Your top ten favorite Sacramento dining places
They don't have to be pricey...just what are your favorites and why? Hey if you know of a great hole-in-the-wall...spill it! Please include favorites for breakfast and late night eats. If ya want...tell me what you like to order at each one.
Thanks for the Zen recommendation, dimsumgirl. My boyfriend and I are visiting in Sacramento this week, and thanks to you we enjoyed an amazing meal at Zen last night. Their rolls sounded and looked good, so we ordered a sweet one (the Punk Rock Roll--unagi, avocado, masago & black caviar), a spicy one (the Fong & Fong--spicy yellowtail, avocado, cucumber, masago), and a savory one (the Zig Zag--soft shell crab, avocado, creamy sauce, soy paper). Their deep fried gyoza with a ginger garlic sauce was also excellent.
My husband and I go nearly every Saturday. There is a crowd of regulars and we have all gotten to know each other pretty well. It is a friendly crowd. There is a traditional Japanese breakfast that consists of miso soup, grilled salmon, rice and Japanese pickles. There is loco moco-- Hawaiian; cowboy chili; omelettes; macadamia nut pancakes; fried rice; egg foo yung; YUM! See you there!
OH......Zen Toro...on 15th! Got it. I have never eaten there...but I have heard it is good. I checked it out online. Not Zentoro.
Anyway...back to the original post. Here are my favorites so far:
Enotria on Del Paso...the service is great and the food is fresh and seasonal. Very good wine list.
Sandra Dee's on 15th for brisket.
Cafe Bernardo in Midtown for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Love the patio between 8 and 10 a.m.
Thai Basil for drunken noodles..or anything really.
La Favorita Taqueria on Florin for grilled whole fish and Mexican shrimp cocktail. La Fiesta good too. Owned by same group of men.
Rainbows End on Florin and Riverside-little place in the strip mall there. Egyptian woman runs it (thought she was Greek) and it is fun to eat there...the food is really good. I particularly love the minestrone soup and gyros are good...as is the Greek salad. She catered Jimmy Yee's political celebration. Go for lunch but get there by 11:30 most days. It was packed the other day..no place to sit. Greenhaven/Pocket needs more options. Barnhills is awful!!
The Waterboy....sweetbreads. Need I say more?
Spataro...loved the lamb with cranberry beans. I haven't been there for awhile. It was a noisy Friday night.
Taylor's Market...no kidding. I just go in to drool at the meat counter. They had these lovely oysters one day...the guy shucked one for me and I ate it right then. They have some great pasta salads at the deli. A real butcher shop there! On Tues and Thurs there is an organic foods tent next door too!
Chopstix Express...the best potstickers I have ever had. It's on Riverside in a strip mall. Two little Chinese guys back there cooking like crazy.
Italian Gourmet Market next to Trader Joes on Folsom and 59th---I forget exact names. I am in such a hurry to get in there. A really great deli counter with fun people working there. Corti's is down the street too...but in the past couple of years I think Corti's has gone down hill. Not as great customer service.
Andy Nyguens (sp?) on Broadway....love that place! I do love good vegetarian/vegan fair as well. This is it.
Well..there are several others I really enjoy and more to be discovered.
I love Spataro's! And Rainbow's End is just around the corner from me. And I worked on Jimmy Yee's campaign but didn't find out about the fundraisers until too late. I also enjoy La Favorita. I think we are going to have to meet up for some serious chowing! I usually go to the gym at 6 on Saturdays and then hit Zen Toro afterwards, usually around 8 or 8:30.
It is actually called The Italian Importing Company. The original is at 19th and J St. Larry is the owner...and he is the BEST!!!! His father sometimes runs the register. Get a quart of bolognese sauce, some imported dry pasta, a bottle of prosecco and you are good to go. And...the imported tuna in oil is WONDERFUL! Good beer, too.
I go to the gym too..just started up about 7 weeks ago. Got a personal trainer to motivate me. I hit CA FM Fitness now on Sat. Maybe I'll see ya soon!
Edokko Noodles is great too...right by Rainbows End.
Our low-rent Sacto rotation:
Pizza: Giovanni's or Roma's depending on the crust-mood
Mexican: Xochimilco (new location is quite a drive from where I am in the Pocket, but worth it) or Adalbertaco's drive thru (in the mold of Roberto's Taco Shop in San Diego)
Burgers: Squeeze Inn
Sushi: Mana on Alta Arden across from Target
Chinese: First Choice (21st and Capitol) or New Hong Kong Wok (Freeport)
Steaks/comfort food: The Distillery
Fish: Virgin Sturgeon (although this is more of a sentimental favorite)
Breakfast: Tower Cafe's Famous French Toast
I tried to come up with a high-rent rotation, I am having trouble coming up with anything besides the Waterboy. All of the other high end places we've tried here are so-so. Typical Sacramento dilemma, no doubt.
I am glad to hear the Rainbow's End is worth trying--I live in the area but have never had anyone comment on it.
Dimsumgirl lives in the pocket too...and me too. We'll have to meet at Rainbows sometime. What high end places have you been disappointed with?
