On a recent road trip through Central California, I discovered many fine Visalia restaurants that serve locals and visitors alike. Explore this foodie oasis by starting with the irresistible downtown Visalia places to eat included below.
While you are deciding which Visalia restaurants to visit, work up your appetite by experiencing walkable downtown Visalia and marvel at the historical features on many streets.
Although horses are no longer a means of transportation, granite curbs with embedded horse rings are still found along Main Street.
See these and other points of interest by taking the Self-Guided Tour of Early Visalia. You can pick up a brochure at Visit Visalia, located at 112 East Main Street.
Where is Visalia?
Visalia is located in the San Joaquin Valley, considered part of the world’s breadbasket, in Central California. Sweltering, dry summers and pleasantly mild winters characterized by thick ground fog allow a perfect growing season for many crops such as nuts, fruits, grapes, and cotton, among several others.
The closest city to Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Mountain Range, Visalia is approximately three hours northeast of Los Angeles. This historic town offers the traveler attractive and scenic experiences along with a multitude of dining options.
Visiting other destinations in California? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 11 Must-Try Tustin Restaurants
- 8 Best Fort Bragg, CA Restaurants
- The 7 Best Oceanside, CA Restaurants
- The 21 Best Restaurants in Costa Mesa
- 11 Must-Try Vallejo Restaurants
9 Must-Try Visalia Restaurants
110 W. Main // +15597136464
If you need a break from touring downtown Visalia, step into the Bee Hive Bake Shop to get a delicious sugar infusion of specialty cupcakes. Michelle, a new customer, says, “This adorable bakery is definitely a hidden gem!”
Order an assortment of cupcakes by the dozen, or take advantage of a discount if you order a dozen of the same flavor.
In addition to their splendid cupcakes, Bee Hive serves cookies, Danish, brownies, fudge, hand pies, bundt cakes, and cinnamon rolls.
If frosting is your thing, Bee Hive makes three different frostings for their cupcakes- Italian Meringue Buttercream, Cream Cheese, and American Buttercream. To create your own combination, be sure to order ahead.
Give your sweet tooth a treat with a stop into one of the best Visalia restaurants to eat.
219 E. Main // +15596272739
After a long day of touring and sightseeing, Visalia’s original brewing company, Brewbaker’s Brewing Co. offers a much-needed tasty beer and delicious meal.
Brewbaker’s Brewing Co. is on Main Street, where the original beer gardens were first located in the early 1900s. When the current owners started construction on their building in 1999, archeologists found artifacts that indicated locals in times past came to this location to enjoy good spirits. Local craft beer is still served here.
When I was there, the waitstaff made sure I was happy with my beer selection. The waitress gave me generous samples of different beers until I settled on the one I liked best.
The menu offers typical brewpub classics like Soup of the Day, Blackened Salmon Chowder, Homemade Chili, and Fish and Chips. I selected the fish and chips. After all, what goes better with craft beer?! Appetizers, salads, pizzas, and a kid’s menu are available, too.
Growlers and Grunts allow you to take home some of Visalia’s finest hand-crafted brew. So, drink in or drink out, make sure to visit one of the best Visalia restaurants.
333 E. Main // +15596255300
New Orleans flair makes Crawdaddy’s an attractive dining option. When I drove past the restaurant while getting my bearings in town, the merriment emanating from the open windows beckoned me. Noted to self: I must eat there!
Having been introduced to and enjoyed Cajun/Creole cuisine a couple of years ago in New Orleans, I knew this was the place for me.
Downstairs, the sizeable bar, big-screen TVs, and party atmosphere are for a casual crowd. In the upstairs dining room, real tablecloths, napkins, and club-style furnishings give this restaurant an upscale and formal touch. It reminded me of the proper meals I’ve eaten in New Orleans.
My waiter recommended a soft white wine to precede the meal and accompany the artichoke appetizer for dinner. The Pasta Jambalaya was a delightful mix of shrimp, chicken breast, and Andouille sausage, sauteed in Holy Trinity sauce and tossed with penne pasta. A perfect Crème Brulée for dessert made my enjoyment complete.
