The thought of the Californian culinary scene usually conjures up images of vibrant farmers markets filled with fruits and vegetables that are in season year-round, acres upon acres of lush vineyards, and beautiful tanned people dining alfresco. And considering the restaurants that made this list — some with gardens and patios out back, some that serve only locally sourced ingredients, and some that are nestled in the Northern California wine country — it would appear that the stereotypes are quite true.
The California-based restaurants that made the list are from all over the state (though most are situated in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas) and vary greatly in cuisine type and ambiance. There are the buzzier restaurants, like Son of a Gun, and the celeb-filled spots, like Osteria Mozza, alongside neighborhood gems like Boulevard, and fine dining establishments like the French Laundry. There's even a burger place on the list — though the fare at Father's Office is nothing to scoff at.
Take a look through this collection of the best restaurants in California and then head over to the complete 101 list to see those restaurants The Daily Meal deemed the best of 2012.