One day I had lunch at Rainbows End...actually the first time I ate there. I dribbled the minestrone soup on my shirt. The owner lady came over with a clean towel that she had dipped in water and actually wiped the stain off my shirt. It was a hoot!
I will certainly try your recommendations! I want to start a once a month dining group. Interested?
Where is Adalbertaco's? I miss Roberto's in San Diego.
It's not Mexican food, and not technically in Sacramento, but our favorite place for dinner is Redbud Cafe in Cameron Park - you can see it by the freeway. Not what you would expect in Cameron Park, you walk in and it feels like you are in Napa. Wonderful food, my favorite being the salmon over soba noodles. I could order that every time, and I usually do. The salads are all great too. Good local wines and reasonable.
What, nobody's mentioned Biba (Italian)?!? My absolute favorite restaurant anywhere in the states -- not only is the food consistently excellent, the cocktails are expertly made and the service is wonderful. On the other end of the spectrum, I have to agree that La Favorita and La Fiesta are exceptionally good taquerias -- mmmm, ceviche!
I have only been to Biba once, it was the worst service I have received in a restaurant, ever. The waiter actually had the nerve to bring the wrong entree, pretend it was what the diner had ordered, finally admit the kitchen had made too much of this particular entree, try again to convince the diner to eat it instead what she had really ordered, make the diner wait for her actual entree, then charge us for it. That's some nerve. It was not the way I expected to be treated.
I last ate at Biba's in November and found it really really disappointing. I had the osso bucco and found it really bland and perhaps a little tough. Dessert was "fresh" gelato, that didn't really resemble vanilla gelato at all. The wine list was decent, and the service first class most of the time. It might be Sacto's flagship on paper, but I don't think it's nearly the place it used to be.
My favorite upscale place is Lemon Grass on Monroe St/Fulton Ave. I've loved everything I've tried there.
Also on my list is Nopalitos on H St at 56th. I like the chile verde and the chicken tostada. It's only open for breakfast and lunch.
Homestyle: Gold Miner (Folsom or Rocklin). Best breakfast or lunch in town. Homemade all of it, chilled plate and fork with salad.
Pizza: Roma (Folsom Blvd, Franklin or Folsom at Blue Ravine and Green Valley). The best
10 bucks. Rubicon brewing CoOmpany. The best Hot wings, all housemade stuff. great specials, great beer, outside dining.
Chinese. The Mandarin (Eastern and Arden). Love it. Kinda pricey but worth every cent.
Jeannies Place (Folsom, east Bidwell). Great cooking there. The Kung-po is the best ever.
Waterboy. everytime the best.
Tapa the World. Interesting menu for small plates. Pretty spendy.
Bidwell Street Bistro.
Granitos. (douglas and Auburn Folsom. tratorria style Italina. Interesting place, very small. menu changed daily depending on what is available and chefs mood. Be sure to go when Lester is cooking.
Carmelitas in Roseville or Fair Oaks (recently remodeled). best chicken I have ever had.
There is an Adalbertacos on Florin Rd at Woodbine--its next to a Big O Tires. Also, Carolina's on Franklin Blvd at 12th Ave is pretty much identical--red and yellow drive through open 24 hours where some defunct fast food place used to be. There is also one called Beto's over on Howe at Cottage ir Ethan, I am not as good with remembering the street names in that part of town. But all the food is the same as Robertos--rolled tacos, flying saucers, carne asada burrito as big as your head, chips with guac, and the aguas frescas.
Oh yeah. Fair oaks is famous for it's chickens walking aorund the town. They are the towns pets. (they came from a farm I used to have back in the seventies).
Carmelita's is right close to Old town.
Ettores on Fair Oaks - Salads, chicken and desserts
Dos Coyotes Arden Fair Mall - Seasonal specials.
Giovanni's Pizza at Loehmann's - All their pizzas are great
Rice Noodles on Arden- #108 Calamari, Shirmp and Basil Salad, vegetarian salad rolls. Bean sprout cake.
Nagato Sukiyaki on Fulton - Just about everything. Hokaido Roll is great.
Season's on Sutter in Folsom - Breakfast and Coffee that is Lorilai Gilmore worthy.
Kaveri - Dosas, vegetarian entrees and Saag dishes
Sampan on Fulton - Hot and sour soup per my coworkers and DH loves the orange chicken
Marrekech on Fulton - Lamb Tagine and entertainment
re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
for great vietnamese, try henry nguyen's on howe. i have become disenchanted with rice noodles lately and hope they get their act together. soon. also, the best bakery in sac in my opinion, is freeport. ettore's is over-rated and over-priced. i live in the suburbs, close to ettore, but will certainly drive the extra time for good desserts. david berkely carries some freeport desserts, not all.
i am surprised that no one has mentioned selland's for a quick carry out dinner, or el padrino on fruitridge for mexican. the chili colorado tamales are the best!
Carmelitas is agreat mexican resturant in old Fair Oaks. On Howard street above Sunrise. they recently redid the place and it looks fabulous. The best chicken (tacos, enchiladas etc)ever IMO..
