Just moved to California? Perhaps you’re visiting for the first time with a long weekend in front of you and you want to find some delicious food.
Whatever the case, here are some of the California restaurants you should definitely check out for a great dining experience.
Must-Visit California Restaurants
Hot chicken is a big deal in Southern California. There’s even a citywide festival celebrating the popular California cuisine.
If you’re in LA, head to Hotville Chicken for a taste of this super-hot, crunchy, and crimson fried chicken. The spot is owned and run by a member of the Prince family – the original creators of the iconic and incredible hot chicken.
And while you’re here, don’t forget to grab a banana cream pudding or hot fish sandwich.
4070 Marlton Ave.
LA, CA 90008
12:00 am – 7:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays)
When it comes to California restaurants that make exquisite pasta, there is Cotogna, and there are others.
This spot celebrates Italian cuisine, so if you’ve always wanted to eat great Italian meals, here’s your chance.
You’ll find some of the most praised Italian vintage wines, too!
490 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133
11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm Wednesday – Friday
11:30 am – 9:00 pm Saturday
Hog Island Oyster Co.
Hog Island serves shucked ice-cold oysters – salty, sweet, and briny; the restaurant produces unique oysters and other seafood.
The scenic oyster farm boasts barbecues and picnic areas. Plus, it has a bar stocked with exotic wine and beer.
Want outdoor seating? Make reservations if you prefer a picnic table. Whatever you do, remember to bring sunscreen and a jacket. The weather here can change very quickly!
20215 Shoreline Highway,
Marshall, CA 94940
9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
The best taco in town is largely a matter of personal opinion, and for us, Sonoratown makes some of the tastiest tacos in Downtown LA.
This small taco spot makes all of its flour tortillas in-house with lard, and they melt in your mouth!
Consider opting for the Caramelo taco – it is larger than the regular size and comes with avocado, cabbage, and salsa Roja toppings.
208 E. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
11:00 am – 9:00 pm Monday – Thursday
11:00 am – 10:00 pm Friday & Saturday
11:00 am – 9:00 pm Sunday
Brown Sugar Kitchen
If you prefer organic and locally grown ingredients, Brown Sugar Kitchen has plenty of those on its menu.
Own and operated by Chef Tanya Holland, the restaurant boasts Southern-style brunch classics, including its unique fried chicken with cornmeal waffles, Creole barbecue shrimp, and cheese grits.
Oakland, CA 94612
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm Wednesday & Thursday
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm Friday & Saturday
El Molino Central
Located near Sonoma Highway, El Molino Central is an excellent taco stand and bar. Dine-in or take out some of the best Mexican dishes, including mouthwatering tamales, fish tacos, enchiladas, bean-filled tortillas, and more.
And while tamale is El Molino’s top choice all year round, if you’re visiting California in the summer, you definitely want to try the crisp tostada tortilla with crema or pozole topping.
11 Central Avenue
Sonoma, CA 95476
11:00 am – 8:00 pm daily
Ember Restaurant should be on your radar if you’re headed toward the Central Coast – that’s if you live to eat!
Locals, as well as regular visitors, will give anything to dine at Ember nearly every evening, and it’s not difficult to see why. The spot offers a woodsy coziness that suits its generous and comforting cooking style.
The menu includes appealing options such as rib-eye grilled over local oak, baked goat cheese, grilled peaches, and more.
To top it all, you’ll find excellent beverages made by local wineries.
1200 E Grand Avenue
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm Wednesday – Sunday (closed Monday & Tuesday)
Four nights a week, Localis serves guests freshly-picked produce, skillfully prepared and brilliantly presented.
Its mission is to give locals and visitors the best possible dining experience. So far, Localis has continued to do so in a setting that’s both welcoming and engaging.
Enjoy fire-roasted octopus or Thai green curry while seated in the dining room or Chef’s counter. Whatever your choice, you are sure to enjoy Localis’ tasty meals.
2031 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm Wednesday – Thursday
5:00 pm – 9:30 pm Friday – Saturday (closed Sunday – Tuesday)
Tips for Eating in California Restaurants
Want a great dining experience while visiting any county in California? Follow these tips:
Indicate Your Seating Preference Before You Arrive
Think about what’s more comfortable for you in terms of seating arrangements, and make sure the restaurant understands your preference before you arrive.
Let them know if you don’t like a communal table, or maybe indoor eating isn’t your thing things days and you prefer outdoor dining. Perhaps you are not comfortable with outdoor seating and would rather like bar seating.
Whatever your preference, communicate this clearly, whether online or through a phone call.
Book in Advance
Reserving a table might seem like a no-brainer, but it is even more crucial, particularly in a post-pandemic era.
Restaurants can figure out the number of workers they’ll need on duty every day if they know the number of guests to expect.
Don’t Be a No-Show
Life happens, and it may be necessary to change your plans, including eating at a restaurant. However, it is not good for business if you don’t show up and forget to cancel.
If you reserve a table but have a change of plans, don’t forget to cancel your spot. If you don’t do this, the restaurant will lose money because they will be holding your table.
Make sure to phone the restaurant or go online and cancel if you can’t stick to your earlier arrangement.
Lastly, but very importantly, always tip generously. Encourage the restaurant workers to provide exceptional service by tipping.
Remember that tips support many food joint workers, especially during these difficult times when many of them may have been out of work for several months.