Restaurant Guide–San Francisco

Restaurant Guide Main Index


California

Los Angeles | Orange County | San Bernardino/Riverside | San Diego


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

Alameda

Bhan Mae Vane–1511 Webster St. (Lao) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  This seems to be a destination restaurant for Lao food, with a large selection of items and reviewers saying they are very good. Map (Dining room is open with limited capacity 12-17-21)

Phnom Penh House–1514 Webster St. (Cambodian) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  People say the food here is excellent. The only thing is that it is different from Thai food in that it relies more on the freshness of the food and subtle flavors rather than spices, etc. Asian crepe is one of many interesting looking items (this is similar to the Vietnamese banh xeo). Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Albany

Everest Kitchen–1150 Solano Ave. (Nepalese) Closed Tue.  Reviewers say this is one of the better Nepalese restaurants because the food is not oily or overspiced (which I read as not overdoing it on the cumin). Has a pretty extensive menu including chow mein. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Berkeley

Note: Berkeley has a vaccine passport mandate for indoor dining.

Great China–2190 Bancroft Way (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Said to be a good place to go if you want to try northern Chinese food that is not Americanized. Has a good tea selection. Does not have an outdoor patio but you can call for open air pickup. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Imm Thai Street Food–2068 University Ave. (Thai) Open Daily.  I honestly do not know how authentic it is, but from the photos it looks very visually appealing, and reviewers say it is very good. In 2019 there was about a 45 minute wait to get a table much of the time–I don’t know about post-pandemic. Note: Yimm in Oakland is its sister restaurant and SF Eater says Yimm is more understated (less chile and use of things like kaffir lime. Map  (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Kiraku–2566 Telegraph Ave. (Japanese) Closed Mon & Tue (dinner only). Japanese tapas restaurant with a wide variety of dishes. Advice from reviewers is to order anything that looks interesting (it is all good). Not a sushi place– this is an Izakaya restaurant (but they have sushi also). There is a $15 minimum to eat here (or $30 if you make a reservation). It seems to be worth it for the type of Japanese food that it is hard to find in the U.S. Wait (without a reservation) can be up to 2 hrs. on weekends. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Udupi Palace–1903 University Ave. (Indian) Closed Tue. South Indian vegetarian. Thali is good (I really liked the former Seattle location–I recommend thali sampler plate). Dosa is also very popular. Also in SF. (Takeout only 8-4-21)

Burlingame

Copenhagen–1216 Burlingame Ave. (Danish) Open daily 6 am to 6 pm. This is a bakery and cafe. Some say it’s as close to true Danish as you can get in the U.S. Pastries, sandwiches, Danish meatballs. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Mokutanya–1155 California Dr. (Japanese) Open daily (dinner only).  A destination Japanese restaurant that is not terribly expensive, but has enthusiastic fans for its hard to find authentic and delicious dishes. Black garlic ramen is one of the specialties (this is an izakaya restaurant–not primarily a sushi one). (This seems to be a place to come with friends–they give you individual rooms for each table). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Concord

Aung MayLiKa–1050 Contra Costa Blvd. (Burmese) Open daily (closed 2:30 to 4:30 pm weekdays).  Google Maps says it is a casual place serving Burmese comfort food. Green tea salad is the most popular dish, but has other good choices as well (such as coconut rice and spicy mango tofu). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Chopan Kabob–2699 Monument Blvd. (Afghan) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it is not the best Afghan restaurant in the Bay Area, but the Chapli Kabob (their specialty) is one of the must eats of the area. (Also in San Ramon and Elk Grove). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Corte Madero

Burmatown–60 Corte Madero Ave. (Burmese) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Excellent reviews, but restaurant is very small. It is recommended to go at the most off-peak time possible (but food is said to be authentic and very worthwhile). Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Cupertino

Red Hot Wok–10074 E. Estates Dr. (Taiwanese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:15 to 5 pm). Reviewers say this is one of their favorite Taiwanese restaurants in the Bay Area. This is pretty much everyday comfort food (not expensive or high end). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Yayoi–20682 Homestead Rd. (Japanese) Open daily 12 pm to 8 pm.  Japanese Teishoku restaurant (several small dishes served with steamed rice). Has very good reviews. Udon and katsu are popular items. Also in Palo Alto. (Takeout and delivery only 7-16-21)

Daly City

Chibog–2055 Gellert Blvd. (Filipino) Open until 6 pm (closed Mon).  Reviews are not as good as Boracay Garden in South San Francisco, but there seems to be plenty here that is very flavorful (it would be best to read on-line reviews to see what they recommend). Probably cheaper than Boracay also. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Taste of Burma–2025 Gellert Blvd. (Burmese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5 weekdays).  I think some reviews have said that Burma Superstar is the best Burmese restaurant in the Bay Area, but this one is very good also, especially when compared to the vast areas of the US who do not have Burmese food. There are about 50 items on the menu, although I keep hearing that at any Burmese restaurant you should start out with tea leaf salad. Some complain about the prices here vs. other Burmese restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

El Cerrito

Note: Contra Costa Co. requires diners to have a vaccine passport or a negative Covid test from the past three days.

99 Ranch Market–3288 Pierce St. (Grocery Store) Open Daily.  Good place for Asian groceries. Nearby, though, are a number of small Asian restaurants, dessert shops, etc. that look interesting. (Store is open 8-20-21)

New Dumpling–10064 San Pablo Ave. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  Some say this is the best dumpling place in the East Bay. Green onion pancake is recommended. Located about 4 blocks from the BART station. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Tashi Delek Cuisine–11224 San Pablo Ave. (Nepalese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Suggested by Eater SF because it has four cuisines: Tibetan hand pulled noodles and meat pies, Indian food including the Indo-Chinese gobi Manchurian, Nepalese momos (they like chicken with jhol sauce), and Bhutanese (they don’t say what dishes). Has Nepalese chow mein, and Eater recommends the lamb curry. Nepalese thali available at lunch time. I don’t think they have any outdoor dining. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Zomsa–10558 San Pablo Ave. (Himalayan) Closed Wed.  Prices are very good for the Bay Area, and the Himalayan dishes seem to be especially flavorful. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Foster City

Joy–1489 Beach Park Blvd. (Taiwanese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Has a “secret” Chinese menu which is a favorite with Chowhounds (it’s actually written on cards on the wall). The regular menu is Hong Kong, Sichuanese and Taiwanese. Reviews in late 2018 and 2019 indicate that it is now “uneven.” Part of the problem is that the landlord raised the rent and they can no longer afford to serve the cheap dishes (such as Taiwanese pancakes). They do say, though, that they have authentic Taiwanese food. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Fremont