Okay...talk to me like I'm a six year-old. If I am at the intersection of Fair Oaks and Manzanita, I take a left at that intersection (where Manzanita turns into Fair Oaks) and keep going and I'll go into Old Fair Oaks? No...I guess I'd end up in Carmichael. I am not good on directions. I was thinking that on Thurs. I'll hit Carmelita's after my workout.
Okay..I'll map it. Nevermind.
I read about the chickens in Old Fair Oaks. Very interesting. Reminds me of when I was in Honduras...lots of chickens all around!
re: Scot Foodie
Four of us were at Gonuls last Saturday, 5/16/09 for dinner. We shared a pita plate -- it was okay (no tapenade or roasted peppers as listed on the online menu) . The garden greens salad was ample -- it had been divided into two plates in the kitchen, but looked like it could easily have been a starter salad for three or four.
One of us had the fish borek (I didn't get a taste); others had the stuffed chicken with a yam puree (delish with enough left over for another meal) and the moussaka (very tasty).
I ordered the beyti kebob -- supposedly only beef (per the food server), but it had distinct lamb flavor which would be a traditiional flavoring. The meat was very tasty, but I was disappointed that the kebob was wrapped in lavoosh and then sliced. The lavoosh cooled in a dried out tortilla-like wrap, which I quickly discarded so I could enjoy just the beyti kebot with the yogurt sauce.
The tab for the above food & 3 Turkish beers (before tip) was $100. This was our second trip there and we'll return. . . but will try to split the entrees (generous portions here) so we can try their desserts!
Gonul's J Street Cafe
3839 J St, Sacramento, CA 95816
Hope I can help. As you go into old Fair Oaks on Fair Oaks blved. take the first right (Howard street I think). Right as you pass what used to be a bank (now an art gallery). Carmelitas is past the parking lot for that place.
I have to agree with everyone that mentioed Giovanni's or Romas for great pie. Both are awesome... authentic East Coast Italian. I'd like to add Zeldas and Pasquales to the list, as well. Zeldas is more Chicago style deep dish and Pasquales is New York style with two crust options. It's no where near as thin as Giovanni's so don't expect it to be paper thin. They pile on the toppings and cheese, as well. The antipasto salad and bread sticks are great with the garlic butter. Make sure you order extra, extra garlic at Zeldas... they have a full bar, too. Order in advance as the place is pretty small.
Zelda's is excellent, but it is such an institution I forget to even mention it--I just assume everyone already knows. It's also not easy to deal with on short notice due to the crowds. I heard Zelda died a couple months ago, I hope the place sticks around.
I love Zelda's too. We haven't tried Giovanni's but I love thin pizza crust. When I visit my sis in New Jersey they have the best pizza place near their house. They always order plain cheese pizza (very thin) and they sprinkle garlic powder on it. Fantastic.
Looks like we are going to Alamar on the river..my inlaws are determined that we eat there. One of their friends highly recommended it. Dave's birthday is next Friday...I'll let you know how it is...for those who haven't been lately or haven't been at all. (maybe I can convince them to drive to Bridges on the River).
My in-laws met some friends downtown..as they had an appt. at Sutter. Of all the places in midtown...are you sitting down?...they ate at Lyons. Lyons!! (The pathetic part is I still asked them what they ate).
When I think of myself in midtown..for a lovely lunch...I see myself at The Waterboy. Oh my.
Mexican: La Favorita on Alhambra or Florin and El Palmar on El Camino in Carmichael
Japanese: Miyagi's for Rolls & Sesame Chicken, Sushi King (Formerly, Miraku) on El Camino for a Combo plate of Calamari Katsu & Sashimi and Katana for their Awesome Teppan Chef, Sam
Burgers: Hands down, Squeeze Inn. Ain't Nothin' like it... 2nd Best In & Out
Persain: Famous Kabob
Greek: Greek Village Inn
Fast Food: Chipotle on Howe. I've tried others & they have the best tasting Salsa & Chicken (I swear, it's true!), Fish Tacos at Rubios
Pizza: Margarita Pizza at Buca Di Beppo, Zelda's & BJ's Brewery Pizza
Breakfast: Nopalitos, Pancake Circus & Eggies
American: Jack's Urban Eats, Leatherby's Combo (sandwich, fries, drink & sundae) and La Bou
Italian: Espanol & Buca di Beppos
These are my favorites & pretty much the restaurants I rotate thru.
Wow...obviously I am a bit late to the Sac Chowhound party but better late than never!
Bibas for a special occasion meal
Tower Cafe for breakfast (especially the french toast)
Banderas for comfort food (macho chicken salad, roasted chicken, artichoke appetizer, mussel appetizer)
Corti Bros for everything specialty AND italian
Moxie on H Street for their specials
Taqueria Guadalajara on Fair Oaks for great tacos, burritos, aqua fresca
Roma Pizzera #2 on Folsom for pizzeria margherita
Zelda's Pizza on 21st for true chicago style deep dish
Jack's Urban Eats for the urban fries (blue cheese AND chili oil on fries...how can you go wrong with that?)
