

Cracker Barrel

Annual sales: $2.4 billion

Menu: Southern

Cracker Barrel

When Dan Evins opened the first Cracker Barrel in Tennessee in 1969, he just wanted to provide home cooking for those traveling along the interstate. Today, it offers the epitome of made-from-scratch Southern comfort foods.

Not only is it in the top 10 based on revenue, but Cracker Barrel is No. 4 on MarketForce's list of best casual dining restaurants.

When bad reviews appear, they're complaints about poor service. So, you can eat food like mom used to make, just without the loving attention of mom.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store food

What to avoid: This is Southern food. If you order something healthy and without a coating of gravy, you're missing out.

What to try: You could make an entire meal out of the sides alone: dumplings, fried okra, mac 'n cheese, hashbrowns casserole, mashed potatoes and more.

Annual sales: .4 billion

Menu: Seafood, plus some soups, salads, and chicken and steak dishes

Red Lobster

One of only three seafood chains on the list, Red Lobster has been bringing crab, shrimp and, yes, lobster to areas of the country nowhere near an ocean since 1968.

While it began in Lakeland, Florida, 44 states now boast this restaurant known for its "endless" feasts. One of the biggest chains in America, it's most liked by TripAdvisor's eaters, who give it a 4-star average and enjoy its variety and quality.

Yelpers are more lukewarm, though, giving it on average 2.5 to 3 stars, with some lamenting a lack of freshness in the seafood and deeming it a bit overpriced. 

Red Lobster food

What to avoid: Anything not seafood-related; if you're eating chicken at a Red Lobster, you're doing it wrong! 

What to try: Go big or go home, right? The Ultimate Feast includes Maine lobster tail, sea scallops, garlic shrimp scampi, breaded shrimp and snow crab legs.

Annual sales: .6 billion 

Menu: Mostly meat, including steak, ribs, chops and chicken, as well as some fish dishes 

Outback

Immediately upon opening in 1988, there were two-hour waits to get into Outback. Today, the Australian-themed restaurant still has long lines because, well, the steak is worth it.

Debuting first in Tampa, Florida, there are today more than 700 locations across the U.S., as well as 22 international countries.

There are complaints here and there about subpar service, but nothing egregious, and most customers typically dig the tried-and-true menu.

Outback Steakhouse food

What to avoid: The fish is generally solid, but you can find better elsewhere. 

What to try: The steaks are good but it's the addictive — and first of its kind — Bloomin' Onion that we crave. Bet you can't stop after one bite.

Annual sales: billion 

Menu: Meats dominate — steaks, burgers, ribs, you name it — with some seafood and salads in the mix as well.

Texas Roadhouse

Funnily enough, Texas Roadhouse actually began in Indiana, debuting in 1993. It currently holds top reviews from Yelp and TripAdvisor reviewers, which is why we rank it ranks in the top five.

Diners love the warm, fresh bread that comes to the table before each meal, and the perfectly cooked meats. 

Texas Roadhouse food

What to avoid: You really can't go wrong!

What to try: Ignore the gruesome name, and sink your teeth into the Road Kill chop steak smothered in onions, mushrooms and Jack cheese.

Annual sales: .5 billion 

Menu: Salads, soups, chilis, burgers, ribs, steak, tacos, quesadillas and "guiltless grill" healthy options

Chili's

Chili's brought Tex-Mex food beyond the southwest after its successful opening in Dallas in 1975. Sizzling fajitas took off in the 1980s, and now there are thousands of restaurants serving that popular dish (and others) across the globe.

As with all the restaurants on this list, Chili's isn't universally beloved — there are a few complaints about slow service and subpar food — but on the whole, diners enjoy going here for a satisfying meal out. And there are plenty of options to make everyone happy.

Chili's Grill & Bar food

What to avoid: The deep-fried appetizers are divine to some and too much for others. It's your call!

What to try: You know the commercials: Who's hungry for some baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back ribs?

Annual sales: .6 billion 

Menu: Standard sports-bar fare, like nachos, mozzarella sticks and onion rings, plus burgers, sandwiches, wraps and sandwiches in addition to the wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

When owners Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery couldn't find Buffalo-style hot wings in Columbus, Ohio, where the duo had relocated, they decided to introduce them to the Ohio masses in 1982. We wonder if they ever thought their hunger would land them on this list of most successful casual-dining chains in America?