De Afghanan Cuisine–37395 Fremont Blvd. (Afghan) Closed Mon (and closed from 3:30 to 5 pm).  Eater SF says De Afghanan is probably the most famous Afghan restaurant in America’s most famous Afghan community (I think a section of Oakland is called “Little Kabul” — De Afghanan is not there but it has 3 locations in the Bay Area) . Eater says it is a sit-down restaurant with bolani (stuffed flatbreads) and rice dishes on the menu but the kebabs are main event — especially the lamb and the thin, crisp-edged meat patties known as chapli kebab. Outdoor dining is available. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Din Ding Dumpling House–3213 Walnut Ave. (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  This is a Shanghai style noodle and dumpling house. Xiao long bao (with pork) is said to be excellent, but has many other excellent dishes as well. This is said to be a good alternative to the higher priced dumpling houses and is said to be the same quality (but perhaps not exactly the same menu). Also in Union City. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Kyain Kyain–3649 Thornton Ave. (Burmese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Like other Burmese restaurants the tea leaf salad is said to be a must try, and other dishes are said to be very good as well. However, this may be more reasonably priced than other places (and just as good, according to reviews). Eater says this is where the Burmese go to eat. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Line Thai–3964 Washington Blvd. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Opened in 2017, and many had been anxiously awaiting it. Reviewers say the curry is spot on, but the pad thai is really the special dish here (because they do it right and so many other restaurants do not). Spice levels are at Thai levels (so be cautious when ordering). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Myanmar Tea Garden–41063 Fremont Blvd. (Burmese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Tea salad is a popular dish–reviewers say the food here is especially flavorful. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Shanghai Flavor–46132 Warm Springs Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Mon  (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Has a very large menu of authentic dishes. Many say skip the xiao long bao (it is better at other restaurants). This place, though, has many items you may not find in other restaurants so this would be a good opportunity. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Half Moon Bay

Barbara’s Fishtrap–281 Capistrano Rd. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Clam chowder, fish & chips. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Monsoon Himalayan–20 Stone Pine Rd. (Nepalese) Dinner only (closed Tue).  This is said to be one of the best Himalayan restaurants in the Bay Area (Little Nepal and Cuisine of Nepal are said to be the ones that would be comparable). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Hayward

Ghanzi Afghan Kabobs–1235 A St. (Afghan) Open daily except Sun evening. Main item is kabobs, but they are served with rice, salad, bread, etc., and reviewers say it is very good. Has an outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Golden Safari–22431 Foothill Blvd. (Nigerian) Closed Sat (and closed from 2:45 to 4 pm).  Reviewers say this is very good food if you like it spicy (it is very spicy). Egusi soup and pounded yam are a combination that many order. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Los Altos

Estrellita–971 N. San Antonio Rd. (Mexican) Dinner daily; Lunch Fri-Sun.  Mostly a pretty standard Mexican restaurant, but the best dishes on the menu are Yucatan and Oaxaca style. This seems to be one of the best “sit-down” Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Noodle Talk Home Cuisine–4546 El Camino Real (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:15 to 5 pm).  Authentic Hunan cuisine, but I think the “home cuisine” means that it is casual, inexpensive, and is more home style food than “banquet style.” (Dining room is open 7-16-21)

Millbrae

Ben Tre–219 El Camino Real (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  This is a “homestyle” Vietnamese restaurant that reminds Vietnamese people of home. It is not a special occasion restaurant and they do not have any special dishes–just ones that show you what people in Vietnam eat on a daily basis (and for this it is a good choice). Also in S. San Francisco. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Hong Kong Flower Lounge–51 Millbrae Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Seems to be the No. 1 place in the Bay Area for dim sum (rec. by Chowhound). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Hubei–1055 El Camino Real (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Authentic food from Hubei Province (and city of Wuhan). Some comments say that the Hubei food is not that great, but the hot-dry noodle is really worthwhile (and is the specialty of the restaurant). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Stick & Steam–350 Adrian Rd. (Singaporean) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers who have been to Singapore say you get the same food here. May be a little expensive, but it seems to be because it is good quality. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Wonderful–270 Broadway (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Hunan style food that is said to be the spiciest in China (spicier then Sichuan). The flavor, though, seems to be excellent. Stir fried pork and marinated tofu seems like a good dish to try. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Milpitas

Banana Leaf–182 Ranch Dr. (Malaysian) Closed Sun (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm weekdays).  I think this is the place to go for Malaysian in the Bay Area (has the best reviews). Mango chicken is popular, and my experience in Seattle indicates that this may be a good bet. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Chili Garden–210 Barber Ct. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30pm).  Hunan style (said to be one of 2 authentic Hunan rests. in the Bay Area–the other Hunan rest. was in Sunnyvale but is now closed-one that recently opened in Los Altos may also be authentic).  House special Chili Garden beef, sour cabbage bamboo pork (ask for Chinese menu). (Dining room is open 7-16-21)

Layang Layang–181 W. Calaveras Blvd. (Malaysian) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm weekdays). Is as highly rated by customers as Banana Leaf, but not recommended as much by the food writers. Nevertheless it has a varied menu, the food looks very good, and I don’t think you can go wrong at either place. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Miles Bistro–1525 Landess Ave. (Filipino) Open 11-6; 10:30-6 Sat & Sun (closed Mon).  A very “off the radar” restaurant that seems to be very good with authentic Filipino food. It does seem to be a little pricey, but has interesting looking items. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Vung Tau–1750 N. Milpitas Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Popular Vietnamese restaurant with a general menu (doesn’t specialize in a particular dish). Dishes like noodle bowls (bun) and sweet and sour soup (canh chua) are said to be very good, as well as other dishes that are not widely available such as lemongrass grill spare ribs. One reviewer who frequents Vietnamese restaurants in the South Bay stated that this is the only long-running restaurant that has not cut corners or gone down in quality over time. (Also in Newark). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Mountain View

Caspian–1910 W. El Camino Real (Persian) Open daily except Sun evening.  Reviewers say the quality is good and they make good use of herbs and spices for a very nice flavor. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Napoletana Pizzeria–1910 W. El Camino Real (Pizza) Dinner daily; Lunch Sat & Sun.  Certified as authentic Neapolitan pizza by VPN. Other items served look authentic and upscale (but only medium priced). Has an outdoor patio that helps ensure they have room for all diners who want to come. Map (Dining room is open at limited capacity 12-18-21)

Oakland

A16–5356 College Ave. (Italian) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Described as a Southern Italian restaurant, but is on the list because it has authentic Neapolitan pizza certified by VPN. Reviewers say they are disappointed that the menu has been pared down after the pandemic (I think they mean the rest of the menu and not the pizza) but that it is still good. Some say order the daily specials because they are always fresh and very good. Also in SF. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Anula’s Cafe–1319 Franklin St. (Sri Lankan) Open Mon-Fri 7 am to 4 pm.  Reviewers say they have delicious food such as items with the coconut sauce. Yelp lists this as the only Sri Lankan restaurant in the Bay Area (there is also a food truck that serves this cuisine). Map (Takeout and delivery only 2-20-22)

Barcote–6430 Telegraph Ave. (Ethiopian) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Combo plates (meat or vegetarian) are the most popular items here (and from looking at their web site I would say they are pretty reasonably priced). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Champa Garden–2102 8th Ave. (Lao) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  To me everything looks good, and reviews seem to support it. Lao Tae has better reviews, but it seems to have fewer items and has different hours. I would say take your pick (Champa Garden looks less expensive and more home style). Also in SF. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Da Nang Quan–615 E. 12th St. (Vietnamese) Open 9 am to 7 pm (closed Thu). One of the best places for authentic Vietnamese (although Oakland has a large concentration of similar restaurants). Bun Bo Hue and banh xeo are specialties, but has a number of hard to find dishes. Specializes in central Vietnamese cuisine (Hue style). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Doña–3770 Piedmont Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Popular during the pandemic because it has a large outdoor dining area. Food gets good reviews. Coming from El Paso the menu doesn’t look very exotic but it looks like a good find. (Dining room and outdoor patio are open 8-20-21)