Cafe Bernardo/Paragarys for the mushroom and jarlsberg salad
Burr's on Folsom for ice cream
Freeport Bakery for quiche and fabulous baked goods
Marie's Donuts on Freeport for melt in your mouth donuts
Miyagi's on Fair Oaks for sushi
David Berkeleys for great sandwiches, esp. their mendo masterpiece
I know I am forgetting some..my apologies.
Just wondering...is the mexican place on Alhambra (they own several) called La Favorita or La Fiesta? I know there is one on Florin called La Favorita Taqueria.
Here are a couple that I have not seen above:
Tres Hermanas for Mexican (no cheddar in sight!)
Gaylord Indian (new on 14th & O - awesome curry & naan)
Icon (gone the way of the dodo)
Jimboy's Tacos (need a chicken taco fix soon)
Papa Murphy's or Zelda's for Pizza (depending on the mood)
Fat's Asia Bistro (Folsom location - especially after Apple Hill)
Mikuni (midtown - not a big sushi fan, but love the place)
Merlino's Freeze (especially at a River Cats game)
Texas West BBQ (love that tri-tip)
Joe's Crab Shack (call me crazy, but good seafood and view)
I'm astounded by some of the very un-chowhoundish places recommended here. Joe's Crab Shack? Everything is frozen, deep fried and they use packaged spices. Sure, a nice view and I'm sure it's fun, but the food?!
Here are mine:
since Americo's closed, there is no great Italian. After eating at Biba last Tuesday - it was fine, sure, but not spectacular (my wife's medium-well duck was raw in the middle, and the wrong amount was charged for one entree), but the service was excellent and the halibut special I had was fantastic but who in the world makes a citron martini with an olive as opposed to a twist? that was bizarre! - I was less than impressed, not a good value at all.
For Japanese, I like the smaller places in town - I think the big sushi houses are a rip and the fish not as fresh - Mikuni sucks for quality of fish, service and prices, and it's too noisy to enjoy your meal. I liked Taka a lot, their hamachi kama, which I consider the measure of a Japanese kitchen, was perfect. Too bed they are closed, but hopefully it's only temporary. Nothing here as good as Kirala in Berkeley, unfortunately. I like Edokko, the Japanese noodle house, on Broadway but hear that the one in the South Area is even better and I look forward to trying it. There is a 40 year old Japanese place upstairs from the florist across from Ricksha on 12th street that has fantastic tuna don - raw tuna over rice, also a great unagi don for very cheap. Ricksha is good and very cheap and their buffet is fun but not Fine Dining by any means.
I like the fish & chips place on Alhambra and Folsom - Tugboat, one of 25 Korean f&c places in town - very much. Nothing fancy but cheap and good and nice folks. Blue Sea, noted by Damkier above, is also good but overpriced and not big portions.
Puerto Azul in west sac has fantastic Mexican seafood - try their botana and various grilled fish dishes. The house special puerto azul camarones - are great but very rich.
Favorite Indian used to be Kaveri but that's been replaced by Shalimar on Northgate, which is very grungy but has AMAZING food and the best fresh naan I've ever had, and the owner is awfully nice. Don't let the location scare you away.
For chinese, I think that New Canton is excellent. Always very good, great service, order from the Chinese menu (there is some english and pictures) if you can. Daimo under its original owners was fantastic but I heard the menu isn't as unique any more.
We go to Korea House on Folsom @ La Riv pretty regularly, it's excellent, but for high end Korean Oz can't be beat. Also, the tofu house on Folsom (well, there are several, but the one next to Jin Mi market, in the strip mall on the 9200 block of Folsom, in the heart of the Korean district. Jin Mi Kim Chi is also fantastic as 9235, they make 100 kinds of kimchi and panchan and everything there is fantastic, closed sun & mon though. Seoul Restaurant it 9336 La Riv is also good.
for Vietnamese.. I think Andy Nguyen has gone WAY downhill since becoming all-veggie. Too bad. Henry Nguyen is still very good and has a huge vegetarian menu. Hoa Viet on Broadway is excellent and has the best pho in town, and rice noodles on Arden has very good bun. The Viet sandwich place at the corner next to SF Market on Stockton & Florin (i think?) is excellent too, $2.50 sandwiches on the best fresh hot baguette ever.
Tower Cafe has a decent burger but I haven't been there in awhile. the place that burned down next door had a better burger and great broasted chicken, even though they kept raising their prices. I am looking for good fried chicken in Sacramento.. very hard to find.
The best breakfast hands down, even better than Bernardo and 33rd st which are both good, is the Market Club on 5th below broadway. Very hard to find - take the second right into the stockyard parking lot, drive halfway back and you will see it on the left. Full of farmers, cops and bikers... wonderful Japanese/American breakfast greasy spoon food; the fried pork steak is enough to feed 2 hungry people, pork chops and eggs are fantastic, everything comes with rice or potatoes. they have excellent braised short ribs for lunch too, but no dinner. Their corned beef hash is made from scratch and the best I've ever had. I can't recommend this place enough - I urge you all to try it - it's the last Sacramento hidden gem I think!
for junk food, I like Jimboy's from time to time, or Willy's burgers. For ice cream, Vic's and Gunther's - they both have decent sandwiches too.
