Restaurant Guide–San Bernardino/Riverside

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  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Chino

Centro Basco–13432 Central Ave. (Basque) Closed Mon & Tue, closed Sat lunch (and closed from 2 to 5 pm weekdays).  Basque food that reviewers say is better than in Nevada & Idaho. Has a regular menu with traditional dishes any time. Has a special menu that takes advantage of seasonal dishes, but it is not always available (but there is always a special dinner the first Friday of the month and a special lunch the last Saturday of the month). Map (Dining room is open 9-27-22)

Coachella

Carnitas La Piedad–49625 Cesar Chavez St. (Mexican) Breakfast & Lunch only (closed Tue & Wed). Small menu with carnitas being the specialty. Reviewers say not only is this very good, but many other items as well. Cheese enchiladas are topped with chile that is not wimpy. Map (Dining room is open 9-27-22)

Colton

Gul Naz–1624 E. Washington St. (Pakistani) Closed Mon.  Serves halal food with what is described as very good herbs and spices. People say everything is very delicious. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Island Breeze–1063 S. Mt Vernon Ave. (Jamaican) Closes at 6:30 pm (closed Sun).  Jamaican food that seems to be done the right way. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Maharajah–1091 S. Mt. Vernon Ave. (Indian) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Formerly called Ravi’s. Family run restaurant with very good food. Thali is recommended (sampler plate). Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Corona

Dosalicious–2284 Griffin Way (Indian) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say it has an excellent dosa menu. Kerala paratha is recommended (from the non-dosa menu). Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Kabob Hutt–165 Washburn Cir. (Persian) Open Daily.  Has my favorites (such as ghormeh sabzi) but has quite a few other items that I have not seen on other menus, and which look like they would be well worth trying. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Min’s Dumpling House–1297 E. Ontario Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Several types of good dumplings, but xiao long bao is recommended (several say this is the next best XLB to Din Tai Fung, which is the best). They are glad they have a place like this in Corona. Also has a location at 440 N. McKinley St. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Eastvale

Little Eastern Cafe–4910 Hamner Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 8:30 pm.  Reviewers say it has a real Chinese flavor. Menu is not extensive (especially with authentic items) but it does seem to have so good dishes such as yu xiang pork, braised tofu, and boiled fish in chili sauce. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Loma Linda

A Dong–25685 Redlands Blvd. (Cambodian) Closed Mon.  Vietnamese restaurant that supposedly also serves Cambodian food (but this isn’t reflected by reviews I have seen). People respect it because it has been in business for a long time and remained consistent. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

R Thai Cuisine–25685 Redlands Blvd. (Thai) Closed Tue. Thai people say it is authentic. Mom & pop place that sometimes has snags in the food or service because they have a large number of customers (but mostly they manage to keep up). (Takeout only 7-25-21)

Note: Loma Linda is well known for having a large vegetarian population, but I could not find a large number of vegetarian restaurants listed. Tess’ Place was popular but now is apparently closed. The best bets seem to be Thai and Chinese restaurants in Redlands and San Bernardino (R Thai in Loma Linda has some vegetarian dishes, and probably A Dong as well).

Montclair

Szechuwan Garden–8851 Central Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (open until 9:30 pm). In a search for an actual authentic Chinese restaurant in the Inland Empire I found this place–supposedly has very good Sichuanese food that will save you a trip to Monterey Park. Menu sounds good, and food looks good. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Norco

Cowgirl Cafe–2859 Hamner Ave. (American) Open daily 6 am to 2 pm.  Known mainly for its breakfast–reviewers say it is better than the other choices in the area. Chicken fried steak and biscuits & gravy are popular items. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Palm Desert

Alps Village–77734 Country Club Dr. (German) Dinner only (closed Sun).  Located in a strip mall, it is certainly not upscale although reviewers say it is a little pricey. Good reviews, and I think it looks interesting because popular items include jagerschnitzel, cabbage rolls, spaetzle, and real German pretzels. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Flor de Jalisco–42215 Washington St. (Mexican) Open 11:30 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers say food is delicious and authentic. Has a varied menu including mole. The negative ratings I saw were for the service (not the food). This is a down home restaurant (not a touristy one). Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Palm Springs

Boozehounds–2080 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (Asian Fusion) Dinner daily; Lunch Fri-Sun.  Menu is New American/California style with about a third of the items being Asian influenced. Has dog friendly patio with menu items specifically for dogs. I think it is more of a fun and casual place than one that is trying to impress you with their food (but I like Asian so to me it looks good). Map (Dining room is open 9-27-22)

533 Viet Fusion–1775 E. Palm Canyon Dr. (Vietnamese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Web site says it is a mix of traditional and modern Vietnamese dishes. Has a large spring roll menu, pho, vermicelli dishes, banh xeo, bun bo hue, and other very traditional dishes but that are not found in many Vietnamese restaurants. Also has pad thai, ramen, and I think other fusion items. Reviews indicate that the pho is the best in PS but another attraction is the large selection of items that you cannot find elsewhere. Owners are not Vietnamese but they have a reputation in the community as having good food. Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

El Mirasol–140 E. Palm Canyon Dr. (Mexican) Closed Mon & Tue.  Maybe the best Mexican food in Palm Springs. Seems to be California style. Map (Dining room is open 12-12-21)

Fuzion Five–285 S. Palm Canyon Dr. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  Perhaps the best choice for traditional Vietnamese dishes such as banh xeo. Higher prices, though, than most visitors would find in their home town. Map (Dining room is open 9-27-22)

Jake’s–664 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (American) Closed Sun dinner & Mon.  Upscale soup and sandwiches with items such as Hangar steak and eggs sandwich. Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Lulu California Bistro–200 S. Palm Canyon Dr. (American) Open Daily.  Has an array of upscale American food. Featured on Gil’s Blog (some dishes that look good include oven roasted turkey and filet mignon. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Pomme Frite–256 S. Palm Canyon Dr. (Belgian) Dinner only (closed Tue & Wed); lunch on Sat & Sun.  Pommes frites, stroganoff, chicken vol au vent. Some reviewers say the main courses are the best items here (not so much the pommes frites, salads, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Rooster And The Pig–356 S. Indian Canyon Dr. (Vietnamese) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Menu is not large and they do not serve standard items such as pho and vermicelli bowls. What they do have are items that are not found in many Vietnamese restaurants (some may be fusion such as charred brussel sprouts but some look Viet style and just hard to find in other restaurants). They have a jasmine tea leaf dish which I think might be Cambodian. Note: restaurant requires a vaccine passport or negative Covid test. Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Shanghai Reds Bar & Grill–235 S. Indian Canyon Ddr. (Seafood) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Known for its fish tacos. This is probably a good place to get good food and not spend as much money as at the average Palm Springs restaurant. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Sherman’s Deli & Bakery–401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way (Deli) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Gil describes this as “an old-fashioned kosher-style Jewish deli to which savvy patrons pilgrimage from all over the world.” The food seems to bear out the claim. Also in Palm Desert. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Rancho Mirage

Catalan Mediterranean–70026 Hwy 111 (Spanish) Dinner only (open daily).  Spanish tapas restaurant (one reviewer said they have a two course fixed-price menu for $25). Almost all reviewers give it five stars. Map (Dining room is open 12-12-21)

Francesco’s Cafe–72047 Dinah Shore Dr. (Persian) Closed Sun.  This is an Italian and Persian restaurant, but reviewers recommend ordering from the Persian side of the menu. Ambiance is like a down home diner (but one reviewer said they charge $23 for a dinner–would probably be for something like the lamb chops). Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Redlands

MU Restaurant–309 W. State St. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch; closed Sun & Mon. Vegetarian Thai food that many say is very authentic (they also have meat dishes). Note: closed between 3:00 and 4:30 in the afternoon. Map (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Rui’s Shanghai Bistro–1711 W. Lugonia Ave. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Authentic food that people say tastes like the food in San Gabriel Valley, but with less menu selection. Their main food style is Shanghai, but others are offered as well (particularly Sichuan). Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Thai Spoon Cafe–802 W. Colton Ave. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Good reviews. I don’t know if it is totally authentic, but there are no indications in the reviews that it is not. (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Riverside

