California has long been established as the No. 1 destination for food-loving travelers in America, and it’s easy to see why. The Cobb salad was invented here. So too was the cheeseburger. The state produces 90 percent of the wine in the United States. Possibly more than any other place on the planet, California has turned eating into an art form. From farming to feasting and everything in between, the California food industry has shown the world that dining and cooking can be one of the great pleasures in life.
January’s California Restaurant Month puts the state’s amazing bounty on rich display. It makes feasting even more accessible than usual, with a legion of participating restaurants in cities and regions across the state offering deals and special menus at various times during the month.
Here’s how California Restaurant month is celebrated: Participating cities and regions—from San Diego to Sonoma, and Temecula to Tahoe—have their own restaurant week, lasting anywhere from a week to 10 days during the month of January. During each weeklong celebration various restaurants offer special deals, such as affordable prix fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner, or sizably discounted meals.
After the frenetic pace of the holiday season, this is a good time for guests to relax and treat themselves to great dining. California Restaurant Month provides guests a fantastic opportunity to have an amazing meal at multiple restaurants for a great price. From a restaurant perspective, it is a good reminder of all the incredible restaurants throughout California.
California cuisine has long been celebrated for its use of extraordinary ingredients, from sustainably farmed produce and meats to artisanal cheeses. The state’s edible bounty is a huge draw for top chefs, which has made California a top destination for food lovers.
It is said that when one visits to California, he should come hungry. This is a state that seriously knows how to cook. Amazing and innovative chefs sprinkled with Michelin stars work with local farms and artisanal food purveyors to get the best hyper-local, hyper-fresh ingredients, then create magic on a plate.
Top places and Restaurant deals to watch out during California Restaurant month:
SLO Cal Restaurant Month:
From the olive groves of Paso Robles to the ocean bluffs of Pismo Beach, residents and travelers can enjoy the best food and drink in San Luis Obispo County during SLO CAL Restaurant Month. Select establishments will offer prix fixe menus for $30 to $40 per person, while participating wineries pour out discounts too. Savor the taste of the land at restaurants like Thomas Hill Organics, which crafts locally sourced items like foraged mushrooms and freshly picked parsnips.
Santa Maria Valley Restaurant Week:
The home of Santa Maria-style barbeque celebrates its Restaurant Week with specials that pay tribute to 2018. Throughout the region, restaurants, wineries, and breweries will be offering specials for $20.18—everything from wine pairings to special menu items. Try the thriving wine region’s best bottles at spots like Cnagy Wine Tasting Room, Grevino Café & Wine Bar, and Core Wine Tasting Room, then head to one of the local standouts—like the classic, must-visit Far Western Tavern—for a filling meal at a discount.
Oakland Restaurant Week:
Vegan comfort food, made-to-order ice cream, Peruvian stir-fry, house-made Korean glass noodles—you can truly get it all in Oakland if you know where to look. Luckily, the city’s Restaurant Week celebration provides a guide to the best spots at the lowest prices. Fixed-price lunch and dinner options will feed your inner foodie. More than 100 diverse restaurants are expected to participate in the two-weekend celebration.
Sonoma Valley Delicious:
Sonoma Valley knows how to ring in the New Year. For the entire month of January, one of California’s premier epicurean destinations will celebrate its delicious bounty. The entire region comes together to celebrate with discounts everywhere from wineries and tasting rooms to high-end restaurants offering specialty cocktails and exclusive dishes. You can open a red from your favorite vintner before heading to Saddles Steakhouse for the grass-fed filet—no corkage fee applies.
Temecula Valley Restaurant Month:
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.
Dine GPS Presents the Chef’s Table:
For the first time ever, Greater Palm Springs has joined the Restaurant Month celebration, and the desert region is going all out. Diners will be treated to innovative cuisine straight from the chefs themselves—both at the Chef’s Dinner with Drew Davis of Catalan on January 11 and 18 and the Chef’s Table with Jae Ho Bang at Morgan’s in the Desert on January 18 (more info here). Throughout the entire month of January, Greater Palm Springs offers a fun range of foodie events, including everything from winemaker dinners to breakfast with a mountain lion at The Living Desert.
Cheese Burger 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 favorite through the Cheeseburger Challenge—and check out last year’s overall winner, Dog Haus.
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 honored 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.
San Diego Restaurant Week:
Raise a fish taco to salute this SoCal foodie favorite: 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 favorites like George’s at the Cove, featuring seafood served alongside stunning views.
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About Visit California
Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, spending by travelers totaled $126.3 billion in 2016 in California, generating 1.1 million jobs in the state and $10.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California, go to http://www.visitcalifornia.in/. For story ideas, media information, downloadable images, video and more, go to www.media.visitcalifornia.com.