FOB Kitchen–5179 Telegraph Ave. (Filipino) Dinner Wed-Sun; lunch Fri-Sun.  Several things stand out here including the variety of dishes they serve, how good it looks visually from the photos, and the reviews it gets (other Filipino restaurants in the Bay Area also have a large variety of dishes though). I think this is one of the places that is worth seeking out. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Kingston 11 Cuisine–2270 Telegraph Ave. (Jamaican) Open Wed-Sat only.  Recommended by Eater SF, especially the curry goat. Has a small outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Lao Tae–6516 Moraga Ave. (Lao) Open Daily.  Food seems to be very flavorful and uniformly good. Lao sausage and crispy pork belly are particularly popular. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

New Gold Medal–389 8th St. (Chinese) Open daily (open late night).  Very authentic Cantonese food. Seems to have good food, but I get the impression that the staff expects you to know what you are ordering and some end up with items they do not like. Dry style chow fun is recommended. Has an extremely large menu (as most authentic Cantonese restaurants do). Serves food without MSG if you order it that way. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Phnom Penh–3912 MacArthur Blvd. (Cambodian) Closed Sun.  It is billed as Cambodian, but actually has Thai and Lao dishes as well. Cambodian food seems to be good, but many people order the other items because they are more familiar with them (and say they are very good as well). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Pyeong Chang Tofu House–4701 Telegraph Ave. (Korean) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Eater SF says this is the most satisfying out of the string of Korean restaurants along Telegraph Ave. Several good dishes but its namesake tofu stew is highly recommended. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

See’s Candies–1 Airport Dr. (Candy Store) Open Daily.  See’s Candies are sold all over the Bay Area, but I am listing the Oakland Airport because I bought them here. I was frequently able to get chocolates made by another company based in Chicago, but when I had a chance to get See’s I found it to be a special treat. Map (In-store shopping 12-3-21)

Shandong–328 10th St. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 4 pm).  I think it is Shandong cuisine but described as Mandarin. Came up as the No. 1 Chinese restaurant in Oakland on Yelp. Hand pulled noodles (good with sesame sauce), dan dan noodles, eggplant, Shandong chicken, dumplings. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Twins Halal House–2608 Market St. (Afghan) Closed Mon.  Healthy and organic Afghan food that reviews indicate is the must-try place for Afghan cuisine (varies from some other restaurants because nothing is frozen and it uses minimal oil for frying). Said to be fresh and full of seasoning. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Vientian Cafe–3801 Allendale Ave. (Lao) Closed Tue (and closed from 4 to 5 pm).  Good reviews for the food, and you get a lot for your money. Nam kao (crunchy rice ball salad), Lao sausage, papaya salad, catfish steamed in banana leaves, noodle soup, curry, and coconut soup are recommended. Has a menu of Lao specialties that are unlikely to be found in other restaurants. Map (Takeout only 12-18-21)

Palo Alto

Chef Zhao Kitchen–2180 W. Bayshore Rd. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5:00pm).  Chef Zhao appeared on the Yan Can Cook show and prepared a couple of notable dishes–fish and ma po tofu (both of which have good reviews at the restaurant and appear to be authentic). Reviewers also recommend Lanzhou beef noodle soup, chili chicken, and dan dan noodles (and say the Sichuan boiled fish is very good). Has xiao long bao. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Ettan–518 Bryant St. (Indian) Dinner Tue-Sun; Brunch Sun.  SF Eater’s top choice for Indian in the South Bay–has both modern and traditional dishes, and has many regional flavors from South India (many are not likely to be found in other restaurants). Expensive if you get meat items such as lamb, but has moderately priced items that look like they have the flavors that set this place apart from others. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Telefèric Barcelona–855 El Camino Real (Spanish) Open daily (closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Tapas restaurant with very good reviews. I think the price adds up quickly if you order several items, but reviewers do not say it is too much but only be aware of it. I have heard that American tapas restaurants do not really give you the same experience that you get in Spain, but this place looks like it may come very close (at least as far as the food is concerned). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Terún–448 California Ave. (Italian) Dinner daily; lunch Thu-Sun.  Reviewers say the food is good but not great except when it come to the pizza which is certified as being authentic Neapolitan style by VPN. The restaurant says their other food is authentic as well, and I would not discount it because I have found much of the authentic food to be very good, but less spiced than many Americans are used to and therefore they do not always like it. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Pleasanton

Experience Burma–221 Division St. (Burmese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Reviews indicate that this is as good as any Burmese restaurant in the Bay Area, and prices are good as well. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Richmond

Note: Contra Costa Co. requires diners to have a vaccine passport or a negative Covid test from the past three days.

Huong Tra–12221 San Pablo Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Said to be a neighborhood favorite (is probably not a destination restaurant for the entire Bay Area). However, reviews and description of the food are very good, and I think there are many things here I would like to try (menu is pretty extensive). (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

San Francisco

Note: San Francisco requires diners to have a vaccine passport and does not accept a negative Covid test. Those without a passport are allowed to sit in outdoor patios.

Beijing–1801 Alemany Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 8:45 pm. Beijing style. Reviewers say it’s the most authentic Beijing style rest. in SF. Beijing street pancakes, beef noodle soup, dumplings are recommended. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Bund Shanghai–640 Jackson St. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Tue).  Shanghai and Mandarin style. Said to be very good. Has XLB but reviewers recommend that you explore the menu. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Burma Superstar–309 Clement St. (Burmese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm). Reviewers say it is authentic. Google Maps says it is famed for its tea leaf salad (made with fermented tea leaves–in 2021 is only available to dine-in customers because of the global supply chain problems). Samosa soup, chicken tofu kabat, pork curry, coconut rice are also recommended. Some also say to get the three flowers celebration tea. Has outdoor dining at lunch hours. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Champa Garden–613 Faxon Ave. (Lao) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Rice ball salad, drunken noodles, coconut soup are recommended. Also a Champa Garden in Oakland but I don’t know if they are related. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

De Afghanan–1035 Geary St. (Afghan) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Seems to be an excellent place to try authentic Afghan food. However it is a very casual place that mostly serves kabobs. It is the variety of kabobs and the side dishes served that make it much more interesting than the average kabob restaurant. Also in Tracy, and takeout only in Fremont. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Dim Sum Bistro–675 Broadway (Chinese) Open daily 8 am to 3 pm.  This is rated as the no. 1 dim sum restaurant on Yelp. Reviewers say it has some very good items (i.e. shrimp dumpling, steamed pork bun, siu mai, shrimp and chives dumpling). There are others they say to skip. Two important factors in its number 1 rating are its price (cheaper than most) and the fact that it is in a “good area” (I don’t know where the bad area is but they mentioned Broadway Dim Sum Cafe as being in it). (Takeout only 9-10-21)

Golden Crab House–1830 Irving St. (Seafood) Closed Mon & closed Tue lunch.  This is a Vietnamese style seafood restaurant, but you can get “regular” (non-Asian style) seafood if you want. House garlic noodles seem to be the most popular side dish to go with the seafood. Dungeness crab seems to be its seafood specialty. Popular for its fixed dinners for 2, 4, 10 etc people, but diners can order individual items as well. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Hon’s Wun-Tun House–648 Kearney St. (Chinese) Open 10 am to 7 pm (closed Sun). Authentic Hong Kong style noodle house (one of the few really authentic places in Chinatown). Serves many versions of wun tun (wonton) soup–all of them seem to be good. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