Henry's Cafe on 15th or 16th downtown has good, simple vietnamese and Chinese done very fresh and with unique attractive plating. Nice folks too. Try the ribs! Their pho is OK but nothing special though, that's the only downside here.
I think the sweetbreads both at Biba and Waterboy are very good. I think Moxie can be good or mediocre, as they tend to oversalt everything lately.
Best Spanish is by FAR aioli bodega espanol; tapa the world is fun and authentic, as my Spanish friends say, but not good food. small portions, overpriced, too loud, stale bread, too many hot dishes served cold. Aioli Bodega Espanol, on the other hand, has terrific service, good portions, and everything is ultra-fresh and made to order. A good value and excellent food.
Thai Palace on J in the thirties is my favorite thai place although the two spots on Broadway are more authentic.
Sandra Dee's is decent for BBQ but a bit over-sauced. Someone told me that Everett & Jones had opened a Sacramento location - is this true? Anyone know?
Squeeze Inn still has the best burger in town as far as I can tell.
Rubicon is the best sandwich and beer place around, cheap and great wings and you can sit outside.
Celestin's has gone WAY downhill; the servings are 1/2 what they used to be, although the food is still fine, and the prices have skyrocketed since they moved. The cocktails are excellent but also very expensive, but if someone else is paying why not?
The Broiler still does a decent steak and they have 2 for 1 coupons and entertainment book ads all the time, worth it for that.
That's all I can think of right now.
Thanks for the great tips hewn. The nice thing about a board like this is getting all the good insight from other people about what to try and what to avoid. It can be very easy here in Sacramento to just hit the big guys and overlook the smaller places, but they may be much better. I agree with Vic's, especially since I can walk there!
Melly: Thanks for thinking of me. We have discovered this spot but did you know--can't replace ZT because it's closed Saturdays. Also, like Zentoro, it is about to go out of bus??? It's a great dive place an many of the Zentoro regulars also frequent this spot. Zippo atmosphere but great food. Unfortunately, the property has been sold so there are limited days here. Sorry your Mexican crawl didn't materialize. Maybe I can join in when/ if you rescedule.
Note that I have now tried Everett & Jones. In the low 7000s of Franklin Blvd. WORTH THE DRIVE. It blows Sandra Dee's out of the water! Cheap, too, for what you get: a $24 slab of pork ribs will feed 3 very hungry people (or 2 250 lb guys), and comes with several sides - the cornbread is perfect, the sweet potatoes are the best I've ever had in a restaurant. Unless you are sure you can handle it, don't get the very spicy - it really is very spicy.
They have all you can eat on Mondays to go w/ the football game - ribs plus chicken or their famous and excellent hot links.
If my heart could handle it I'd go here every week. These were by far some of the best ribs I've had. I grew up next to the shop in Berkeley, and the same woman owns both places, and she's duplicated the exact menu here.
Unfortunately it was pretty empty when I was there. Maybe we should have a chowhound meet here? I hope they stay in business - it'd be a shame to have Sacramento's best BBQ spot close.
They have a full bar too, and cheap drinks!
"Best" is a relative term. While Everett & Jones may be better than Sandra Dee's (and that's debatable), neither are very good. Sure, you get lots of food, but the quality of the meat is poor (cheap links with fillers, for example). Both in the Bay Area and here in Sac, Everett & Jones is guilty of slapping decent sauce on crummy meat. Sac still awaits a good BBQ joint.
Thanks for the recs, katew! Last night my boyfriend and I tried Thai Palace and were totally blown away by the food and service. We agreed that it's the best Thai food we've ever had here in the States. We started with their veggie spring rolls which were the perfect combination of crispness and softness, and delicious with the peanut sauce. For the main course we shared their special salmon with a creamy lime sauce (wow--truly an incredibly unique and savory dish), red curry with chicken (with lots of basil, green beans, and peppers), and pad see eu noodles (not on the menu, but we requested this dish and it was superb). Our waitress was a sweetheart--efficient, helpful, but not overbearing--and the owner checked on us, genuinely caring about our perceptions of the food. I didn't catch the owner's name, but it's obvious that she puts a lot of love and care into her restaurant. For the dessert, she personally brought us out a "special" sweet rice with a buttery coconut sauce served with fresh mangoes. Heavenly. The sweet rice was unlike anything I've ever tried. I really wish this place was in Southern California! We'll absolutely be back anytime we make our way to Sacramento.
