Taste Southern California’s contributions to the month of culinary treats and deals
Southern California cuisine has two distinct personalities: fish tacos and craft beer on one side, celebrity chefs and haute cuisine on the other. California Restaurant Month festivities embrace both versions, with a spotlight on the local fresh seafood and farm produce, as well as the region’s unique contributions to the culinary culture. From the microbreweries in San Diego to the bucket-list eateries of Los Angeles—and even the historic birthplace of the cheeseburger—here’s how to access the region’s best deals and treats in the southern third of the state, listed north to south.
Dine Local, Eat Global in Lancaster
The high-desert town of Lancaster, in Antelope Valley, debuts its Restaurant Week this year with special menus focusing on its downtown eateries, bars, and brewery, as well as the weekly farmers’ market. Check out local favorites like BeX Bar & Grill, a lounge with nightly live music and underground bowling, which features a menu with California’s homegrown barbecue style—tri-tip—as well as baby back ribs.
Claremont Restaurant Week
Claremont will celebrate two weeks’ worth of its Restaurant Week—including two weekends—to encourage foodies to relax and unwind in this town east of Pasadena. The festivities will include prix fixe menus and specials at participating restaurants and specialty food boutiques. One of the top participants is Il Mattone Trattoria Italiana, a brick-oven-equipped pizzeria and restaurant that uses ingredients from regional suppliers like Alle Pia Salami, Black Market Gelato, and Bootlegger’s Brewery.
2017 Winter dine L.A. Restaurant Week
Los Angeles has so many ways to celebrate a Restaurant Week that they need two weeks to cover it all. The 14-day dining event includes special lunch and dinner menus (typically $15–$25 for lunch, $29–$49 for dinner) from participating restaurants all over the city. It’s a great way to access L.A.’s high-wattage talent. Participating restaurants tend to include places like Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach, and Lucques in West Hollywood, which is helmed by James Beard Award winner Suzanne Goin. Check the website to see which restaurants will participate this year.
Santa Monica Restaurant Week
Given the city’s famed farmers market and the local love of fresh organic produce, Santa Monica Restaurant Week focuses each year on one fresh star ingredient. This year it’s the radish, which will be celebrated through special dishes at restaurants all around the elegant beach town. While dining, you can learn about the different kinds of radishes out there (like the Cherry Belle, Easter Egg, and French Breakfast) and taste them in formats well outside the boundaries of salad: perhaps glazed, puréed, or giving flair to salsa. Check the site for participating restaurants and their menus.
Redondo Beach Restaurant Week
The pier-centered beach town in L.A. County has long been a haven for seafood restaurants, like the classic shrimp and scallops at Polly’s on the Pier. But the offerings for the Redondo Beach Restaurant Week also include some surprising spins on fruits of the sea, like the waterfront A Basq Kitchen, which serves Basque classics such as small-plate shrimp pintxo and the squid-in-ink-sauce txipirones.
Garden Grove Restaurant Week
Just a few minutes from Anaheim, the Orange County town of Garden Grove is home to a thriving Little Saigon and its Vietnamese cuisine—including the steamed sea bass with black bean sauce at Brodard Chateau and the Spicy Garlic Toothpick Lamb at Garlic & Chives. During Restaurant Week, you can indulge in specialty menus or even take part in “Cook with the Chef” events.
Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week
This Orange County beach town—site of the beloved Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival in October—is known for its upscale dining. But in its now-annual DineNB Restaurant Week (with lunches at $10–$25 and dinners at $20–$50), participants are charmingly crowd-pleasing. Check out the Tackle Box—led by Top Chef contestant Brian Huskey—with its New England-style chowder, poke, and a Cali Cheesesteak topped with fried peppers.
Temecula Valley Restaurant Month
Located in Riverside County, Temecula Valley has themed this Restaurant Month after something that goes nicely with the local wines or craft brews: burgers (and burger-like items) topped with local ingredients. Try, for instance, the gouda-and-onion-jam topped Devilicious Burger at Devilicious Eatery, or the Bel Vino Burger, a third-of-a-pound Harris ranch patty on a brioche bun, at Bel Vino Winery’s Bistro. Pair the latter with the house’s small-batch Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve.