Anchos Grill–10773 Hole Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily. Probably California style. Fresh tortillas. Some say the best meals are the ones with meat (steak, chicken, seafood, pork, etc.). Popular on Chowhound. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Best Thai–1735 Spruce St. (Thai) Open Daily. Very good reviews. Seems to be authentic. Reviewers say it is LA quality and that the vegetarian dishes are good. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Las Campanas–3649 Mission Inn Ave. (Mexican) Lunch Fri-Sun; dinner Wed-Sun. Located in the Mission Inn Hotel. There are some reasons this probably should not be on my list (it looks expensive, you probably need reservations, and I don’t know if it is truly authentic). The reasons maybe it should be on the list: whether or not it is authentic, it looks like high quality food (and it probably is authentic) and I’m looking for places that will provide a unique and memorable experience with Mexican food (and this may be one of those places). The combination plate looks good from the photos. A lot of the food looks non-traditional, so the trick is to find out if it is modified in a good way or a bad way (I’m not sure how it will be). Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Mamma Mia–10971 Magnolia Ave. (Italian) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Very favorable reviews about the food’s flavor and freshness. Popular items include pizza, lasagna, and meatballs. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Oasis Vegetarian Cafe–11550 Pierce St. (Vegetarian) Closed Sat (closes early Fri & Sun).  Connected to La Sierra Natural Foods store, so the setting is much like a food court. Mainly has sandwiches and burritos, and they have good reviews. Map (Store is open with deli dining 2-20-22)

San Bernardino

Happy Family–2150 S. Waterman Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm weekdays). Vegetarian Chinese food that reviewers say is quite good (even those who do not normally eat vegetarian). Has a few meat items also. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Royal Dumpling House–1689 Kendall Dr. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Diners say they are excited to have authentic Chinese food in San Bernardino, although it does not seem to be as good as you can get in LA. Specializes in Shanghai style dumplings including XLB. This is a mom & pop restaurant, so you don’t get “conveyor belt” food as you do at some of the larger restaurants. Map (Temporarily closed 12-12-21)

Temecula

Havana Kitchen–41955 5th St. (Cuban) Breakfast & lunch only–open to 7 pm on Sat.  The big draw here is the Cuban coffee, but food gets equal compliments. Cuban sandwich is said to have the proper meat, sauce, and toppings that makes it both authentic and very good. Ropa vieja is popular. Sampler plate is recommended (and can probably feed 2 people). Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Nuristan Food–27287 Nicolas Rd. (Afghan) Open Tue-Sun (closes early on Sun).  Grocery store with a small restaurant that serves kabobs and other items (kabobs are fresh and natural, giving them a very good flavor). Note: Pamir Kabob House used to be a popular Afghan restaurant, but it apparently changed ownership and moved to San Diego (and now commenters recommend Nuristan even though it seems to have a smaller menu). Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Upland

Ashirwad–583 E. Foothill Blvd. (Indian) Closed Mon. Vegetarian Indian restaurant with very good food (and reviewers seem to know Indian food). Masala dosa is recommended, but has a wide variety of good dishes. Has thali (sampler plate). Map (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Victorville

Emma Jean’s Holland Burger Cafe–17143 N. D St. (Burgers) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sat afternoon & Sun).  An old school diner on the historic Route 66. For breakfast biscuits & gravy, omelets, and Polish sausage are popular. Lunch favorites include burgers, milk shakes, open faced roast beef sandwich, etc. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

La Casita–14969 CA-18 (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Restaurant that started in City of Industry and has developed a loyal following since the 1960’s. Has chili verde, chili colorado, carne asada, carnitas, and other typical Mexican dishes. Also in Hesperia. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Sources:

Chowhound (former web site)

Eater Los Angeles “The 19 Essential Palm Springs Restaurants”

Gil’s Thrilling (and Filling Blog)

Google Maps

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp

Yelp (Wayne W.)

Zomato (Inland Empire)

Restaurant Guide–Los Angeles

Restaurant Guide Main Index


California

Orange County | Sacramento | San Bernardino/Riverside/Palm Springs | San Diego | San Francisco/Bay Area


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Alhambra

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine–19 S. Garfield Ave. (Indonesian) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm. Reviewers say food is delicious and reasonably priced. Some people seem to think it doesn’t really matter what you order–it will be good. Laska mee is particularly recommended, though (coconut curry). Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Chengdu Taste–828 W. Valley Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Serious Eats says this is the best Sichuan Restaurant in America. Sichuan peppercorns provide the appropriate aroma and flavor, and not just spiciness. Mung bean jelly with noodle appetizer, couple’s beef, spring onion chicken, boiled beef in hot sauce, mapo tofu, toothpick lamb, boiled fresh fish with green pepper sauce. Some reviewers say it is just too spicy, and some are not ready for this type of food. Because it’s reputed to be the best Sichuan place in America, it almost always has a long wait for a table (they don’t take reservations). Map (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Arcadia

Din Tai Fung–1108 S. Baldwin Ave. (Taiwanese) Open Daily. Popular place for dumplings and xiao long bao (has good reviews). Note: there are several locations throughout the LA area. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

SinBala–651 W. Duarte Rd. (Taiwanese) Closed Mon evening & Tue.  Authentic Taiwanese (reviews are very emphatic about this). Serves everyday style Taiwanese food (Taipei Garden is a good alternative if you want more upscale banquet style food). Taiwanese style sausage and beef noodle soup are best sellers. Brown sugar shaved ice is very good. Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Bell Gardens

Rocio’s–7891 Garfield Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.  Highly regarded Oaxacan restaurant, but food is from a different region of Oaxaca than most of the other restaurants, and here you get a slightly different style and flavor of food. Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Claremont

Sanamluang–710 S. Indian Hill Blvd. (Thai) Open Daily.  Branch of a very well regarded LA restaurant. Wide variety of dishes not found at other restaurants. Known for its pad thai (because this is the way it is really supposed to taste, according to some who seem to be in the know). Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Culver City

Ugo Cafe–3865 Cardiff Ave. (Italian) Open Daily.  Has Neapolitan pizza certified by VPN. Has a large menu of Italian food that is “so authentic it doesn’t include garlic bread (because this is an American creation).” Has lunch specials that are apparently extremely cheap by LA standards. I think it is known also for its happy hour and the large outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Diamond Bar

Tasty Box Dim Sum–2839 S. Diamond Bar Blvd. (Chinese) Open 9 am to 5:30 pm (9-5 on Sun).  Reviews indicate that this has the quality of the restaurants in town (Monterey Park, etc.) but gives better access to those in the suburbs. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Tasty Xi’an–1155 S. Diamond Bar Blvd. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9:30 pm.  This is a lesser known type of Chinese food that gets very good reviews. It opened in 2021 and reviewers seem to be experimenting to see what they like, but so far the best reviews are for the special hot oil noodles. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

East Los Angeles

Tacos Baja Ensenada–5385 Whittier Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open until 9 pm).  Baja style fish tacos. Has 99 cent tacos on Wednesday (a really good deal). (Takeout only 8-24-21)

Glendale

Adana–6918 San Fernando Rd. (Armenian) Open daily to 8 pm.  Glendale is full of Armenian restaurants, and some look intimidating with banquet tables that look like they are for weddings and special occasions. Adana has several large tables but the food and setting look more “normal” and seems to give good food at prices people can afford. I am impressed by the variety they have, and I think it really will be worthwhile to try Armenian food to get dishes that cannot be found in any other type of restaurant. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Hacienda Heights

Four Sea–2020 S. Hacienda Blvd. (Taiwanese) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only). Said to be LA’s best place for Taiwanese breakfast. Authentic daikon cake, salty tofu (typical Taiwanese breakfast). Also at 708 E. Las Tunas Dr. in San Gabriel (but some reviewers say the one in Hacienda Hts. is better). Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Inglewood

ConiSeafood–3544 W. Imperial Hwy. (Mexican) Open Daily (closes at 8 pm).  Nayarit style seafood. Recommended by Serious Eats. Pescado zarandeado, shrimp aguachiles, ceviche, marlin tacos. Note: the zarandeado is a whole fish and will feed several people. Map (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Long Beach

Hak Heang–2041 E. Anaheim St. (Cambodian) Open daily (including breakfast).  Long running and well known Cambodian restaurant in the Little Phnom Penh neighborhood.  Most people recommend plea sait ko (raw beef salad) or other beef dishes. Map (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Long Beach Fish Grill–1201 Redondo Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Seems to be a good place for a casual seafood meal (fish and chips, fish tacos, fried shrimp, grilled fish, fish sandwich, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 6-11-22)

