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12 Restaurants You Have To Visit In Northern California Before You Die

One thing us Northern Californians are known for is our impeccable love of food. We can be pretty pretentious foodies and we deserve that title. Our part of the state makes some of the best food, grows the best produce and produces the most delicious wine in the world. If you haven’t tried a few of these restaurants yet, we think you should. It’s not always the most expensive places that make you want more–sometimes the little hole in the wall establishments are even better.

  1. La Salette, Sonoma

With ne foot in Portugal and one in California, this is a real gem in Sonoma. There’s a lot to choose from in these parts so make sure to take a loved one here. People love it.

2. Sam’s Chowder House, Half Moon Bay

There are a whole lot of folks who make sure to stop here every single time they’re in the area. It’s not much to look at, which makes it all the more adorable. Want some authentic seafood and chowder? Stop by Sam’s.

3. Hunan Homes, Los Altos

This family owned place serves Chinese food to die for. Every family needs a go-to favorite Chinese restaurant and a lot of folks claim this spot as theirs. Chinese food isn’t just for New Year’s Eve, people. Jump in the car and come enjoy a meal or two here.

4. The Refuge, San Carlos

This is Belgian food at its finest. This video shows a lot more than I can say here. But, if you’re also a lover of craft beers on tap – consider that another for the “pro” column.

5. Tropisueno Mexican Kitchen, San Francisco

Looking for some delicious Mexican food? We know you probably have a dozen favorite spots, so allow us to introduce you to one more. You’ll really love it. And, you can never have too many amazing go-to restaurants.

6. Madison Bear Garden, Chico

Bears and burgers are a yummy way to pass a little dinnertime. Bring the family and enjoy one of Chico’s favorites.

7. Waterboy, Sacramento

Italian, French, and California cuisine made with locally grown fresh ingredients. I don’t know about you, but I love a restaurant that uses local produce to make my meal.

8. Yaks on the 5, Dunsmuir

In the world of delicious burgers, Zak’s is king. Just check out this garlic burger. Need we say more?

9. Mary’s Pizza Shack, Sonoma/Roseville and LOTS of other places.

Mary Fozio began making her own family recipes for customers in 1959. Her single pizza shack has grown to 15 pizza shacks now. Having an Italian grandpa means this is one spot I’m putting on my restaurant bucket list. The hard-working American dream of this mother touches my heart, and I hear her food is pretty darn good. She’d be so proud of her business today.

10. Sellands Cafe, El Dorado Hills

If you’re loving the farm to table movement then this spot will be one of your favorite stops for a meal. Home cooked and fresh ingredients are two things that make any Northern Californian want to stop by and grab a bite. Sellands is one you need to put on your list. Go. Do it now.

11. Kalanie’s, Lake Tahoe

Fresh fish is flown in three times a week here. Sushi, cockails, ribs and a Hawaiian flair with incredible island flavor. Make sure you leave a little room for their volcano cake. You’re welcome.

12. The Peasant and The Pear, Danville

This place is a little pricey. BUT…so worth it!

Northern California has thousands of delicious places we could choose from. It’s incredibly difficult choosing just 12. Stick around; we’ll get to them all. We promise.

Joanne Kraft
Joanne is a fourth-generation Northern Californian. She knows good sour dough bread when she tastes it and understands the best parts of the Golden State are nowhere near Los Angeles.