Dana Point Restaurant Week
This beach town at the south end of Highway 1 in Orange County inspires seafood cravings, and its Restaurant Week includes prix fixe menus ranging from $15 to $25 at a variety of restaurants around town. Try Craft House, offering locally sourced meals right on the Pacific Coast Highway, with daily market catches as well as braised octopus salads and cocktails like the Endless Summer, made with gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon, and cucumber.
Dine Out Escondido!
Northeast of San Diego, the inland town of Escondido can claim the famed Stone Brewing as a native, so its Restaurant Week certainly features a lot of good beer pairings. Check out Escondido’s newer stars too, like upscale burger joint Burger Bench or The Wooden Spoon, which uses local farms and artisans as sources for its organic and largely GMO-free and sustainable menu—from fresh fish to pork schnitzel, both of which taste fabulous with local brews from Stone Brewery, AleSmith, and Pizza Port.
San Diego Restaurant Week
Raise a fish taco to salute this SoCal foodie city: Its Restaurant Week boasts more than 180 restaurants offering prix fixe deals, including the treasure trove of excellent meals in downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood (like Milanese Monello), as well as evergreen favorites in La Jolla like George’s at the Cove. Many participants this year will be offering desserts rendered from a seasonal ingredient: Girl Scout cookies.
California’s northern region is home to many popular foodie destinations—San Francisco, Napa Valley, Berkeley, to name a few—but it also boasts lesser-known locales in the center of agricultural hubs. Discover new hotspots or treat yourself to a multi-course meal at your favorite restaurant with these special January deals in the northern third of the state, listed north to south.
Mendocino County Crab, Wine & Beer Festival
Mendocino celebrates Restaurant Month with a weeklong seafood festival that celebrates the county’s local fisherman, winemakers, and brew masters. The 10-day Mendocino County Crab, Wine, and Beer Festival features dozens of events, like the family-style crab and cioppino feeds, gourmet crab-themed dinners, crab and wine pairings, crab fishing adventures, a wine competition, and the popular Crab Cake Cook-Off.
Yuba-Sutter Restaurant Week
Located in the Sacramento Valley, Yuba-Sutter County’s local ingredients play a huge role at the region’s restaurants—something you can taste for yourself in late January. You’ll find special menu items created specifically for Yuba-Sutter’s Restaurant Week, the region’s first-ever California Restaurant Month event. One spot to try: The family-friendly Dancing Tomato Caffé makes creative comfort food with a focus on supporting local farms.
El Dorado Epicurean
El Dorado County celebrates the annual California Restaurant Month tradition throughout January with plenty of culinary adventures along its bountiful Gold Country backroads. The El Dorado Epicurean Collection of Culinary Adventures is a monthlong celebration packed with exclusive seasonal offerings from innovative chefs, wine-pairing specials, farm tours, vineyard hikes, cooking demonstrations, and discounts on local accommodations.
Taste of Yolo Restaurant Week
Yolo County will showcase its farm-to-table culinary chops with a special Taste of Yolo menu at participating restaurants from January 22–28. The restaurants will feature ingredients from Yolo’s backyard, such as fresh organic produce, olive oil, meats, nuts, honey, locally crafted wine, and beer. Look for special items on participants’ menus—each restaurant will offer something new made from locally sourced ingredients.
Dine Downtown Sacramento
The growing foodie destination of Sacramento will highlight the best local fare during its 12th annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week program. For 10 days, more than 30 restaurants will offer three-course meals for $35. Plus, Sacramento adds a feel-good element to your night out: One dollar from every Dine Downtown meal served is donated to food literacy and social service programs in the Sacramento community.
Vacaville Restaurant Week
Situated halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, Vacaville is an easily accessible destination for foodies and families. Enjoy a week of discounted pricing and specialty menus during Vacaville’s Restaurant Week January 13–21. The area is proud to boast its diverse dining options, with favorites like Buddha Thai Bistro—where chef Andy Poomsman’s spin on classic Thai dishes earned it a spot on Yelp’s top 100 places to eat in the U.S. in 2015.
