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25 Iconic West Coast Foods to Try

If you’re a foodie, you won’t be able to resist the tempting variety of the best West Coast dishes I’ve put together for this article. They are my personal favorites. 

Plate of fish tacos with salsa, avocado, coleslaw and lime

The West Coast is home to countless beloved treats, from fish tacos to sourdough, clam chowder to avocado toast.

These exquisite delights are a must-try for any West Coast resident or visitor, thanks to their flavor, texture, and ingredients.

Check out the food the West Coast is famous for.


Cioppino

Cioppino is a classic Italian-American seafood stew from San Francisco.

cioppino seafood stew

It contains fresh fish, shellfish, and vegetables simmered in a tomato-based broth.

The dish was created by Italian immigrants who settled in the area during the late 19th century.

They adapted their traditional recipes to include local ingredients such as Dungeness crab and Pacific rockfish.


Fish Tacos

Fish tacos are a classic Mexican dish that has become popular worldwide.

Plate of fish tacos with salsa, avocado, coleslaw and lime

They consist of fried or grilled fish, usually white-fleshed, such as cod, halibut, mahi-mahi, or tilapia, served in a warm corn tortilla and topped with shredded cabbage and a variety of sauces.

I like them with some cold beer on the side for a truly authentic experience!


It’s-It

It’s-It is an iconic San Francisco treat that has been around since 1928.

It is a unique ice cream sandwich made with two oatmeal cookies and filled with creamy vanilla ice cream.

The cookies are dipped in dark chocolate, which gives the sandwich its signature flavor and texture.

To enjoy one, I usually make myself a nice cup of Macchiato and pair it with this flavorful dessert.


Marionberry Pie

Marionberry pie is a delicious and unique dessert that originated in Oregon.

marionberry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

It contains Marionberries, a cross between two types of blackberries – the Chehalem and Olallieberries.

The Marionberry has a sweet-tart flavor that makes it perfect for baking into pies.

I love the refreshing taste of this pie and make it often during the late summer.


Açai Bowls

Açai bowls are a popular and nutritious breakfast or snack option made with frozen açai berries, which are blended with other fruits and juices to create a thick smoothie-like consistency.

acai bowl

The mixture is then topped with fresh fruit, granola, nuts, seeds, honey, or agave syrup for added sweetness and crunch.

The bowls are the perfect mid-afternoon dessert whenever fruit is in season.


Avocado Toast

I like my avocado toast with mashed avocado, salt, pepper, and other seasonings.

avocado toast

The combination of creamy avocado and crunchy toast makes for a delicious treat that can be enjoyed anytime. I also like adding tomatoes and feta cheese for more oomph.


Chipotle Lime Corn Cobs

This classic Mexican side dish is a favorite of many, and it’s easy to see why.

Chipotle Lime Corn Cobs

Chipotle lime corn cobs are full of flavor, with the smoky chipotle pepper and zesty lime providing an unforgettable taste experience. 

To me, these are kind of like a west coast take on elote!


In-N-Out

In-N-Out is a West Coast fast-food chain that has been around since 1948.

in-n-out secret menu burgers on a tray

It is known for its delicious burgers, fries, and shakes.

What I prefer to their classic hamburgers and cheeseburgers are grilled cheese sandwiches, veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads.


Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad is a classic American salad that originated in the 1930s at Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant.

cobb salad

It consists of chopped lettuce, bacon, boiled eggs, tomatoes, chicken breast, avocado, and blue cheese crumbles tossed in a vinaigrette dressing.

I love a Cobb salad for either lunch or dinner. It’s got enough nutrition for a full meal.


Garlic Fries

Garlic fries are a delicious snack of deep-fried potatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper.

garlic fries

They go great with burgers but are delicious even on their own.

When I make garlic fries, I like adding herbs such as parsley or oregano to increase flavor.


Huckleberry Cheese Pie

Huckleberry cheese pie is a unique and delicious dessert that originated in the Appalachian Mountains, similar to a cheesecake.

The tartness of the berries combined with creamy cheese creates an unforgettable flavor. 

I love making this pie for family gatherings and special occasions. It’s easy to make and everyone loves it.


Poke Bowls

Hailing from Hawaii, poke bowls contain rice or greens, soy sauce-marinated tuna, and various toppings, like scallions and chili peppers.

poke bowl with salmon and veggies

Poke bowls are my go-to during the summer when I can get fresh ingredients.

You can add and replace toppings to make them to your liking.