It seems everyone loves a good Buffalo wing, as this chain now has more than 1,000 locations — all with sports packages available to root on your favorite team, any time of year. 

But be warned: A fair amount of reviewers complain about long wait times here. 

Buffalo Wild Wings food

What to avoid: The food here is pretty consistently in the range of mediocre to pretty good.

What to try: The Buffalo wings, duh. And by the way, there are 23 different sauces to choose from!

Annual sales: billion  

Menu: Chicken, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and tacos, pasta, seafood

Applebees

The biggest chain in the U.S. had a mouthful of a name when it debuted in Atlanta in 1980: T.J. Applebee's Rx for Edibles & Elixirs.

Thankfully, the name was shortened, and today, the chain boasts a massive presence: There are nearly 2,000 locations around the world, each offering a place to "eat good in the neighborhood."

But while prices are right, reviewers don't entirely agree that the eating here is "good." Many Applebee's have just 2 stars, with only a handful nabbing 2.5 or 3 stars.  

There are definitely complaints about the food itself, described as generic and underwhelming, but most of the scorn is directed at the service, with consistent complaints about rude servers, mistakes with orders and food delivered long after it was expected.

Applebee's Grill & Bar food

What to avoid: The salads, which lack fresh ingredients or quality dressing. 

What to try: The "Loaded" fajitas, introduced in 2019, have quickly become a favorite.  

olive garden

Annual sales: .2 billion 

Menu: Americanized Italian specialties, so mostly pastas and pizzas

Olive Garden

Is it the never-ending breadsticks that make Olive Garden such a hit? Or is it the family-style Italian dining, featuring heaps of pasta and other delectables brought to the table, ensuring every person seated leaves with a full belly, as if an Italian grandmother cooked specifically for them?

Whatever the reason, Olive Garden is wildly popular. It's the second-biggest chain by revenue, despite having fewer than 1,000 locations.

In 2020, the restaurant jumped to the top of Casual Dining in the Top 500 rankings.

The restaurant has a lot of fans on Yelp and TripAdvisor, too, though there are a decent amount of complaints about poor service. 

Olive Garden food

What to avoid: Nothing is particularly bad here.

What to try: In this traditional family-style restaurant, go for the lasagna with several helpings of salad and breadsticks.

eater.com

5098 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94609. (510) 985-1213. (510) 985-1213. Visit Website. In 2005, in her trademark shiny blue wig, Aussie native Alison Barakat opened a brick-and-mortar in a former ...

San Diego’s 38 Best Restaurants, Fall 2021 - Eater San Diego

10-04-2018 · 232 S Coast Hwy. Oceanside, CA 92054. (760) 231-5376. (760) 231-5376. Visit Website. Helping to kickstart the culinary evolution of Oceanside, the restaurant has attracted the attention of the Michelin Guide, which honored it as a 2020 “new discovery” along with four other San Diego restaurants.

10-04-2018

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Presenting San Diego’s updated Eater 38, your answer to any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?”

This standout group of 38 must-try restaurants reflects the best of our diverse dining culture and is meant to cover the city of San Diego and beyond while spanning a range of price points and neighborhoods.

With every update, Eater San Diego adds a few restaurants that have newly become eligible or have stepped up their game. As such, a few restaurants are retired from the map each quarter — not necessarily forever — to make room.

Restaurants on this list must be open for six months to be qualify for consideration. For buzz on newer restaurants, check out our monthly Eater heatmap.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

If your favorite restaurant isn’t on list, send us a note nominating it for inclusion; we’ll be posting updated versions of the Eater 38 map throughout the year.

For all the latest San Diego dining intel, subscribe to Eater San Diego’s newsletter.

Read More

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Helping to kickstart the culinary evolution of Oceanside, the restaurant has attracted the attention of the Michelin Guide, which honored it as a 2020 “new discovery” along with four other San Diego restaurants. The restaurant conveys the complex flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine through its interpretation of some of the area’s signature dishes.

Another standout in Oceanside, sushi spot Wrench and Rodent showcases chef/owner Davin Waite’s unique skills with foraging and far-out flavor innovations. Though his path veers from traditional sushi to include unconventional rolls and creative sauces, Waite is uncompromising in his care for ingredients.

