Finding a place to eat can be challenging. Unless you’re a local who’s in the know, your phone’s search results for eateries typically yield fast-food drive-thru’s or your common chain restaurants. And while I love a freshly baked pizza at CPK or drinks at Yard House, sometimes I just crave something different, especially when I want to impress my hipster friends from LA when they come to visit us for the weekend.
After living in Bakersfield for over 2 years, I have been all over town in search of some of the best places to eat. The below list includes some of my favorite local joints that have quality food, a welcoming ambiance, and stand out from their competitors in a unique way.
While I’m no food critic and my limited knowledge of wines doesn’t go beyond “It’s red and tastes delicious”, we all can appreciate a small, local spot that puts heart into their menu, design and makes us feel welcome.
So here are 10 amazing places to eat in Bakersfield that I love (and hope you do too!)
1. Best For Ambiance – Cafe Smitten
Cafe Smitten is one of my all-time favorite places to eat in Bakersfield. My friend brought me here for lunch soon after I moved to Bakersfield and I’ve been back here many many times.
Cafe Smitten has it all – charming décor, great food, friendly service, amazing coffee, and mouth-watering desserts. It’s a local favorite so much that they opened a second location in West Bakersfield. It is truly one of the best Bakersfield restaurants for its overall ambiance and menu.
The downtown Cafe Smitten location specializes in breakfast and lunch plates so it’s the perfect spot to grab brunch, hang out on their relaxing patio and catch up with friends.
For food, my favorite is the Greek Eggs plate that comes with two fried eggs, cheese, and small sides like heirloom tomato-cucumber salad, pickles, and bread. If you are a coffee lover, there are plenty of coffee drinks on the Cafe Smitten menu to choose from including drip, pour-over, and lattes. Not a fan of coffee? Try the green tea matcha latte – so yummy!
If you want to bring your four-legged friend, Cafe Smitten’s does allow seating with dogs in their front patio.
Location: 909 18th St, Bakersfield, CA 93301
2. Best Brunch Spot – Moo Creamery
If you get the chance to visit Moo Creamery for brunch in Bakersfield, you won’t regret it. As their motto says “It is not your typical grandparents’ dinner” and their menu proves that.
Their weekend brunch offers a homey, comfort-driven menu with plates like Pulled Pork Benedict, Spanish Chorizo Burger, and Chilaquiles that pair excellently with their unique drink selections such as the Cucumber-Jalapeño Margarita and Spiked Basil Lemonade. With an extensive beer and drink menu, Moo Creamery is also a great spot to come for dinner or a date night.
Moo Creamery sources high-quality, fresh ingredients from farmers & ranchers to create the best flavors possible. At Moo Creamery you can dine al fresco on their patio or grab a seat inside the hip diner. And although we don’t blame you for cleaning your plate, don’t forget to leave some room for one of their signature ice creams and shakes!
Moo Creamery is a dog-friendly restaurant and allows dogs on their patio.
Location: 4885 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93309
3. Best BBQ – PorkChop and Bubba’s BBQ
I have nothing but the best things to say about PorkChop and Bubba’s BBQ. And if you have been there, the chances are you do too!
PorkChop and Bubba’s BBQ is one of the top spots in Bakersfield for meat lovers that serve home-cooked BBQ and traditional southern food. This is a small family take-out joint south of the downtown with a handwritten menu that covers select meat plates and sandwiches. You know that the meats are made fresh and of the highest quality because they cross them off as they sell out and add them back on the menu as they get made.
This is a great choice if you want to impress your family with a multiple-meat feast, plus they offer a ton of mouth-watering sides to choose from along with delicious sauces that are full of flavor. Pulled pork and ribs are always a hit with my family but my personal favorite is the smoked wings porkytizer.
Location: 1230 H St suite a, Bakersfield, CA 93301
4. Best For Drinks – Sonder
In a mood to grab a fancy cocktail? Head over to Sonder, a cozy hip eatery in West Bakersfield that’s best known for American food and craft cocktails. They aren’t afraid to play around with flavor combinations to create something very unique like their best-selling Lavender Lemon Drop and the refreshing Watermelon Margarita.
The interior of Sonder is very inviting. The eating area is decked out with large plush lounge couches for a relaxed dining experience or you can cozy up with friends around a fire pit on their outdoor patio.
If you’re extra hungry, try the Sonder Burger. For lighter fare, they offer plenty of starters to choose from including charcuterie boards and bruschetta.