Seahawk Burger

Seahawk burgers come from Seattle, Washington.

These burgers are typically topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions cooked in Washington State red wine, and a “Seattle Aioli” made with mayo, sriracha, and espresso.

It sounds like an unusual combination, but I love an unusual burger topping so it’s well worth a try!

I enjoy a rich burger whenever I find myself in town on a cold winter day.


Pork Chile Verde

Pork chile verde is a classic Mexican dish that combines the flavors of pork, green chiles, and tomatillos.

Pork Chile Verde

It has a robust flavor profile thanks to its combination of cumin and mild Anaheim peppers.

If you like food that provides just enough kick without being overly spicy, as I do, this will be right up your alley.


Barbeque Halibut Steaks

These steaks are a delicious and healthy way to enjoy seafood. 

halibut on grill

In my opinion, they have a mild flavor that pairs perfectly with sweet and savory sauces and marinades.

The fish’s delicate sweetness complements the grill’s smoky flavors, making this dish an absolute delight to eat!


Chile Colorado Burritos

Chile Colorado burritos are a Mexican-style dish that combines meat and a sauce of red chiles, garlic, and onions.

The flavor profile of chile Colorado burritos is savory yet slightly sweet due to the combination of ingredients. I particularly enjoy the smokiness of the meat.

The “Colorado” in this dish is not for the state, it’s Spanish for “colored red” because the sauce in this dish is a deep red.


Dutch Crunch Bread

Dutch crunch bread has a unique, crunchy texture and flavor that sets it apart from other types of bread.

Dutch Crunch Bread

The crust is made with a special topping called “tiger” or “crunch.”

What I like about this type of bread is the combination of sweet and savory, particularly the addition of garlic or onion powder.


California Lemon Pound Cake

California lemon pound cake combines the tartness of lemons with the sweetness of sugar.

The flavor of this pound cake is both light and bright due to the combination of fresh lemon juice and zest in the batter and the glaze on top. 

Because it uses a lot of butter, it’s like biting into a cloud.


Barbecued Chicken Pizzas

Barbecued chicken pizza is a delicious twist on classic pizza.

Barbecued chicken pizza

This dish combines two of America’s favorite foods, barbecued chicken and pizza. 

Each bite offers juicy chunks of tender chicken and melted cheese on a crispy yet chewy crust slathered in tangy barbecue sauce. These flavors are truly a match made in heaven.


Homemade Fry Bread

This traditional Native American bread is a fluffy yet crunchy bread with an unmistakable flavor.

fry bread

Fry bread has a unique taste that can only be described as heavenly! It’s slightly sweet with hints of buttery goodness and the perfect amount of crunchiness.


Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot are a type of traditional Jewish donuts often enjoyed during Hanukkah.

Sufganiyot

They are deep-fried balls of dough, usually filled with jelly or custard and then topped with powdered sugar.

I like experimenting with chocolate, dulce de leche, and other sweet fillings.


Carne Adovada Sopes

Carne adovada sopes are a Mexican dish made with corn masa, which is shaped into a small disc and then fried.

The sope is topped with pork marinated in red chile sauce. 

Sopes are the perfect treat for me, no matter what the occasion is.


Pineapple Pie With Coconut Cream

Pineapple pie with coconut cream is a delicious and unique twist on the classic dessert.

Pineapple Pie With Coconut Cream

The combination of sweet pineapple, creamy coconut cream, and buttery pastry creates an irresistible flavor that will have your taste buds singing. 

All these ingredients come together to form a deliciously sweet yet slightly tart mixture that pairs perfectly with the buttery crust.


Geoduck

Geoduck is a species of large, long-lived saltwater clam that is native to the West Coast.

It is one of the largest types of clams in the world, with a long, thick siphon that can reach up to three feet in length.

In terms of flavor, geoduck meat is known for being sweet, slightly briny, and tender with a firm texture.

Some people describe it as tasting similar to scallops or clams, but with a more pronounced sweetness and a firmer texture.


Trip-Tip Steak

Tri-tip steak is a cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin primal cut, specifically the triangular-shaped muscle located near the sirloin and the round.

tri tip steak on grill

Tri-tip steak is rich, beefy, and flavorful with a slightly coarse texture.

It has a good balance of marbling, which adds to its tenderness, and a beefy flavor that is slightly smoky when grilled.


What’s Your Favorite West Coast Dish?

If you’re from the West Coast or you’ve visited, tell us your favorite West Coast treat to indulge in in the comments, or try some from our list above!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.