12 Bucket List Worthy Restaurants To Try In Northern California, One For Each Month Of The Year
The start of a new year is always so exciting! With it comes a sense of new adventure and the confidence to try new things. Make this the year that you finally check out some of the most unique restaurants in Northern California! Listed here are all types of dining spots, featuring everything from classic downhome cooking to elegant and elevated cuisines. Each is different in its own way, but they all share one thing: you won’t find anything else like ’em anywhere else. The
best restaurants in Northern California are calling… will you answer them?
1. January - Enchanted Forest Dining Experience
Start the new year off with a visit to one of the most delightful themed restaurants in California. Located in Placerville, Enchanted Forest offers an immersive dining experience that combines a magical atmosphere with mouthwatering food. You'll feel as if you've fallen into a fairytale as you enjoy wholesome dishes like sweet or savory crepes, hand pies, and homemade desserts. Come see why this is one of the
best restaurants in Northern California
, if not the entire west coast.
372 Main St, Placerville, CA 95667, USA
2. February - Samoa Cookhouse
In February, we're going to warm up with a visit to a historic relic near the North Coast town of Eureka. The Samoa Cookhouse is one special place, as it's the last lumber camp-style cookhouse in operation in North America. The cookhouse has continuously served food since it opened in 1893, although it wasn't until the 1960s that it opened to the public (not just employees.) Today, the restaurant offers a rotating menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates, typically consisting of classic family comfort food. Considered one of the
oldest restaurants in Northern California
, Samoa Cookhouse is a must-do for foodies of all kinds.
908 Vance Ave, Samoa, CA 95564, USA
3. March - Manresa
Located in Los Gatos is Manresa, a one-of-a-kind dining experience often credited with being one of THE best restaurants in ALL of California - and that's saying an enormous amount! It's a very upscale establishment perfect for those once-in-a-lifetime kinds of meals, like engagements, anniversaries, and more. This restaurant is as elegant as the menu options are absolutely amazing.
is a unique experience nobody in your party will forget.
320 Village Ln, Los Gatos, CA 95030, USA
4. April - Nick's Restaurant
The chill of winter has started to fade so we're headed over to one of the best oceanfront diners on the Pacific Coast. Nick's Restaurant is located in Rockaway Beach and it treats guests to a front-row view of the ocean while they dine. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, Nick's offers a menu filled with comforting dishes like fish and chips, lobster tail, and Nick's Famous Grilled Crab Sandwich! We can't get enough of this to-die-for
seafood spot in Northern California
, and we think you'll be just as hopelessly attached as we are by the end of your meal.
100 Rockaway Beach Ave, Pacifica, CA 94044, USA
5. May - Albion River Inn
Craving even more elegance? We got you. As the weather steadily starts to heat up in May, we'll stop at another oceanfront restaurant where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the NorCal coast. The Albion River Inn is home to an incredible restaurant that combines elevated cuisine with sweeping ocean views. It's a bit fancier than Nick's, making it the perfect spot for a special evening or date night. The flavors and beauty of the California coast come together at this lovely restaurant in Albion. Anyone with a penchant for
Northern California restaurants with a view
will fall hopelessly in love with this one, we promise.
3790 CA-1, Albion, CA 95410, USA
6. June - Moore's Riverboat Restaurant
Summer has officially begun, so let's celebrate with a visit to the floating restaurant in Isleton, California!
Moore's Riverboat Restaurant
is the perfect summertime spot to grab a bite and check out the views - here, you can dig into grill-style food like burgers and steaks while enjoying the scenic river delta. Fans of unique nosh spots with fun perks will adore this one.
106 W Brannan Island Rd, Isleton, CA 95641, USA
7. July - Buster's Southern BBQ
Is it even summer if you aren't enjoying lip-smacking good barbecue on the regular? Northern California has its share of great BBQ spots, but Buster's Southern BBQ in Calistoga is one of the most renowned. Charles "Buster" Davis has been blessing California with his delicious Louisiana-style cuisine since 1965, and for good reason: he. Is. AMAZING. This roadside restaurant consists of a gazebo and an outdoor patio, making it the ideal spot to chow down on some barbecue on a sunny summer day! Come out to Buster's and do the
best barbecue in Northern California
the RIGHT way.
