A Foodie’s Guide to Ethnic Cuisine in Stockton, California | Visit Stockton
Launch Recite Me assistive technology

A Foodie’s Guide to Ethnic Cuisine in Stockton, California

Exploring Stockton’s ethnic food scene, one delicious bite at a time...

If we are what we eat, then Stockton locals are most certainly an eclectic bunch. In addition to the natural bounty afforded by California’s San Joaquin Valley, Stockton includes a diversity of ethnic cuisine you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the region. Just after the city was incorporated in 1850, a large population of immigrant gold-seekers moved to Stockton. These early settlers came from various parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Pacific Islands, Mexico, and Canada. And today, foods from around the world can be enjoyed thanks to Stockton’s diverse food scene. Whenever you’re hungry and whatever you’re hungry for, this ethnic-food roadmap will take you (and your taste buds) around the world for some of the best cuisines right here in Stockton. Sampling the world’s finest cuisine is easy in Stockton, where a diverse cultural history is made up of the finest ingredients. Whether you’re downtown near the water or shopping the Miracle Mile, a little bite of Stockton is just around the corner.

Here’s a sampling of Stockton's diverse ethnic eats...

CHINESE

If you feel like traveling to the Far East, Chinese food in Stockton is a great place to start. With so many restaurants to choose from, you’re sure to find something that suits your palate and your budget.

Located South of Lincoln Center, tucked behind a service station, the outside of Yen Du Restaurant is unassuming; step inside and the smells wafting from the kitchen woks tell an entirely different story. For more than 20 years, this popular establishment has served classic Sichuan, Peking and Hunan cuisine with ingredients sourced locally whenever possible. Grab your chopsticks and dig into classics like beef with broccoli and sweet-and-sour pork; or venture from the ordinary and explore something new, like Sichuan tea-smoked duck! Great prices make this a tasty spot to enjoy with family or a large party.

Looking for Chinese food with some sizzle? Dave Wong’s Restaurant on March Lane is your date-night destination and a long-time Stockton favorite. The interior is a posh, contemporary lounge complemented by a heavy wood bar and mood lighting. Menu offerings include great vegetarian options as well as traditional proteins kung pao chicken and shiitake beef.

INDIAN

A tour of India truly begins with its cuisine, which is a potent rainbow of aromatic spices. Indian food in Stockton is no exception, and for a great bargain, you can fill up at Shan-E-Punjab and bring back your own spices to boot. This Indian grocery is a working kitchen serving up hot plates of every Indian variety, including an assortment of fried dumplings called pakora, as well as traditional curries, noodles, basmati rice, and more. It’s all here and most menu offerings are less than $8.

For a more formal dining experience, don’t miss Royal Indian Cuisine & Banquet on Pacific Avenue. This restaurant pairs a casual, family-friendly dining room with elegant Indian cuisine. Tandoori specialties exceed expectations here, cooked inside a traditional clay oven with yogurt and spices.

MEXICAN

No trip to Stockton would be complete without a culinary adventure south of the border. Here you’ll find much more to explore than quesadillas and nachos; Octavio's for example is a family-owned establishment with more than 60 different tequilas! Stop by for an amazing Sunday brunch, which includes all your favorites like chorizo and eggs, Menudo, chilaquiles, and homemade corn tortillas. Be sure to stop by for happy hour as well and enjoy great prices on tacos, queso dip and margaritas. If there’s one thing Mexican purveyors do best, it’s throwing a great happy hour! Stockton is home to over 50 other Mexican restaurants and food trucks.

FRENCH FUSION (NEW ORLEANS STYLE)

Located in the bustling Miracle Mile shopping district, Midtown Creperie & Café is your destination for all things French and sweet. And what’s more French than a crepe? This cozy nook is a casual spot for a quick bite of something decadent and delicious. Here you can build your own crepes (sweet or savory) or enjoy beignets, chicory, and an espresso. They were recently visited by Guy Fieri and will be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!

ITALIAN

Believe it or not, Italian cuisine only gets better in Stockton. With such fresh produce from the valley, Stockton has great natural resources to inspire some of Italy’s most popular dishes.

Mezzo works hard to use only the very best quality ingredients in all its Italian and Mediterranean creations while focusing on farm-to-fork ideology and sustainable food practices. From seasonal butternut squash gnocchi to traditional rigatoni bolognese, you’ll love the elegant dining area and themed cocktail menu.

Since 1976, Angelina’s Spaghetti House has been an establishment for fine occasions and exceptional Italian fare. The gorgeous dining area is sophisticated and elegant, which is a perfect complement to the kitchen’s traditional approach to Italian cooking. Handmade pasta is the star of the show and combines with fresh sauces to make a bounty of main courses like spaghetti with pesto or ravioli with roast beef.

JAPANESE

Is it edible art or just your favorite sushi roll? With good sushi, it’s sometimes hard to tell.

Misaki Sushi & Bar is a great Japanese restaurant to explore if you’re headed downtown. Check out its most popular rolls like the hammer roll: shrimp tempura, snow crab, avocado, yellowtail, unagi, tuna, and two secret sauces topped with scallions and masago (fish roe). Enjoy other offerings like udon noodles in soup or gourmet boats for larger parties.