For breakfast, I like the Cornerstone in Midtown and Eggies on Fulton Ave. I'm a chicken-fried steak or Eggs Benedict kind of girl :) Tower Cafe also has an excellent crab cake eggs benedict that is to die for. For dinner, the Broiler and Moxies are my favorites. I've been eating at the Broiler for at least 15 yrs and have never had a bad meal or service there. They know how to make you feel special. I usually always get the fish there, since I'm not much of a steak eater :) As for Moxies, the service is so fun & personal! For Italian, I really like Michelangelo's (on I St & 17th). Wonderful food!! For hearty Italian and huge portions, Seritella's (in Carmichael) is also very good and reliable. For Mexican, I'm partial to Caballo Blanco on Fruitridge. For burgers, I like Scott's Burger Shack on Sutterville; good thick fries! For Japanese, I like the bento boxes at Katana and Sushi Ya. For Indian, there's Kaveri (I've only done their lunch buffet). Service is rude but the food is good.
I always get the same thing at Caballo Blanco - the taco and cheese enchilada combo. I Love Tacos! And I like how they use the mexican cheese to top them. I've only been to Michelangelo's a couple of times. The first time I got a shrimp and pasta dish and the last time I got one of their specials: pork chops stuffed w/goat cheese. My friend & I also ordered an appetizer of clams and he got the trout w/an artichoke sauce and orzo pasta. Oh my! Mine was ok (I'm not a big fan of goat cheese but my friend and I wanted the same dish,as we always do and so we agreed to get both specials and split them) but his was heaven. I can still taste it...
re: Lilo 1
I ate there a few yrs ago and it was horrible. Has it improved? My friend has the chicken mole and it was beyond dry. I had the tacos and enchiladas and they just weren't good. The service was inattentive and the bathrooms were atrocious! Just as in Mexico, they posted signs saying not to flush the T.P. and then had open cans in each stall to put the used T.P. I've never been back!
Andy Nguyen's - the fake meat is VERY convincing
Corti Brothers - great deli (love "The Dante" sandwich)
Dawson's (in Hyatt) - Sunday brunch
Jack's Urban Eats - simple, inexpensive & good
Kathmandu Kitchen - Indian AND Nepalese samosas? Outstanding!
Luigi's - pizzas are fresh & topping-packed; open late
Megami - love the chicken yakiniku; friendly sushi bar service
Morton's - nice environment to celebrate with a quality steak
Thai Palace - best Thai food in town
Zocolo - nice location; outdoor dining
Melly, if you loved the salmon get some for your freezer next week. Larry (the salmon guy) reminded me that there are only two weeks left of salmon season. Then he is gone again until May at the earliest. I got 10 packages for the freezer today and plan to stock up more next week. Get there early because everyone else is stocking up. I hit the market after gym today at about 7:15 to get my goods!
The oyster guy is generous. Our favorite are the kumamotos but I have done well with the Atlantics as well. Try them both side by side and see what you think. I love the Sunday farmers' market too!
If you are going to buy 5 dozen or more of the oysters, you can call ahead and reserve them: (707) 765-6010. Enjoy!
Dimsumgirl is RIGHT ON when it comes to the oyster guy at the Sunday farmer's market...Corti Bros is fine...but HE is the BEST! And, yes...the tiny oysters are great...and my fave, too.
Also...the tomato lady at the intersection in the center has great produce in season. So many cool kinds of the love
apple. And, check out the cheese curds they sell at the cheese place.
I will certainly call the oyster guy...and get there much earlier this Sunday! I have bought tomatoes from the t-lady! Thanks for the phone number. I also got the most beautiful eggplants there.
Why does everyone say that fresh fish should not smell "fishy" but fresh fish places always smell fishy? What is up with that??
BTW..don't forget the local scene!
The Gold Miner Cafe in Folsom. The best breakfast anywhere in the area. All handmade sauces, unique recipies, huge biscuits. No cans anywhere.
Chilled fork and plate with salad (Housemade dressings).
The taco truck in Sheldon. Behind the feed store.
for steak - austin's at the thunder valley casino
for authentic chinese - hoi cin at folsom blvd, & hong kong wok at freeport
for italian - biba's
for burger - in & out, johnny rocket only at the downtown location
for vietnamese pho - pho king 2 at stockton blvd
for american-chinese - fat's at folsom
for dessert - ettore, any location is good
for thai - thai cottage at fulton ave
for sushi - mikuni only at fair oak, but look for the head chef
just discovered hoicin about 6 months ago and they make the most fantastic spicy green beans and their lettuce wraps are also very good (cool crisp iceberg and not too spicy but very flavorful filling). not only that, but they are one of the few places that delivers here in town.
ettores baked goods are fantastic-love their chewy chocolate cookies and their chocolate orange scone-and their lunch and dinner items aren't half bad either.
I have to add Biba to the list as well as Ruth's Chris steak house. dined at both recently and both are excellent.
And not sure if I mentioned it earlier but ther is a great Chinese Place in Folsom. Jennies place. On Bidwell st in front of the Target store.
I had a really bad experience at Ruth's Chris. A friend took me there when they opened - just after - I asked for my steak rare, very rare if possible, and it came not just well done but almost crispy. The waiter returned it immediately, as soon as he saw it - I didn't need to say anything - and then brought me back a medium-well steak, actually more than medium-well - almost well-done - but as my friends were all just about finished with their meat (this took 25 minutes altogether), I just ate it and pretended to like it so as not to offend my friend.
