New dining destinations, California’s constantly changing food scene is a lively mixture of innovation and the blending of variety cultures. It goes more than just basic food, serving as a energetic mirror of the state’s creativity, commitment to environmental, and its profound respect for a wide range of flavors and traditions.
Enjoy in variety food journeys at these five recently established dining establishments that pay homage to taste, culture, and creative food. From a focus on farm-to-table principles and global inspirations to refined classics and daring fusions, each restaurant promises a distinct and exceptional dining experience.
1. The Newly-Opened Kiln, San Francisco
Located in the charming neighborhood of Hayes Valley, Kiln is a new upscale dining spot covering a spacious 3,400 square feet. This restaurant is the brainchild of Chef John Wesley and General Manager Julianna Yang, who previously worked together at the renowned Michelin-starred Sons & Daughters.
Their goal is to provide a dining experience that goes beyond the ordinary, focusing on global ingredients, exceptional food-related skills, and top-tier hospitality.
Kiln offers two distinct menus: a Tasting Menu with 18-20 courses priced at $225 and a Bar Menu featuring 8-10 courses for $135. Both menus are carefully curated to emphasize intention, simplicity, and the purity of flavors. Kiln’s approach revolves around showcasing the quality of ingredients and utilizing food techniques from around the world.
What truly sets Kiln apart is its commitment to supporting local farmers, with 90% of their suppliers coming from the nearby region. They also prioritize sustainable practices for sourcing meats and seasonal wild-caught seafood. This dedication ensures that every dish is made with the finest ingredients, reflecting Kiln’s unwavering commitment to quality.
In the beverage department, Kiln has enlisted the expertise of Beverage Director Vincent Balao, previously known for his role as the Lead Sommelier at Atelier Crenn.
Balao has meticulously curated a beverage program that features a wide selection of classic and contemporary wines, exquisite champagnes, craft beers, ciders, premium sake, and even alcohol-free spirits. This thoughtful array of choices complements Kiln’s culinary offerings, promising a well-rounded and satisfying dining experience for all its guests.
2. Luxury Dining at Kimpton Alma San Diego’s Leave of Absence
In the heart of the historic Gaslamp Quarter, you’ll find the newly opened boutique hotel, Kimpton Alma San Diego. They’ve just introduced a new dining spot called Leave of Absence. This is a rooftop hangout by the pool designed to give guests a taste of fresh food and delicious cocktails in a beautiful setting.
You’ll find Leave of Absence on the hotel’s pool deck, and their menu features tasty finger foods all expertly cooked in a stone and wood-fired oven. The cocktails are crafted to be enjoyed in the sunshine while lounging by the pool.
Leave of Absence is actually the third restaurant opened by Kimpton Alma, and it’s led by a well-known chef-restaurateur, Jason Neroni, who comes from Los Angeles. Their menu has a variety of dishes, such as chicken shawarma meatballs, Hanger steak shashlik, baked rigatoni, wood-fired flatbreads, and some creative drinks like the Raspado, which is a mezcal-infused slushy with a Jamaican twist, and the Taiji cocktail, among others.
3. Liquid Gravity Brewing Company’s New Taproom, Old Town Orcutt
Brendan Gough, originally from San Luis Obispo and with extensive experience in the beer industry, founded Liquid Gravity Brewing Company.
Gough’s brewing career has mostly revolved around California’s Central Coast, where he contributed his brewing expertise to well-known places like Doc Cellars, Central Coast Brewing, and Firestone Walker, among others. After his time at these renowned breweries, Gough decided to start his own venture, which led to the creation of Liquid Gravity Brewing Company.
What sets Liquid Gravity Brewing Company apart is its commitment to pushing the boundaries of brewing. They focus on crafting bold and flavorful beers that truly stand out. They use unique ingredients and innovative brewing techniques to achieve this. The goal is to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for beer enthusiasts on the Central Coast.
In a significant development, in May 2023, Liquid Gravity opened its second taproom. It’s strategically located in Old Town Orcutt at 156 Broadway Street, Ste. F. This new taproom welcomes visitors starting at noon, Tuesday through Sunday. It offers an additional place for people to enjoy Liquid Gravity’s exceptional brews and distinctive beer offerings.
4. Fess Parker’s Newly Renovated Epiphany Tasting Room, Santa Ynez Valley
Fess Parker‘s Epiphany Tasting Room in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California, recently underwent a makeover to provide a better experience for both leisure travelers and wine enthusiasts. The main focus of this renovation was to enhance the outdoor tasting area, and several notable changes were made.
These upgrades include adding new walkways and shade structures, setting up benches around the perimeter, improving the comfort of seating with better cushions, and giving the lounge furniture a more refined look.
Additionally, a completely new outdoor bar has been installed in the spacious garden area. All these improvements were carefully planned to create a comfortable and functional space where visitors can enjoy Rhone varietal wines while immersing themselves in the stunning natural surroundings of the region.
Overseeing this renovation project was Josh White, a dedicated member of the Parker family. He is committed to preserving Fess Parker’s legacy as a family-owned and operated business, ensuring that it continues to thrive.
5. Late-Night Fun at New Oceanside Speakeasies
Oceanside’s nightlife has gotten a lot more interesting lately with the arrival of two new speakeasies that promise creative craft cocktails and immersive themes.
One of them, called “Ladies Love Outlaws,” is tucked inside Heritage Barbecue & Beer Co. It sets a unique mood with dim lighting and a relaxed Honky Tonk atmosphere. Inside, you’ll discover a vintage jukebox playing classic country tunes, and they have a selection of cleverly named cocktails like the “Big Buckle Energy.”
For an entirely different experience, head to “The Space Pad” at Kilowatt Brewery. This cocktail lounge draws inspiration from the imaginary planet Rillispore.
To get there, guests step into a space elevator that transports them to a cosmic world reminiscent of the 1950s atomic era. The aim is to give patrons a feeling of being in another dimension. The menu, designed by Mixologist Cristian Diaz, known for his work at Disneyland’s Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, features innovative cocktails.
Some have flavored smoke bubbles, others are like lava lamps that change colors, and there are even spherefied cocktails that you can take a bite of, adding a playful twist to the cosmic experience.
California’s culinary scene thrives on innovation and variety. These new dining destinations offer unique experiences, from Kiln’s upscale dining to Leave of Absence’s poolside luxury. Liquid Gravity Brewing redefines beer, while Fess Parker’s Epiphany Tasting Room elevates wine tasting. Oceanside’s speakeasies offer creative cocktails and ambiance, adding vibrancy to California’s culinary mosaic.