There’s a million restaurants in California you have to try. It’s impossible to cover all of them. Even researching where to eat in California is daunting,especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, we had a chance to try out some famous and fun places along our coastal road trip this summer. Being that I actually ate here and didn’t just hear it through word of mouth, I can vouch that these eateries are legit. So as you take your coastal road trip check out these 7 restaurants in California.
While there aren’t any actual rides at Straw in San Francisco the food takes you for quite the spin! Straw serves up carnival themed food in their colorful and intimate Hayes Valley restaurant. The attention to detail, like the Children’s Book menus, really add to the atmosphere. As does the service, which was quick and first class. Our hostess and waitress were incredibly nice and made us feel like VIP! And then of course, there’s the food. For starters, there’s the Elote, which is corn like I have never tasted before. The Fried Chicken -n- Waffle Monte Cristo is this American Classic on a whole nother level. And then of course there’s desserts, where we went with the Churros which you dip in chocolate sitting above an open flame. One of the most unique and fun ideas for a restaurant we have come across, Straw is a can’t miss when visiting San Francisco, California.
The Tonga Room is a must when in San Francisco. Opened in 1945, it is one of the most historic restaurants in the city and for good reason. With its indoor lagoon and Tiki Hut setup, it transports you to a Polynesian Island. The drinks are awesome, the food is amazing and the live music, provided by a band rocking out on the lagoon makes for a unique and awesome experience. Our food recommendations, the 48 Hour Korean Short Rib or the Grilled Escolar. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water!
Opened in 1978, Golden Boy Pizza is a legendary food spot in San Francisco. Every morning is the same with people lining up out the door. Golden Boy Pizza has only five different types of slices, but they are all fantastic. You have your traditional cheese slice or you can go for a pepperoni and sausage. Where it gets fun is with the clam and garlic slice or a pesto/vegetarian slice. Both are fantastic, but the clam and garlic is legendary. If you like pizza, you have to make a stop here. We also loved the atmosphere. It feels like an old school dive bar that serves pizza. Cash only, with a menu that’s fun to read, and packed with locals who know they can’t get a better slice anywhere in San Francisco.
Monterey is a calm city but as we walked down Lighthouse Ave, there was one place that showed a lot of life, Hula’s Island Grill. For good reason, Hula’s attracts a lot of visitors. First, we loved the décor in Hula’s. At the bar, you have a small beach town feel. The back area allows you to eat outside if the weather is good (which it often is). Then there’s the Tiki Room, if you’re feeling more adventurous. The different vibes make it great for locals and visitors. The employees at Hula’s just add to the atmosphere. They are so friendly and fun! Our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable and everything he recommended was a hit.
And it doesn’t stop there. While you may get the All-American vibe from Hula’s, it has some of the most unique foods we’ve tried. To start, the Spicy Edamame that’s made with Serrano, is hot, addictive and one of a kind. The sweet potato fries are some of the best we’ve ever had. For mains, just thinking about the blackened ahi steak sandwich makes my mouth water. Also, anything with their slow roasted pulled pork is just killer. If you’re in Monterey, seriously, stop here and thank me later.
The Good Times Cafe is a 50’s themed diner that opened in 1998 . While I’m too young to know what the 50’s were like, this gives me a taste. First, you’re greeted by a life-size Elvis and neon lights. After that, you’ll take a seat among the ruby red and checkered booths that make this diner fun to be in. If I grew up in Paso Robles, I would have been hanging out here all the time after school. The food is All-American, meaning it’s your typical 50’s diner style food. Hopefully you like Hamburgers and Hot Dogs. And what would a visit to a 50’s themed diner be without a whip cream topped milkshake!
Anyone who has been to Los Angeles is going to tell you that you NEED to get to an In-N-Out Burger when you’re there. Opened in 1948, they are one of the most famous burger chains in the United States. Known for their affordable prices and secret menu In-N-Out also treats their employees incredibly well. If it’s your first time at In-N-Out, you’ve got to go with the famous Animal Style Burger. A mustard grilled patty with onions, pickles and covered with cheese, you’ll probably be addicted.
Arguably the strangest setup we visited on our trip. Located in a parking lot, Dave’s is a new pop-up chicken shop. They don’t have a store or a truck and you’re probably going to wait a while. However, a wait often means you’re getting something pretty good at the end. Dave’s has two options, sliders and chicken tenders. The chicken is Nashville style and you can get it mild or hot. Then there’s the fries, curly or straight. We went with one of each and really loved both. Dave’s is an old school setup in a modern world. It’s refreshing to kick back with some awesome food, in a parking lot late at night. Hoenstly, it makes me feel like I’m back in high school again grilling with my friends, just with a much better culinary outcome.