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By Olivia Cuccaro | May 4 2017
By Olivia Cuccaro
Known as the Golden State, California stretches along the West coast of the US to encompass more than 150,000 sq miles. Home to booming cities from San Francisco to Los Angeles, it’s no surprise that California reigns as a culinary capital. As voted by our readers, these are the best restaurants in California.
Coming in the top 10 on Elite Traveler‘s list of the Top 100 Restaurants 2017, three-Michelin starred Restaurant at Meadowood is a true wine country experience. Modern America cuisine is sourced from the Napa Valley’s own artisans, growers and foragers. The restaurant boasts a 2.5 acre Culinary Garden for growing seasonal produce using organic and sustainable techniques. The stunning landscape of the resort is complemented by dishes like the signature borage and oyster leaf in a mignonette of fermented turnip and turnip juice.
Thomas Keller’s Yountville restaurant is consistently a favorite among discerning Elite Traveler readers. It’s the spot for exceptional French cuisine in the Napa Valley, set in a quaint stone cottage. With three Michelin stars, the Relais & Chateaux restaurant features a menu that changes daily with no single ingredient being repeated throughout a meal.
In San Francisco, the three-Michelin starred Saison is famous for its spontaneity. There is no set menu, leaving guests to be surprised by what Chef Joshua Skenes is cooking up. In a spacious yet relaxed setting, guests can also enjoy an acclaimed wine list and cocktail menu along with their meals.
Another three-Michelin starred restaurant on Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants list, Manresa is David Kinch’s California dining destination. A nightly tasting menu offers the best of seasonal cuisine, utilizing local farms for ingredients. The Relais & Chateaux restaurant also maintains a relationship with winemakers in the Santa Cruz area, allowing for pairings from an extensive list. The signature dish, Into the Garden, remains on the menu as it changes each day.
This San Francisco restaurant holds two Michelin stars for its outstanding seafood. One tasting menu nightly draws its influence from the coastal location as well as classic French cuisine. Guests will savor an array of seasonal dishes like mussel cannoli, Dungeness crab, black bass and praline with cremeux and mandarin. Inside, the environment is pleasantly reserved, with low ceilings and soft lighting.
The winner of Elite Traveler‘s Rising Star Award for 2017, Chef Dominique Crenn brings French sophistication to the San Francisco dining scene. Atelier Crenn holds two Michelin stars to its name, offering guests a multi-course tasting menu crafted with seasonal and sustainable produce. The standout dish is the Grain and Seed, while the entire menu focuses on emotional cooking and an understanding of where our food comes from.
With another California hot spot on his resume – The French Laundry, to be exact – Chef Corey Lee’s expertise is clear in the Benu kitchen. Lee’s Korean roots are evident in the Asian-inspired cuisine, with the most talked about being the Thousand-Year-Old Quail Egg. The tasting menu also comprises fresh seasonal caviar, sea urchin and fried river eel. Benu’s three-Michelin star rating cites the artful cooking and notable wine list.
For more fine dining in California, see Elite Traveler‘s list of the Top 100 Restaurants in the world.