Los Compadres–3229 E. Anaheim St. (Mexican) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Good reviews–very popular. Looks like it is California style (I see lots of avocado in the photos), and this would be one of the best places to try it. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Sophy’s–3240 Pacific Coast Hwy. (Cambodian) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm. Number one restaurant on the Press-Telegram’s list of three restaurants where the locals eat in Long Beach’s Cambodia town. Seems to be mainly known for noodles and curries but reviews are for a wide range of items. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Los Angeles

Al & Bea’s–2025 E. 1st St. (Mexican) Closed Mon (open until 7 weekdays).  Most famous place in LA for Cal. style burritos. Cheap prices, large portions, casual atmosphere. (Outdoor seating available 6-24-21)

Apple Pan–10801 W. Pico Blvd. (Hamburgers) Closed Mon.  Considered by some to be the iconic California style burger. They actually have two kinds–hickory burger and steak burger (both have Apple Pan’s original sauce). Cheeseburgers are made with Tillamook cheese (and most reviewers seem to prefer this to the regular burger). Also known for apple pie (but some say it is overpriced). Has an outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 1-9-22)

Buna–1034 S. Fairfax Ave. (Ethiopian) Closed Wed.  Grocery store with a small Ethiopian restaurant. It is not the most well known Ethiopian restaurant, but quite a few people say it is the best. This is a very good place to get vegetarian food. Note: located in “Little Ethiopia” (if it’s too busy there are several other restaurants on the same street). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Canter’s Deli–417 N. Fairfax Ave. (Deli) Open 24 hours.  This is a real-deal Jewish deli with “massive menu choices.” Many of the items are kosher but serves bacon for breakfast. Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Casa Vega–13301 Ventura Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open late night).  Old school California style food. Recommended by Guillermo on the Jimmy Kimmel show–this may not be the best Mexican food in LA, but it sounds interesting and fun (and I think you will get Cal. style Mexican food exactly as advertised). A bonus, though, is that they are also supposed to have a menu of authentic Mexico City style dishes. Map (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Chichen Itza–3655 S. Grand Ave. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Yucatan style. Conchita pibil, papadzules, sopa de lima. Looks excellent, and reviews are good. Small restaurant–inexpensive food. Some reviews say this is better than the Oaxaca style restaurants in terms of flavor and food quality. Located in Mercado La Paloma (east of I-110, south of 34th St). “Dining room” consists of a few tables inside the market. Map (Dining room is open 1-9-22)

Corner Place–2819 James M. Wood Blvd. (Korean) Open to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Recommended as the best & most authentic Korean in L.A. Korean BBQ. Dong chi mi gook soo (cold noodle in soup) is the signature dish. Korean BBQ is also popular. (Dining room is open 6-24-21)

Flavors from Afar–1046 S. Fairfax Ave. (World Cuisine) Dinner Wed-Sun; Lunch Thu-Sun.  The chefs here work with refugees and asylum seekers (who have experience cooking food from their country) and give customers a dining experience in that cuisine. It has a rotating menu with different countries featured each month. These include Haitian, Indo-Fijian, Somali, Syrian, Afghani, Venezuelan, Eritrean, and others. I do not think it is expensive by LA standards but most people rave about the food (you get the upscale version of each of these cuisines). Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Gamboge–1822 N. Broadway (Cambodian) Open 11 am to 4 pm Tue-Fri only.  Reviewers say it has stellar food and nice outdoor seating, but it is near downtown and might not be the easiest place to get to or to park. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Gish Bac–4163 W. Washington Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Wed. Specialty is barbacoa but has all the Oaxacan standard dishes including mole (3 kinds). I think this is more of an everyday restaurant where you can eat Oaxacan food than Guelguetza or Madre (which seem more like special occasion restaurants). Has a large outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

Guelaguetza–3014 W. Olympic Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Very well regarded and popular Oaxacan style restaurant (some say it is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country). Black mole is probably the most popular dish, but has a wide variety of items, all of which give you the authentic Oaxacan version of the dish. Some complain about the prices (about $20 to $30 per dish) but you get the very best (according to most reviewers). Has an outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Guisados–2100 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  There are many good taco restaurants in town, but this is one of the most popular. Has a great variety of choices. Some of the favorites are mole poblano, conchinita pibil, tinga de pollo, or get the taco sampler plate. Note: there are 6 other locations of Guisados in the LA area. Map (Dining room is open 6-11-22)

Harissa–8914 W. Pico Blvd. (Tunisian) Dinner only (closed Fri & Sat).  Chef Cohen cooks Kosher Tunisian food that comes from his family’s roots. His Harissa sauce is said to be quite spicy. One recommended item is the Tunisian tajine, which offers a different take on this dish than the more well known Moroccan style. The only drawback I can see is the $$$ price range on Yelp. Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)

KaGaYa–418 E. 2nd St. (Japanese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  In Little Tokyo. Supposedly the best shabu shabu restaurant, but is expensive (I think too expensive for me, but others say the food is really good). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

LA Rose–4749 Fountain Ave. (Filipino) Closed Sun. evening.  Excellent sit down Filipino rest. Certainly one of the best Filipino rests. in the U.S. (N. of US 101, south of Hollywood Blvd.). Map (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Las 7 Regiones de Oaxaca–2648 W. Pico Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Tue.  Oaxacan style. Mole coloradito, tlayuda. Said to be among the top 3 or 4 Oaxacan rests. in LA. Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Lasita–727 N. Broadway (Filipino) Dinner Thu-Sat; lunch Sun.  Seems to be part of the modern Filipino food movement (authentic food but served on small plates with less rice). Reviewers are very impressed with the food. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Mayflower Seafood–679 N. Spring St. (Chinese) Open daily (open until 9 pm).  Good, cheap, authentic Cantonese food in Chinatown (near downtown L.A.). Map (Dining room is open 6-11-22)

Monte Alban–11929 Santa Monica Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 10 pm.  Oaxacan style. Specializes in mole. Many say it is better than Guelaguetza (another Oaxacan restaurant). Get molcajete, moles, taco de barbacoa, nieves (agua fresca). Like Guelaguetza it has a reputation for serving a wide range of items and to be a good restaurant overall for Oaxacan food. Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Polka Polish Cuisine–4112 Verdugo Rd. (Polish) Closed Mon & Tue (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  On a segment of the Prairie Home Companion radio program one of the characters said “Ze polka izz not for zee French people,” so maybe I should not try it. Seriously, though, this looks possibly even better than the Polish restaurants in Chicago at least in terms of the selection of items. Reviewers say this is the best Polish restaurant in LA, although the sausage is the one item that seemed pre-packaged and not home made to some people. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Robert’s Russian Cuisine–1603 N. La Brea Ave. (Russian) Closed Mon.  Has Russian and Armenian food, but most reviewers say the Russian food is particularly worthwhile compared to the other restaurants in town (they say Traktir is more expensive and the food is not any better). Map (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Ruen Pair–5257 Hollywood Blvd. (Thai) Dinner only (open daily).  May be a little touristy and “Hollywood,” but it seems to have very good food from central and northeast Thailand. Gets high recommendations from LA;s Thai community. Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Sanamluang Cafe–5176 Hollywood Blvd. (Thai) Open daily (open until midnight).  Authentic and well known restaurant in Thai town. Many people like the pad thai because it is one of the best you will find (but many other dishes are recommended as well). Also in Claremont. Map (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

San Pedro Fish Market–1190 Nagoya Way (Seafood) Open Daily.  Reviews say it has a large variety of fresh fish with an ocean view–also that wait to get a table may be an hour (post-pandemic time). Crab and fried shrimp are popular. Note: Crusty Crab next door also looks good. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Sri Siam–12843 Vanowen St. (Thai) Closed Wed.  Northern Thai style.  Probably the best Thai in L.A. (possibly equal to Thai Nakorn in Stanton). Price range listed as $, but lunch specials are particularly low priced. Located in Van Nuys near I-405 and Sherman Way. Map (Dining room is open 2-18-22)

Tashkent Produce–5340 Laurel Canyon Blvd. (Uzbek) Open daily except Sun evening.  Grocery store with Uzbek takeout dishes available. Recommended for Plov, a beef stew that is the the Uzbek national dish. Meat pie orders can be called in for pickup after 11 am. I am not sure if there is indoor dining–reviewers say it is a deli (so I think they have some tables). Also they say the parking is so bad you will probably want to find a short term space and run inside to pick up your order. Map (Deli is open but there is no indoor dining 9-8-22)