For a Big Easy experience, casual or formal, Crawdaddy’s is one of the best Visalia restaurants.
699 W. Center // +15597332582
“Anyone who pulls up a chair to our table is family; we’re saving a seat for you.” A multitude of positive reviews supports this testimonial from Left of Center. Boasting that they are a little quirky, they celebrate with inventive Southern food steeped in Latin flavors.
Open for lunch and dinner with happy hour every Wednesday through Saturday, you can enjoy delicious LOC Signature Cocktails like Serrano Cilantro Margarita, Downtown Donkey aka Moscow Mule, or Andrew’s Lemon Drop.
Left of Center offers the usual chips and salsa, nachos, and other snacks.
Of particular interest on the snack menu is the Latin Rice Bowl that includes black bean purée, Spanish rice, guacamole, queso fresco, tomatillo avocado salsa, or chile de Arbol salsa. You can add chicken or steak to make it a complete meal.
Another tasty snack is the Pasilla Stuffed Sliders which are Pasilla peppers mixed into the patties, cheddar cheese with chipotle aioli.
A variety of upscale salads, empanadas, tacos with rice and escabeche, burritos, sandwiches, burgers, lettuce wraps, and a vegetarian sandwich will satisfy any eating preference.
The sides will transport you to the South with the Mac & Cheese and Street Corn. The Onion Straws can be a bit messy but are oh, so good!
The best offer, however, is the House Made Cheesecake. You can purchase a whole cake or a mini. The favorite is Pistachio. If you are looking for Mexican food, this is a must-try of all Visalia restaurants.
227 N. Court // +15596272337
The flagship location of Pita Kabob Gastropub has been in downtown Visalia since 2014. This restaurant was the top-recommended dining experience in town for me. I was not disappointed.
With 31 beers on tap, a wide selection of bottled and canned beers, as well as several delicious wines, the rustic setting is unique in Visalia.
While the restaurant is located on a street corner, a tent encloses the outdoor dining area and makes a comfortable and clean experience.
Whether your food choice is vegan, vegetarian, or regular Mediterranean, PK will satisfy all of your senses with its colorful meals.
I enjoyed a glass of Rosé wine with my Fiesta Bowl of Chicken Shawarma and Brown Rice. The meal was light, refreshing, crunchy, and flavorful.
If you are following the Mediterranean diet, or even if you are not, this is one of the best Visalia restaurants to eat.
509 E. Main // +15597359680
If you are looking for Japanese cuisine in Visalia, Sushi Kuu offers a traditional dining experience with a modern perspective. Brothers Albert and André Utomo bring kitchen life and education to their customers.
Chef Albert started his career in Las Vegas, then moved to New York City. He fulfilled a lifelong dream by opening his own restaurant in Visalia. He manages the sushi bar and collaborates with the kitchen.
Albert honors fresh ingredients and employs master techniques in his sushi preparation. He enjoys teaching his customers about the fish he serves and welcomes questions.
Chef André oversees the kitchen. He started in Los Angeles kitchens, then moved to New York City. He teamed with his brother to bring kitchen items to life in Visalia.
Clarissa said this is one of her go-to Visalia restaurants for sushi and ramen in the 559. I have to agree.
778 E. Center Avenue // +15597130818
Considered your neighborhood pizza parlor with a gourmet twist, The Planing Mill took the best parts of the West Coast’s most significant pizzerias and brought them to Visalia.
Because they were housed in the original Visalia Planing Mill, the restaurant was founded as The Planing Mill Artisan Pizzeria.
With a nod to the artisanship of the crafted specialty wood products that generations of Visalians enjoyed from the circa 1851 building, the pizzeria honored that legacy. The move to their new quarters has them re-branding to “The Mill.”
You can expect great food, great beer, and excellent service in this lively atmosphere. Play cornhole while you wait for your food. It might get loud, but it will be fun.
There are 24 craft beers on tap, which you can sample before you order. Also, added selections include canned and bottled beers and four types of wine.
