Californios restaurant is Michelin-starred fine dining in San Francisco, California. The restaurant specializes in Mexican food; its chef is Val M. Cantu, one of its co-owners. The restaurant typically opens from Tuesday to Saturday from five in the afternoon to ten at night. The place is a contemporary expression of Mexican cuisine, using the abundant ingredients of the Bay Area. Chef Val M. Cantú and his team execute a skillfully choreographed tasting menu every night. The wine and service team, led by Charlotte Randolph, matches and complements the cuisine at all times. As well as a new enclosed patio garden that is kept warm with heat lamps. All these details make Californios Michelin an experience that envelops the senses.

Do Californios have Michelin stars?

Californios earned its first Michelin star in 2015 and it’s second in 2017. It was the first American restaurant serving Mexican cuisine to earn two Michelin stars. Its original Mission District location closed in 2020. The restaurant moved to the South of Market neighborhood in early 2021. Cantú’s family ran a Mexican restaurant in Brownwood, Texas, where he grew up. His recipes have combined Mexican and Northern California cuisines. The inspiration for his best dishes has always come from his roots.

How much does it cost to eat at Californios?

The menu has changed monthly with minor adjustments most nights and has been set to fixed prices. When Californios debuted in the Mission District, the “single menu” contained seven courses and typically cost fifty-seven dollars. The restaurant soon expanded the option, and prices for Californios are now two hundred and seventy-seven dollars per person.

Californios Menu

The menu, as mentioned before, is inspired by Mexican and Northern California cuisine. The menu at Californios is an ever-evolving collection of dishes. It is noted for seasonal ingredients, and bountiful Bay Area produce. In the summer of 2021, the menu included a rockfish taco and orbs of gold with chamoy and chili. Also, a pigeon breast taco, grilled banana with granola, and golden ossetra. In addition to grilled fruit and caviar. There is a recipe for fried black dough and sea urchin roe wrapped in an arepa inspired by Venezuelan food. This dish is in honor of Cantu’s mother.

There was also a jivara chocolate mousse, tonka bean bavarois, and royal Tioga cherry for dessert. Critics compared this dessert to a Mexican candy called Bubu Lubu. The side dishes were served with the house sauce and an emulsified green sauce. The sauce contains lime, pickled onions, and thick slices of fermented carrot. The menu changes constantly, but each dish is a journey to the roots of Mexican culinary culture. (Californios Yelp)


It is essential to mention that Californios’s reservations are made through their website. The reservations specify if you will eat outside or inside the restaurant. In addition, you must enter the date, time, and several guests. The Californios dress code consists of attire that respects the elegant and sophisticated aesthetic of the restaurant. Clothing must be clean, neat, and in good condition. Bathing suits are not allowed.

Last year, Val M. Cantu became the newest four-star restaurant chef. This is thanks to his most exciting interpretations of Mexican food. The revamped kitchen is best illustrated by Three Beans, a recurring dish on their menu that changes daily. Co-owner Charlotte Randolph used to work at the French Laundry and has a knack for choosing the right wines. Cantú’s wife, Carolyn, designed the elegant interior.

The restaurant has tufted banquettes, dark paneled walls, white tablecloths, and sparkling chandeliers. Everything feels very personal, making dining at Californios so unique. Radiant servers enhance this profoundly personal element. The reason is that the face of a restaurant will always be the service. The friendliness, professionalism, and etiquette of the staff are truly remarkable and, of course, one of the reasons for its success.


Finally, it is not necessary to clarify that Californios is a beautiful representation of Mexican food. The staff’s work combined with chef Cantu’s specialties is a culinary dream. If you want to understand the roots of Mexican food, this restaurant will show you an unforgettable experience. The world recognizes that food is, in addition to a basic need, part of the history of a culture. Each country has its essential dishes. Turning these into a journey through history is truly a work of art.

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