Traktir–18588 Ventura Blvd. (Russian) Dinner Wed-Sun; opens 1 pm Sat & Sun.  This is the more “formal” of the restaurant’s two locations but reviewers say the price is still good and they have a good selection (the “casual” one is in West Hollywood). This one is located in Tarzana. This also shows up in searches for Ukrainian food, so I don’t know if it has both cuisines. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Monrovia

Luscious Dumplings–919 W. Duarte Rd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm). I had information that it is Beijing style dumplings, but it moved to Monrovia and I am not sure if this is the same restaurant (it seems to be very good, though, and dumplings include XLB). Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Monterey Park

ABC Cafe–100 N. Garfield Ave. (Chinese) Open 24 hours.  Was recommended to me by Oriental Cafe in El Paso (Kenny worked there before opening his own restaurant). Serves American style breakfast (eggs, steak, etc.) and Chinese breakfast (congee, chow fun, chow mein). Serves dinner any time. Some say, though, that it was better “back in the day” (some also say the Chinese breakfast is still very good). Map (Dining room is open 1-9-22)

Beijing Pie House–846 E. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Specialties are meat pies and green onion pancakes. They have other things on the menu (such as xiao long bao), but people say the pies and pancakes are the best items (there is such a variety of fillings it is hard to get tired of them). Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Hunan–423 N. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Hunan style–supposed to be better than in the Bay Area (some say it’s the most authentic Hunanese rest. in the US). Food is very spicy, but they will adjust it according to your taste. Map (Dining room is open 2-18-22)

Mama Lu’s Dumpling House–153 E. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily. Shanghai style food. Xiao long bao, beef wrap. Map (Dining room is open 1-9-22)

NBC Seafood–404 S. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Well known for dim sum. Some say it’s the best in L.A., and others say they would rather go somewhere else (but I don’t see suggestions about where that would be). The majority of reviews indicate that it is very good, and you will probably get one or two items that are less spectacular than the others. Map (Dining room is open 2-18-22)

Premier Dessert–501 W. Garvey Ave. (Chinese) Afternoon and dinner hours only (open daily).  Has a variety of Chinese style desserts. From the photos it looks very difficult to make a choice (they all look good). Map (Dining room is open 9-8-22)

Xiang Cuisine–141 N. Atlantic Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Hunan style restaurant that some people like better than others because it is less oily. I think it looks like a good choice because they seem to focus on the dishes that have the best flavor rather than what people in Hunan most commonly eat (Hunan Restaurant is about three blocks to the north and is supposed to be the most authentic Hunan restaurant in the U.S.). Map (Temporarily closed 9-8-22)

Yoma Myanmar–713 E. Garvey Ave. (Burmese) Open11 am until 9:30 pm (closed Sun). This seems to be the top Burmese rest. in LA, but it is northern Burmese cuisine. Specialty is shan noodles (reviewers say get it dry). Tea leaf salad, tofu salad, curry noodles are all popular. Some say the tea leaf salad is more authentic here than at other places. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Yunnan–301 N. Garfield Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Menu is not limited to Yunnan dishes, but this is a good place to come if you are curious about what they are like (reviewers say they are good). Many (probably most) people like their cold dishes. I would look at the Yelp reviews to get an idea of what to order (there is a large choice). Food is spicy here. “Crossing the Bridge Yunnan Noodles” are supposed to be a specialty (I think this is a noodle soup). Map (Dining room is open 12-12-21)

Pasadena

El Cholo–300 E. Colorado Blvd. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  In business since 1923. Probably the ultimate example of California style Mex. food (but I am not sure about this). Tostada compuesta is recommended (lettuce with vinegar–this is a Cal. style dish). The original restaurant in LA now only does catering but the one in Pasadena is open for customers. Map (Dining room is open 1-9-22)

El Portal–695 E. Green St. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Yucatan style (best rated Mex. in Pasadena). “Yucatan trio” gives you three of the best Yucatan style dishes. Map (Dining room is open 2-18-22)

Settebello–625 E. Colorado Blvd. (Pizza) Open Daily.  Serves authentic Neapolitan pizza certified by VPN. Also has restaurants in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

San Gabriel

Babita–1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd. (Mexican) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Alta cocina, small rest. Not terribly expensive, but not somewhere you would want to go for a casual meal. On national lists of best Mex. rests. in the U.S. This is home cooking, and small (with about 25 tables). I believe it’s Yucatan style. Some of the main dishes are $20 to $30 (plus more for appetizers, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Delicious Food Corner–545 W. Las Tunas Dr. (Chinese) Open daily 9 am to 8 pm.  Serves traditional Hong Kong style food. Some reviewers say they were disappointed by other restaurants but liked this one. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Ho Kee Cafe–533 S. Del Mar Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 9 am to 8:30 pm.  Traditional Cantonese style restaurant, but with better quality than most, made in small batches unlike the large restaurants, and reviewers say they don’t think it has MSG. Some say this is their favorite restaurant in San Gabriel. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Lu’s Garden–534 E. Valley Blvd. (Taiwanese) Open daily 11:30 am to 11 pm.  Home style Taiwanese food (this is not “banquet style”). It has a gimmick in that you get free congee (porridge) with your meal–people like it and go partly because of this (but they like the other food also). Some say go only at lunch (dinner is too expensive). Also in City of Industry. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Mian–301 W. Valley Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily (closed 3 to 5 pm weekdays).  Serves Chengdu style noodle dishes (quite a few reviewers say this is the best Chinese noodle house in the L.A. area). Tip: some say if you order mung bean tea for a drink this helps in being able to eat the spicy food here. Also in Rowland Hts. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Omar’s Xinjiang–1718 S. New Ave. (Chinese) Closed Tue & Wed (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Uyghur food from northwest China–Halal style Chinese food. Hand pulled noodles and meat pie are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

Santa Monica

Red O–1541 Ocean Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Owner is in a partnership with Rick Bayless to bring Rick Bayless’ recipes to L.A. Restaurant is locally sourced with sustainable ingredients. Expensive–I suspect it is mainly for special occasions. I am not sure everything here is the same as you would get in the Bayless restaurants in Chicago. Map (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Torrance

Madre–1261 Cabrillo Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Oaxacan style Mexican food. There are many authentic items, but probably mole is (rightly) the most popular. Photos make me want to try it even if the reviews did not. (Also in West Hollywood and Culver City). Apparently has a covered open air patio. Map (Dining room is open 12-21-21)

Venice

Simpang Asia–705 Venice Blvd. (Indonesian) Open daily (dinner only). Reported to be the best Indonesian in town. Nasi mantep is recommended. I think this would be a good place to try Indonesian food to see what it is all about. Also located at 10433 National Blvd. in LA). Note: Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine in Alhambra seems to be equivalent in quality and less expensive, if you want to try a more downscale place. Map (Dining room is open 11-16-21)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Mexican Food

Eater “The Definitive Guide to Oaxacan Cuisine in Los Angeles” (Feb. 15, 2018):

“Popular Oaxacan restaurants in LA and what to order at them”