Kimberly says, “[The Mill is] The most amazing place in downtown Visalia…We haven’t come across a better pizza yet. The Greek salad was huge, fresh, and came with toast and extra cheese. “
The Kitchen Sink Pizza is a favorite pizza in Visalia, and the locals rave that the Mussels from Brussels pizza is fantastic. Could there be a better combination of flavors?
The crust of this unique pizza is made fresh daily and proofs for 24-48 hours. That may be one of the secrets for the popularity of The Mill’s pizzas.
Others praise the Three Little Pigs and the Funky Chicken pizzas, the Thai Chicken Wings, and Artichoke Fritters. How could you not enjoy the fun with these amusingly named treats? For the best pizza in Visalia, make sure to try The Mill.
216 N. Willis // +15597333033
One of the most elegant dining experiences in Central California, The Vintage Press makes any occasion special. The Vartanian family, serving creative California cuisine since 1966, takes reservations for the Main Room (traditional), the Garden Room (spacious with the 100-year-old mural), the Savoy Room (elegant and intimate with booths), and the Rose Room (informal with historic Brunswick Bar).
The menu includes traditional favorites like Grilled Pacific Red Snapper, Grilled Filet Mignon or Lamb Chops, Classic Meatloaf, Chicken Sauteed Garlic, and Candied Meyer Lemon Peel, Seared Scallops, and Medallions of Veal.
Crème Brulée, my favorite, leads off the dessert menu. Following are delicacies like cheesecake, tarts, and cake.
With a sommelier in-house, The Wine Cellar has an extensive selection of domestic and imported red, white, and sparkling wines, as well as champagne, dessert, and the exclusive Sine Qua Non California offerings.
You can “Ask the Sommelier” questions on their website and get customized recommendations the next day for various wine pairings and many other inquiries.
Sean says, “I love everything about this place. The atmosphere is outstanding, and the staff is incredible. But most importantly, it is a fine dining experience without being pretentious.
This is one of the best restaurants in the Central Valley and California. If you’re within 50 miles don’t miss it. Worth the drive.”
We concur. For fine dining, this is one of the best Visalia restaurants for that.
314 W. Center // +15596272113
Valhalla has been serving customers in Visalia since 1984, where mother, Elsie Casida, and daughter, Kim Payne have been paying homage to their Danish heritage. Many of the Danish recipes used in the restaurant came from Kim’s grandma’s kitchen and have become staples on the menu. Rande, Kim’s husband, joined the team when Elsie retired.
Valhalla is well known for its quality homemade meals, baked goods, desserts, and family atmosphere. Valhalla is currently a three-generation family-owned and operated restaurant.
Breakfast is Valhalla’s forté; try the Biscuits and Gravy or Kim’s Special (my personal favorite – one large biscuit topped with two eggs covered in gravy). A breakfast Burrito or Avocado Toast made with Dave’s Killer Organic Bread also appears on the menu with other Viking favorites like omelets.
Aebleskiver, a Danish pancake ball made from special batter in a cast iron Aebleskiver pan and homemade Danish sausage, transports you to the breakfast table in Denmark.
Danish pancakes are thin, crepe-style pancakes rolled and served with lingonberry jam, fresh blueberries, and whipped cream. Valhalla provides a tutorial on how to make Aebleskivers so you can appreciate the delicacy.
Enjoy your trip to northern Europe when you visit this classic breakfast Visalia restaurants.
Julie Diebolt Price
Julie Diebolt Price is a professional photographer, educator, travel writer, and journalist. She helps corporations and solo entrepreneurs establish their brand with imagery and business training. She educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures.
Julie is a member of International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association, TravMedia, and Professional Photographers of America.
Link to website = linktr.ee/PhotoTravelWrite
Julie Diebolt Price, owner of JDP Photography, is an award-winning photographer, educator, travel writer, guide, and passionate traveler. Along with extensive travel in the United States, she has many European, Mexican, and Chinese stamps in her passport. She enjoys planning, researching, creating and sharing experiences. Julie is a member of PPA and ITWPA.