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Sandy beaches are amazing and all, but let’s be honest—the best part of a vacation is the food. From casual seaside seafood spots to elegant fine dining, California’s coastal cities and packed with delicious restaurants. Trying one from this list should practically guarantee you a good meal.

River’s End Restaurant & Inn, Jenner

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Photo credit: River’s End Facebook

If you love to enjoy wine with your food, this romantic restaurant on the Sonoma Coast is a must. Not only will you be treated to fresh seafood or classic bistro entrees, if you time it right, you’ll catch an amazing sunset right out your window.

Drakes Sonoma Coast Kitchen, Bodega Bay

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Photo credit: Yelp

Located in the Bodega Bay Lodge on the Sonoma Coast, Drakes Sonoma Coast Kitchen serves local food from both the sea and land. They have an excellent breakfast and dinner menu, including an appetizing menu for children.

Trattoria Contadina, San Francisco

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Photo credit: Yelp

San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood is where you’ll find Trattoria Contadina, a family-owned gem that serves outstanding Italian food in an unpretentious setting.

Adelina’s Bistro, Nipomo

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Photo credit: Adelina’s Bistro Facebook

Adelina’s Bistro is a contemporary restaurant that serves regional cuisine made from local and organic ingredients. It’s also located in California’s most prestigious wine region, so you can count on the perfect glass to accompany your food.

Malibu Farm, Malibu

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Despite its celebrity residents and luxurious setting, Malibu doesn’t have that many dining options. Malibu Farm is the best of both worlds: fine food in a relaxed setting, located right on the Malibu Pier.

The Misfit Restaurant & Bar, Santa Monica

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Photo credit: Yelp

Fine dining is, well, fine. But when you’re ready for a casual meal in an awesome setting, try the Misfit Restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard. They serve lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, and they’re open late.

Driftwood Kitchen, Laguna Beach

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It doesn’t get more waterfront than this. Driftwood Kitchen and Stateroom Bar is a fairly new restaurant serving all three meals daily, specializing in fresh seafood dishes.

The Crooked Duck, Long Beach

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Photo credit: The Crooked Duck Facebook

 

Long Beach has a lot of great restaurant options, but this neighborhood gem is really something special. The name is based on the legend of the crooked duck, in which a man hits a duck while water skiing and is convinced he killed it… until everyone sees it swimming to shore with a crooked neck. Unlike the name, the food here isn’t quirky—it’s just plain good.

The Black Trumpet Bistro, Huntington Beach

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Photo credit: The Black Trumpet Bistro Facebook

This is the top spot for tapas in Orange County, and the impressive assortment of small plates will impress you. Luckily, the best thing about tapas is that you can order quite a few before you full up.

Pacific Beach Fish Shop, San Diego

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Photo credit: Pacific Beach Fish Shop

San Diego is certainly a city fit for foodies, and there are very few restaurants in the area that don’t deserve at least one try. But we’re pretty fond of the Pacific Beach Fish Shop, a casual seafood eatery loved by locals and tourists alike. You simply choose your fish, marinade and cooking style, then let the cooks do the rest. They’re also known for their $1 oyster nights and no corkage fee when you BYOB.

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