1207 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
8. August - Sam's Chowder House
Our August selection is yet another amazing place with a spellbinding view: Sam's Chowder House, which is found at Half Moon Bay, is a must-do for seafood lovers and even the not-so-seafood-lovers. Everything on the menu is wonderful, and there's nothing in the world like watching the sunset from the deck at Sam's. Plus, of course, you'll find the
best clam chowder in Northern California
here - it's so amazing, you'll forget you're on the west coast. Chowder THIS amazing usually only comes from New England, but maybe that's about to change...
Sam's Chowder House, 4210 CA-1, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
9. September - Foreign Cinema
With the arrival of September, we're ready to enjoy a dinner-and-a-show experience like no other in NorCal. Foreign Cinema has delighted visitors since it opened in 1999. The unique dining spot has become the definitive locale for the perfect
date night in San Francisco
. The atmosphere at Foreign Cinema is just magical, consisting of warm string lights and a massive movie screen that takes over the outdoor patio. Of course, the food is amazing as well - if it wasn't, we wouldn't be talking about it right now. Open for brunch and dinner services, the restaurant's menu is a classy combination of new American food sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Come out and watch a movie in style.
2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
10. October - Kathrin's Biergarten
Are you a celebrator of Oktoberfest? Ja? If so, plan a trip to Kathrin's Biergarten in Rocklin in October. Owned and operated by Kathrin Grosse, the restaurant proudly brings real German beer and cuisine to the community. The outdoor Biergarten is especially on-point, complete with large oak trees, family-style picnic tables, and a peaceful atmosphere. The cuisine can't be beat, featuring classic German dishes like jägerschnitzel and pretzels larger than your head! If you're looking for
authentic German food
in Northern California, Kathrin's is the place you've been waiting for.
4810 Granite Dr a1, Rocklin, CA 95677, USA
11. November - Charles Street Dinner House
In November, we're planning a trip to Charles Street Dinner House, a rustic old steakhouse in Mariposa. The cozy restaurant sees a lot of visitors that are on their way to nearby Yosemite. Boasting a Western theme and giant cuts of steak, it's definitely a great place to relax after a day full of adventure and exploring. One of the finest
steakhouses in Northern California
, this dinner house will most definitely satisfy. Eat up!
5043 CA-140, Mariposa, CA 95338, USA
12. December - Matterhorn Restaurant and Bakery
On a cold December evening, is there anything better than a warm fondue dinner? We think not. Located in San Francisco, Matterhorn Restaurant and Bakery brings an alpine-inspired dining experience to the city. Inside, you'll enjoy a ski lodge-style atmosphere that exudes warmth and ultimate coziness. And the menu of authentic fondue can warm you up on even the chilliest winter night! This delightful,
authentic Swiss restaurant in San Francisco
is everything you didn't know you needed in this life, and then some.
2323 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
How many of these unique restaurants in Northern California have you been to? What’s the one bucket list restaurant you can’t wait to try? Which ones did we leave off the list (there are lots, we know)? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
If you can’t get enough of the
amazing places to eat in Northern California, you might also want to try out the cuisine at Russian River Pub.
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The OIYS Visitor Center
Unique Restaurants in Northern California
November 29, 2022
What are some truly unique restaurants in Northern California?
When it comes to dining in Northern California, there are plenty of very unique options you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the best, most unique restaurants in Northern California are:
2. What are the best restaurants in Northern California?
Though “best” is certainly subjective, rave reviews in the hundreds or thousands can’t be wrong. Some of the best restaurants in Northern California, as evidenced by excellent reviews, are places like:
3. Which restaurants in Northern California should I add to my bucket list?
There are numerous bucket-list-worthy restaurants in Northern California that are certainly worth trying! Among our favorite restaurants in Northern California for the old bucket list include gems such as: