Californios arrives from the fertile imagination of celebrated chef Val M. Cantu and is an attempt to integrate beloved Mexican food traditions within the emerging Modernist cuisine context. The Mission District restaurant earned two stars in the most recent Michelin survey, proof that its bold aspirations are being met.
Ultra-exclusive vibe begins with the setting: lush leather banquettes, richly-hued lacquered walls and extravagant chandeliers, in an intimate scale conducive to warm conversation and socializing. Shelves of cookbooks showcase a love for the art of cuisine. Open kitchen design provides a thrilling peek at the magic within.
Each night hosts a single tasting menu, with 16-18 courses that vary monthly or sometimes daily. Highlights include squid ink tostadas smothered in thick guacamole, butter-poached lobster in blue corn tortillas, a mole that earned Michelin raves (“...it's bound to turn your entire understanding of this nation's cuisine on its head...”) and signature dish Tres Frijoles, which delectably combines the namesake three bean varieties with caviar and pickled shallots, lightly sprinkled with tiny flakes of gold leaf. Dessert highlight is locally-sourced guava sorbet with pistachio butter.
Beer and wine only, pairings are suggested for each tasting menu. Service is prompt, friendly, and proudly knowledgeable about the kitchen and dishes. Reservations are REQUIRED.