A Tantalizing Food Trail Of Californian Cuisine

A food trail of California
| 4 min read

California is known for its fresh, healthy and organic cuisine. But these aren’t the only reasons why food tastes so great in California. It’s also because they are not afraid to mix food from different cultures and experiment with some of our favourite staples.

This list will cover a food trail across California, taking in some of the best sightseeing locations, and, of course, some of the greatest foods that can be eaten in America. If you’re short on time, head to number 10 for our personal favourite!

1. Mexican at the Taco Stand in San Diego

Ok, so first up on our tour is San Diego, and, at just 16 miles (25 km) from the Mexican border, it would be rude to not hit up the best Mexican in town. If you’re expecting a large Mexican chain restaurant, you’ve got the wrong idea, because we’re talking about true Mexican flavour and no one in San Diego does that better than the hugely popular taquería: the Taco Stand.

They opened their doors in La Jolla, in 2013, and have since opened two more locations in downtown San Diego & Encinitas. From their delicious menu, we recommend the camaron taco and the churros!

The Taco Stand

Address: 621 Pearl St, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037-5014

Website: The Taco Stand

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2. Fish101 in Carlsbad

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The San Elijo Center (shopping center where Cardiff Fish 101 is located) has some electrical issues that are being fixed...

Posted by FISH 101 Restaurant on Thursday, May 27, 2021

A 40-minute drive north of San Diego will take you to a small town called Carlsbad, which is also lovingly known as the ‘Village By the Sea.’ It would be strange to drive up the coast and not stop for some fresh seafood, but the question is, where to stop? With many fantastic seafood eateries on offer, it can be hard to decide where to go. But, for us, it has to be Fish101.

Their oysters are incredibly tasty and are only a dollar apiece on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But, if shellfish doesn’t float your boat (excuse the pun), we also recommend their fresh fish catch of the day.


Address: 1468 N Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA 92024-1443

Website: Fish101

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3. Pinks Hot Dogs in Los Angeles

Continuing up the coast, you’ll soon hit Los Angeles. This time, we’re in the mood for some traditional American food and hot dogs are at the top of our list. Our favourite spot in LA has to be Pinks Hot Dogs in Hollywood. Not only do they serve your expected hot dog styles, but they also have an expansive menu, so you can pretty much get whatever you fancy on your hot dog.

Our favourites have to the ones that are named after celebrities. Why not test out the Rosie O'Donnell Long Island Dog, which is topped with mustard, onions and sauerkraut. Yum!

Pinks Hot Dogs

Address: 709 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90038

Website: Pinks Hot Dogs

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4. Sweetfin Poké, LA

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

We’re sticking around LA to take in some of the sweet Hawaiian influence with the best poké in town. Poké is a traditional, Hawaiian, raw fish salad and the best has to be at Sweetfin Poké. We love it here because you can build your own bowl and it tastes amazing, each and every time! So join us on the big waves and surf on up to Sweetfin.

Sweetfin Poké

Address: 6256 Topanga Canyon Blvd., #1310, Los Angeles, CA 91367

Website: Sweetfin Poké

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California Tour Guide

Stephanie Eley

Stephanie Eley

I'm a graduate of ITMI, International Tour Management Institute and 17 years as a licensed Tour Director and Program Director. My expertise began in NYC and Washington, DC where I'm a licensed guide and has expanded to Europe, South America, Cuba and the Western / Southwestern National Parks of the US. I'd love to introduce you for a day or a week to Denver, Colorado and the 4 corners region of the US: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona! Let's GO!! stepheley@gmail.com

Tours by Stephanie

5. Harajuku Crepes, Santa Monica

Editor’s note: establishment is permanently closed

Before we leave the Los Angeles area, we need to satisfy our sweet-tooth cravings and Japanese style crepes are the perfect fix. If you don’t already know, Harajuku Crepes has been serving Japanese style crepes since 2009. You can customize everything in your crepe, even the crepe mixture, which includes original, buckwheat or even green tea and then you can choose your fillings! Simple and effective.

Harajuku Crepes

Address: 9405 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210-4604

Website: Harajuku Crepes

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6. Firestone Grill, Bakersfield

Heading north, in two hours you’ll reach Bakersfield, a city in which you can find an amazing grill restaurant. The Firestone Grill opened its doors in 1995 and has become world famous for its Tri-tip and, of course, their delicious grilled burgers. Expect a sports bar restaurant feel, so settle in with a plate of meat, some beer and we guarantee you an awesome dinner.

The Firestone Grill

Address: 1001 Higuera St Ste A, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-3603

Website: The Firestone Grill

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7. Choke Coach, Castroville

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by The Choke Coach on Friday, August 14, 2020

Sit back and enjoy the pleasant three and a half hour car drive to our next destination, Castroville. Famous as the “Artichoke Heartland”, these delicious beauties are the state vegetable for Castroville and there are plenty of specialist restaurants to choose from. The top of the list though has to be the Choke Coach, which is actually a fast food truck! From steamed to fried artichokes there is plenty on their menu to keep even the biggest artichoke fan satisfied.

Choke Coach

Address: 460 Nashua Road, Castroville, CA

Facebook: Choke Coach

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8. Garlic City Cafe, Gilroy

After your artichoke feast, you can enjoy another specialty food - garlic! Just 32 minutes drive north of Castroville lands us in Gilroy, which loves garlic so much that they even have a garlic festival, every year. People from all over the country travel to Gilroy for their garlic products and our favourite eatery has to be the Garlic City Cafe. This family-owned restaurant has a fantastic menu, where you can easily have a three-course garlic based meal.

Garlic City Cafe

Address: 7461 Monterey St, Gilroy, CA 95020-5823

Website: Garlic City Cafe

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9. Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco

Another hour and a half north will finally take you to San Francisco. This time, we’re just stopping by for a snack and whether it be savoury or sweet, you must stop by Craftsman and Wolves for a muffin. The savoury ones even have whole eggs inside and they’re delicious - we’ve never tasted anything like it! The Rebel Within or the Kimchi Rebel Within are also our weak points!

Craftsman and Wolves

Address: 746 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110-1735

Website: Craftsman and Wolves

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10. Sushirrito, San Francisco

Salmon Samba @ Sushirrito
Source: Photo by Flickr user j bizzie used under CC BY 2.0

This is it - the last stop on our Californian food trail and we’ve made it extra special, with two of our favourites types of food: sushi and burritos! That’s right, picture it now, all of your favourite sushi ingredients, deconstructed and then reconstructed into a burrito wrap. Its called a Sushirrito and we could go on for ages about how great it tastes and we still wouldn’t do it justice.


Address: 59 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105-3438

Website: Sushirrito

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Californian cuisine

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kelly Sue DeConnick used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Have you been to any of these restaurants? Or maybe you think we’ve missed some from our list? We’d love to hear your comments! We hope that you enjoy our Californian food tour as much as we did!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Katie is a committed full-time global wanderer and volunteer. She possesses an unerring compass that guides her to the obscure and distant corners of the Earth, where she explores jungles,...Read more

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