The Hot List: New Restaurants In California To Try Right Now

Courtesy of Z & Y Peking Duck (Instagram- @zandypekingduck)

Courtesy of Z & Y Peking Duck (Instagram- @zandypekingduck)

California’s latest culinary scene is redefining tradition and sustainability by blending global influences with locally sourced ingredients, resulting in innovative and mindful dining experiences.

The India Connect

Pippal Launches Innovative Cocktail Program

Pippal, one of San Francisco’s newest and most innovative cocktail offerings, narrates the rich history of India’s heritage landmarks through the vision of creative lead bartender Izler Thomas. Each cocktail on the menu honors a specific heritage site in India, featuring flavor profiles that showcase ingredients native to that region.

Address: 5614 Bay St #235, Emeryville, CA 94608, United States

Courtesy of Pippāl Regional Indian (Instagram- @eatatpippal)

LA Welcomes Recently-Opened SHOR

The team behind a twice Michelin-recognized restaurant has launched their second culinary venture, SHOR, in the heart of LA’s Hawaiian Gardens neighborhood. Inspired by bazaars and led by Chef Imran ‘Ali’ Mookhi, SHOR aims to revolutionize high-end Desi cuisine in the West. Drawing inspiration from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, SHOR’s menu features 100% halal global flavors presented with sophistication. Enhancing the immersive experience, Executive Pastry Chef and Le Cordon Bleu alum Mark Medina has crafted an elevated pastry menu that captures the essence of Desi cuisine. Staying true to halal traditions, SHOR offers a unique non-alcoholic beverage selection, including zero-proof versions of classic cocktails and a water bar.

Address: 12155 E Carson St, Hawaiian Gardens, CA 90716, United States

Courtesy of SHOR (Instagram- @shorbazaar_la)

Baar Baar

Chef Sujan Sarkar, a James Beard Foundation Semi-Finalist Nominee, is redefining Indian cuisine at the newly opened Baar Baar in Downtown Los Angeles. The bold and imaginative menu offers a contemporary take on authentic Indian flavors and textures. Guests can savor nightly tasting menus or join the lively Sunday Bollywood Brunch, complete with a live DJ and a vibrant atmosphere perfect for dancing. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, Baar Baar Hour invites guests to enjoy bar bites and Bollywood-inspired cocktails.

Address: 705 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015, United States

Courtesy of Baar Baar (Instagram- @baarbaarnyc)

Also Read: The Ultimate Summer Guide to Mammoth Lakes, California

More in Culinary

New Restaurants in Costa Mesa

Straight from Mexico City, Churrería El Moro debuts its U.S. flagship location in Northgate Market, bringing the finest churros and chocolate since 1935. The Plot, a near-zero waste kitchen, offers 100% plant-based dishes rich in flavor and sustainability, marking the latest venture by a dynamic husband and wife team. Maizano redefines elevated Mexican cuisine with contemporary interpretations of traditional recipes from Yucatán, Puebla, and Oaxaca. Costa Mesa Kitchens, a ghost kitchen, hosts over 24 unique restaurants, including Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Kitchen, creating a vibrant culinary playground.

Address: 2300 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States

Slow & Low Becomes Elk Grove’s Newest Smokehouse

Located in Historic Elk Grove, Slow & Low will occupy a newly renovated 2,400 square-foot brick building, featuring a spacious outdoor patio and a state-of-the-art custom smoker. The restaurant will offer barbecue favorites along with vegan and vegetarian options. Michael Hargis, founder of the popular LowBrau German beer hall in Midtown Sacramento, is expanding his culinary footprint in the greater Sacramento area with the opening of Slow & Low in Elk Grove.

Address: 9700 Railroad St, Elk Grove, CA 95624, United States

New Healdsburg Mocktail Trail Debuts

Continuing the trend toward low or no-alcohol options, the Mocktail Trail in Healdsburg showcases diverse mocktail menus from many popular local restaurants. Mixologists at Lo & Behold, Spoon Bar, Bravas Bar de Tapas, Chalkboard, Goodnight’s Prime Steak & Spirits, Little Saint, The Rooftop at Harmon House, and Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar have crafted no-spirits drinks that go beyond typical alcohol-free cocktails. From Spanish-inspired mocktails to coastal creations, each stop on the trail offers a unique and delightful experience.