House of Dim Sum–735 Jackson St. (Chinese) Open daily 6:45 am to 6 pm.  Menu consists of dim sum, noodles, and congee. Reviewers say dim sum is the authentic version from Guangdong and is not Americanized. They also say orders are very large (although the on-line menu indicates they are not much more expensive than at most dim sum restaurants). (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

House of Nanking–919 Kearney St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Owners are from Shanghai but the wife’s dad was from Nanking (I think they have both types of food in the restaurant). Some reviewers say a good strategy here is to ask the restaurant to bring them something they would recommend. They also have Nanking sesame chicken and probably other dishes that are representative of this cuisine. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Kantine–1906 Market St. (Scandinavian) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Upscale restaurant for Danish and Swedish food that is fresh and organic (looks very good). Menu changes daily. For breakfast I think you will get more of a brunch than typical breakfast food. Outdoor dining available. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Ken Kee Cafe–2109 Clement St. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Thu).  A Google search for dim sim without MSG turned up this restaurant, except that it is a full menu Cantonese/Hong Kong restaurant and not dim sum. The rating for this restaurant is higher than most others in Chinatown, including the ones I put on this list. Reviewers say it is one of the best bangs for the buck. Has authentic food, and some items take 30 or 40 minutes to prepare. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Kui Shin Bo–22 Peace Plaza (Japanese) Closed Mon.  Home style Japanese. Is a “full menu” Japanese restaurant. Fresh fish specials are good. Mainly a lunch place (good prices for lunch) but it’s open to 8 pm. I don’t think it has any outdoor dining. (Another location at 1424 Lombard St. that is smaller but is open later and offers a combo special). Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Lime Tree–836 Clement St. (Malaysian) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say you get good food and good prices. The city’s only Indonesian restaurant closed during the Covid period and reviewers recommend this as an alternative. There is another location at 450 Irving St. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Mandalay–4348 California St. (Burmese) Closed Tue (Dinner Wed-Mon; lunch Fri-Sun).  Not only is this a hard to find cuisine, but the restaurant gets excellent reviews. Tea leaf salad, sauteed green beans, chicken in garlic sauce. Reviewers say it is Burmese-Chinese, so Burma Superstar might be more authentic. Reviewers are particularly disappointed with the tea leaf salad, but like the curry chicken, fish soup, singapore noodles, balada, mango chicken, mango salad, and others. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Muracci’s Japanese Curry–307 Kearney St. (Japanese) Lunch only (closed Sun). It is actually open until 7 pm Mon-Thu, but some reviewers say they frequently run out of their best dishes earlier than this. I think this is probably one of the things that makes it good (everything is fresh and things are not prepared in large quantities). The specialty here is Japanese curry, which many people get with chicken katsu. The menu seems to be fairly limited but something really worth trying if you are a fan of Japanese food. (4-4-19)

Plaj–333 Fulton St. (Swedish) Open daily (dinner only).  Expensive and maybe dress up, but it’s a good chance to try a full menu of Swedish food (there are not many in the U.S.). (4-30-19)

Poc Chuc–2886 16th St. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Small restaurant that looks like a hole in the wall but is known for its Mayan food (such as cochinita pibil). Has 2 outdoor tables, and not many more than that inside. Yucatasia at 2164 Mission St. also has good reviews. I’m listing these because Pibil Restaurant in San Rafael is apparently closed. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Shanghai Dumpling King–696 Monterey Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Recently moved to new location. Notes from the old location: best XLB in SF, and maybe the U.S; small place–cash only. New place seems to be the same, but I’m not sure about the cash only part. Some say the XLB here is better than in Shanghai. Also has a location in Millbrae. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

The Grotto–2847 Taylor St. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Touristy place–expensive with a good view, but my parents said this was their favorite seafood place in SF (the best food for the money). I do not think there is any outdoor dining at the restaurant. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Ton Kiang–5821 Geary Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Wed. Dim sum served all day. One of the most popular dim sum places in SF. There is lots of competition, so it’s hard to say which one is best. If you come here try the Shanghai meat dumpling, mushrooms and shrimp, ha gao, onion pancakes, egg custard tarts. (4-4-19)

Udupi Palace–1007 Valencia St. (Indian) Open Daily. South Indian vegetarian. Thali is good (I really liked the former Seattle location–I recommend thali sampler plate). Dosa is also very popular. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Yank Sing–101 Spear St. (Chinese) Closed Mon & Tue; Open to 7 pm Wed-Fri; lunch only Sat & Sun. In the running for best dim sum in SF. XLB is excellent also. 100 varieties of dim sum. Down side is that it is expensive, even for San Francisco. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

San Jose

ASJ–1698 Hostetter Rd. (Taiwanese) Open Daily.  Possibly the best Taiwanese street food in Bay Area.  Most people like beef noodle soup, but other items are good also. Cash only. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Bacalhau–1555 Alum Rock Ave. (Portuguese) Open daily 9 am to 7 pm.  Portuguese and Brazilian restaurant–authentic (not the typical Brazilian steakhouse or similar type restaurant). Looks like typical food–not expensive or upscale. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Khaosan Thai–2062 Curtner Ave. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm weekdays).  Very good reviews. Has northern style sausage, papaya salad, and other dishes from the north (but I believe it has southern Thai dishes as well). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Nam Thanh Banh Canh 3 Mien–958 Story Rd. (Vietnamese) Open 9 am to 8 pm (closed Thu).  Located on a street lined with Vietnamese restaurants, and this is one of the highest rated and most popular. Specialty is banh canh (Vietnamese udon noodle soup), said to be richly flavored and filling. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Popular Bakery–1636 Alum Rock Ave. (Bakery) 7am to 2 pm Tue-Sat.  Portuguese bakery. Egg tarts, queijadas, meringue are popular. Rec. by Doug in Mesa (from Chowhound). Map (Takeout only 2-20-22)

Santouka Ramen–675 Saratoga Ave. (Japanese) Open daily 11 am to 8:30 pm.  Maybe the best authentic Japanese ramen in the U.S., but some reviewers say it is good but not exactly like it is in Japan. Cash only. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Zeni–1320 Saratoga Ave. (Ethiopian) Closed Mon.  Apparently the best Ethiopian in the Bay Area. Vegetarian combo plate gets the best reviews. Map (Takeout only 2-20-22)

San Leandro

Kendejah–197 Pelton Center Way (Liberian) Open Daily.  Said to have West African comfort food (specifically from Liberia) such as oxtail stew, jollof rice, and palm butter stew topped with a crab leg (one reviewer says the jollof rice is best). Map (Takeout only until Covid measures are lifted 2-20-22)

San Rafael

El Lucerito–767 Lincoln Ave. (Guatemalan) Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.  Reviewers say it has authentic Guatemalan food. Many recommend the breakfast. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Yet Wah–1238 4th St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say this is the best Chinese food in Marin County (if you don’t want to cross the bridge into San Francisco).  Has some authentic items on the menu. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Santa Clara

China Stix–2110 El Camino Real (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2 to 3:45 pm weekdays).  One big reason to eat here is that it does not use MSG. Ratings, though, are less than convincing except for the dim sum served 11 am to 2 pm Sat & Sun (I think it is not easy to find good dim sum without MSG). Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Din Tai Fung–2855 Stevens Creek Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Shanghai style dumpling restaurant with Xiao Long Bao. Good reviews compared to several similar restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Orenchi Ramen–3540 Homestead Rd. (Japanese) Open daily (closed from 2 to 5:30 pm).  Ramen restaurant that is particularly noted for its good broth, and some describe it as solid but not particularly the best in the Bay Area. Tonkatsu is recommended. Patrons say it is not uncommon to have a 30 min. wait to get into the restaurant. (Dining room is open 7-16-21)