The sushi bar at Wrench and Rodent

Chic to the max, the second Carlsbad restaurant from the team behind Campfire is a modern French restaurant seen through a SoCal lens. An enviable open kitchen is the sparkling stage, turning out a sophisticated but not at all stuffy menu that’s quickly become an industry favorite. Under executive chef Eric Bost, Jeune et Jolie was recently awarded a Michelin star.

Jeune et Jolie’s casual sibling is now overseen by chef Eric Bost. At this sincere charmer, wood-fired cookery permeates every aspect of the menu, including the creative cocktails. Smoked and grilled meats, seafood, and vegetables are showcased in an atmosphere that’s equally suited for date night or family dinners.

Carlsbad's New Campfire Sets Off Sparks in North County's Food Scene

5. Market Restaurant & Bar

Chef/owner Carl Schroeder, whose extensive culinary experience includes working with famed chef Michael Mina and Bradley Ogden, has kept the longstanding restaurant open while remaining faithful to a hyper-seasonal cooking style inspired by local farms including the nearby Alice Waters-endorsed Chino Farm. The restaurant is now offering a reservation-only, three-course tasting menu in the dining room while the bar and lounge are open for walk-ins.

At San Diego’s only two Michelin star restaurant, longtime executive chef/director William Bradley and his team guide diners through elaborate five or ten course chef’s tasting dinners.

Front entryway of Addison Restaurant with a sunset sky in the background.

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The signature restaurant of The Lodge at Torrey Pines transcends hotel dining by a mile. Here, executive chef Jeff Jackson and chef de cuisine Kelli Crosson collaborate on impeccably sourced farm-to-table cooking, featuring dishes like housemade terrines, Liberty Duck breast and leg confit, and beets with pistachio butter, in a warm and welcoming Craftsman-style dining room.

The outdoor dining patio at A.R. Valentien overlooking Torrey Pines Golf Course.

With a culinary program led by executive chef Christine Rivera that hinges on its labor-intensive masa production, Galaxy continues to be a leader among modern Mexican restaurants and is known for its regular guest chef collaborations.

This three-floor stunner offers choose-your-own-adventure dining. Though its fine dining lower- level restaurant is temporarily closed, George’s still offers top-notch views and food at its rooftop terrace and craft cocktail-focused gastrobar. As San Diego’s top supporter of Chino Farms, the ingredients are impeccable, and executive chef/partner Trey Foshee is one of the city’s most admired chefs.

The dining room at George’s at the Cove

10. Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar

San Diego has several stellar hotel restaurants and this is one of them. The La Jolla restaurant, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is helmed by longtime executive Jason Knibb who admired by the food-obsessed and other local chefs for his precise and never pretentious California cuisine. Check out his signature dish, the Jamaican jerk pork belly.

This Japanese transplant with multiple locations has garnered national attention and Michelin Plate recognition thanks to masterful bowls of ramen, set apart by a signature tonkotsu broth that rich but not overly heavy and noodles made in-house that have near-perfect pull and chew.

12. Wayfarer Bread & Pastry

When it set up shop in the quiet coastal community of Bird Rock in 2018, Wayfarer brought the beach its first real-deal bakery. Established by owner and master baker Crystal White, it’s become a destination worth trekking to for its flaky pastries sweetened with local produce and sturdy-crusted loaves made of heirloom grains.

The bread counter at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry

For a city of its size, San Diego has too few restaurants dedicated to showcasing local seafood and the bounty of the West Coast. This Pacific Beach stalwart, which recently got a makeover, is a seafood distributor, retail market, restaurant, and cocktail bar in one.

The front entrance of The Fishery

Venerable sushi master/owner Yukito Ota has trained many of the city’s top sushi chefs and still presides over a sushi bar that serves one of the top omakase experiences in town from an unassuming space in a Pacific Beach strip mall.

Tea cup on the sushi bar at Sushi Ota

This intimate, family-run Adams Avenue sushi bar, which has been awarded a Michelin star, offers a multi-course omakase experience from master sushi chef Sochi Kadoya and a well-curated sake selection.

Platter of nigiri from Soichi Sushi

This neighborhood bistro, run by a veteran of the city’s best French restaurants, has charm for days. Its relaxed bar and comfortable dining room are a fine setting for French classics that include made-to-order sky-high souffles.

