Top 10: Food Spots California

Team member Catie is always on the look-out for the best food. Here are her top 10 food spots in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Napa Valley

If going out to eat were a hobby, it would definitely count among my favorites. Discovering new spots, especially when I’m on the road and exploring new areas, is as much a part of my cultural to-do list as visiting a museum and – hand over my heart – isn’t it a bit like that for all of us?

Known for setting new trends on the food scene, the Golden State of California offers a great range of culinary experiences ranging from pasta in San Francisco to Mexican tacos, French gourmet chefs, and vegan bowls in Venice Beach. With so much choice, it’s easy to lose the overview. So here are my Top 10 food spots in California. Have fun on your next trip!

San Francisco

1. The Mill

I’ve practically become a regular at The Mill – any morning that I find myself in the city, I go to this place and set myself up with a filter coffee from Four Barrel (and then also sometimes some sourdough by Josey Baker Bread). If you have a little time to spend, you can also get great sandwiches and baked goods here, or also go by in the evening for pizza. I’m lucky I have friends who live right on the corner…

The Mill
736 Divisadero Street
San Francisco CA — 94117
Monday – Sunday: 7 am until 9 pm
Pizza Night: 6 pm until 9 pm
(415) 345-1953

Web: themillsf.com/#about
Menu: themillsf.com/menu

2. Nopa

Even if you make a reservation, you might find yourself waiting up to one and a half hours for your table. If you do a walk-in, expect to wait for two or three hours. But, Nopa is worth the wait: Sautéed green vegetables with dates and garlic, Moroccan vegetable tagine, and ricotta toast with cherry onions, mushrooms, and puntarelle are just a few of the dishes on the unique and melodious menu. However, if you don’t like noisy places, you should give Nopa a miss – the noise level rises as the evening goes on.

Nopa
560 Divisadero (at Hayes)
San Francisco, CA 94117
Sunday – Thursday: 6 pm until 12 pm
Friday – Saturday: 6 pm until 1 am
(415) 864 – 8643

Web:  nopasf.com
Instagram: @nopa_sf

3. Greens Restaurant

They say this was the first vegetarian restaurant in America. Located at the harbor with a view of the Bay, Greens isn’t just suited for veggie lovers – the atmosphere, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the elegant vegetarian and vegan cuisine with that certain something all also regularly attract guests who don’t identify with a plant-based diet.

Greens Restaurant
2 Marina Boulevard
Fort Mason Center, Building A
San Francisco, CA 94123
Tuesday – Sunday: 11:45 am until 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm until 9:30 pm
(415) 771 – 6222

Web: greensrestaurant.com
Instagram: @greensrestaurant

4. Ragazza

It’s a casual neighborhood restaurant, and anyone who knows about it will never go anywhere else. That’s because Ragazza probably has the best (Neopolitan) pizza in town. From seasonal salads and antipasti to homemade pasta and roasts, this is where to find Italian food and drinks away from the chain restaurants and tourists. Sharon Adriana opened Ragazza, her second restaurant, in 2010 in honor of all the female cooks in her family – ragazza means girl.

Ragazza
311 Divisadero St.
(Between Page & Oak)
San Francisco CA 94117

Monday – Sunday: 5 pm until 10 pm

Web: ragazzasf.com

Napa Valley

5. The French Laundry

Under chef Thomas Keller, The French Laundry offers culinary compositions that never repeat themselves: Each ingredient finds it place on the plate’s stage just once. Give this one a pass if you’re just hungry – at The French Laundry, it’s all about the pleasure of discovery and the small portions are meant to enhance the creativity and imagination, and direct attention to the individual tastes. Here, it’s about the experience, emotions, and the feelings that will arise on your palate.

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street
Yountville, California, 94599
Monday – Sunday: 5 pm until 8:45 pm 
(707) 944 – 2380

Web: thomaskeller.com/tfl
Instagram: @_tfl_

Los Angeles

6. Sqirl

Since she opened Sqirl in 2011, Jessica Koslow has been serving up what west and east-coasters have always craved: California cuisine. One might think that it’s something commonplace here, even ordinary. But with brunch served until 4pm, a version of brioche of their own creation, vegan and vegetarian – and yes, also bacon – ensembles you’ve never heard of before, and a setting that’s so simply decorated you can hardly believe you’re sitting in probably one of the trendiest spots in the city, Sqirl has made it up to the top of our list. It’s not uncommon to have to wait for 45 minutes, and yet time flies by. I absolutely recommend the brioche toast (celebratory), the breakfast salads (!!!), and the brown rice porridge.

Sqirl
720 Virgil Ave 4
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Monday– Friday: 6:30 am until 4 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8 am until 4 pm
(323) 284-8147

Web: sqirlla.com
Instagram: @sqirlla

7. Gracias Madre

West Hollywood is not only nice to look at, but is also home to Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican restaurant run by Chandra Gilbert that has been preparing wonderful menus to honor every Mexican mother since 2014 (and since 2009 in San Francisco). This is a captivating spot, and above all for the striking charm of the traditional Mexican décor and the classic Palm Springs chic. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or not, the use of exclusively local, organic ingredients makes Gracias Madre a place for anyone who loves Mexican cuisine.

Gracias Madre
8905 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Monday until Friday: 11 am until 11 pm 
Saturday – Sunday: 10 am until 11 pm 
(323) 978-2168

Web: graciasmadreweho.com
Instagram: @gmweho

8. The Butcher’s Daughter

If you’re walking down trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, you should definitely try The Butcher’s Daughter by CEO Heather Tierney. Born in Indianapolis, Heather has always had a passion for healthy and locally produced foods. When she opened her first restaurant in New York, she knew it had to have something special: the best avocado toast in town. If you’re not flying to New York right now, however, you can stop by here and reliably get filled up on fruit, granola, and other delicacies before you go for a walk on Venice Beach. Personally, I still think it’s one of the best (vegan) breakfasts ever.

The Butcher’s Daughter
205 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, Ca – 902911205
Monday – Friday: 8 am until 12 am, 2 pm until 10 pm
(301) 981 – 3004

Web: thebutchersdaughter.com
Instagram: @thebutchersdaughter_official

9. Square One Silver Lake

My first time at Square One in Silver Lake was a rather unplanned. We were visiting friends and spontaneously decided to go for brunch in the neighborhood, and we arrived there without any kind of digital intervention. The simple California diner style interior really doesn’t give you a hint about the great and varied food you’ll get here. With film greats having incognito breaks with their own families, the place brings the magic of old Hollywood to the room – for a brief moment, before you return to your fruit or granola, and back to reality.

Square One Silver Lake
4854 Fountain Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Monday – Sunday: 8:30 am until 3 pm 
(323) 661 – 1109

Web: squareonedining.com
Instagram: @sq1dining

Joshua Tree

10. Natural Sisters Cafe

If you are in LA right now and have the time, you should definitely visit Joshua Tree National Park (and stop in Palm Springs on the way back to L.A.). Before you go into the park, you can top up your energy reserves with some healthy food at the Natural Sisters Cafe. Christy Lopez opened the restaurant in 2009, which is located on the main road close to the park entrance and attracts visitors and locals alike. Living up to its mantra, “food made with kindness, focus, and love,” you’ll only find vegetarian food here, as well as some vegan options. Ideal before a desert walk.

Natural Sisters Café
61695 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Unit B
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Monday – Sunday: 7 am until 7 pm 
(760) 366 – 3600

Web: naturalsisterscafe.com
Facebook: facebook.com/thenaturalsisterscafe