Tay Ho–2047 El Camino Real (Vietnamese) Open daily 10:30 am to 9 pm.  Banh cuon is the specialty here. I had it in Oklahoma City in the now closed Tay Ho restaurant (a chain with most restaurants in California, apparently including this one). I recommend it as much as the reviewers of this restaurant do. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Saratoga

Indo Cafe–14443 Big Basin Way (Indonesian) Dinner Wed-Sun; Lunch Thu-Sun (closed Mon).  Food is said to be authentic and spicy as it would be in Indonesia. The coconut rice is said to be one of the best items (get it with your choice of meat). Some reviewers say they increased the price in Nov 2021 to the point that they do not want to return, but this may be the case with many Bay Area restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Note: there is another Indonesian restaurant in Palo Alto that also seems to have good food, but reviewers are discouraging people from going because of their prices (I think it is higher than Indo Cafe).

Mint Leaf–14420 Big Basin Way (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Upscale and innovative Thai food in a way that I think I would like to try it (even though I usually think the more traditional the better). Lunch menu has interesting choices and is reasonably priced by Bay Area standards. Dinner has more choices and is either a little more expensive (for the vegetarian menu) or quite a bit higher (for seafood, etc.). It is also said to be dog friendly (I think on the outdoor patio). Map (Dining room and outdoor patio are open 2-21-22)

South San Francisco

Boracay Garden–269 El Camino Real (Filipino) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  This seems to be the best and most authentic Filipino restaurant in the Bay Area. It is more expensive than some of the others, but most dishes seem to be in the $15 range (not bad for the Bay Area). Also an advantage here is less greasy food and a very clean restaurant and restrooms. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Sunnyvale

Chelokababi–1236 S. Wolfe Rd. (Persian) Closed Mon & Tue lunch.  Good food, but more expensive than it might be in other cities (also seems to have more menu choices). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Saravanaa Bhavan–1305 S. Mary Ave. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  South Indian/Sri Lankan vegetarian restaurant. Some say this is the best South Indian rest. in the U.S. (there is also one in New York). Dosa, rasmalai. Serves thali. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)


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

Ethnic Population Centers in the Bay Area
(as a way to find authentic food and meals they would have at home)

  • Afghan–Fremont, Oakland
  • Burmese–Daly City, Fremont, San Francisco, San Jose
  • Cambodian–Oakland
  • Chinese–San Francisco (and likely many others)
  • Ethiopian–Oakland
  • Filipino–Daly City, Milpitas
  • Guatemalan–San Francisco, San Rafael
  • Indian–San Jose, Cupertino, Fremont, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara
  • Italian–San Francisco (North Beach is the historic Italian area)
  • Japanese–Alameda (this is the historic Japanese area)
  • Korean–Santa Clara, San Jose
  • Lao–Oakland, Richmond, San Pablo
  • Portuguese–Oakland, San Jose, San Leandro, Newark
  • Vietnamese–San Jose

Best Restaurants

Burmese

Eater’s Guide to Eating Burmese in the Bay Area–Dec. 12, 2018. (This is a guide to finding the best version of each dish)

    • Mohinga–Donut Delight–34554 Alvarado Niles Rd., Union City
    • Shan Noodles–Ledu–749 Hickey Blvd., Pacifica
    • Pyay Paratha–Tharaphu Burmese Street Food, 90 Franklin St., Oakland
    • Ohn No Khao Swe–Happy Myanmar Cafe, 2025 Gellert Blvd, Daly City
    • Curries–Golden Burma, 15 Boardman St., San Francisco
    • Danbauk (Chicken Biryani)–Burmese Kitchen, 3815 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
    • Platha & Dip–Burma Superstar, 390 Clement St., San Francisco
    • “Everything on the Menu” (don’t miss the tea leaf salad)–Kyain Kyain, 3649 Thornton Ave., Fremont
    • Samusa Soup–Mandalay, 4348 California St., San Francisco
    • Garlic Noodles (House Noodles)–Yamo, 3406 18th St., San Francisco

Sources:

Chowhound (San Francisco)

Eater San Francisco (9 Flavorful Indian Restaurants Around the South Bay)

Eater San Francisco (38 Essential Restaurants in the East Bay)

Eater San Francisco (Eater’s Guide to Eating Burmese in the Bay Area)

Google Maps

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

VPN Americas (California)

Wikipedia (List of ethnic enclaves in North American Cities)

Yelp (San Francisco)

Zomato (San Francisco)

Restaurant Guide–San Bernardino/Riverside

Restaurant Guide Main Index


California

Los Angeles | Orange County | San DiegoSan Francisco


  • 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.  Basque food that reviewers say is better than in Nevada & Idaho. However, the restaurant says it is “Basque inspired” (so maybe some things are have been changed to make them less authentic but more flavorful). (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

Coachella

Carnitas La Piedad–49625 CA-86 (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 6 pm. 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. (Dining room is open 10-4-21)

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)

Kra Z Kai’s Laotian Barbeque–1218 Magnolia Ave. (Lao) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Lao restaurant that specializes in short ribs, chicken, and other BBQ meat (Asian BBQ just means that it is slow cooked). Lao sausage is also recommended. Papaya salad is spicy, but there are no surprises and you will know what is spicy and what is not. One person said this is real, everyday Laotian food (and this is what makes it so good). Also in Stanton, CA. (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

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

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 11-16-21)

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 (Riverside)

Eater Los Angeles (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–Orange County

Restaurant Guide Main Index


California

Los Angeles | San Bernardino/Riverside | San Diego | San Francisco


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

Anaheim

Aleppo’s Kitchen–513 S. Brookhurst St. (Syrian) Open Daily. Said to have legit Syrian food. Voted “Best Middle Eastern” by OC Weekly. Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

E-San Rod-Sap–1719 W. La Palma Ave. (Thai) Open 10 am to 6 pm (closed Tue). Northeastern Thailand (E-San) style food with very good reviews. When I have had this type of food before I particularly liked the pad thai (and some of the reviews I have read confirm that this place has the real deal). However, there are a number of other dishes that are not common in Thai restaurants and that will have an authentic spice scale if you order them here. Cash only. Note: the Thai and Laos Market is next door. Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

Jagerhaus–2525 E. Ball Rd. (German) Closed Mon; Opens 9 am; closes 7 pm Tue-Thu; closes 9 pm Fri-Sun.  Famous for its breakfast (German potato pancake with lemon and sugar).  Many people also like the lunch and dinner menu (Schnitzel and Bratwurst get a lot of good comments). Most people, though, say to go for breakfast. (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Lindo Michoacan–327 S. Anaheim Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (serves breakfast).  Some say it is the best and most authentic Mexican rest. in Orange County. However, it is a taco restaurant, so the menu is somewhat limited (also has burritos, menudo, etc.). Also in Santa Ana. Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

