1. Alma – Los Angeles
Alma has been called "the most exciting restaurant in Los Angeles." It won Bon Appétit's award for "The Best New Restaurant In America" in 2013; Food & Wine named chef/owner Ari Taymor "Best Chef" in 2014; and the restaurant's vegetables are grown exclusively for Alma by Courtney Guerra, an urban farmer in the L.A. neighborhood of Venice.
2. Ahwahnee Dining Room – Yosemite National Park
3. The Sardine Factory – Monterey
4. Blue Bayou – Disneyland
The best part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland isn't technically on the ride. The ride's boats float right past Blue Bayou, a restaurant that sits by a gorgeous plantation-style house under perpetual twilight and paper lanterns. The ambience isn't the only reason to come here — the filet mignon and the cajun-spiced salmon are just some of the many delicious dishes at Blue Bayou Restaurant.
5. The Cellar – Fullerton
6. Post Ranch Inn – Big Sur
A good chef knows that presentation matters. Well, how about a restaurant perched on the cliffs of Big Sur for presentation? The stunning view at Post Ranch Inn is coupled with their nine-course Taste of Big Sur menu that immerses visitors in the culinary offerings of the region.
7. The Firehouse – Sacramento
8. Lassen Ale Works – Susanville
The Shasta Cascade region in northern California has a tremendous amount to offer beer lovers. Northern California has a ton of breweries, and Lassen Ale Works is a great starting point for craft brew aficionados. Nestled in the historic Pioneer Saloon, Lassen Ale Works makes a full flight of great beers made with local NorCal flavor.
9. Frances – San Francisco
10. The Hobbit – Orange
The Hobbit has garnered many awards for its unique dining experience which, like many great stories (culinary or otherwise), has three acts. It all kicks off with a trip to the wine cellar, where guests choose wine alongside the executive chef; the second act involves a light meat and salad, then a chance to visit the kitchen; and the third act is the main course followed by dessert and then coffee, liqueurs, and fine cognacs.
11. Circa 59 – Palm Springs
12. The Spanish Patio at The Mission Inn – Riverside
13. The Belvedere Room – Bakersfield
14. Cowboys and Turbans – Los Angeles
Southern California is known for its Mexican food, but you might not think about it as a place for great Indian food as well. Cowboys and Turbans, a Mexican-Indian fusion restaurant in L.A.'s Silver Lake neighborhood, aims to change that. If you're looking to try an aloo gobi quesadilla or a chicken masala burrito, this is the place to be. Plus, Cowboys and Turbans was voted best outdoor restaurant in Los Angeles, so it's a great place to take in the region's famously warm weather.
15. Restaurant 301 – Eureka
27 years ago, Restaurant 301 planted an edible flower and vegetable garden with the aim of serving the fruits of their labor to their customers. It doesn't get more garden-to-table than a restaurant that plants its own garden. Restaurant 301 also boasts a wine list that is 3,400 wines strong.