Dining room at Et Voila

The sophomore entry from Trust Restaurant, recently honored with Michelin Plate status, is already a staple in Mission Hills where it offers up a range of experiences via its relaxed cocktail bar or upscale dining room.

The winner of a coveted Michelin star, this Old Town restaurant tops many sushi aficionados’ lists for its adherence to traditional Japanese style and technique featuring well-crated nigiri sushi. The setting is spare but there’s fireworks on the plate.

Front entrance of Sushi Tadokoro

Though it was initially built to honor some of the world’s great pizzerias, the North Park eatery has carved out a highly-respected identity that may inspire tributes of its own. Its accomplished “Neo-Neapolitan” pies are often topped with farmer’s market produce.

Pizza from Tribute Pizza

This stylish independent restaurant, an Eater Award-winner, has handily sustained its success over the years and spawned a growing hospitality empire, is overseen by hard-working chef/co-owner Brad Wise.

Dining room at Trust.

The unique format of this atypical restaurant allows the kitchen to change its menu daily and offer seasonal, creative plates at accessible prices. Operating regularly Thursday through Saturday, the wine bar and shop serve three and five-course set menus and features winemaker dinners on other nights of the week.

Dining room at Wine Vault & Bistro

22. Cori Pastificio Trattoria

The first solo restaurant from popular chef Accursio Lota has been well-received by locals as well as the international culinary community. The cozy North Park eatery, where the chef celebrates his Sicilian heritage, has been honored by Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine.

Pasta dish from Cori Pastificio Trattoria

Nearly 15 years ago, Starlite helped locally kickstart the concept of a craft cocktail bar that also serves great food and it’s still one of San Diego’s best practitioners of the combo.

The bar at Starlite

Tables at this well-established Bankers Hill spot are still some of the most sought-after in town thanks to a shareable Italian-inspired menu that’s both modern and familiar.

Dining room at Cucina Urbana

The neighborhood favorite spent 2020 enhancing its offerings, from adding lunch service to expanding its seasonal dinner menu, tacking on a full cocktail list, and even opening an adjacent bakery. A longtime champion of the natural wine scene, it’s also the best place in town to taste and buy local wine.

Two dining tables in front of the bar inside the Rose Wine Bar in South Park

The acclaimed Little Italy restaurant enters its next chapter under Jason Franey, a veteran of Campton Place and Eleven Madison Park and former recipient of the Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef” award during his tenure at Canlis in Seattle.

Dining room at Juniper & Ivy

With local celeb chef Brian Malarkey at the helm, Herb & Wood is a stunning spot to see-and-be-seen, but it has also managed to become one of the city’s top destinations for thoughtful yet accessible dining.

Dining room at Herb & Wood

Executive chef Brian Redzikowski shines brightest at his Chef’s Table experience, when he can fully tap into his culinary depths, but the well-trained chef’s Asian-inflected a la carte menu is also consistently tasty and thoughtful.

The bar at Kettner Exchange

This Little Italy steakhouse is firmly on its way to becoming a classic. Thrill to Caesar salads, omelets, and steak tartare made tableside followed by luxurious cuts of dry aged beef cut to order, prized Wagyu beef grilled on Japanese charcoal, and retro hits like Tournedos Rossini and Steak Diane. 

The roooftop patio at Born & Raised is shown at nigh with columns made to look like trees with twinkling lights and a black and white striped floor. Chairs around circular tables have pink upholstery with brass legs.

This warmly-welcoming restaurant, on of the anchors of Little Italy offers menu of Southern Italian seafood dishes made with local ingredients as well as modern innovations on Italian classics using vegan and gluten-free ingredients.

Dining room at Civico 1845

Recently given Bib Gourmand status by the Michelin Guide, this crowd-drawing brunch spot stands out by serving an internationally-inspired breakfast menu and commendable cocktails in a pink-hued, fantastical setting.

Pink velvet booths at Morning Glory sit under a large chandelier shaped like a pink flower.

This South Park rebel makes its mark with the rarely-seen pairing of top-notch craft cocktails with a chef-powered, vegan menu. Add a dose of seriously eye-catching design and you’ve got a winner.

Dining room at Kindred

With outposts throughout San Diego, the flagship location of this friendly, family-owned Italian restaurant remains the most beloved. Regulars rave about the pizzas that emerge from its signature gold-tiled ovens as well as the pastas, both are also available gluten-free.