Noodle House–613 N. Euclid St. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm. Authentic Chinese–some dishes are as good as in SGV. Green onion pancake, xiao long bao, hand cut noodles, three cup chicken, fish in spicy sauce, Chinese burrito are recommended (not all as as good as SGV but all are good). (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Sahara Falafel–590 S. Brookhurst St. (Middle Eastern) Open daily 10 am to 2 am.  I have heard that in Israel they love falafel, but they know they can’t make them as good as the ones in Lebanon. In Orange County people apparently go to Sahara for the really good ones, and the reviews seem to be unanimous about this. (And yes, they do serve other good items besides the falafel). (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Sawali Grill–3414 W. Ball Rd. (Filipino) Open daily 10 am to 6:30 pm. Small rest. with 7 tables. Positive is that the food tastes like home cooking. Some say that it is somewhat inconsistent though. Map (Dining room is open 2-19-22)

Costa Mesa

Din Tai Fung–3333 Bristol St. (Taiwanese) Open Daily.  Taiwanese chain that opened this restaurant in OC, specializing in its famous (and very popular) xiao long bao (XLB).  In fact, this may be the place in the US to get the authentic version (at least the Taiwanese version).  Pork is the most popular, but they also have shrimp, red bean, and others.  Also try the sauteed string beans.  Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka–665 Paularino Ave. (Japanese) Open daily 11 am to 7:30 pm.  Tokusen toroniku ramen is recommended. (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Outpost Kitchen–1792 Monrovia Ave. (New American) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily). Excellent food, but breakfast seems to be particularly interesting (many recommend the Aussie scramble, tropical muffin, and a number of other dishes). This place has every trendy label you can put on it–gluten free, organic, and vegan (if you want vegan). Don’t worry–everyone says you will enjoy the food either because of this or in spite of this. Also at 3420 Bristol St. (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Taco Maria–3313 Hyland Ave. (Mexican) Dinner only (closed Mon). Offers much more than tacos–this is an upscale restaurant from one of the country’s most acclaimed chefs. Tacos are available with blue corn tortillas. A four course dinner with wine pairing is also available.  This was named the best restaurant in Orange County by OC Weekly in both 2014-2018.  I don’t know how expensive it is, but it’s listed as $$$ on Yelp. (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Vietnam’s Pearl–1215 Baker St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sat evening & Sun. Described as “authentic,” a “true gem,” a “great alternative outside of Little Saigon,” and better than anything in San Diego. Has a wide menu, but the pho is very popular. If this is the same restaurant as the VP that used to be in Seattle, I highly recommend it based on my own experience. Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

Water Grill–3300 Bristol St. (Seafood) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Not on the waterfront, but said to have excellent seafood. Fish & chips, halibut, chilean sea bass, and oyster bar are some of the popular items. Seems to be a quality place where the prices are better than on the oceanside. Map (Dining room is open 11-17-21)

Cypress

California Fish Grill–10569 Valley View St. (Seafood) Open Daily. This may be one of the best bets for affordable but very good fish and seafood. People recommend Taco Tuesdays, the Cajun salmon, ahi tacos, shrimp wrap, and really a long list of choices. Several locations in OC. Map (Dining room is open 2-19-22)

Dana Point

Waterman’s Harbor–34661 Golden Lantern St. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Many years ago I ate at the Crab Cooker in Newport Beach, and was impressed by the seafood (so I didn’t want to leave this category off the list). Some say Waterman’s Harbor is now the best balance of good seafood, an ocean view, and prices that are not out of line. Is dog friendly. Update 2021: Much of the menu is now quite expensive, but the fresh catch of the day may be the best bet out of this group. Less expensive items include the raw bar, fish tacos, fish & chips, and a salmon burger. Map (Dining room is open 11-17-21)

Fountain Valley

Au Lac–16563 Brookhurst St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3:30 to 5:30 pm). Serves vegetarian Vietnamese food. Despite being a little different from “normal” Vietnamese food, reviewers say it has real Vietnamese flavors. (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

Brodard–16105 Brookhurst St. (Vietnamese) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Said to be very good home style Vietnamese food that has been going strong since 1996. Named best Vietnamese by OC Weekly for 2018. Reviews indicate it has good quality and a good variety of dishes.Map (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Istanbul Grill–18010 Newhope St. (Turkish) Open daily to 2 am.  Good food for a good price (lunch specials are $13.99 in Feb 2022 with a choice of 11 entrees). Map (Dining room is open 2-19-22)

Fullerton

Fuoco Pizzeria–101 N. Harbor Blvd. (Pizza) Open Daily. The owners, reviewers, and even the OC Weekly assure us that this is the “real deal” Neapolitan style pizza. The margherita pizza is said by many to be the best in the US, and definitely the most authentic. Also has the “real deal” spumoni for dessert. Certified by VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana). Web site says they are open from 11 am until they run out of dough. Map (Dining room is open 11-17-21)

Garden Grove

Vientiane Thai Laos–10262 Westminster Ave. (Lao) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Wed).  Authentic and flavorful Lao food. This is a hole in the wall restaurant run by a family.  Reviewers say everything is prepared the way it is supposed to be (both in flavor and in authenticity). Map (Dining room is open 11-17-21)

Irvine

Angelina’s–8573 Irvine Center Dr. (Pizza) Open Daily.  Neapolitan pizza certified by VPN. Reviews reflect the fact that they cook it the authentic way. Pizza is as expensive as Foretti’s in Newport Beach (at the high end of the price scale). Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Annapoorna–14450 Culver Dr. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Named best Indian restaurant in Orange County by OC Weekly 2018. South Indian cuisine–good place for dosa. Map (Dining room is open 8-9-21)

HiroNori Craft Ramen–2222 Michelson Dr. (Japanese) Open Daily.  Named best ramen restaurant in 2018 by OC Weekly. Pork and vegan ramen are equally flavorful (according to OC Weekly). Map (Dining room is open 10-3-21)

Jinbei–3923 Portola Pkwy. (Japanese) Open daily (closed from 2 to 5:30 pm).  Good sushi, but it is one of the few really good Izakaya restaurants with a large menu. Map (Dining room is open 10-3-21)

Laguna Beach

Brussels Bistro–222 Forest Ave. (Belgian) Dinner daily; lunch Fri-Sun.  Casual restaurant with very good food (but it’s a little pricey for casual).  Vol au Vent de poulet, Liege meatballs, pommes frites, and all you can eat mussels (Mon, Tue, & Wed) are recommended.  Some say in summer there are bigger crowds so they like to avoid it. Map (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Mission Viejo

Hayashi–27531 Puerta Real (Japanese) Open 9:30 am to 7 pm (closed Sat & Sun). A locally popular Japanese fast food style restaurant that most reviewers simply describe as “really really good.” Udon, ramen, and salmon bowl are recommended. Reviewers say the food here is too good to just order things like teriyaki (that you can get at many other restaurants). (Dining room is open 10-3-21)

Paul’s Pantry–27409 Bellogente (American) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Named the best breakfast restaurant in Orange County by OC Weekly in 2018. They say whatever breakfast you get, be sure to have a cinnamon roll with it. Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

Newport Beach

Damasq–3601 E. Coast Hwy. (Syrian) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Listed on TripAdvisor as a “cheap eat in CDM.” This is a family run place that prepares the food in house (including falafel and hummus). Wide variety of sandwiches (gyros, kababs, etc.) that are cheaper than the big plates some restaurants serve. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Fly N Fish–2304 W. Oceanfront (Seafood) Open Daily.  Good reviews. Fried shrimp and clam chowder are popular (not high end seafood). However, some say you can have a Newport Beach dining experience at a much lower price than other restaurants, and to them it is just as enjoyable. Map (Dining room is open 11-17-21)

