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California’s namesake cuisine still defines contemporary menus throughout the United States after having forced us to reconsider our vegetables—don’t dare claim that you’ve always loved cauliflower—while the modern food truck movement, which began on the streets of Los Angeles, has already been co-opted by national fast food brands. And thanks to generations of diverse immigrants, Californians enjoy the nation’s best tacos, Thai food, and—look away, New Yorkers—maybe even pastrami.
So if you're looking for quintessential things to do in California, we suggest lots of dining. Whether you’re seeking eateries with three Michelin stars (see our guide to Michelin star restaurants in San Francisco) or just a few post-meal wet naps, here are the best restaurants in California for a taste of the Golden State.
RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in California