Restaurant Guide–California

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Los Angeles

Orange County

Sacramento

San Bernardino/Riverside/Palm Springs

San Diego

San Francisco/Bay Area


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

Arbuckle

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

Arcata

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

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

Bakersfield

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

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

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

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

Big Sur

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

Chico

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

Clovis

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

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

Colusa

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

Crescent City

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

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

Eureka

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

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

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

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

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

Fairfield

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

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

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

Fort Bragg

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

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

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

Fresno

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kingsburg

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

Lancaster

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

Mendocino

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

Merced

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

Modesto

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

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

Mojave

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

Monterey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Napa

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

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

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

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

Oakhurst

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

Oxnard

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

Pacific Grove

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

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

Petaluma

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

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

Pismo Beach

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

Porterville

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

Red Bluff

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

Redding

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

Rohnert Park

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

Rosamond

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

Salinas

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

San Luis Obispo

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

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

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

Santa Barbara

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

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

Santa Cruz

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

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

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

Santa Rosa

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

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

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

Solvang

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sonoma

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

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

South Lake Tahoe

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

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

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

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

Stockton

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

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

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

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

Suisun City

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

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

Tracy

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

Twain Harte

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

Ukiah

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

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

Vacaville

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

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

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

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

Ventura

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

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

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

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

Watsonville

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

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

Weed

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

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

Yountville

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

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

Yreka

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

Yuba City

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


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

James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

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

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

Sources:

James Beard Foundation (America’s Classics Award Winners)

Chowhound (former web site)

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

Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

Google Maps

Roadfood

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

VPN Americas (California)

Yelp (California)

Zomato (Fresno)

 

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