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In a region filled with Michelin-starred dining spots, what’s the best restaurant in Southern California?

According to Yelp’s 2022 list of top eateries in the U.S., the answer is a restaurant and health food market in Costa Mesa.

Fermentation Farm was the highest-ranked eatery in California, taking the third spot on Yelp’s ninth annual list, which was released Wednesday. It has a 4 1/2-star ranking on Yelp, based on more than 460 reviews.

Founded in 2014, Fermentation Farm specializes in healthy, probiotic-rich foods that are good for the gut, according to its website. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the restaurant, or shop for grab-and-go meals and other items at the store.

The eatery wasn’t just the top-rated restaurant in Southern California, but also the only one to make it into the top 10.

Another Orange County joint — The Vox Kitchen in Fountain Valley — finished 11th on the list, the second-highest in California.

In fact, only four restaurants in the state made this year’s rankings. Three were in Orange County and one was in Los Angeles County.

Here they are:

  • 3. Fermentation Farm (Costa Mesa)
  • 11. The Vox Kitchen (Fountain Valley)
  • 58. Lido Bottle Works (Newport Beach)
  • 86. Moonshadow (Malibu)

You can find the full top 100 here.

As Yelp’s website noted of the dining destinations, “Most are affordable spots where you can enjoy a tasty meal for $30 or under—even in New York City.”

Of course, the list is subjective and ever-changing, as evidenced by neither of Southern California’s top-ranked restaurant in the past two years — Pisces Poke & Ramen, No. 2 in 2020, and Nova Kitchen & Bar, No. 11 in 2021 — making this year’s version.

Yelp comes up with its list by soliciting submissions from users on their favorite eateries, then whittling that down and ranking the restaurants based on a number of factors, including ratings, reviews and geographic representation, according to the website.