    • Antequera de Oaxaca–5200 Melrose Ave., Larchmont. Guisado, salsa de huevo, tlayudas, and traditional mole.
    • Casa Oaxaca–9609 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Complex moles, antojitos, hibiscus flower fried tacos, and fish cooked in banana leaves.
    • El Sazon Oaxaqueño–12131 Washington Pl., Mar Vista. Mole amarillo, chiles rellenos with ground meat and fruit, and breakfast burritos with Oaxacan chorizo.
    • Expresión Oaxaqueño–3301 W. Pico Blvd., Arlington Heights.  Taco de la abuela (with meat and fixings), enmoladas, fajitas de tasajo (dried beef).
    • Gish Bac–4163 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights.  Tlayudas, chilaquiles, atoles, enfrijoladas, moles, and on weekends has barbacoa enchiladas.
    • Guelaguetza–3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Harvard Heights.  Notable for the authentic Oaxacan experience of mole washed down with world-class mezcal, estofado (mole with green olives and herbs), and tlayudas. This is considered by many to be the best Oaxacan restaurant in the city (and possibly the US).
    • Juquila–11619 Santa Monica Blvd., Sawtelle.  Parrilladas (Oaxacan-Californian style), complex moles.
    • La Mayordomia–5892 S. Broadway Ave., Florence.  Tlayudas.
    • El Valle Oaxaqueño–1601 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles.  Market, restaurant, and bakery (pan dulce).
    • La Morenita Oaxaqueña–3550 W. 3rd St., Koreatown.  Mole coloradito, and estofado.
    • Las 7 Regiones–2648 W. Pico Blvd., Pico-Union.  One of the best overall Oaxacan restaurants with mole, chiles rellenos, empanadas, and a meat grill.
    • Leo’s Tacos–1515 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City.  Taco truck that serves authentic Mexico City style tacos al pastor, but owned by Oaxacans.
    • Monte Alban–11929 Santa Monica Blvd., Sawtelle.  Second only to Guelaguetza in serving an all around menu of highly acclaimed Oaxacan food.
    • Oaxacalifornia Juice Bar–3655 S. Grand Ave., Historic South Central.  Juice, torta, ice cream, and antojito stand.
    • Panaderia Santo Domingo–3418 W. 8th St., Koreatown.  Pan de yema with hot chocolate, and a huge variety of other pan dulce (also has Oaxacan food if you want it).
    • Poncho’s Tlayudas–4318 S. Main St., Historic South Central.  On Friday serves artisanal tlayudas such as blue corn and yellow corn. Has its own take on other tlayudas that cannot be found in LA or anywhere.
    • Rincon Oaxaqueña –1544 N. Western Ave., East Hollywood.  Caldo de piedra (strong soup) with fish and shrimp, with a hot river stone dropped in the soup.
    • Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen–7891 Garfield Ave., Bell Gardens.  Mole negro, chile relleno, and chileajo served in the style of Huajuapan, Oaxaca (highly acclaimed recipes).
    • Sabores Oaxaqueños–3337 W. 8th St., Koreatown.  Tamales and aguas frescas are the main attractions Also has a number of Oaxacalifornia style items.
    • Tacos La Tehuanita–5104 York Blvd., Highland Park.  Food truck with black mole that is from the Istmo de Tehuantepec region (and has a different flavor profile than ones from Valles Centrales). Some other items are Oaxacalifornia style but inspired in their flavor.
    • Tacos Tamix–2402 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City.  Tacos al pastor and tacos alambres (Mexico City style).
    • Tlayuda LA–5450 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood.  Oaxacan cuisine made more mainstream in the US including tlayudas made without lard and iced coffee mixed with horchata.
    • X’tiosu Kitchen–923 Forest Ave., Boyle Heights.  Oaxacan chefs who cook Lebanese food as well as Oaxacan-Middle Eastern fusion.

James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

The following are locally owned restaurants that are distinguished by their timeless appeal, and which serve quality food that represents the character of their communities:

  • Los Angeles: Guelaguetza–3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
  • Los Angeles: Langer’s Delicatessen–704 S. Alvarado St.
  • Los Angeles: Philippe the Original–1001 N. Alameda St.
  • Los Angeles: Yuca’s Hut–2056 Hillhurst Ave.
  • Sherman Oaks: Casa Vega–13301 Ventura Blvd.

Note About “50 States, 50 Cuisines” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Sep. 14, 2020 explaining how they set out to go beyond a previous article that had identified the signature dish for each state, and to find food that goes beyond the classics and “to highlight a cuisine worth traveling to each state for, much of which you truly can’t get anywhere else.” For California it is Oaxacan Cuisine from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. They state that Los Angeles has the most complete representation in the United States of Oaxaca’s 16 Indigenous communities and micro-regions, with some dishes unique to just one town or village.

There are opportunities to try it at Guelaguetza (the most well known Oaxacan restauant), Expression Oaxaqueña, Gish Bac, Madre (in Torrance, Culver City, or West Hollywood), or Poncho’s Tlayudas (known for its namesake crispy tortillas topped with blood sausage). In addition El Valle Oaxaqueño in Koreatown is a bakery featuring pan dulce and a market that sells fried grasshoppers (if you want to know what it is the information is contained in the article for which I included a link, but it is not something I will seek out).


Sources:

James Beard Foundation (America’s Classics Award Winners)

Chowhound (former web site)

Condé Nast Traveler (50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State)

Eater, “The Definitive Guide to Oaxacan Cuisine in Los Angeles”

Google Maps

KCET (Have You Eaten?)

LA Weekly

Press-Telegram (3 restaurants where the locals eat in Long Beach’s Cambodia Town)

Serious Eats (Los Angeles)

TripAdvisor (Thai Town)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

VPN Americas (California)

Yelp (Los Angeles)

Zomato (Los Angeles)

Restaurant Guide–California

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Los Angeles

Orange County

Sacramento

San Bernardino/Riverside/Palm Springs

San Diego

San Francisco/Bay Area


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Arbuckle

El Jalisciense–301 5th St. (Mexican) Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.  Mexican restaurant in a small town on I-5 north of Sacramento that attracts people from a large surrounding area. They like the carnitas, tacos, carne asada, and chile relleno (mixed reviews for enchiladas). Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Arcata

Japhy’s Soup & Noodles–1563 G St. (Thai) Closed Sat & Sun.  Despite its name, the curries are the items that get the most comments (I supposed the soup and noodle dishes are also very good). People seem to think this is better than the Thai restaurants in Eureka. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Renata’s Creperie–1030 G St. (Crepes) Open 8 am to 2 pm (closed Mon).  This seems to be the standout restaurant in Arcata. Mainly popular at breakfast, but if you can envision an upscale sandwich with organic ingredients, and crepes instead of bread, you will understand its appeal for lunch also. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Bakersfield

Benji’s French Basque–4001 Rosedale Hwy. (Basque) Lunch 11:30-2; Dinner 5-9 (closed Mon).  This is different from other Basque restaurants because it is French Basque, and has some unique dishes. Also it is a regular restaurant (not one where everyone goes at the same time and eats family style). To me the lunch menu looks very good, but dinner is quite expensive (and limited to upscale dishes). Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

Los Tacos de Huicho–123 E. 18th St. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Mexico City style Mexican food–tacos al pastor are popular. Has a wide menu. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

Noriega’s–4809 Stockdale Hwy. (Basque) Each day has a specific time for seating (no meals served on Mon).  A traditional Basque restaurant that serves meals family style. Everyone comes at a certain time and are seated together at large tables. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

Philippine Cuisine–704 Oak St. (Filipino) Open daily (closes at 7 pm except 6 pm on Sun).  Good reviews and has a good selection. Food is in serving trays (so you can see what you are ordering) and served in take-out boxes (but they have dine-in). Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

Big Sur

Sierra Mar–47900 Hwy. 1 (Californian) Open daily (dinner only). $$$$ It impressed Gil (so that’s why it’s one of the few upscale rests. I’m including on this list).  This is a restaurant with a view, and would be considered a “romantic” place. Some reviewers say this is one of the best restaurants in California. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Chico

Basque Norte–3355 Esplanade (Basque) Dinner only (closed Sun-Tue). According to reviews, this is as good as any Basque restaurant in Nevada. Steaks are the most popular item. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Clovis

Ararat Market–497 N. Clovis Ave. (Armenian) Open 9 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  There was a discussion on Roadfood indicating that there was good Armenian food in the Fresno area, and this one had the highest ratings on Yelp. It is a food market with a restaurant inside, mainly serving kabobs. Reviewers say it is seasoned perfectly with a very good Middle Eastern flavor. Map (Takeout only 11-18-21)

Ark Mediterranean–2230 Herndon Ave. (Middle Eastern) Open Daily.  Menu looks Lebanese and reviews are very good. Reviewers particularly like the chicken, beef, and lamb. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Colusa

Birrieria Michoacan–1246 Market St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Said to be authentic Mexican food. Birria and mole are recommended, among other things. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Crescent City

Chart Room–130 Anchor Way (Seafood) Open to 7 pm (closed Mon & Tue); serves breakfast.  Fish & chips are popular (they are said to be especially good compared to others with a light batter). Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Kin Khao–1270 Front St. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say it is authentic, with Thai ingredients that most restaurants do not use. This is a spinoff of Kuhn Thai in Brookings, OR. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Eureka

Annie’s Cambodian–1917 5th St. (Cambodian) Closed Sat lunch & Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Top rated Asian restaurant in Eureka (on the Yelp ranking). Green curry is recommended. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Gill’s By The Bay–77 Halibut Ave. (Seafood) Open 8 am to 3 pm (closed Tue & Wed).  Chowder is recommended. This is a casual place for (mainly) fried seafood. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Humboldt Bay Provisions–205 G St. (Seafood) Dinner only (opens 1 pm Sat & Sun).  Like Gill’s By The Bay, this place is highly recommended. Otherwise, though, it is the opposite–this is a large place with a large menu (Gill’s is small), it is not on the oceanfront (Gill’s is), it is open for dinner (Gill’s is not), it is upscale (Gill’s is mostly chowder and fried fish). (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Oaxaca Grill–508 Henderson St. (Mexican) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Not strictly a Oaxaca style restaurant, but the Oaxacan mole is recommended. Note: the menu seems to indicate this is a serious sit-down restaurant (not a taqueria or fast food style place). Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Pho Thien Long–615 F St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Good choice for Asian food if you don’t want the curry or spicy food served at the Cambodian restaurant  (Dining room is open 8-29-21).