5. Best Brewery – Temblor Brewing Company
There are quite a few breweries that have established themselves in Bakersfield in recent years. In a place that’s sizzling hot during the summer months, nothing is better for cooling off at the end of the day than a refreshing ice-cold beer.
Lengthwise, Bakersfield Beer Company, Dionysus Brewing, & 2nd Phase Brewing are a few of our favorites. But one that we frequent the most is Temblor Brewing Company for its spacious outdoor patio that allows dogs and feels like its own private hub with an enclosed bamboo wall.
Unlike some breweries that serve only beer, Temblor Brewing Company also has an extensive food menu. Here you can expect American comfort food, savory sandwiches, classic burgers, and a few salads. For beers, the most popular choices are the Streets of Bakersfield IPA and the award-winning Under a Blood Orange Sky wheat beer that you can also often find sold at local grocery stores.
6. Best Lunch Place – Locale
Locale is a downtown lunch spot that is best known for creative sandwiches, burgers, and salads that are made with locally sourced, organic & sustainable ingredients. Much love and thought have gone into Locale’s menu and most items are made in-house from their blue cheese dressing to refreshing sangrias. Not in a mood for a sandwich? Try their sweet potato brussels sprouts bowl, it’s a best seller!
With frequent live music on their patio and colorful wall murals, this is more than a sandwich spot. Locale is where you go to take some time out of your day to slow down, enjoy the sunny Bakersfield afternoons and get high-quality nourishment in a modern, artsy space.
Location: 1727 18th St, Bakersfield, CA 93301
7. Best Vegan Tacos – Guapos Tacos
We recently discovered this little taco joint on White Lane street and it has been added to our heavy rotation for take-out food. You might pass this unassuming location without giving it a second look, but their tacos are some of the best we’ve tried in Bakersfield.
What makes Guapos Tacos so special is that they offer incredible vegan tacos on top of their regular menu and seafood items. While usually vegan food for us lacks a bit of flavor (full disclaimer: we’re not vegans), at Guapos Tacos you can’t really tell the difference between their plant-based items and the real deal.
My favorites are the Al Paztor and Soyrizo plant tacos that display incredible flavor and texture. The Cali burger is another hit and comes with cheese, sour cream, fries, pico de gallo, and guacamole (available in vegan option as well).
8. Best For Date Nights – BottleShock Wine and Brew
BottleShock Wine and Brew is where we typically go for low-key date nights. Located in a spacious patio with plush lounge chairs, twinkle lights, and romantic ambiance, this location is all about making you feel cozy and relaxed.
Born from the love of exceptional wine and a passion for new experiences, BottleShock is a mother-daughter restaurant. New food and drink items are constantly being added to their menu including the amazing @zepedasstonefirepizza on select nights (psst! Follow BottleShock Wine and Brew Facebook page for the latest food and entertainment updates).
Location: 1002 19th St C, Bakersfield, CA 93301
9. Best Market & Restaurant – Dot x Ott
For a casual dining experience, head over to the Dot x Ott restaurant that also serves as a market for locally sourced products. With beautiful décor and a charming outdoor patio for extra seating, Dot x Ott combines the best of a modern look, laid-back atmosphere, and excellent food.
For brunch, we’ve tried the Bone Marrow & Eggs plate along with Fried Chicken & Waffles – both drool-worthy and best served with a Bloody Mary and a mimosa on the side!
After dining browse through the casual market shelves that offer some of the best local products from spices and snacks to fresh Pickalittle Farm produce.
Location: 930 18th St, Bakersfield, CA 93301
10. Local Favorite – Eureka!
Eureka! is one of those solid restaurants where you just can’t go wrong. Eureka!’s food is always consistently good and makes an overall great place to go for any occasion, whether that is to take your colleagues out for lunch, meet up with a friend, or a date.
Eureka! serves American food made of locally sourced produce so you know you’re getting fresh, locally farmed ingredients in your meal.
They specialize in excellently made gourmet burgers and while they surely offer the standard American Cheeseburger on their menu, if you’re in a mood for something more interesting, try the 28 Day Dry-Aged Bone Marrow Burger or the Jalapeño Egg Burger. They even offer a Bison Burger that comes with Fresno chile, bacon-infused jalapeño jam, smoked mozzarella, and whiskey caramelized onions!
We hope this list has helped you discover a new restaurant or eatery to try out in Bakersfield!
Looking for more things to do in the area? Check out our trail guide that covers 10 of the best hikes near Bakersfield next!