Esquire’s list of “The Best New Restaurants in America, 2023” just came out and – surprise, surprise – California comes out exceptionally strong, with many featured spots hailing from the Bay Area and SoCal.
The magazine’s critics gave their top award of “Restaurant of the Year” to Ilis in Brooklyn, where they were impressed by a “fish as it would have been done centuries ago, wrapped in bark and cooked over flames.” Hmmm… OK. But out of the 50 places they highlight, an impressive 13 hail from right here in California. Here are those restaurants; for the full list head over to Esquire.
This 1 Michelin-starred Napa restaurant excels at the super-luxury tasting-menu experience, thanks to the talents of chef Rogelio Garcia, who’s worked at Cyrus and the French Laundry.
A new and elevated soul-food spot pays tribute to the family recipes of Chef Geoff Davis, who makes a mean roasted pork neck and head-on barbecue shrimp. (Read our review here.)
The husband/wife team of chef Jonny Black and Monique Black run this coastal Californian restaurant, which features a fresh bounty of seafood from nearby Monterey Bay.
Dalida highlights the flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, in particular Istanbul, with delicious plates meant for sharing. Its location inside the Presidio, the military-base-turned-park, is a big plus, too.
This new tasting-menu spot from chef John Wesley is gunning hard for Michelin recognition with dishes like Norwegian king crab with tomato miso, geoduck with Osetra caviar and Modesto squab with burgundy truffle.
Chef Brian Dunsmoor runs this American-heritage joint with hearty, comforting dishes like Kobe-beef tartare bison tartare with fried oysters and rainbow trout with Rosebank grits and ham vinaigrette.
Hitokuchi means “one sip, one bite,” and that’s what you get here – sake of the highest quality paired with punchy small plates like live spot prawn with uni and shrimp-head sauce and A5 wagyu tataki with velvety puree de pommes.
This quirky but lovable restaurant highlights SoCal’s fresh seafood and follows an Iberian route with dishes like pan con tomate with boquerones and Spanish tortilla with caviar.
Chef Diego Argoti runs this fun kitchen inside a bar and arcade in Echo Park, putting creative twists on standards like Caesar salad (here done Thai-style) and Chinese beef-and-broccoli (ravioli with short ribs and oxtail).
The new restaurant from James-Beard nominated chef Shenarri Freeman is inspired by West African ingredients with a menu that’s entirely plant-based.
Chef Junya Yamasaki serves “progressive Japanese” fare powered by charcoal grilling at this new restaurant, which began as a sashimi food truck.
Sisters Meave and Rory McAuliffe have a ball with modern Californian cuisine in this relaxing restaurant, which happens to feature some truly strange cocktails (a Hello Satan with serrano chili and cilantro-infused olive oil?).
The Michelin-starred Valle features seasonal menus with modern Mexican cooking from the Guadalupe Valley.
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