Fairfield

Palm Thai Bistro–5089 Business Center (Thai) Open Daily (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Google Maps says the food in “understated,” and it is this way because they do not add salt, sugar, or anything else to change the food from the way it is cooked in Bangkok. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Pikul Thai Bistro–1305 Gateway Blvd. (Thai) Closed Mon (and closed from 3:30 to 5 pm).  New restaurant that so far is impressing reviewers with Thai food done the right way–excellent flavors and execution. Map (Dining room is open 8-19-21)

Two60–260 Pittman Rd. (New American) Closed Mon.  Food is probably like a number of restaurants, but quality seems to be better than most. Hamburgers look very good from the photos, but a good feature here is that there are plenty of other options from the menu. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Fort Bragg

Asian Fusion Sea Valley–301 N. Main St. (Thai) Open daily 12 pm to 8 pm.  I don’t know what is going on with Thai food in Fort Bragg, but this restaurant seems to be as good as Nit’s Cafe (very authentic with good flavor). I think the difference, though, is that this is northern Thai food, and possibly Lao. Like Nit’s Cafe this is a family run business, and service is slow if they have a lot of customers. Map (Dining room is open 12-2-21)

Nit’s Cafe–322 N. Main St. (Thai) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Many say this is some of the best Thai food ever (photos indicate that it is upscale and authentic).  However, it is a one-woman operation and service is somewhat sporadic, depending on the crowd in the restaurant. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Princess Seafood Market–32410 North Harbor Dr. (Seafood) Open 11 am to 5 pm (closed Mon & Tue).  This is a seafood market with a deli where they serve food on picnic tables (I don’t know if they are indoors or outdoors). Reviewers say the food is definitely worth it. Map (Dining room and outdoor patio are open 4-9-22)

Fresno

AJ’s Armenian Cuisine–5048 N. Maroa Ave. (Armenian) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  The menu includes many items which seem to be from countries other than Armenia, but the Armenian items are ones that many reviewers say are like the ones made by their families (that is, the reviewers that are Armenian). Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

B & K Asian Kitchen–1276 N. 1st St. (Lao) Closed Mon evening & Tue.  Very highly rated & rec. by Doug in Mesa. Chicken laap has authentic Lao sour flavor. Map (Dining room is open 8-5-21)

El Premio Mayor–3247 E. McKinley Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Specialty is carne asada tacos, but has a wide variety. They are said to be good quality. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

Esperanza’s Cocina–1521 Kern St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Tue).  Shares space with Ofelia’s Barber Shop, so some call it Ofelia’s Cocina. Small restaurant with food that tastes home made. Most people recommend pozole, but I saw photos of the red enchiladas and these look legit. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

La Kebrada–9415 N. Fort Washington Rd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  This seems to be an excellent budget ($10 or less in 2019 prices) Mexican restaurant with a large menu (not just tacos) and flavorful sauces on the burritos, enchiladas, etc. Also has some unusual dishes such as veggie fajitas and salmon. The menu says they have traditional Oaxacan style chicken mole. Also in Clovis, but Fresno rest. has a higher rating. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Lao Cafe 2–3255 N. Cedar Ave. (Lao) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Lao people recommend it (the spice level here is extremely hot, so order less than you would at a Thai rest.). Red curry and bamboo soup (not on the menu) are a couple of recommended dishes that look interesting. Note: I have had curry in the Lao restaurants in Amarillo, and I would rate this as one of the top Lao dishes. Map (Dining room is open 8-5-21)

Oaxaca Tipico–4773 E. Belmont Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Serves Oaxaca style food including mole negro. Has a breakfast menu. Also in Selma. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

PhilHouse–6048 N. 1st St. (Filipino) Open daily 8 am to 8 pm.  This is a food court restaurant located inside a grocery store, so it is very casual (with very cheap prices for what you get). Some photos on Yelp are of items I have not seen anywhere else, so the selection looks very impressive and interesting to try. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

SabaiDee–5730 N. 1st St. (Lao) Open until 9 pm (closed Sun).  Serves both Thai and Lao food, and reviewers say they do both correctly (as it is served in these countries). To me this would be an interesting place to not only enjoy the food, but to “study” it and discover the differences in these cuisines. For Lao food the papaya salad, larb gai, curry dishes, nam toke Lao style and the refreshing young coconut are some of the recommended items. For Thai the crispy tofu pad thai and pad see ew are a couple of the recommended items. Green curry is the most recommended curry. Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Kingsburg

Kady’s Country Kitchen–1701 Simpson St. (Swedish) Breakfast & lunch only; closes at noon on Sat (closed Sun & Mon).  Swedish pancakes are the most popular item. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Lancaster

The Thai Restaurant–44759 Sierra Hwy. (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  I don’t see claims that it is authentic, but reviewers say it is delicious and uses Thai ingredients such as galanga and lemongrass (in the tom kha soup). Most recommend their signature dish, the eggplant and shrimp dish (this is something you are not likely to find in other restaurants, even in L.A.). Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Mendocino

Trillium Cafe–10390 Kasten St. (New American) Closed Wed & Thu (and closed between 2:30 and 5:30 pm).  Upscale dining–you’re paying for the view of the ocean.  Food is fresh and healthy. Can get sandwiches and other items that are not too expensive (fish tacos are recommended). Reviewers mention that the reuben has fresh sauerkraut. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Merced

Noah’s Vietnamese Fusion–1327 W. 18th St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Has bun bo hue and other dishes that reviewers say you would otherwise have to go to San Jose to find. Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Modesto

Lan Xang Kitchen–411 H St. (Lao) Open 9 am to 6 pm (closed Sun).  Many reviewers say this is their favorite Asian hole in the wall place in Modesto. Is not strictly Lao–many like the Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Skewers Kabob House–821 L St. (Persian) Open Daily.  Almost everyone says to order the saffron chicken. Everything seems to be good quality. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Mojave

Mojave Thai Cuisine–16870 State Hwy 14 (Thai) Closed Sat (normally open Saturdays during the winter but not 2021-22).  Reviewers say this is big city quality Thai food in a very out-of-the-way place. Curries are especially recommended. Note: Thai Garden in Rosamond also has good reviews and is open Sat. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Monterey

Crepes of Brittany–211 Alvarado St. (Creperies) Breakfast and lunch only (open daily).  Popular mostly at breakfast. Strawberries, bananas, apples, etc. are popular on the crepes. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Monterey’s Fish House–2114 Del Monte Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Oysters are the specialty. Much of the food is upscale like Old Fisherman’s Grotto but also has lower priced items. This is not located on the waterfront. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Old Fisherman’s Grotto–39 Fisherman’s Wharf (Seafood) Open Daily.  Seafood restaurant on the waterfront. It is said they invented “Monterey style” clam chowder, but in any case people like this as well as the other food served. Prices in 2020 ran from about $15 for clam chowder or salad to $25 or more for a regular plate (lunch menu). Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Poke Time–484 Lighthouse Ave. (Hawaiian) Closed Sun.  Popular and highly rated place for poke bowls. (Takeout only 7-8-21)

Siamese Bay–131 Webster St. (Thai) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  I looked through reviews of several Thai restaurants and this seems to be the only one that has all of the following: Thai style pad thai, curry that is not too sweet, spice level that is as high as it should be. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

The Crown and Anchor–150 W. Franklin St. (British) Opens 4 pm Mon-Fri; opens noon Sat & Sun.  Serves British style fish and chips, as well as other goodies such as chicken pot pie. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Wild Plum–731 Munras Ave. (Organic) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Tue).  Reviewers say breakfast is very good. Service is sometimes slow (but this is the type of food that may take a while to prepare). Has house made bread and soup. Restaurant focuses on organic and fresh. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Napa