Napa Valley Restaurant Week
The Michelin-rated restaurants and farm-to-table practices make Napa Valley a must-go epicurean destination. And during Napa Valley Restaurant Week, visitors can experience the area’s legendary food and wine at a more wallet-friendly rate. With multi-course prix fixe menus for lunch ($20) and dinner ($36 or $46), you’ll have the chance to try the latest culinary hotspots or revisit old favorites. Get the best of both worlds with a $46 three-course menu with wine pairings at high-energy TORC, or stop by Charlie Palmer’s Harvest Table for a $20 two-course lunch that features produce from the restaurant’s adjacent garden.
Sonoma Valley Delicious!
With so many participating restaurants, wineries, and olive oil and cheese producers, it should come as no surprise that Sonoma Valley boasts an entire month of offerings, so you have time to taste the best of the region. This is Sonoma’s first time participating in the January event, which is great news for wine country visitors eager to try some of the area’s world-class cuisine at incredible prices.
Suisun Waterfront Restaurant Week
The seventh annual Suisun City Historic Waterfront Restaurant Week will return January 20-29, with participating restaurants offering prix fixe menus for breakfast or lunch (two courses) or dinner (three courses). Whether you want Greek, Italian, Mexican, Thai, or American cuisine, Suisun City’s got it. After December 30, menus from participating restaurants can be downloaded from Suisun’s website.
Downtown Benicia Restaurant Week
Charming downtown Benicia, about an hour northeast of San Francisco, celebrates with a week of deals: a dining “passport” offers a 15% discount at participating restaurants January 21–28. Stop by First Street Café to try its famous Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Sandwich, served open-face with fresh Roma tomatoes and melted Jack cheese. (It was featured in Bon Appétit magazine.)
Stockton Restaurant Week
Taste your way through Stockton’s best restaurants during Stockton Restaurant Week, when fixed-price meals can be found throughout the city. Local deals make it affordable to eat out multiple times throughout the 10 days. Grab a $10 lunch at the modern American Centrale Kitchen and Bar, Mediterranean-Italian Mezzo, or small-plate- focused Midgley’s Public House (plus many more). Or take advantage of deals that won’t break the budget at some of Stockton’s best eateries.
Berkeley Restaurant Week
Berkeley’s best restaurants will offer special prix fixe menus for lunch (starting at $20) and dinner (starting at $25) during its Restaurant Week January 19-29. The epicenter for California Cuisine has no shortage of incredible food to try at all times of the year. Participants for 2017 include the healthy-meets-gastronomy Mission Heirloom, all natural sushi and Japanese AKEMI, and German slow food purveyors Gaumenkitzel.
Oakland Restaurant Week
Just over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, this hot foodie destination will offer two weekends of deals during Oakland Restaurant Week. More than 100 restaurants are offering prix fixe deals at $20, $30, $40, and $50 dollars. Sample the salumi, pasta, and gelatos at Lungomare—they’re all made in house—or order the B&B Signature cocktail (with house barrel-aged white corn whiskey) to accompany your hearty steak at Bourbon & Beef.
San Francisco Restaurant Week
Recognized as one of the top dining destinations in the world, San Francisco Restaurant Week features dining deals at more than 125 restaurants across 26 neighborhoods. With special two-course menus for lunch ($15 and $25) and three-course prix fixe dinner menus ($40 and $65), set out to find a new restaurant or revisit a favorite to enjoy special multi-course menus exclusive to California Restaurant Month. You can get up-to-date info on participating restaurants—including a menu preview—on the SF Restaurant Week website or Facebook page.
The Tri-Valley area—comprised of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and Danville—is just 45 minutes east of the Golden Gate Bridge. The “Sunny Side of the Bay” is worth exploring for its restaurants and cafes, peaceful Livermore Valley wine region, and craft beer trail with more than 20 breweries. Throughout the entire month, the Tri-Valley area will offer discounted meals and California Restaurant Month specials. Check the website for participating eateries.
Downtown San Jose Restaurant Week
Where Silicon Valley meets the Valley of Heart’s delight, #DTSJ Restaurant Week is your chance to try innovative chef’s specials made with local produce at special prices. Join us at the table in the urban heart of Silicon Valley. San Jose’s range of restaurants makes it appealing to dine out more than once this week: from Farmers’ Union, a comfy tavern with sustainable fare, to Nomikai, a trendy lounge serving Asian fusion.
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