Foretti’s–2929 E. Coast Hwy. (Italian) Open daily 4 pm to 9 pm.  One reviewer says it is “authentic Italian at its finest.” Actually it is southern Italian, and has VPN certified Neapolitan pizza. Prices are high and pizza is more expensive I have seen for other VPN pizza–reviews indicate these prices may be justified. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Hook & Anchor–3305 Newport Blvd. (Seafood) Open Daily.  OC Weekly said this was the best seafood restaurant in the county in 2018. Best of all, it is not restricted to upscale food, but also has very good poboys, fish tacos, lobster fries, etc. Map (Dining room is open 11-17-21)

The Beachcomber–15 Crystal Cove (Californian) Open daily 7 am to 9:30 pm.  This restaurant was made out of converted cottages on the beach with a large outdoor deck with an ocean view. This is the type of building that would be in movie sets (and I think I may have seen it). It is hard to get to. You have to park in a state parking lot and take a shuttle to the restaurant (I don’t know if it is walkable). It seems to be a real “experience” and food may be overpriced under normal circumstances. Breakfast is popular (the coconut macademia pancakes are said to be very good). Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Orange

Anepalco–3737 W. Chapman Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun evening & Mon (and closed from 2:15 to 5 pm).  Voted Best Mexican Restaurant by OC Weekly 2016. Flavorful sauces–this is a rather upscale sit-down Mexican place. Has Oaxacan mole and cochinita pibil, but many dishes seem to be the chef’s interpretation (many are organic and seem to be good but not necessarily authentic). Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Placentia

El Farolito–201 S. Bradford Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily (open for breakfast). Reviewers say this is one of the two best places for “authentic” Mexican (along with Los Compadres in Long Beach). Some authentic looking dishes include red enchiladas, fish al mojo de ajo, carnitas, steak picado. Some Cal-Mex looking dishes include tostado salad, burrito, taquitos, and the enchiladas shown on the Yelp photos. It seems to be good for both types of food. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

San Juan Capistrano

Sol Agave–31111 Rancho Viejo Rd. (Mexican) Open Daily. Upscale restaurant that is described as “authentic” and “artisan.” The restaurant grew out of a very popular food truck. The menu is pretty basic (tacos, burritos, simple meat plates) but the preparation of it is what is said to be special. Map (Dining room is open 2-19-22)

Santa Ana

El Moctezuma–809 N. Fairview St. (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 10 pm. Oaxacan style. Has 5 kinds of mole. Map (Dining room is open 1-2-22)

Noodle Place–2321 E. 4th St. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 7:30 pm (closed Sun).  Inexpensive street food style noodles that are apparently near the top of this category of food (reviewers stress not only the quality of the food but the low cost of buying it). (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Stanton

Irrawaddy Taste of Burma–7076 Katella Ave. (Burmese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Authentic Burmese food in an area where this cuisine is not very common. Gets recommendations from Burmese patrons. Map (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Thai Nakorn–11951 Beach Blvd. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Some people say this is one of the top Thai, if not the top one, in the U.S. Get beef curry, chicken yellow curry, papaya salad (but if it’s really the top restaurant in the U.S. I would say you could order just about anything). Map (Dining room is open 6-30-21)

Tustin

Honda-Ya–556 El Camino Real (Japanese) Open daily (dinner only).  Izakaya style–good food, sushi, and drinks (in fact, most say it has excellent food).  Also has a location in Fullerton and in LA (Little Tokyo). Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

Masala Bae–13812 Red Hill Ave. (Indian) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Specializes in south Indian food including dosa. Map (Dining room is open 2-19-22)

Westminster

Banh Cuon Tay Ho–9242 Bolsa Ave. (Vietnamese) Open 8 am to 7:30 pm (closed Tue). I have been to the one in Oklahoma City, and know that this is a “real deal” Vietnamese restaurant (although it is a little on the downscale, fast food side). I recommend the Banh Cuon (rice sheet wraps), but I make sure to tell them to omit the MSG. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Be’s Pop Up Kitchen–9039 Bolsa Ave. (Vietnamese) Lunch only (closed Mon & Tue).  Formerly Mai’s Kitchen, it now has more limited hours but serves the same home style food in a casual atmosphere. Seems to be authentic Vietnamese (the canh chua actually has okra in it). It’s also cash only (so this keeps the price down quite a bit). They seem to have quite a few dishes you will not find at most restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 4-12-22)

Le Croissant Doré–9122 Bolsa Ave. (Vietnamese) Open daily 7 AM to 6 PM. One source indicates it is a bakery (not a restaurant), but other information indicates that they also serve food. In any case, the bakery is the main reason to come here. Fruit tart is recommended. Map (Dining room is open 10-3-21)

Sumran Thai–6482 Westminster Blvd. (Thai) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 4 pm).  Just when I think I have found all the best Thai restaurants some more pop up, such as this one listed by OC Weekly as the best Thai of 2016. I would like for some of the reviews to recommend a favorite dish, but it seems that everything is good (so there is no favorite dish that I can tell). OC Weekly says they have E-San sausage, so personally when a restaurant serves Isan style Thai food I will probably order this. Most reviewers say it is really not a good idea to order the food here “hot” (if you are basing it on “hot” in other restaurants). Map (Dining room is open 6-30-21)


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

Sources:

Chowhound (Orange County)

Gayot–2021 Best Seafood Restaurants in Orange County (CA) Area

Google Maps

OC Weekly–Best of 2015, 2016 (no longer on line)

OC Weekly–Best of 2018

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

Yelp (California)

Zomato (Orange County)

Restaurant Guide–Los Angeles

Restaurant Guide Main Index


California

Orange County | San Bernardino/Riverside | San Diego | San Francisco


  • 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)

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.). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

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

Note: Los Angeles requires diners to have a vaccine passport or a negative Covid test from the past three days. Patrons can eat on outdoor patios without this requirement.

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)

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)

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 12-21-21)

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. (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

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. Reviewers say this is better and more authentic than other Oaxacan rests. in LA. Map (Dining room is open 2-18-21)

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.). (Dining room is open 8-2-21)

Monte Alban–11929 Santa Monica Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Oaxacan style. Specializes in mole. Many say it is better than Guelaguentza (a similar restaurant). Get molcajete, moles, taco de barbacoa, nieves (agua fresca). Reviews are as good as Chichen Itza, and it looks as if it has more on the menu. Out of the two Monte Alban seems to be bigger and probably more expensive (but the backers of Chichen Itza say it is more authentic–I am not sure about this). Map (Dining room is open 2-18-22)

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)

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. (Deli is open 8-2-21)

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) Open 2:30 pm to 9:30 pm (open to 10 pm Fri & Sat).  Has a variety of Chinese style desserts. From the photos it looks very difficult to make a choice (they all look good). (Dining room is open 8-24-21)

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 11-16-21)

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.