Courtesy of Lo & Behold Bar Kitchen (Instagram- @loandbeholdhealdsburg)

Whaling Bar Reopens

After a decade-long closure, the Whaling Bar reopened in early 2024 inside the Valencia Hotel. Originally established in the 1940s, the Whaling Bar was a favorite among notable locals and luminaries like Tom Hanks and Robin Williams. The revamped venue features a fresh design while preserving some original nautical-themed paintings and cocktails. Now part of the hotel, the cocktail lounge’s menu will be created and managed by the SDCM Restaurant Group.

Address: 1132 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

Courtesy of The Whaling Bar (Instagram- @thewhalingbar)

The Bar Debuts at Short Stories Hotel

The Fairfax neighborhood has welcomed The Bar at Short Stories Hotel, an elevated lounge offering a cocktail-forward experience. Nestled in the hotel’s central courtyard oasis, the lounge evokes a secret garden sanctuary with European and African touches. Their craft cocktails feature unexpected, creative, and playful pairings. The wine list showcases a concise yet diverse collection of old and new world labels, with a strong focus on California wines. The culinary selection highlights classic American fare, featuring familiar favorites and refined small plates, perfect for sharing.

Address: 115 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA.

Must Read: Itinerary: A Weekend Getaway in Tri-Valley, California

Downtown Mariposa Welcomes Happy Goat Diner

The farm-to-table restaurant offers updated American classics for breakfast and lunch, featuring ingredients grown at the nearby Happy Goat Farm, spanning 1,850 acres and established in 2020 to serve the local community through various programs. Beginning in 2024, the afternoon Fun on the Farm Happy Hour experience will be open to the public. In the evenings, guests can interact with and feed the goats while enjoying a cocktail made with farm-fresh ingredients.

Address: 5038 Central Yosemite Hwy, Mariposa, CA 95338, United States

Tank Garage Opening its Second Location

Tank Garage Winery, a wine brand and 1930s-era gas station-turned-winery located in the Napa Valley town of Calistoga, is set to open a second tasting room in Paso Robles in spring 2024. Known for its eclectic wine blends and vintage vibes, Tank Garage Winery crafts wines with soul and purpose.

Address: 840 13th St F, Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States

Z&Y Peking Duck Now Open with New Event Space

Z&Y Peking Duck, San Francisco’s latest restaurant celebrating the centuries-old Chinese culinary icon, Beijing Peking Duck, is now open with its newly completed event space designed for social gatherings, corporate events, and VIP parties. The space features modern Chinese décor with a vibrant red and gold color scheme, completely remodeled to accommodate private parties and events for up to 60 people.

Address: 606 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

Luna Red Opens in Downtown San Luis Obispo

Situated next to the Mission de Tolosa in downtown San Luis Obispo, Luna Red offers an exceptional dining and drinking experience in a vibrant and artistic atmosphere. Chef Shaun Behrens’ vision comes to life through a menu of small plates that highlight his dedication to using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

Address: 1023 Chorro St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, United States

Courtesy of Luna Red Restaurant (Instagram- @lunaredrestaurant)

New Restaurant Openings in Solvang from Two Local Chefs

Chef Budi Kazali, former chef and owner of the beloved Ballard Inn, will return to the kitchen with his upcoming restaurant concept. Similar to The Gathering Table, the restaurant aims to open in spring 2024, featuring a menu of mixed cuisines designed for convivial sharing, with a strong Asian cuisine-inspired influence. In honor of Chef Cullen Campbell’s former hospitality concepts in Phoenix, AZ, the restaurant and bar “Crudo” will open this spring. Crudo will later be joined by a sister sushi and izakaya-style restaurant.

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