Feature

9 New California-Inspired Restaurants Around the U.S.

By Priya Krishna  |  November 16, 2016
Credit: Upland

California cuisine — with all its fresh produce, clean flavors and beautiful simplicity — is hard not to love. Over the last year, we've seen West Coast fare popping up at restaurants all across the country, in the form of not only California-inspired menus but also California-based restaurants seeking to spread the best-coast gospel eastward. Check out some recent and upcoming sun-soaked new openings:

Noah Fecks

Sugarfish: New York
The hit LA fast-casual sushi concept has only been open a week, and lines are already out the door every night. Sugarfish is known for its super affordable tasting menus (a rare commodity in New York), pre-seasoned fish (meaning no wasabi or soy sauce allowed) and its signature warm rice. If you're planning a visit, we'd suggest lining up right at opening time. 

33 E 20th St., New York; 347-705-8100 

Courtesy of Herringbone

Herringbone: Las Vegas
While most of Las Vegas is known for its outlandish, larger-than-life dining experiences, Herringbone offers a welcome respite, with its laid-back vibes and Cali-laden fare like tuna poke with green onion pancakes, grilled baby octopus and seafood spaghetti. By the way, San Diego-based chef Brian Malarkey is known for naming his restaurants after fabrics, hence the name.

3730 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; 702-590-9898

Courtesy of Leña Brava

Leña Brava: Chicago
Leña Brava, which means “ferocious wood” in Spanish, is Chicago chef Rick Bayless’ ode to the Baja California coast. Expect an exceptional raw bar, with Mexican specialties like ceviche and aguachile, plus a wide range of super flavorful wood-fired seafood dishes — plus, an amazing selection of wine from Mexico’s renowned Valle de Guadelupe.  

900 W Randolph St., Chicago; 312-733-1975

Courtesy of Venice

Venice: Montreal  
Montreal may not be the first place you’d look for California-style cuisine, but the city’s latest addition, Venice, has enough avocado, fish and tacos to transport you right to the boardwalk. Don’t sleep on the handcrafted drinks — especially the hibiscus rose kombucha.   

440 Rue Saint-Francois-Xavier, Montreal; 514-985-0686 

Courtesy of Water Grill

Water Grill: Dallas (coming soon)
The SoCal fresh seafood mainstay will open its first location outside of the West Coast early next year, in Dallas’ lively uptown neighborhood. The hyper-seasonal menu is updated twice daily, with offerings consisting primarily of simply prepared fresh catches topped with local herbs and produce (and a truly awesome crab cake burger). ETA: early 2017. 

1920 McKinney Ave., Dallas; 214-306-7111

Courtesy of The Pizza Press

The Pizza Press: Austin (coming soon)
The Pizza Press, one of the several California-based pizza restaurants to popularize the state’s signature thin-crust-meets-fresh-produce pie style, has been rapidly expanding across the country as of late, with its next location planned for Austin, TX. The spot is well known for its build-your-own pizza option —with a dizzying array of vegetables and cheeses — and fantastic set of local craft brews. ETA: any minute now.  

404 W 26th St., Austin; 714-704-9487

Courtesy of Covina

Covina: New York
Much like California itself, the food offerings at Covina are meant to be crowd-pleasers: housemade ravioli with fresh tomato sauce, whole roasted sea bass, pizza with an egg on it, and a juicy burger all figure on the menu at this airy, playful, Mediterranean-meets-California spot — which comes to New York by way of Boston-based chef Tim Cushman (who also owns fantastic Japanese-influenced spot O Ya).  

127 E 27th St., New York; 212-204-0225

Courtesy of Upland

Upland: Miami (coming soon)
When Upland debuted in New York last year, it gave new meaning to the all-occasion restaurant, earning a spot on every best new restaurant list (and a book deal!). Chef Justin Smillie will be bringing his game-changing cacio e pepe (and other Southern Californian delights) to Miami Beach this month with the opening of Upland’s second outpost. Wine lovers, comfort food seekers and salad fans can all rejoice. ETA: Later this month. 

49 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-602-9998

Darlene Horn

Creamistry: Austin 
It wouldn’t be California cuisine without a vegan dessert. The Orange County-born ice cream shop specializes in liquid nitrogen-made frozen treats, many of which are non-dairy. Austin-ites can now get their icy fix at Creamistry’s latest location in the city’s trendy Oaks at Lakeway shopping complex. Highly recommended: the ultra-rich pure roasted pistachio and milk coffee flavors. 

150 Ranch Road., Lakeway; 737-203-5757