Pizza coming out of the oven at Buona Forchetta

Filipino food has never had such an opulent stage than at Animae, where its newest executive chef Tara Monsod is cooking an exciting Pan-Asian menu highlighted by her take on Filipino classics like lumpia and kare kare. Already bustling with the chef’s supporters, the restaurant recently received Michelin Plate honors from the Michelin Guide.

A wedge of charred cabbage in brown butter miso with a charred lime.

35. Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop

This enduring East Village steakhouse, still gleaming from a recent expansion and remodel, serves contemporary American cuisine from longtime chef Victor H. Jimenez. The best seat might be at the chef’s counter, where you can watch the kitchen while enjoying a multi-course meal.

The bar stools lined up in front of the chef’s tasting counter at Cowboy Star

36. Serea Coastal Cuisine

The anchor restaurant at the iconic Hotel del Coronado is also a showcase for the region’s best seafood. Chef JoJo Ruiz (Lionfish, Ironside) has a long history of supporting local fisherman, whose fresh catch is cooked whole and served tableside just steps from the beach.

Tables on the outdoor patio at Serea looking out onto the Coronado beach

This Chula Vista fixture is a frequent stop for locals and a temple to traditional lamb borrego, cooked slowly until succulent and served in simple, tasty preparations, from tacos to flautas. Adventurous diners might try the whole roasted lamb head.

Lamb barbacoa, flautas, fresh tortillas and drinks at Aqui Es Texcoco.

Attracting fans from both side of the border, this modest eatery has earned Michelin acclaim for its celebrated specialty, Mexican birria, showcased in mind-blowing tacos gilded with unctuous bone marrow. Grab a taco now before the restaurant moves to a new location in Old Town.

Bone marrow taco at Tuetano Taqueria in a brown paper boat on a yellow stool.

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Helping to kickstart the culinary evolution of Oceanside, the restaurant has attracted the attention of the Michelin Guide, which honored it as a 2020 “new discovery” along with four other San Diego restaurants. The restaurant conveys the complex flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine through its interpretation of some of the area’s signature dishes.

The sushi bar at Wrench and Rodent

Another standout in Oceanside, sushi spot Wrench and Rodent showcases chef/owner Davin Waite’s unique skills with foraging and far-out flavor innovations. Though his path veers from traditional sushi to include unconventional rolls and creative sauces, Waite is uncompromising in his care for ingredients.

Chic to the max, the second Carlsbad restaurant from the team behind Campfire is a modern French restaurant seen through a SoCal lens. An enviable open kitchen is the sparkling stage, turning out a sophisticated but not at all stuffy menu that’s quickly become an industry favorite. Under executive chef Eric Bost, Jeune et Jolie was recently awarded a Michelin star.

Carlsbad's New Campfire Sets Off Sparks in North County's Food Scene

Jeune et Jolie’s casual sibling is now overseen by chef Eric Bost. At this sincere charmer, wood-fired cookery permeates every aspect of the menu, including the creative cocktails. Smoked and grilled meats, seafood, and vegetables are showcased in an atmosphere that’s equally suited for date night or family dinners.

Chef/owner Carl Schroeder, whose extensive culinary experience includes working with famed chef Michael Mina and Bradley Ogden, has kept the longstanding restaurant open while remaining faithful to a hyper-seasonal cooking style inspired by local farms including the nearby Alice Waters-endorsed Chino Farm. The restaurant is now offering a reservation-only, three-course tasting menu in the dining room while the bar and lounge are open for walk-ins.

Front entryway of Addison Restaurant with a sunset sky in the background.

At San Diego’s only two Michelin star restaurant, longtime executive chef/director William Bradley and his team guide diners through elaborate five or ten course chef’s tasting dinners.

The outdoor dining patio at A.R. Valentien overlooking Torrey Pines Golf Course.

The signature restaurant of The Lodge at Torrey Pines transcends hotel dining by a mile. Here, executive chef Jeff Jackson and chef de cuisine Kelli Crosson collaborate on impeccably sourced farm-to-table cooking, featuring dishes like housemade terrines, Liberty Duck breast and leg confit, and beets with pistachio butter, in a warm and welcoming Craftsman-style dining room.

With a culinary program led by executive chef Christine Rivera that hinges on its labor-intensive masa production, Galaxy continues to be a leader among modern Mexican restaurants and is known for its regular guest chef collaborations.

