Coast-to-Coast Flavor: Judging the Best Food In NYC, LA, and the Bay Area

For years, there’s been a debate about which coastal area of the country has the best food. Is it New York City, Los Angeles, or California’s Bay Area? All three regions specialize in different types of cuisine, and all are phenomenal. An online community recently debated who had the best food, and the replies give you a reason to add those places to your future travel list.

1. NYC’s Variety and Volume

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The Big Apple is a culturally and ethnically diverse city and reflects that diversity in the numerous types of cuisine that it boasts. There are countless offerings of ethnic cuisine not just around New York City but in practically each city block. There’s something for every budget and taste, from food trucks to casual eating to fine dining.

2. NYC for Fusion

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In addition to the diversity and sheer number of restaurants, there’s no place like New York City for experimental fusion restaurants. Those with adventurous palates who want to try something different from typical restaurant fare would love New York City’s fusion restaurants. If Asian-Latino, Cuban-Chinese, or Korean-French cuisine appeals to you, New York City is hard to top.

3. NYC’s Upscale Dining Scene

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If there’s one thing about New York City’s dining scene that distinguishes it from other major cities, it is the unique fine dining experience. Besides the 72 Michelin-starred restaurants, there are several celebrity restaurants the city offers. If the opportunity to dress to the nines for dinner is calling your name, then New York City is the place to be.

4. Los Angeles Has the Freshest Ingredients

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California has plenty of farms, which gives restaurants throughout the state ample access to fresh fruit and vegetables and local ingredients. Los Angeles is ideal for crops like grapes, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and strawberries. No matter the cuisine, it likely has at least one ingredient sourced from the Golden State.

5. Los Angeles’s Cultural Cuisine

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Los Angeles is a multicultural hub with vibrant immigrant communities from Central America, Asia, and Southeast Asia. If your taste preferences include street, casual, and fine cuisine from Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, or Mexico, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Los Angeles. It’s easy to find these restaurants since they’re abundant throughout the city.

6. Los Angeles and Cali-Mex

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The City of Angels has a large Mexican population, making Mexican culture and foods a staple of the communities. Besides traditional Mexican dishes, Cali-Mex, also known as Cal-Mex, is wildly popular there. Cali-Mex, as the name implies, is California’s take on Mexican food, which includes fish, avocado, and the use of white and black beans instead of pinto beans. It’s a difference that’s worth a try.

7. Bay Area Seafood

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Cities in the New England states aren’t the only places that can lay a claim to having fantastic seafood dishes. California’s Bay Area, which includes San Francisco, Oakland, and Sausalito, has numerous seafood restaurants running the gamut from informal seafood shacks to elegant sit-down restaurants. Cioppino, or fish stew, originated in San Francisco and rivals any fish stew from the East Coast.

8. The Bay Area and Chinese Cuisine

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The Bay Area of California has the largest Chinese community outside of China, and their cultural impact in that region is evident in the food scene. The dishes served vary by restaurant. One commonality found in the restaurants is a strong emphasis on multigenerational dining, which means there are items on the menu that appeal to all generations of diners, from grandparents to young children.

9. The Bay Area’s Mission Burritos

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San Francisco is the birthplace of the legendary Mission Burrito, created in the 1960s in the city’s famed Mission District. There is some question about when the first burrito was made, but San Francisco gets the credit for the Mission Burrito. It’s a supersized burrito starting with a flour tortilla that is filled with meat, rice, avocado or guacamole, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. It’s a must-have meal when visiting the Bay Area.

10. All of Them

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New York City, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area offer various dining options as informal as meals from a food truck to three-star Michelin restaurants. It’s easy to find familiar foods that comfort you or new plates that intrigue you. No matter where you go or what your preferences are, you’re bound to find something delightful in each of these areas.

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