Bistro Don Giovanni–4110 Howard Ln. (Italian) Open Daily.  Highly rated Italian food. People particularly like the pasta dishes (the pasta is made in house). Usually busy, so people suggest going in the off times if possible. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Ca’Momi Osteria–1141 1st St. (Italian) Dinner Wed-Sun; lunch Sat & Sun (closed Mon & Tue).  In an area of very high quality restaurants this restaurant is among them by serving VPN certified Neapolitan pizzas. Other items, such as lasagna, are said to be the “best ever.” I couldn’t find a menu but Open Table says the price per person is $31 to $50 (in Nov 2021 prices). Reviewers seem to think it is worth it. Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Foodshed Pizza–3385 Old California Way (Pizza) Closed Mon.  This is a very high quality pizza place with Italian wine. Many recommend the burrata pizza. (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Heritage Eats–3824 Bel Aire Plaza (International) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Has a wide variety of cuisines (but mostly Asian) and is fusion in the sense of mixing and matching different items. Each item keeps the identity of its cuisine, though, and some of the recommended ones include bao, pork tacos, banh mi, lemongrass pork, falafel, and Jamaican jerk chicken. Reviewers say it is all good, and you can’t go wrong with any of it. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Oakhurst

The Elderberry House–48688 Victoria Ln. (Fine Dining) Open daily (dinner only)–lunch on Sun.  Very expensive, but people consistently say the meals here were some of the best of their lives. Owner is from Austria. Menu is fixed, but you have a choice of meat or vegetarian. There are many fine dining restaurants in Cal. but this seems to be one of the best, and worth splurging. Tasting menu is $80 as of Jul. 2021 Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Oxnard

Settebello Pizza–2760 Seaglass Way (Pizza) Open Daily.  Neapolitan pizza that is certified by VPN and which is said to be very good by reviewers. Authentic Neapolitan pizza is usually a little pricey but reviewers say you can get a good deal by coming here during happy hour (it is open all day from noon to 9 pm or 10 pm on weekends). Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Pacific Grove

Passionfish–701 Lighthouse Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily (dinner only).  Upscale–better fish than other places but less expensive (it is not on the waterfront, though). A Chowhound favorite. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Vivolo’s Chowder House–127 Central Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Known for its chowder and fish & chips. Casual dining that is a less expensive alternative to the upscale restaurants to get good seafood. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Petaluma

Hunan Village–295 N. McDowell Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Wed.  I think it is a mixture of authentic and Americanized food, with probably more of the former. To me it is a good sign that they have clay pot dishes. Map (Dining room is open 6-19-22)

Stockhome–220 Western Ave. (Swedish) Closed Mon & Tue.  Serves Swedish “contemporary” and Middle Eastern food with very good reviews. “Swedish Classics” seem to be authentic, while they also have German dishes and Middle Eastern (kebabs, etc.). Owners used to operate Plaj in San Francisco (but this restaurant looks more casual than Plaj). Map (Dining room is open 6-19-22)

Pismo Beach

Brad’s–209 Pomeroy Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Most say these are the best fish & chips in town. Many also say it has the best clam chowder, but many like Splash next door (Splash has different toppings for the chowder which people like). Also has breakfast. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Porterville

Vientiane Cuisine–550 W. Olive Ave. (Lao) Closed Sat (and closed from 3 to 4 pm).  Papaya salad and curry are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Red Bluff

Sully’s–2620 Montgomery Rd. (American) Closed Mon.  Located at Oak Creek Golf Course. Upscale restaurant that ranges from fine dining (steaks, etc.) to less expensive items (such as fish tacos). I do not see any reviews for breakfast, but apparently they are open then. Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Redding

Champa Garden–1107 Hilltop Dr. (Lao) Closed Tue (closed from 3:30 to 4:30 pm).  Reviewers say it is owned by Champa Garden in Oakland, and that the food is similar (big city quality). Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Rohnert Park

Sam’s Mediterranean Cafe–613 Martin Ave. (Middle Eastern) Open 10 am to 4 pm (closed Sat & Sun).  There are not many restaurants on Yelp that get a five star rating, but this is one of them. Casual restaurant in an industrial that mainly serves sandwiches (falafel, gyro, chicken, etc.). (Takeout and delivery only 7-21-21)

Rosamond

Thai Garden–3030 Sierra Hwy. (Thai) Open 11 am to 9 pm (open daily).  Good reviews from people who seem to know authentic Thai food. Pad prik khing (one of my favorite dishes) is one of the recommended dishes here. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Salinas

Culturas–473 E. Market St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  This is supposed to be a “Hidalgo and Oaxaca” style restaurant. Reviewers rave about this restaurant (including the Oaxacan style mole). Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

San Luis Obispo

Flour House–690 Higuera St. (Pizza) Dinner only (closed Tue).  Neapolitan style pizza that is VPN certified and very good according to reviewers. Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Taste–2900 Broad St. (New American) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  High quality burger, sandwich, soup, and tapas restaurant. One of the keys to its popularity is the small plate mix and match concept. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Thai Boat–3212 Broad St. (Thai) Open Mon-Fri only (and closed 2-4 pm).  Authentic Thai (owners go to Thailand frequently). The down side is that the restaurant is frequently closed (the owners go to Thailand). Pad thai and yellow curry are the most recommended items (pad thai may be Chiang Mai style). Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Santa Barbara

Empty Bowl–38 W. Victoria St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Perhaps the best Asian food in the city. Expensive and located inside the Santa Barbara Public Market, but reviewers say the Thai food is quite good. Map (Dining room is open 12-2-21)

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company (Seafood) Open Daily.  Very popular place on the beach. Very busy at times, but you can speed up the process by ordering from the outside window and eating on a bench outside. Appears to have good prices for good seafood. (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Santa Cruz

Charlie Hong Kong–1141 Soquel Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 11 pm.  Inexpensive, highly rated, and popular. Probably not very traditional, though. Food is healthy, gluten free, eggs removed, etc. (but I’m not sure if it’s in all dishes or just some). Probably worth a visit to see what they can do with this concept. Map (Has outdoor seating, restaurant only has counter service 2-2-22)

Laili–101 Cooper St. (Afghan) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Classified as Afghan and Mediterranean. I think it has Afghan food combined with local fruit and produce prepared Mediterranean style such as arugula salad, pear flatbread, etc. To me it seems like the best of both cuisines. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Pono–3744 Capitola Rd. (Hawaiian) Closed Tue.  Cheap, healthy, and good tasting food. Has a dog friendly patio. Has poke and Hawaiian plate lunch style food. Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Santa Rosa

Bird & The Bottle–1055 4th St. (New American) Open Daily.  Apparently owners are Jewish and Korean, and menu has both types of items. In addition, this is supposed to be the number one place in town for seafood. Has some upscale items but mostly it is very affordable. (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Khoom Lanna–107 4th St. (Thai) Open daily except Sun lunch (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  “Real” Thai food (reviews indicate that it’s true). Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Sazon–1129 Sebastopol Rd. (Peruvian) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it has excellent Peruvian food, but price is an issue (it’s also good to get reservations). Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Solvang

Bit O’Denmark–473 Alisal Rd. (Danish) Closed Mon & Thu.  Serves authentic Danish food. Had a smorgasbord (lunch & dinner) until the pandemic but now is just menu items. Reviewers generally think the price is high, and some say the quality is not quite there. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Danish Bakeries (there are several in town). One review on Yelp compares all of them with the following results (5-17-17):

  • Birkholm’s Bakery–460 Alisal Rd.  Best Cheese Danish
  • Danish Mill–1682 Copenhagen Dr.  Best Danish Waffle
  • Mortensen’s–1588 Mission Dr.  Best Pistachio Bar
  • Olsen’s–1529 Mission Dr.  Best Marzipan Pastries
  • Solvang Bakery–438 Alisal Rd.  Best Danish Bread (pastries are not as good as the other places)–(Note: all of these are open 9-13-21)

Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates–1679 Copenhagen Dr. (Candy store) Open daily 9 am to 5:30 pm.  Eric Dowdle on the show “Painting the Town” visited Solvang and recommended this as one of your “must visit” places. The recipes are from Denmark. They are best known for the chocolate candy and the ice cream. (Takeout only 7-21-21)

Paula’s Pancake House–1531 Mission Dr. (Danish) Open daily 6 am to 3 pm.  Mostly known for its Danish pancakes. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Solvang Restaurant–1672 Copenhagen Dr. (Danish) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Best known for its aebleskivers (very good topped with raspberry jam). Also has Belgian waffles. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Sonoma