The dining room at George’s at the Cove

This three-floor stunner offers choose-your-own-adventure dining. Though its fine dining lower- level restaurant is temporarily closed, George’s still offers top-notch views and food at its rooftop terrace and craft cocktail-focused gastrobar. As San Diego’s top supporter of Chino Farms, the ingredients are impeccable, and executive chef/partner Trey Foshee is one of the city’s most admired chefs.

San Diego has several stellar hotel restaurants and this is one of them. The La Jolla restaurant, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is helmed by longtime executive Jason Knibb who admired by the food-obsessed and other local chefs for his precise and never pretentious California cuisine. Check out his signature dish, the Jamaican jerk pork belly.

This Japanese transplant with multiple locations has garnered national attention and Michelin Plate recognition thanks to masterful bowls of ramen, set apart by a signature tonkotsu broth that rich but not overly heavy and noodles made in-house that have near-perfect pull and chew.

The bread counter at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry

When it set up shop in the quiet coastal community of Bird Rock in 2018, Wayfarer brought the beach its first real-deal bakery. Established by owner and master baker Crystal White, it’s become a destination worth trekking to for its flaky pastries sweetened with local produce and sturdy-crusted loaves made of heirloom grains.

The front entrance of The Fishery

For a city of its size, San Diego has too few restaurants dedicated to showcasing local seafood and the bounty of the West Coast. This Pacific Beach stalwart, which recently got a makeover, is a seafood distributor, retail market, restaurant, and cocktail bar in one.

Tea cup on the sushi bar at Sushi Ota

Venerable sushi master/owner Yukito Ota has trained many of the city’s top sushi chefs and still presides over a sushi bar that serves one of the top omakase experiences in town from an unassuming space in a Pacific Beach strip mall.

Platter of nigiri from Soichi Sushi

This intimate, family-run Adams Avenue sushi bar, which has been awarded a Michelin star, offers a multi-course omakase experience from master sushi chef Sochi Kadoya and a well-curated sake selection.

Dining room at Et Voila

This neighborhood bistro, run by a veteran of the city’s best French restaurants, has charm for days. Its relaxed bar and comfortable dining room are a fine setting for French classics that include made-to-order sky-high souffles.

The sophomore entry from Trust Restaurant, recently honored with Michelin Plate status, is already a staple in Mission Hills where it offers up a range of experiences via its relaxed cocktail bar or upscale dining room.

Front entrance of Sushi Tadokoro

The winner of a coveted Michelin star, this Old Town restaurant tops many sushi aficionados’ lists for its adherence to traditional Japanese style and technique featuring well-crated nigiri sushi. The setting is spare but there’s fireworks on the plate.

Pizza from Tribute Pizza

Though it was initially built to honor some of the world’s great pizzerias, the North Park eatery has carved out a highly-respected identity that may inspire tributes of its own. Its accomplished “Neo-Neapolitan” pies are often topped with farmer’s market produce.

Dining room at Trust.

This stylish independent restaurant, an Eater Award-winner, has handily sustained its success over the years and spawned a growing hospitality empire, is overseen by hard-working chef/co-owner Brad Wise.

Dining room at Wine Vault & Bistro

The unique format of this atypical restaurant allows the kitchen to change its menu daily and offer seasonal, creative plates at accessible prices. Operating regularly Thursday through Saturday, the wine bar and shop serve three and five-course set menus and features winemaker dinners on other nights of the week.

Pasta dish from Cori Pastificio Trattoria

The first solo restaurant from popular chef Accursio Lota has been well-received by locals as well as the international culinary community. The cozy North Park eatery, where the chef celebrates his Sicilian heritage, has been honored by Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine.

The bar at Starlite

Nearly 15 years ago, Starlite helped locally kickstart the concept of a craft cocktail bar that also serves great food and it’s still one of San Diego’s best practitioners of the combo.

Dining room at Cucina Urbana

Tables at this well-established Bankers Hill spot are still some of the most sought-after in town thanks to a shareable Italian-inspired menu that’s both modern and familiar.

Two dining tables in front of the bar inside the Rose Wine Bar in South Park

The neighborhood favorite spent 2020 enhancing its offerings, from adding lunch service to expanding its seasonal dinner menu, tacking on a full cocktail list, and even opening an adjacent bakery. A longtime champion of the natural wine scene, it’s also the best place in town to taste and buy local wine.

