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California's Innovative and Impactful Culinary Scene

California is always on the cutting edge of the world’s culinary scene. From legendary chefs, innovative food trends and bringing global cuisine to the Golden State, towns across California give travelers something special to feast on.


Redding Roundabout
Go around the world in Redding with its standout ethnic eats. Start the day off with an authentic Italian pastry at Tantadinin’s European Bakery run by Milanese baker Diego Tantadinin. Plan a midday escape at the Fusion Lounge featuring American classics with an Asian twist, and dinner at Peter Chu’s Skyroom serving up the flavors of Mandarin, Szechwan and Hunan cuisine.

Garlic Gourmand in Gilroy
Garlic is at the heart of so many ethnic delights and there’s no better place to experience its tasty pungency than in Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital of the World.” While gourmands may scoff at a food court, the restaurants at Hecker Pass Plaza might change your mind. With garlicky goodness featured in Italian, Thai, Japanese, Indian and even Irish restaurants there’s something for every palate.

World-class View in Old Sacramento
Drink in the waterfront views in Old Sacramento while enjoying culinary delights from Mexico, China, Ireland, Italy and of course the good old USA. Local favorite The Original House of Soul has some of the best chicken in the area; Bali Kitchen specializes in traditional Asian and Indonesian cuisine; and if you’re in the mood for Mexican, Emma’s tamales offers over 14 varieties of fresh tamales, including meat, seafood, vegetarian and vegan options. With plenty of dessert options in the area, you can spend a whole day eating your way around the world while enjoying the waterfront view in Sacramento.

Epicurious in Carmel
Attracting an international crowd, Carmel-by-the-Sea’s culinary scene is flavored with more restaurants per capita than any other small city in the country. Some of the hamlet’s favorite tables include Italian eatery Cantinetta Luca, pan-Asian Edwin’s Carmel, unique Oaxacan Mexican eats at Cultura Comida y Bebida and French classics at Le Soufflé.


Chef Sujan Sarkar

Fresh off his award as Chef of the Year in India, Chef Sujan Sarkar brings the flavors of India to San Francisco at ROOH. ROOH offers a diverse menu of small and large dishes representing the spirit of India, mixing traditional flavors with fresh, Californian-grown ingredients prepared with modern techniques. Don’t miss one of Head Mixologist, Chetan Gangan’s Ayurvedic inspired cocktails.

Chef Ysaac Ramirez
Chef Ysaac Ramirez relaunches the Palm Springs iconic rooftop restaurant, 4 Saints, celebrating modern American cuisine, but peppered with Southern comfort and Latin influences. Examples of his fusion fare include; Marsh Hen Mill Cornbread with sorghum, pecans, crispy chicken skin, cultured butter and chive; Lobster Roll with crème fraîche, paddlefish caviar and chive on a brioche bun.

Chef Damon Min Cho
With a refined menu, but edgy energy, Chef Damon Min Cho’s Kappo Osen izakaya sets itself apart from other Japanese outlets in Santa Monica. Chef Min Cho cut his sushi chops at Nobu in Hawaii and Tao in Hollywood before launching Kappo Osen.

Chef Michael Mina
Known the world over, Chef Michael Mina brings his impeccable take on steakhouse fare to Bourbon Steak at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach in Dana Point. The fine-dining establishment is recognized for serving up the best steak and seafood in town.

Chef/Owner Frank Vizcarra
If you’re looking for a flavorful, budget-friendly taco joint that looks more like an upscale club, head to Lola 55 in San Diego. Named after Chef/Owner Frank Vizcarra’s mom, Lola 55 features tacos like mesquite chicken with chicharrones and peanut salsa macha, and the vegan rainbow cauliflower with eggplant bacon, avocado mousse, almonds, golden raisins and morita dulce salsa.


Chez Panisse

The birthplace of California cuisine and the farm-to-table movement, Chez Panisse is an iconic, not to be missed, culinary experience in Berkeley. The restaurant founded by Chef Alice Waters’ celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021.

Christy Hill
Using the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients, Christy Hill in North Lake Tahoe offers Modern American cuisine with refined Mediterranean influences and French influenced sauces. Diners also get to explore fine wines from around the world.

Vintage Press in Visalia
For more than 50 years the Vintage Press has wowed diners in Visalia with a menu that changes based on the ingredients available at the local farmers market, along with its four beautifully decorated dining rooms. The focus on seasonal and hyper local are hallmarks of California cuisine.

Santa Maria Style BBQ
Kansas City and North Carolina might be known for BBQ, but aficionados know that another style exists – Santa Maria BBQ. Dating to the mid-1800s, this smoky, flavorful BBQ was brought to the area by Spanish ranchers and consists of beef tri-tip seasoned with a dry rub of salt, pepper and garlic. The meat is grilled over coals of red oak, which grows in the Central Coast and helps give Santa Maria Style its hearty flavor.