Buzzy chefs, world-class wines and uber-stylish interiors reign in California. Here’s our pick of the crop when it comes to dining in the Golden State right now.

The Silver Bough at Montecito Inn, Montecito, Santa Barbara


Opening on January 31st, The Silver Bough, located inside the historic Montecito Inn, will begin wowing diners every Thursday to Sunday with a singular nightly seating at 7pm. Owner/Executive Chef Phillip Frankland Lee has rounded up an impressive troupe to execute the tasting menu dining experience, including sous chefs Danielle Van Steen (Church & State, BlueHour) and Robert Sandberg (Noma, Frantzen) and pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee (Scratch|Bar & Kitchen, The Monarch). The intimate space seats a total of eight guests up to the chefs’ kitchen, bringing the culinary theatrics up close in an immersive setting. Reservations will be handled much like ticket sales to a theatre, with release dates on the first day of each month, for the following month’s performances. Guests staying at the historic Montecito Inn will be able to bypass the system and have access to purchase tickets a full year out, when securing a room to stay at the hotel. 1295 Coast Village Rd, Montecito.  

Kosho Japanese at The Barlow, Sebastopol, Sonoma County


Legendary Sushi Ran chef Jake Rand’s new opening is a modern Japanese and sushi restaurant in ultra-trendy Sebastopol. Located within The Barlow, a Bay Area outdoor market featuring local produce made on site by Sonoma County artisans, Kosho utilises local purveyors for fresh produce and meats as well as national and international providers for fresh seafood and sushi grade fish. Sushi and yakitori are served along with homey okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes), tempura and katsu. 6750 McKinley St., Sebastopol. Open daily 5pm to 9pm.

 LSXO, Huntington Beach


This restaurant-within-a-restaurant concept, LSXO, stands for Little Sister Extraordinary and resides inside Pacific City’s Bluegold. Follow the trail of multi-coloured stencilled butterflies near the wine cellar to an unmarked wooden door adjacent to the kitchen, and you will fall into this 28-seat restaurant. Serving unapologetically intense Vietnamese home cooking and fine cocktails from a boat-bathroom of a bar over a lulling soundtrack of Snoop Dogg and DMX. LSXO stems from the brainchild of Chef Tin Vuong of Blackhouse Hospitality. Cuisine is inspired by District 1 in Saigon (where Tin’s family hails from) and is a love letter to the culture, heritage, and lineage of Vietnam. 21022-21148 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach.

Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe


Boasting warm woods and streamlined design details, Bistro offers guests an aesthetic of mountain-chic and urban-contemporary, creating a striking setting for diners to enjoy the freshest seasonal fare. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, a $100 million, LEED-designed, luxury lakefront property that exudes mountain chic. Relax at the Bistro Bar or grab your favourite specialty cocktail and head out to one of the many cosy fire pits that overlook the stunning alpine lake, aka the Big Blue. 100 Lake Pkwy, Stateline.

Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar, Santa Cruz


Local chef and business owner, Tom McNary, is the new chef at Soif Restaurant & Wine Bar in downtown Santa Cruz. Soif, a mainstay on the farm-to-table dining local landscape, offers a comfortable venue to enjoy local and seasonal dishes complemented by unique wines from around the globe. Soif Wine Merchant, adjacent to the restaurant, is a 500-bottle retail shop featuring wines reflective of the fields they are grown. McNary began his cooking career at Chez Panisse in the mid-1980s and owned a local catering company before joining Soif, establishing strong relationships with local growers with whom he sources all of his ingredients from for the past two decades. 105 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz.

  • Main image | Restaurant-within-a-restaurant concept, LSXO