Northern California is one of the most diverse epicurean playgrounds in the entire United States. In fact, few other places in the world have such a varied blend of chefs, farmers, fishermen, and foragers who work in harmony with winemakers and brewmasters to concoct culinary magic.
The North Coast’s location is a gold mine for culinary diversity, with the ocean’s bounty to the west and sustainable farms, artisanal food makers, and vineyards scattered throughout the region. Sip award-winning wines alongside haute cuisine, or tuck into a hearty bowl of chowder, pier-side. California’s North Coast has a very strong cheese tradition as well, making fresh goat, sheep, and cow’s cheese all across the top of the state.
No doubt one culinary capital of Northern California is San Francisco, where ingredient-driven menus are the standard. Many San Francisco chefs work closely with local farms and food purveyors to get exactly what they are looking for. Consider the sophistication of Michelin-starred restaurants like Coi, Atelier Crenn, and Quince, or suck down tacos and burritos on the streets of the Mission District. Sample local delicacies like artisanal cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, dim sum in Chinatown, or freshly baked bread at Acme Bread.
for more info on the ultimate annual EAT DRINK SF
festival held in August.
Santa Cruz is another burgeoning culinary hotspot along Northern California’s coast. Visitors can start the day right with a steaming cup of fresh coffee, notably at Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company or Lulu Carpenter’s. But don’t stop there—nothing pairs better with a cup of fresh brew than a pastry. For that, visit Kelly’s French Bakery.
Come lunch time, Zoccoli’s Delicatessen is a local favorite, where the hot tri-tip sandwich is the one to beat. And for lunch, take advantage of Santa Cruz’s seaside location and visit Johnny’s Harborside or the Crow’s Nest for great sunset views and even better seafood.
Going hungry in Northern California is not an option. Neither is dining on the same thing two nights in a row.