A.O.C. | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

A.O.C.

photo by Anne Fishbein

Since moving up the street to a larger, more festive location, Suzanne Goin and Carolyn Styne’s A.O.C. has become a kind of archetype for the modern Californian restaurant. What does that mean, exactly? It means big, flavorful seasonal salads, crispy focaccia topped with goodies such as chevre and house-made lamb bacon, beautifully balanced and inventive vegetable sides and big, generous platters of Euro-Cali cuisine to share with the table. It means one of the best wine lists on the coast, inclusive of our state’s viniferous bounty but with a focus on France and fun asides, like selections from Slovenia and Hungary. It means a gorgeous indoor-outdoor dining room that positively thrums with good energy, and plenty of bar seating for the casual diners and serious drinkers among us. Oh, and behind that bar is Christiaan Rollich, one of the country’s most promising up-and-coming crafters of cocktails. It means an utterly home-grown restaurant we can be immensely proud to call our own. —Besha Rodell