The 10 Best Places for Appetizers in California!

When it comes to small bites, California knows how to do big flavor. Across the state, you’ll find cocktail lounges and cozy restaurants serving up some of the best appetizers around. California’s masterful chefs are especially creative when it comes to prepping you for your big meal. Check out the best places for appetizers in the state. 

1. Bottega Napa Valley, Yountville, CA

You probably know Chef Michael Chiarello from his appearances on countless food shows and magazines. But what you don’t know is that his Bottega restaurant is well-loved for its appetizers as it is pasta dishes. Skip dinner and stop in to the bar for some appetizers, like fried calamari or pate that pairs well with wine or cocktails.

Calamari squid ink aioli - perfection #botteganapa #napastrong #napafoodie #yountvillefoodie

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2. Running Goose, Los Angeles, CA

The Running Goose is an unexpected backyard oasis in the middle of busy Hollywood. Tostadas are just the right size for snacking or order a lot of them for a full meal. Dubbed California comfort food, the menu draws from California’s long heritage of borrowing from different cultures.


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3. Next Door Lounge, Los Angeles, CA

Next Door Lounge is all about the cocktails, but what makes a drink even better is an appetizer to go with it. Tiny sliders and filling flatbreads are just a few of the Happy Hour-style menu options of the swanky speakeasy spot.

4. Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles, CA

Pizzeria Mozza has a celebrity chef background and some of the best pizzas in the country, but what you may not know is that the menu also has several appetizers that can round out your individual-sized pizza into a full meal. Or just snack on pizzas. You can’t go wrong with anything. 

Bacon 🥓, Egg 🍳, Potato. The perfect trifecta ✨ #mozzaplex

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5. Zocalo, Multiple locations

Zocalo’s elevated Mexican cuisine includes a Happy Hour menu that is filled with cocktail and food pairings. Tacos, dips, quesadillas and more are delicious ways to start your meal. 

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6. Kokkari Estiatorio, San Francisco, CA

The Greek restaurant celebrates Greek food and culture with a fast selection of appetizers as well as soups and salads. There are classic and traditional dishes as well as updated takes that fuse California produce with Greek flavor.

7. Beretta, San Francisco, CA

Beretta features a lot of antipasti to start off your meal or share with a table. Create a full meal of appetizers by choosing from vegetarian, seafood, and meat selections. Or choose just one to get your juices flowing before indulging in an entree.

8. Bo-Beau Kitchen + Bar, San Diego, CA

French-inspired bistro appetizers are on the menu at Bo-Beau, including escargots, steak tartare, rillettes, and a charcuterie board. Each night brings different specials so stop in for Sangria Sundays and indulge in appetizers to go with the Spanish drink.

9. Milk & Honey Tapas, Santa Barbara, CA

If you’re in Santa Barbara, then try tapas. The Spanish-style appetizers are inspired by a blending of California and other cultures and can start off a Happy Hour or you can eat a full meal of the small bites. Order a cocktail and feel like a local at one of the more popular places in town. 

10. Pacifica Del Mar, Del Mar, CA

Pacific Del Mar’s stunning ocean-side location is the perfect place to relax with some internationally-inspired appetizers. Salads, chowders, cocktails, grilled seafood, and other light fare are the perfect things to enjoy while watching the sun set over the sea.

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