I wouldn't go back there. Even the mediocre Broiler downtown gets orders right, and the meat seems higher quality (and it's 1/4 the price!).
Funky - Ink at 28th and N. The sliders are awesome and good "girlie" martinis. It's a great place to decompress and they're open really late.
Special Occasion - Enotria. Talk about making you feel special! And occasionally the chef does a honey lavender creme brulee that's to die for.
Mexican - Taqueria Guadalajara, no contest
Italian - Cafe Milazzo. Great for lunch (meatball grinder) but also wonderful lasagna. Small, but worth it.
Chinese - used to be Chef Bo on Fair Oaks but they were bought out by new owners recently and now the food is not chow-worthy. :-( So sad but I'm thrilled to get suggestions from everyone else!
Breakfast - Hazelnut waffles at 33rd or (my husband's choice) River Front Cafe on LaRiviera and Watt for chicken fried steak.
Dim Sum - New Canton
What I am looking for is great fried chicken and somewhere to celebrate my graduation from law school. Any suggestions?
Just found this site while searching for reviews of Puerto Azul (West Sac) Am trying that tonight so cannot comment on it but...
1. Steak, prime rib, etc - The Buckhorn in Winters. THE best. High end
2. Cattlemens in Davis is also good and reliable - and their fried onion appetizer is the best. Middle to high end.
3. Osaka Sushi in Woodland. Used to like Osaka in Davis the best but the little Woodland branch is better - their sesame chicken is great and try Danny's Roll (crab salad and scallops in a soy wrapper. Middle
4. El Sapore in Woodland for ribs. This is a wierd one- it is basically a pasta and pizza house but their ribs are so tender and moist. We prefer theirs to ribs from speciality rib places. Middle (If you try their pasta, think about getting the 1/2 order cause the pasta orders are huge.)
5. Melting Pot - Sacramento. For a fun, special evening, try fondue for two in one of their booths. Make sure you aren't in a hurry because it takes time. High end.
6. Vince's in Woodland. Mexican. Love the Carnitas Burritos and the Chili Relleno. Low to middle end.
7. Yo Sushi in Fairfield. Trust me on this - it is worth the drive! AND it is low end. It is in some kind of old burger joint (think Dairy Queen) with only about four tables inside. Owned and operated by Japanese from Japan. For $7.50 you get six pieces of California roll plus a variety of six pieces of nigiri sushi - including lovely maguro.
8. The Old Spaghetti Factory in Sacramento - an old reliable. Middle. Used to get the 4 way sampler but now I just concentrate on the Mizithra.
9. In N Out Burger - anywhere. Fresh, great burgers and fries. Low end.
10. IHOP - anywhere. Just for their chocolate pancakes. Skip the whipped topping and use syrup instead.
Just found this thread...I'm not a big fan of Sacramento, but here are some places that are on our favorites list...
tex-mex: dos coyotes--love their mahi mahi burrito!
chinese: new canton
japenese: Taka's: the one in fair oaks has a great happy hour menu! Kru is good for lunch (excellent tempura!), and Zen Toro's is good too
I'm in davis a lot, so there I like Sam's and of course the Farmers market!
In Sac, I like Centro Cocina Mexicana a lot, and the Fox & Goose is probably my favorite breakfast place. But I spend more time in Davis than Sac. So, if you include Davis in your definition of Sac, check out the following:
Seasons for an upscale breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I think it is the best restaurant in Davis)
Cafe Mediterranee and Sam's Mediterranean have very good Middle Eastern food (Sams is more of a fast food place)
Konditorei has the best pastries and individual pizzas
Bistro 33 has the all-round best burger in town (you can even get it medium rare if you ask and say you mean it)
Zia's Deli has great sandwiches and sides
Orange Hut has really good quality Chinese food (but it's not open on weekends or evenings)
Delta of Venus is a fun place for funky food choices (and has outdoor seating)
Taqueria Guadalajara is very good for Mexican
Redrum burger has the best fast food burger in town (In-n-Out is across the street from it but Redrum has the better burger)
visit www.daviswiki.org if you want to see all the restaurants in Davis
I am not a big fan of Ernesto's, but I have had some very authentic--and non-standard--dishes at Centro. And it's just a fun place to go. Though it can be a bit too trendy at times (and loud) and it is not as truly authentic in all its dishes as many less well-decorated restaurants.
If you're looking for excellent Mexican food, there is a "hole-in-the-wall" on 21st street between O and N streets called Jalapeno's. As the product of a Mexican mother, I can honestly say that this is excellent, authentic Mexican food. I have been going to Jalpeno's for at least 8 years, and the food is always excellent, as is the service. When I order breakfast, it's the Veggie Breakfast burrito (eat it at 8, it will last you until one - large and delicious); for lunch I usually get the Macho Nachos plate with chicken, but anything you order from their menu is excellent.
Okay... so I've lived in the Davis and Woodland areas for the last 10 years, so my list is very Yolo County biased.
