Restaurants of California

The 5 Essential Restaurants of California

California is everything for those who live to eat. Its very name invokes a thousand different ingredients and dishes. It is also the birthplace of the fast-food cheeseburger and Taco Bell, of fortune cookies and French dips and ranch dressing. Eating here isn’t only about chasing the perfect peach, but also about celebrating the fluidity and integrity of immigrant cooking. Thus lets take a look at The 5 Essential Restaurants of California to include in your itinerary.


1. Benu

Meals begin with amazing menu: a pork-and-oyster dumpling that shatters like glass, or a mussel wrapped in noodles, cucumber, carrot, and egg that looks like the cocoon of some fantastical species. And they conclude with a spiky orb flavored with osmanthus, almond, and apricot.

2. Cala

Cala offers two signatures to the Bay Area: rockfish, smoky from the grill and brushed with two sauces and tostadas that double as jeweled canvases. Crisped tortillas provide the framework for trout overlaid with avocado, chipotle mayo, and fried leeks, or for lobes of local abalone with trout roe and bonito aioli.

3. La Taqueria

La Taqueria is the ever-popular community hub for savoring, surveying, and debating the Bay Area’s Mission-style burrito. Its burritos will soothe you into exceptionally happy trances. No rice bloats Jara’s tortilla wrappers, which you should ask for “Dorado style,” or griddled on the plancha.


4. Tartine Manufactory

Tartine Manufactory is a day-to-night showstopper from the team that brought San Francisco its most famous bakery. It delivers on every high expectation that comes with having powerhouse pastry chef Liz Prueitt and bread revolutionary Chad Robertson at the helm.

5. A. O. C.  

A genre-defining Cal-Med small plates restaurant whose California-heavy wine list, dreamy patio, and genuinely warm service will remind you why we all wanted to dine this way to begin with. A.O.C. is the real one. Business partners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne have been redefining what a Los Angeles restaurant can do since opening California-French Lucques in 1998.


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