Southern California cuisine is characterized by two distinct personalities: fish tacos and craft beer on one side, celebrity chefs and haute cuisine on the other. California Restaurant Month festivities embrace both versions, with a spotlight on the local seafood and farm-fresh produce, as well as the region’s unique contributions to the culinary culture. From the microbreweries in San Diego to the bucket-list eateries of Los Angeles—and even the historic birthplace of the cheeseburger—here’s how to access the region’s best deals and treats in the southern third of the state, listed north to south.
Lancaster’s BLVD Restaurant Week
The high-desert town of Lancaster in Antelope Valley puts a spotlight on its lively downtown during Restaurant Week. In 2010, Lancaster Boulevard underwent a complete redesign. Now known as the BLVD, the area is the cultural centre of the city, with more than 40 restaurants, bars, and shops. January’s week-long fete is the perfect time to try something new. Find anything from classic Scottish dishes to El Salvadorian cuisine, all at a discount.
Cheeseburger Week in Pasadena
Pasadena gave America (or really, the world) a priceless gift: the cheeseburger, which was reportedly first developed in 1924 by the young Lionel Sternberger, who was working as a fry cook at his father’s roadside stand. The city’s Restaurant Week pays homage to the perfect melt, with local joints putting their own twist on the classic with special burgers, discounts, and additions. Vote for your favourite through the Cheeseburger Challenge—and check out last year’s overall winner, Dog Haus.
Taste of Alhambra
Alhambra boasts some serious curb appeal thanks to its famously diverse architecture. Similarly, its food scene gets its flair from the wide array of cultural dining options. Sample cuisines from the world over at the Taste of Alhambra: Enjoy Malaysian, Texan, Thai, Hawaiian, Korean, Taiwanese, Szechuan, and more, thanks to specials at participating restaurants.
Winter dineL.A. 2018
With more than 300 restaurants participating, the toughest part of dineL.A. will be choosing where to make your res. The 15-day event features special menus ($15–$25 for lunch, $29–$49 for dinner) at participating places all over the city. In true Los Angeles fashion, there’s an Exclusive Series as well. The hottest restaurants in town—Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Mélisse, and many more—will offer unforgettable, premier dining experiences starting at $95 a head.
Santa Monica Restaurant Week
Given the city’s famed farmers market and the local love of fresh organic produce, Santa Monica Restaurant Week focuses each year on one fresh ingredient. This year it’s the pomegranate, which will be honoured through special dishes served at restaurants all around the elegant beach town. Dining destinations will craft healthy custom dishes with the antioxidant-rich, ruby red fruit as the star of the show.
Redondo Beach Restaurant Week
The pier-centred beach town in L.A. County has long been a haven for seafood fanatics who flock for famous dishes like the garlic calamari at Tony’s on the Pier. But the offerings for the Redondo Beach Restaurant Week also include a variety of delights from land and sea. Some favourites include A Basq Kitchen, serving up picture-perfect pintxos, and Bottle Inn Riviera, offering classic Italian cuisine. In additional to prix fixe menus for dinner and lunch, VIP cards can be downloaded for special discounts.
Garden Grove Restaurant Week
Just a few minutes from Anaheim, the Orange County town of Garden Grove is home to a thriving Little Saigon that offers some of the best Vietnamese food this side of the Pacific. During Restaurant Week, dozens of destinations will host special discounts and events. Try the Deep-Fried Salmon Belly at acclaimed Garlic & Chives, enjoy a post-meal stroll down Historic Main Street, or improve your skills at a “Cook with the Chef” event.
Newport Beach Restaurant Week
This Orange County beach town is known for its upscale dining. But during the 11th annual Restaurant Week, even the fanciest establishments become eminently attainable thanks to prix fixe menus for lunch ($10–$25) and dinner ($20–$50). During the 14-day celebration, check out the Tackle Box—led by Top Chef contestant Brian Huskey—with its New England-style chowder, cornmeal-fried catfish, and a Cali cheesesteak topped with fried peppers.
Dine GPS Presents the Chef’s Table
All of January
For the first time ever, Greater Palm Springs is delivering a Restaurant Month celebration with an intimate twist. Diners will be treated to innovative cuisine accompanied by fascinating insight—served up by renowned chefs at special storytelling dinners. Famous regional masters include The Barn Kitchen’s Gabriel Woo, who favours farm-to-table with a twist, and Chef Tanya's Kitchen’s Tanya Petrovna, whose vegan specialties were the fodder for vegan chain Native Foods.
Temecula Valley Restaurant Month
All of January
In the heart of Southern California’s wine country, Temecula Valley will celebrate its Restaurant Month by focusing on a dish that pairs well with the region’s Zinfandels, Malbecs, and Syrahs. Restaurants across the area develop “Temeculafied” flatbreads, featuring fresh local ingredients, including meats, dairy, and vegetables, including olives, all picked from the area’s family-owned farms.
Dana Point Restaurant Week
This oceanside town, hugged by picturesque beaches and stunning coastal bluffs, inspires seafood cravings all year round. During Restaurant Week, fixed-price menus at $15, $20, and $25 offer the perfect opportunity to sample daily market catches at one of the area’s heralded eateries. Try Waterman’s Harbor, named the first Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Restaurant in the area, which serves conscientiously produced and delicious dishes like Trap Caught Cod Fish & Chips.
Dine Out Escondido!
January 28–February 3
Northeast of San Diego, the inland town of Escondido has an internationally known hops scene, with Stone Brewing as the jewel in its craft beer crown. During Restaurant Week, enjoy a wide array of pairings—or try something completely different, like sophisticated service at The Grand Tea Room or Bellamy's Restaurant (pictured above), or a transporting Central American dish at Cuscatlan Salvadorean Cuisine. For each meal purchased, $1 is donated to the Food4Kids Backpack Program, providing weekend food to children in need.
San Diego Restaurant Week
Raise a fish taco to salute this SoCal foodie favourite: San Diego’s Restaurant Week boasts more than 180 restaurants offering prix fixe deals. Enjoy a three-course dinner ($20–$50) or two-course lunch ($10–$20) at one of the many eateries across the sprawling county. Participants include new hot spots like the Pisco Rotisserie & Cevicheria, with its signature Peruvian chicken, and evergreen favourites like George’s at the Cove, featuring seafood served alongside stunning views.
Northern California is home to several well-known culinary destinations—think San Francisco, Napa Valley, Berkeley—but it also boasts lesser-known locales in the centre of...
The food scene in California is a head-spinning array of almost every cuisine, with chefs creating globally influenced creations that celebrate the ultimate in fresh, locally sourced ingredients....