From Southern California to the North Coast, California is a state full of breathtaking vistas and unique attractions that millions of tourists flock to each year. And to celebrate all the great food and drink that the country’s most populous state has to offer, we’ve rounded up 44 of the Golden State’s claims to culinary fame as part of our first-annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
California is the nation’s breadbasket, and it’s also home to some amazing and legendary restaurants. It’s the home of the French Dip (invented at LA’s Philippe’s); it’s the home of the Mission Burrito (the best version of which can arguably be found at San Francisco’s La Taqueria); it’s the home of Napa Valley and its famed vineyards (some of which have a long road to recovery after the recent wildfires); it’s the home of trailblazing restaurants like Vespertine and Trois Mec and untouchable institutions like The French Laundry and Chez Panisse. We also can’t forget to mention the magical restaurants at Disneyland. And if there’s a new trend in health food (or beer!), it also most likely started in California.
It can be argued that no state is more influential to the American culinary landscape than California, and over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and farmers markets to its best dive bar and craft brewery in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our California gallery here.