Top 10 Restaurants in California Are Taking the Culinary Scene by Storm

Popularly known as the Golden State, California is a central hub for people worldwide. Some of the nation’s best beaches, bars, and wineries are found here.

Apart from these, the restaurants here are some of the best! So indulge in the historical and cultural cuisine here! California has something for everyone with different culinary preferences, vibes, or budgets.

Talk about variety! The sunny state’s restaurants await you! There are a lot of great spots here, and we recommend you visit them. Here are some:

Best Restaurants in California You Need to Try

Nobu, Malibu

Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Best for: An elevated Dining experience
Must try: Miso-marinated Black Cod and Rock Shrimp Tempura

We are starting off with one of the most luxurious restaurants on the west coast. Although there are Nobu restaurants around the city, Malibu takes the cake.

Located over the pristine waters of the Pacific, having the best Asian food around town is no less than a dream come true.

Frequently visited by the famous and wealthy, if your taste is a little more lavish, this place is just the one for you.

Founded by the culinary maestro Nobu Matsuhisa, this place serves some of the most delicious foods. 

Hayato, Los Angeles

Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Best for: An intimate dining experience of a lifetime.
Must try: Bento Box

This is a seven-seat restaurant located among the buzzing downtown LA streets.

You can have the most intimate and private experience while indulging in the wholesome and unique food served here.

The seafood-focused menu and Japanese cooking techniques will leave you in awe.

Run by chef Brandon Hayato Go, a culinary expert trying to bring back the roots of his hometown right amid the buzz of the streets of LA.

Always remember to book your reservations in advance if you plan on making a visit here. It is strongly advised.

n/Naka, Los Angeles

Cuisine: Asian
Best for: Vegetarians looking for good sushi spots.
Must try: 13-course Kaiseki Meal

Another intimate Japanese dining place. Californians love their sushi. This is the perfect combination of modern and Eastern dining with ingredients from both the Japanese and Californian seas.

Mostly focusing on the Japanese culinary art form of kaiseki, they provide you with a tasting menu that further supports this beautiful art form in a modern way.

Get the finger-licking experience of a whopping 13-course meal for yourself. Remember to go on an empty stomach since these courses will fill you up! They have a wine and sake menu, a vegetarian course meal, and their classic Kaiseki menu.

Tokaya, Venice

Cuisine: Mexican
Best for: Sunny Cali Vibes
Must try: Tocaya Salad, Fajita Burrito

One of the best Mexican restaurants in California, this establishment helps you indulge in the taste and culture of Mexico in a stylish and modern way.

The food here is sure to take your breath away. It is located along the stretch of Venice Beach, so get a whiff of the salty sea while enjoying your meal at this restaurant.

The interiors are amazing, with natural and warm lighting coming through.

We love the Venice sun! Known for its bold, amazing, flavorful meals and friendly staff, we love everything about this little curbside restaurant!

Baja Fresh – Multiple Locations

Cuisine: Mexican
Best for: Late-night cravings.
Must try: Diablo Burrito and Grilled Shrimp taco

A classic Mexican restaurant you have to try when in Cali! Specializing in Mexican cuisine that is accessible and homely.

It promises farm-fresh ingredients going straight into your tummy. It also has amazing flavors that range from spicy to sweet to hot and salty.

This place has everything for your tastebuds. Baja is an American chain of restaurants that operates in locations like LA, Culver City, San Clemente, and many more. 

Craft, Los Angeles

Cuisine: American
Best for: Local Dining Experience
Must try: Jidori chicken breast and vanilla cheesecake.

An extremely popular must-visit restaurant in California. It’s a true staple Californian restaurant owned by Chef Tom Colicchio.

An amazing, sleek interior with amazing local American ingredients and a menu. This restaurant is as local as it gets.

It has mainly simple ingredient dishes turned into fulfilling meals. The place comes with indoor and outdoor seating, so you can get the most out of this place wherever you wish to.

Water Grill, San Diego

Cuisine: American, Seafood
Best for: Amazing drinks to go along with your meal
Must try: Wild California Spiny Lobster

This place serves amazing seafood with a daily updated menu. Water Grill is located in the heart of Downtown San Diego, so if you are in that area, Water Grill is THE place to go if you are searching for fulfilling dining options.

This place has served customers amazing seafood for the past 30 years. The restaurant also supports local fishermen and sources products only from the finest Californian farms.

Joan’s on third, Los Angeles

Cuisine: American, Quick Bites
Best for: Vegan Options
Must try: Garden Veggie Bagel Sandwich

This supermarket cum cafe will serve you amazing, comforting food in a great ambiance. It’s an inviting and warm place where you can chill.

Plentiful plant-based and vegan options are available here. A relatively inexpensive place to fill your stomach up with filling salads, loaves of bread, sandwiches, and even cakes.

This place has it all. If you decide to stop by here, don’t forget also to grab a coffee with your meal. You won’t regret it.

Rafaello Ristorante, San Pedro

Cuisine: Italian
Best for: Genuine Italian cuisine.
Must try: Tortellini Alla Panna, Osso Buco, Bruchetta

This family-run Italian restaurant will surely give you feel like a big warm hug with every bite.

An old-school and authentic Italian restaurant will make you drool over the amazing hot food served freshly to you.

They also serve some amazing wines, so don’t forget to ask your server for options on the same.

Most guests leave this restaurant feeling fulfilled with the hearty and timeless dishes served here. 

Umami Burger, Multiple Locations

Cuisine: American, Fast Food
Best for: Burgers and takeout
Must try: Throwback Burger

This is not just another chain of American takeout restaurants. This restaurant serves one of the best burgers in the country.

The juiciest ‘American wagyu beef’ is used in these burgers, making them so special.

However, they also have vegetarian options too. An amazing hipster burger joint for a tummy-filling, American food experience.

Its most popular locations are in Los Angeles and San Diego, so check out these places with a cool, hip vibe you will love.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best budget-friendly restaurant dining in California?

Most takeouts or chain restaurants usually serve budget-friendly dining. Baja Fresh and Umami Burger are two amazing joints that will fill up your stomach without burning a hole in your pocket.

Where can you have the most lavish dining experience in California?

California has a variety of Michelin-starred restaurants with private, custom-made experiences. However, we recommend Nobu, Malibu, and Providence in LA. They are the top two high-end restaurants, for sure.

What is the best restaurant in California for Vegetarians/Vegans?

California is becoming a more vegan or vegetarian-friendly place day by day, and it isn’t that difficult now to find vegan or vegetarian-friendly options around the Sunny State. We recommend Joan’s on Third and Sugar Taco in Los Angeles.

Which restaurant is the most popular in California?

Craft LA is notorious for having celebrities come in to enjoy the dishes served there. The biggest Hollywood stars also visit other restaurants here, like N/Naka and Providence. One of the most amazing restaurants where you can expect to see your favorite Hollywood celebrity, so keeps your eyes peeled!!

Where can I get the best dining experience in California?

Almost all the places here have amazing service and food with great vibes. But our personal favorite is Tokaya, Venice. Situated near the seashore, you can get a whiff of the sandy beaches of Cali!

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