Bakersfield is a part of Kern County, the greatest supplier to the oil industry in the United States. Despite investing most of its resources on oil production, the city is full of historic arts, culture, events, and restaurants. Here we highlight the 10 best restaurants to visit in Bakersfield.
Noriega’s is Bakersfield’s oldest representative of Basque culture, serving the community the same ancient and traditional recipes since it opened in 1940. Before becoming a restaurant, Noriega’s was an historic men’s boardinghouse; however, due to poor business, it was sold to French immigrants, Juan and Gracianna Elizalde, who kept the name Noriega’s and added new features such as a bar and dining room, which remain unchanged today. In addition to the design and cuisine, the restaurant has kept long lasting customs such as the annual Basque dance. In honor of Noriega’s commitment to tradition and culture, the James Beard Foundation awarded Noriega’s the America’s Classic Award.
When asked for suggestions on where to eat for breakfast and lunch or even where to stop for a quick but filling meal during a long road trip, many local residents recommend the 24th Street Café. It has been voted the best restaurant in Bakersfield several times by the Bakersfield Californian Reader’s Choice Poll. Not only is the quality and taste of the food excellent, but the price is affordable and portions are generous.
Hodel’s Country Dining
Widely regarded as the Bakersfield’s restaurant that serves the best buffet, Hodel’s Country Dining has offered its buffet to residents in a location next to the 99 Freeway for more than 40 years. Throughout its history, the restaurant has always served a vast assortment of fresh homemade salads, hot entrees, and its famous homemade cinnamon rolls. Founder Lydia Bartel Hodel uses her instincts and 21 years of cafeteria service to provide excellent service; as a result, Hodel’s has created a loyal following.
Home of waffle and Southern-style cooking, J’s Place is a family owned and operated restaurant that serves original family recipes that have been passed down for generations. Dishes are prepared using fresh and high quality ingredients. Husband and wife team Dirk and Tina Johnson welcome customers with recipes originating from Lora Bolden, which continue to be the highlight of J’s Place.
A historic figure in Bakersfield’s culinary world, Narducci’s Café is one of the oldest restaurants in the city that serves Italian Basque cuisine. Before becoming a restaurant, Narducci’s was originally the Amestoy Hotel and was rumored to host prostitutes during the Prohibition period in the United States. Several years after its establishment, a restaurant was incorporated into the hotel, and Marino Narducci purchased both. Since then, the Narducci family has run the restaurant and hotel, and provided special dishes, like the popular $10 Thursday steaks.
Voted the best business lunch in Bakersfield, Uricchio’s Trattoria is famous for its classic dishes as well as seasonal specialties. Originally a small restaurant run by one man, Nick Uricchio, the restaurant expanded after Uricchio teamed up with chef Raphael Hernandez. Together they created an environment of relaxation, originality and culinary excellence that welcomes and satisfies customers to no end. In appreciation and acknowledgment of its charitable services, the restaurant has been voted the best romantic restaurant as well as the best Italian food restaurant in Bakersfield, a considerable accomplishment.
Cope’s Knotty Pine Café
Though not widely known by visitors, Cope’s Knotty Pine Café is constantly full with local residents who appreciate the casual, old fashioned food served here at affordable prices. In addition to providing plenty of comfort food dishes, the café provides excellent customer service, even when the line is wrapped around the building. Cope’s Knotty Pine Café has even been voted as the city’s favorite breakfast restaurant.
Known as the best Caribbean restaurant in Bakersfield, Mama Roomba specializes in traditional Caribbean cuisine served tapas style, small plates of various foods that can be easily shared with family members. Each tapas features different spices that originated from the Caribbean Islands. The most common ones are cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, coconut, rum and nutmeg. By using and combining these different seasonings, Mama Roomba offers flavorful and unique creations, the most popular of which are the mango salsa, calamari, corn cakes, mozzarella, and beans. Customers here can taste a vast range of Caribbean cuisine that cannot be found anywhere else in the city.
Zaika Indian Cuisine & Bar
A gem among the restaurants in Bakersfield, Zaika Indian Cuisine & Bar is the best Indian restaurant in the city. In addition to serving a selection of traditional North Indian food, the menu includes a number of prevalent South Indian dishes like Dosa, a staple dish in South India. Zaika also experiments with fusions, like the coconut shrimp curry and Chili chicken. The restaurant also offers vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan and seafood options to accommodate those with dietary restrictions.
Muertos Kitchen and Lounge
Originally a historic stable in the 1800s, Muertos Kitchen and Lounge is now a flourishing restaurant that entertains customers with a display of creative dishes in addition to a variety of alcoholic beverages. The name Muertos is derived from the Spanish holiday Dia de los Muertos, a day when families remember the deceased and celebrate the lives of their loved ones. Owner Shawna Haddad Byers named the restaurant in remembrance of her grandmother, whom she loved dearly.
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