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8 Ways to Dine Like a Royal

8 Ways to Dine Like a Royal
A must-taste line-up of 20-course dinners, celebrity favourites and secret cocktail haunts befitting a duchess

It’s a modern fairy tale: an American actress, a British prince, a blind date gone (very) well, culminating in a royal wedding that had the world buzzing. Former Suits star and California girl Meghan Markle is a self-proclaimed foodie, a fan of both healthy eating and the occasional indulgence. In honour of her royal wedding to Prince Harry, we rounded up a handful of the state’s trendiest spots and most exclusive tables into a must-taste itinerary worthy of a princess—but available to you. 

Watch chefs work their magic at The Restaurant at Meadowood

Napa Valley

The best seats at chef Christopher Kostow’s Wine Country haven don’t just have a view of the line; they’re inside the kitchen at the coveted chef’s counter, where the Michelin three-star tasting menu is upgraded to a 20-course feast that kicks off at $500. The reward for that extraordinary expenditure? A front-row seat to a kind of culinary sorcery where your dinner might include cheese candles, house-smoked eel and a photo souvenir with Kostow himself.

Experience farm-to-table perfection with Outstanding in the Field

Multiple locations

The farm-to-table philosophy that has swept the country is often traced to Berkeley’s Chez Panisse. That movement reaches its modern apex with Outstanding in the Field’s pop-up dinner parties, outdoor extravaganzas that take place at farms and vineyards where local purveyors and chefs come together to create one-of-a-kind meals around a single large table. Locations and menus vary for each meal, from a secret sea cove in Santa Cruz to an organic date ranch in Palm Springs. It’s a royal banquet, California style (with room for all the lords, ladies and hat-wearing cousins), and a celebration of Golden State goodness.

Mingle with celebrities at Gjelina

Venice

Jay-Z and Beyoncé are American pop-culture royalty, and when they hit town, they often dine at this low-key Venice hotspot—known for its Cal-Italian small plates, charred-edge pizzas and A-list clientele. Dubbed the best place to spot celebrities by Bravo, Gjelina has played host to Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Lady Gaga and even Meghan Markle’s future husband, Prince Harry himself. Added bonus: Gjelina is located in the heart of the Abbot Kinney shopping district—perfect for some after-brunch boutique browsing.

Try authentic fish tacos at Cala

San Francisco

Markle has proclaimed her love for fish tacos, and at Gabriella Camara’s Cala, the Baja classic gets a delicious upgrade. Here, rockfish à la talla is a whole fish, grilled to a perfect flake and served with fresh corn tortillas and a pair of sauces for your taco-assembling pleasure. Add some Dungeness crab tostadas, a mushroom quesadilla and a couple of mezcal margaritas, and you have a modern Mexican meal totally at home in San Francisco

Indulge in afternoon tea at Hotel Bel-Air

Los Angeles

This storied enclave of lush gardens and swan ponds has hosted royalty for decades—of both the official and the Hollywood variety. Princess Grace of Monaco spent so much time at the five-star hotel that it named a suite for her, and Marilyn Monroe famously posed for her final photo shoot among the resort’s graceful grounds. For an experience worthy of both women and befitting a new member of the royal family, stop by for a British(ish) afternoon tea, when Wolfgang Puck’s resident restaurant serves an array of loose-leaf options and Champagne alongside an opulent spread of savoury nibbles, fresh-baked scones and decadent sweets.

Snag a coveted table at The French Laundry

Yountville

Some of California’s most sought-after tables are in Thomas Keller’s Yountville dining room, where the American chef creates modern French tasting menus that start at $325 per person (wine not included). Provided you can snag one of those tables, of course. The French Laundry is fresh off a $10 million renovation that added luxury upgrades: outdoor seating for large parties (at a premium $400+ per guest), mirrored exterior walls to reflect the natural setting, and windows into the new state-of-the-art kitchen. Today, the Michelin three-star restaurant is as popular as ever, with bookings snapped up months in advance

Sip stealthy cocktails at The Walker Inn

Los Angeles

You enter the Normandie Club hotel in L.A.’s Koreatown neighbourhood, walk to the back of the bar and push the button next to the conveniently labelled ‘secret door’. A red bulb clicks on and within seconds you’re whisked inside a covert booze oasis, where denizens sip on expert drinks in the haze of dimmer switches turned almost all the way down. While royals would crave this reprieve from the crowds, you’re here for the cocktails, specifically the bar-side tasting, where six or seven courses may include eye-drop tinctures, smoking beehives or a perfect scoop of apple ice wine ice cream.

Soak in the scenery at Post Ranch Inn

Big Sur

You won’t find TVs or alarm clocks in this serene hideaway, where rooms resemble sophisticated tree houses perched over the ocean. At Post Ranch Inn, the 39 guest suites complement the landscape, and Sierra Mar restaurant is imbued with a sense of place. From the graceful, modern architecture to the locally driven menu, to the Pacific views through soaring windows—all sea and sky and endless horizon—it features one of the best restaurant vistas in the entire state. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic sunset toast, a complimentary breakfast or a four-course dinner, the hotel’s panorama never fails to amaze.

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