Dining room at Juniper & Ivy

The acclaimed Little Italy restaurant enters its next chapter under Jason Franey, a veteran of Campton Place and Eleven Madison Park and former recipient of the Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef” award during his tenure at Canlis in Seattle.

Dining room at Herb & Wood

With local celeb chef Brian Malarkey at the helm, Herb & Wood is a stunning spot to see-and-be-seen, but it has also managed to become one of the city’s top destinations for thoughtful yet accessible dining.

The bar at Kettner Exchange

Executive chef Brian Redzikowski shines brightest at his Chef’s Table experience, when he can fully tap into his culinary depths, but the well-trained chef’s Asian-inflected a la carte menu is also consistently tasty and thoughtful.

The roooftop patio at Born & Raised is shown at nigh with columns made to look like trees with twinkling lights and a black and white striped floor. Chairs around circular tables have pink upholstery with brass legs.

This Little Italy steakhouse is firmly on its way to becoming a classic. Thrill to Caesar salads, omelets, and steak tartare made tableside followed by luxurious cuts of dry aged beef cut to order, prized Wagyu beef grilled on Japanese charcoal, and retro hits like Tournedos Rossini and Steak Diane. 

Dining room at Civico 1845

This warmly-welcoming restaurant, on of the anchors of Little Italy offers menu of Southern Italian seafood dishes made with local ingredients as well as modern innovations on Italian classics using vegan and gluten-free ingredients.

Pink velvet booths at Morning Glory sit under a large chandelier shaped like a pink flower.

Recently given Bib Gourmand status by the Michelin Guide, this crowd-drawing brunch spot stands out by serving an internationally-inspired breakfast menu and commendable cocktails in a pink-hued, fantastical setting.

Dining room at Kindred

This South Park rebel makes its mark with the rarely-seen pairing of top-notch craft cocktails with a chef-powered, vegan menu. Add a dose of seriously eye-catching design and you’ve got a winner.

Pizza coming out of the oven at Buona Forchetta

With outposts throughout San Diego, the flagship location of this friendly, family-owned Italian restaurant remains the most beloved. Regulars rave about the pizzas that emerge from its signature gold-tiled ovens as well as the pastas, both are also available gluten-free.

A wedge of charred cabbage in brown butter miso with a charred lime.

Filipino food has never had such an opulent stage than at Animae, where its newest executive chef Tara Monsod is cooking an exciting Pan-Asian menu highlighted by her take on Filipino classics like lumpia and kare kare. Already bustling with the chef’s supporters, the restaurant recently received Michelin Plate honors from the Michelin Guide.

The bar stools lined up in front of the chef’s tasting counter at Cowboy Star

This enduring East Village steakhouse, still gleaming from a recent expansion and remodel, serves contemporary American cuisine from longtime chef Victor H. Jimenez. The best seat might be at the chef’s counter, where you can watch the kitchen while enjoying a multi-course meal.

Tables on the outdoor patio at Serea looking out onto the Coronado beach

The anchor restaurant at the iconic Hotel del Coronado is also a showcase for the region’s best seafood. Chef JoJo Ruiz (Lionfish, Ironside) has a long history of supporting local fisherman, whose fresh catch is cooked whole and served tableside just steps from the beach.

Lamb barbacoa, flautas, fresh tortillas and drinks at Aqui Es Texcoco.

This Chula Vista fixture is a frequent stop for locals and a temple to traditional lamb borrego, cooked slowly until succulent and served in simple, tasty preparations, from tacos to flautas. Adventurous diners might try the whole roasted lamb head.

Bone marrow taco at Tuetano Taqueria in a brown paper boat on a yellow stool.

Attracting fans from both side of the border, this modest eatery has earned Michelin acclaim for its celebrated specialty, Mexican birria, showcased in mind-blowing tacos gilded with unctuous bone marrow. Grab a taco now before the restaurant moves to a new location in Old Town.

lonelyplanet.com

SingleThread Farm-Restaurant-Inn. The most ambitious project in Northern California is SingleThread, a world-class restaurant and, secondarily, an inn, where omotenashi (warm hospitality in Japanese) reigns and dishes from an 11-course tasting... Read More. S.