La Salette–452 1st St. E. (Portuguese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5:00 pm).  Excellent reviews. Rest. is expensive, but worth the price. Authentic Portuguese, but also has Brazilian dishes. Soup and Portuguese stew are recommended, along with the entrees. Has 3 oz. wine tasting menu. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Taste of the Himalayas–464 1st St. E. (Nepali) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say the taste is close to the way it is in Nepal. Map (Dining room is open 12-2-21)

South Lake Tahoe

My Thai–2108 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Thai) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 5 pm). Owner is Indonesian, but reviewers say the Thai food is “authentic.” The curries have good reviews, so whether they are actually Thai or Indonesian, this seems to be a good thing to order. The main problem here seems to be the time it takes to get the food. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Orchids Authentic Thai–2180 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Thai) Open Daily (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm). Has items on the menu not normally found in Thai restaurants. Reviews say the Thai food is more authentic here than at My Thai but the service is not as good. Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Sprouts Cafe–3123 Harrison Ave. (Vegetarian) Open daily 9 am to 8 pm. This is in keeping with the “healthy” part of the mission statement for this list (apparently the “good food” criterion also applies). It is not strictly vegetarian–has tuna, turkey, and other meats. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Taste of Europe–4125 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Czech) Open Thu-Sat (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Not only seems to be very good food, but also good compared to other Czech restaurants. Goulash and stroganoff are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Stockton

Bayon–2233 Grand Canal Blvd. (Cambodian) Open daily 10 am to 7 pm.  Very casual, but perhaps more of a sit-down restaurant than Mitaphaep. It seems to be a good place to explore Cambodian food and find out what is good by getting things that are “safe” without sacrificing the authentic experience. Many dishes like noodle soup and things that are similar to Vietnamese food. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Mitaphaep–8028 N. Eldorado St. (Cambodian) Open daily 9 am to 7 pm.  Reviews are good and they say food is authentic. Sour soup is similar to Vietnamese canh chua and kathiew (beef noodle soup) is similar to pho (but many think they are better). Cash only. Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Tita’s Ihawan Filipino Cuisine–6 W. Main St. (Filipino) 10am to 7pm (9-2 on Sun).  Casual restaurant with food served on paper plates. Reviewers say it tastes home cooked and it is cheap. Map (Dining room is open 12-2-21)

Tokyo Ramen–5620 N. Pershing Ave. (Japanese) Closed Wed.  Good reviews and they have a large variety of ramen dishes (as well as other Japanese food). Map (Dining room is open 12-2-21)

Suisun City

BAI Cebu Lechon–303 Marina Center (Filipino) Lunch only (closed Mon & Tue).  Lechon is Filipino style pork, and this is the specialty here (they also have other dishes such as chicken). Reviewers say it is very authentic. (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Sukhothai–258 Sunset Ave. (Lao) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm). Lao sausage is very good. Has Thai and Lao food (both are popular). Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Tracy

Papa Urb’s Grill–549 W. Clover Rd. (Filipino) Open daily noon to 6 pm.  Said to be excellent & cheap food. Part of Stockton’s large Filipino community. Adobo and sisig are popular. Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Twain Harte

The Prospector–23092 Fuller Rd. (Pizza) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Menu changes daily and uses fresh and local ingredients. Web site does not say what kind of food they serve, but they make good use of their wood fired oven and also have fresh salads. The staple here is Neapolitan style pizza that is certified by VPN (it is also at a low price compared to other VPN restaurants). Reservations are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-18-21)

Ukiah

Lili Pad–311 N. State St. (Korean) Open 9 am to 5 pm (closed Sat & Sun).  Korean fusion, but it’s not dumbed-down Korean, but rather Korean combined with American (such as the bulgogi sandwich). Crepes are recommended for dessert. Map (Takeout only 12-2-21)

Tastebuds–405 S. State St. (Caribbean) Open 8 am to 5 pm (closed Sun).  A vegetarian and vegan restaurant that will make you really enjoy this kind of food. Specializes in Caribbean style food (such as jerk tofu). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Vacaville

Buddha Thai–2060 Harbison Dr. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  People come from surrounding towns to eat here. Best dishes are pad thai, drunken noodles, pad see ew, and basil dishes. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Clay Oven–400 Orange Dr. (Indian) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm. Good Indian food (northern style) with generous servings. Is in a rather old, downscale neighborhood, though. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Muay Thai–3039 Alamo Dr. (Thai) Open Daily. Serves Thai and Lao food, and I think the Lao dishes really set it apart from other Thai restaurants with a flavor that is different and that people like. The owners say the menu includes “original Isan home-style meals.” (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Roline’s Filipino–2048 Nut Tree Rd. (Filipino) Closed Mon (closes 6 pm; 5 pm on Sun).  Flavorful Filipino food that reviewers really like. One of their specialties is the halo halo (shaved ice and evaporated milk dessert). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Ventura

Beach House Fish–668 E. Harbor Blvd. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Waterfront restaurant that is more downscale than the expensive places (this one has clam chowder, seafood mac & cheese, peel & eat shrimp, fish & chips, as well as more expensive items if you want them. Has daily catch specials. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Himalaya–35 W. Main St. (Nepali) Dinner daily; Lunch Fri-Sun.  Reviewers say the food is delicious. Has Nepali style chow mein and a number of vegetarian items. Menu tells you whether you are getting Indian or Nepali spices. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Lure Fish House–60 S. California St. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Has locally sourced seafood. Charbroiled oysters, cioppino (Italian American fish stew), and trout almondine are recommended. Reviewers like the Happy Hour but I can’t tell from the web site when this is. This is part of a local chain and not on the waterfront, but food seems worthwhile. Outdoor patio is popular. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Rice by Mama–419 E. Main St. (Thai) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5:15 pm).  Seems to have all the standard Thai dishes as well as some not found at most restaurants. Seems to be high quality with good reviews. Map (Dining room is open 1-16-22)

Watsonville

La Perla del Pacifico–458 Main St. (Mexican) Open daily to 7 pm.  Nayarit style Mexican food–specializes in seafood (shrimp enchiladas, agua chile, tilapia tacos, etc.). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Sukhothai–1433 Main St. (Thai) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Flavors are said to be good, and from looking at the photos I think the curry is a good bet. This place has made a name for itself by having vegetarian and vegan food that is as flavorful as the meat version and not at an extra cost (tell the server if you want a vegetarian version of any dish). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Weed

Asian-American Bar-B-Q–10 N. Weed Blvd. (Asian Fusion) Closed Mon.  Specializes in Asian style barbecue meat. The owner apparently is Lao, but the food is described as “Asian fusion” (and many people rave about it). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Phet’s Kitchen–590 Main St. (:Lao).  Seems to be more traditional Lao style than Asian-American BBQ, and people come here for more authentic Asian food (rather than fusion or American style). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Yountville

Bistro Jeanty–6510 Washington St. (French) Open Daily.  Authentic French bistro. Expensive (but falls short of $$$$). One of the more popular wine country rests. (Once had a Michelin star, but patrons believe it is just as good now as before). Coq au vin one of the best anywhere. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

La Calenda–6518 Washington St. (Mexican) Dinner Wed-Sun; Lunch Fri-Sun.  The accounts I have seen indicate that this is very authentic and upscale Mexican food with the type of quality and flavor that it is hard to find even in Mexico (thus it would be worthwhile coming here to see some of the things that it is possible to do with Mexican food). Map (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Yreka

Nature’s Kitchen–412 S. Main St. (New American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  If you can envision using the words “scrumptious” and “vegetarian” in the same sentence, then this is probably the place for you–reviewers say the food is excellent (it specializes in vegetarian but is not totally vegetarian). Map (Dining room is open 12-2-21)

Yuba City

Sun’s Cafe–646 Gray Ave. (Korean) Open 7 am to 2:30pm (closed Sun).  American food, Korean food, or a combination of the two are all popular here. Map (Dining room is open 9-13-21)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

The following are locally owned restaurants that are distinguished by their timeless appeal, and which serve quality food that represents the character of their communities:

  • Bakersfield: Noriega’s–525 Sumner St. (now at 4809 Stockdale Hwy.)
  • St. Helena: Gott’s Roadside–933 Main St.

Sources:

James Beard Foundation (America’s Classics Award Winners)

Chowhound (former web site)

Eater “The Central Valley is the Heart and Soul of California” (Mexican Food)

Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

Google Maps

Roadfood

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

VPN Americas (California)

Yelp (California)

Zomato (Fresno)