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:

Chowhound (Los Angeles)

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

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

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)

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)

Carmichael

Firebird Russian–4715 Manzanita Ave. (Russian) Closed Mon & closes at 7 pm Sun.  If you want to try Russian food, reviewers say this is an excellent place to do it. There is a large variety of food (menu includes stereotypical Russian dishes and some items not normally found in U.S. restaurants). Recently changed owners. Reviewers say it is still the same great food, and maybe better, but prices are higher.  Note: located in the Sacramento area. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Shige Sushi–5938 Madison Ave. (Japanese) Lunch Tue-Fri, dinner Tue-Sat.  Apparently this is the same kind of high quality sushi restaurant they have in cities such as Seattle, and the customer base here is from all over the Sacramento area (and many say this is the best sushi in Sacramento). Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Tugboat Fish & Chips–7601 Fair Oaks Blvd. (Seafood) Closed Sun & Mon.  Supposedly the fish & chips are London style, and reviewers say the food is excellent. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

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)

Davis

Dos Coyotes Border Cafe–1411 W. Covell Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily. Seems to fit the classic definition of California style Mexican food, but is definitely fusion (not authentic). Readers say it has some of the best salsa you will find anywhere (served in a salsa bar where you can help yourself to several varieties). For food, the Yucatan chicken salad and mango burrito are popular. Also in Sacramento. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Davis Noodle City–129 E St. (Chinese) Closed Tue. Handmade dumplings make it popular and authentic, but the menu is limited. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine–301 B St. (Middle Eastern) Open 11:30 am to 7:30 pm (closed Sun).  Casual Middle Eastern food (sandwiches, etc.). Beef and chicken shawarma are their most recommended dishes. Note: also in Rohnert Park. (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Elk Grove

S.E.A. Bowl–9635 E. Stockton Blvd. (Cambodian) Lunch Wed-Sun; open to 7 pm Wed-Fri.  Reviewers say they like the skewers, curry, dry noodles, and noodle soup. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

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)

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)

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)

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 9-2-21)

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)

Loomis

Green Elephant–5911 King Rd. (Burmese) Dinner Tue-Sat; Lunch Fri only.  Burmese restaurant on the outskirts of Sacramento with very good ratings. As with most Burmese restaurants the tea leaf salad is recommended, but here the reviewers mention a number of other dishes they like. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

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)

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)

Placerville

Cascada–384 Main St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Upscale Mexican mixed with California and Southwest cuisine. Mexican food looks good with green chile enchiladas, etc. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Timmy’s Brown Bag–451 Main St. (Sandwiches) Lunch Daily (closed Mon).  Five star rating on Yelp–these seem to be some of the best sandwiches you can find anywhere. Portobello and leek, pulled pork, corned beef, etc. Not upscale–just high quality ingredients. (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

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)

Sacramento

Ariana Gyros & Kabobs–8785 Center Parkway (Afghan) Closed Mon.  Mostly serves kabobs and gyros, and reviewers say it is all excellent. Might have some more interesting and traditional Afghan dishes, but I could not tell from the reviews. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Bali Kitchen–1100 Front St. (Indonesian) Open daily 11 am to 6 pm.  Located in the Old Sacramento Historic District. Some reviewers say it is very good food compared to the tourist traps which surround it. Some say this is a tourist trap itself and not authentic Indonesian. Even if the latter is true these seem to be some items that are good enough to give a sense of what Bali food is all about (the Bumbu Bali seems to be a good item). Some say there is not much to the dining room (only a couple of tables). Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Banh Cuon Tay Ho–6840 65th St. (Vietnamese) Open Daily. A mini-chain located in several cities, and since one of them was Oklahoma City I am able to say that I’ve tried it and liked it. The specialty is banh cuon (rice sheet wraps). Good food, but I am careful to ask for things without MSG (which may limit the choices). Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

CF Cheng–2063 Arena Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Has a Chinese menu with authentic dishes such as clay pot (this takes about 30 min. to prepare).  Good reviews for the food. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Chando’s Tacos–5644 J St. (Mexican) Open Daily. Said to be excellent with “cheap eats.” They say it’s so hard to decide which taco is best you’ll want to order several (but the tilapia is especially recommended). Also at 863 Arden Way. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Fogo de Minas–2606 Gateway Oaks Dr. (Brazilian) Dinner Tue-Sun; Lunch Fri & Sat (closed Mon); .  Said to be a Brazilian steakhouse, but the thing that made me put this on the list was comments that say it is both good and affordable. Map (Dining room is open 8-5-21)

Hao Bao Dumpling House–6821 Stockton Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily until 6:30 pm.  Very popular place, not only because of the food but also the prices. Has house made dumplings and house made noodles. Map (Outside seating or takeout only 1-1-22)

I-Shanghai Delight–1115 Front St. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Authentic food including xiao long bao. The reviews make me think it is quite good and very worthwhile. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Osaka-Ya–2215 10th St. (Japanese) Open daily (closes 6 pm–4 pm on Mon).  This is not a Japanese restaurant, but it serves Japanese dessets such as mochi. It is said to be notable for being authentic and good. (Takeout only 8-29-21)

Quan Nem Ninh Hoa–6450 Stockton Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily 9 am to 8 pm.  Authentic restaurant that has a large variety of items. Only one of a few, though, that specializes in central Vietnamese cuisine, and the food here seems to be very good. Map (Dining room is open 8-5-21)

South–2005 11th St. (Southern) Closed Sun & Mon.  Seems true to Southern cooking, but may be a little more upscale than most. Reviewers do not claim that it has reached the level of healthy food, but they say it is very good. Fried chicken, Nashville hot chicken sandwich, and po boys are popular. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Tu Quy Cafe–6519 Savings Pl. (Vietnamese).  Small restaurant in a large commercial center full of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants. Rather than competing with each other, though, it seems that each one specializes in certain things. In the case of this restaurant reviewers say to get the duck porridge. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Yue Huang–3860 Truxel Rd. (Chinese) Open daily to 9 pm.  Authentic Cantonese food that reviewers say is on par with restaurants in San Francisco. Well known for its dim sum, but menu offers a large choice of items (dim sum may not be comparable to SF though). They say that if they do not have the dim sum item you want it can be prepared in the kitchen (for me this is a good sign that the dim sum is prepared in house). Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Zocalo–1801 Capitol Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Chicken mole, guacamole made in a molcajete, chile relleno are good. $$ price range. Seems to be California style (not interior Mexican), but very good for this type of food. Has an outside patio where you can take your dog. 3 other locations. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Note: also see listings for Carmichael and West Sacramento

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.  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). (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

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) Open Daily.  Cheap, healthy, and good tasting food. Has a dog friendly patio. Has poke and Hawaiian plate lunch style food. (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

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) Closed Mon (and 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. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

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). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Tracy

Papa Urb’s Grill–549 W. Clover Rd. (Filipino) Open daily noon to 7 pm.  Said to be excellent & cheap food. Part of Stockton’s large Filipino community. Adobo and sisig are popular. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

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)

West Sacramento

Vientiane–1001 Jefferson Blvd. (Lao) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Cheap prices for good food. Reviews indicate this may be the best Lao rest. in the valley. Has good food, good service, and the proper spice level for Lao food (so go easy if you’re not used to it). Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Woodland

House of Shah–538 Main St. (Afghan) Open daily except Sun evening.  Reviewers say it is quite good, but some think their special hot sauce makes it even better (Middle Eastern food does not usually involve eating something spicy). (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

Yountville

Bistro Jeanty–6510 Washington St. (French) Closed Tue & Wed.  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. (Dining room is open 9-13-21)

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.

Sources:

CBS Sacramento (Mexican Food)

Chowhound (California)

Eater (The Essential Sacramento Restaurants)

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)