For another uniquely Japanese experience, Domo Japanese Sushi Bar and Grill has a little bit of something for everyone. Located in Lincoln Center, Domo is the newest Japanese restaurant to open in Stockton. The interior is an impressive 8,000 square feet of teppanyaki grills, cozy booths, and a bar/lounge area. Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cooking that includes mixed meats or fish with vegetables cooked on a hot steel plate in the center of the dining table. This unique culinary experience is great for parties or fun family events.

FILIPINO

Papa Urb’s Grill in downtown Stockton is Filipino food with a twist. Expect to see all your favorite dishes like lumpia, Filipino-style spring rolls, and sinigang (sweet and sour soup), as well as less traditional tastes like adobo quesadillas and Papa Urb’s fried chicken wings in signature sauce. After the success of its first restaurant in Tracy, the second shop opened in Stockton’s lively downtown. Today, if you’re craving flavors of the Philippines and don’t want to break the bank, Papa Urb’s Grill is the best place to eat.

KOREAN

Take a deep breath. If it smells like something is fermenting, that’s because it is. Korea’s most notorious side dish, kimchi (fermented cabbage with seasoning), is the centerpiece of so many wonderful tastes and aromas inside Seoul Soon Dubu. Located along Stockton’s Miracle Mile, Seoul Soon Dubu is a fully interactive food performance, and you’ve got a front-row ticket. Here, food is made to order and most of it you cook yourself. Traditional Korean BBQ is cooked at the table. Beef, pork, or chicken is grilled and served along with several tiny sides like pickled radish, hot peppers, and kimchi. Come here to enjoy an exaggerated meal spread out over a few hours. Pop open some soju and you’ve got yourself a party!

GERMAN

In the mood for some German cuisine? Can you smell the schnitzel? To fill this craving for a taste of West Germany, German Guys German Restaurant is here for you. Located in Waterloo, you can choose from numerous sausages, schnitzels, stuffed cabbage rolls, Gulasch, and more. They have favorites like Bavarian white sausage and house sausage with sauerkraut that will leave your mouth watering even after you’ve devoured them.

THAI

One of the numerous Thai options in Stockton is Thai Me Up, nestled in on the Miracle Mile. On their Pad Thai selection, your delicious protein picks include shrimp, beef, chicken, and fried pork belly. Plus, there is the tasty option of kicking off your meal with basil wings. And, for all the veggie-loving friends, their papaya salad is a super healthy, flavor-filled choice. Other superb Thai options in Stockton include Siamese Street Restaurant and Bangkok Restaurant, among others. There’s no wrong choice for Thai food here.

JAMAICAN

CJ’s Jamaican & BBQ Kitchen is well known for the outstanding dishes it serves. At CJ’s, famous dishes like jerk chicken ribs, Jamaican beef patties, curry chicken, rice ‘n’ peas, mac & cheese, loaded potato casserole, and vegetable medley are the types of entrees dreams are made of. Each savory bite will make you thankful more and more that you chose to stop in for a meal. Head over now and indulge yourself, because CJ has a seat waiting for you now.

Vietnamese & Cambodian

Bayon Restaurant serves up both Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes for you to sit back and enjoy. Located on Grand Canal, Bayon cooks up a delicious marinade grill pork that can be dipped in the spicy chilli paste, or you can grab a bowl of pho for a lighter but just as flavorful meal. If it's just Vietnamese cuisine you're looking for, Saigon Bowl Noodle House in Downtown has you covered. Their menu includes boba teas, pho bowls, rice bowls, banh mi sandwiches, rolls, and more. This locally-owned spot makes you feel right at home as they fill your appetite.

HALAL

For those seeking food prepared according to Halal traditions, you've got a few great chocies in Stockton. Halal New African Cuisine says it all in their name. Typically spotted on the corner of El Dorado and Sperry, this food truck seres up delicous oysters, hush puppies, shrimp, fish, and coleslaw that locals have been raving about. The Chimulita Gourmet Grub food truck on Pacific Avenue specializes in combining comfort food from different cultures. They've got their special Chimulita—corn tortillas dipped in Colima inspired red sauce, grilled with melted cheese and your choice of protein, topped with cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, comeback sauce, Mexican crema and your choice of salsa and cotija cheese. Also, Desi Grill on North Lower Sacramento Road features naan, chicken tikka masala, lamb karahi, goat briyani, chicken tikka boti, vegetable samosas, and so much more.

MEDITERRANIAN

Sugar Mediterranean Bistro over on Trinity Parkway invites you to partake in the Mediterranean delights. Open for lunch and dinner, they serve filling varieties of pasta, steaks, kabobs, pita wraps, Greek casseroles, and more. Plus, this spot has 12 beers on tap and a full bar to pair up with your appetizers and/or entrees. Add in special nights featuring live entertainment and you've got a great combo of exquisite Mediterranean food in a pleasing setting. What more could you ask for?

Explore more options on our Stockton Dining Page. Looking for local recommendations? You can message us from our homepage 7 days a week for assistance on shopping, dining, and things to do in Stockton. Just click on the messenger icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, & TikTok - and be sure to use #VisitStockton during your visit!

Have you heard about Stockton Restaurant Week? Foodie’s enjoy special menus and events at the best local eateries each January. Keep up to date on Stockton Restaurant week, new restaurants in town, and foodie giveaways on our Stockton Restaurant Week Facebook Page!

Related Blogs
About the Author
Visit Stockton

Another Great Blog from Our Expert Team

Send An Email