Favorite overall- Tazzina Bistro. Consistently great food, interesting menu featuring local produce, fantastic service. Favorites are the Kobe Burger and the Mustard Crusted Chicken... and the quiche, and the risotto... seriously, everything is really wonderful.
Favorite Mexican (tie)- Pupeseria La Chicana. Technically El Salvadorian and Mexican Hole-in-the-wall on Main Street in Woodland, in a building that used to be a Taco Bell. Definitely greasy, but really tasty. Great bean and chesse pupusas
El Patio- Drive through "So Cal" Mexican (burritos are meat and guac/pico only- no rice or beans). Growing up in San Diego, this is the closest thing to the 'betos Taco Shops in Yolo County. Standouts are the tortas and the carnitas.
Greek- Symposium- Wonderful gyros and fantastic pizza. Definitely try the Taramosalata (look for something close to that on the appetizer menu :) ) to start.
Indian- Kathmandu Kitchen Try the Chicken Makhani with an extra order of naan.
Breakfast- Tazzina Bistro, Main Street Cafe in Winters
Steakhouse- The Buckhorn in Winters
Dim Sum- New Canton in Sacramento
Chinese- Eastern Empire (near Sac State)
Okay, I know it is Americanized, but they have a cooked-to-order buffet with fantastic Honey Walnut Shrimp. For $15 or so, you get all you want. Have some great appetizers as well- try the spicy won tons.
Pizza- Symposium (see above), Woodstocks (hey, I went to UCD) and Zelda's for deep dish
614 Main St, Woodland, CA 95695
Pupeseria La Chicana
25 Purity Plz, Woodland, CA 95695
1016 Gibson Rd, Woodland, CA 95695
Symposium Restaurant & Pizza
1620 E 8th St, Davis, CA 95616
I love that you recommended Symposium! I worked as a waitress there while just out of college and I still crave their Avgolemono soup. Would also highly recommend their namesake salad. They also have some of the under-appreciated pizza in the region. However, if you’re expecting great service, you’ll be disappointed. It’s best for a very casual evening or take out.
Other good restaurants in Davis are Aioli (the one in Sacramento is also good, and has my favorite outdoor seating) and The Mustard Seed. Sophia’s has my favorite Thai (Thai Basil in Sacramento running a close second). I love the roasted garlic at Soga’s. Woodstock’s pizza will always, always hold a special place in my heart, Zelda’s and the aforementioned Symposium also make great pizza.
In Sacramento, my boyfriend and I often stick close to our East Sac neighborhood, and our favorites are Hana Tsubaki for sushi, La Trattoria and Gonal’s. Three Sisters makes the best chicken quesadilla, although we don’t like much else there.
Elsewhere in downtown/midtown Sacramento, I have been to Biba a few times, and I gather than some do not find it that impressive. It’s my experience that every restaurant will miss now and again. Biba has always been a good experience for me, although the décor is a bit dated. My biggest disappointment in Midtown has been Spataro – bad service and food. Mason’s, next door, is great.
I am not much of a breakfast person, but the best is Bernardo’s – at the very least their is a wide selection (and alcohol).
I agree with a previous poster about Ink. Good post-dancing location for some grease.
Streets of London pub just updated their menu, it’s still pub food, but at least better than their previous offering (fun for quiz night).
I haven’t found a consistently good place for fish. Scott’s is very hit or miss, in my opinion.
For delis and markets, I like Corti’s and Taylor’s. I am just beginning to explore the Asian/Indian markets.
Definitely hit up the farmer’s market under the freeway on Sundays!
Best desserts......by far, are from Etorre’s (pastries) and Freeport (cakes).
The absolute best meal I have had in Sac, however, has been at Moxie. The one on H St. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the food is fabulous.
Next up, I want to try the Ethiopian place on Broadway and (as someone recommended above) Korea House.
Great thread :-)
I was just in Sac this week-end for a visit and had two great food experiences. I'm from LA and am always looking for great food finds. I am a huge Pinkberry fan, but they have big competition in Sacramento from mochii yogurt on 16th and P St. I think it tastes just as good, if not better, has the fresh fruit toppings, but has the flavored mochi balls!! What a great idea. The dark chocolate mochi was amazing with the blueberries. The owner is also very meticulous about the quality and the fresh ingredients. He uses real yogurt, which some places don't. Very cute place, check it out.
I also ate at Waterboy for the first time. Everything from the start, down to the dessert and service was very good!
---Los Hermanos Lopez (Citrus Heights). Best taqueria and decent grocery store on the side.
---Tres Hermanas. Hands down over Ernestos, that place is really mediocre. Centro does good carnitas, but I prefer Tres Hermanas since everything I've had there has been delicious.
---Italian Importing. I lived in Italy for a year and thus appreciate thier presence, however their selection of cheeses and salumi is somewhat pathetic.
---Sunflower (Fair Oaks). Funky vegetarian.
---Zeldas. By far the best pizza in town.
---Mikuni (Fair Oaks). Best of the somewhat mediocre Sac sushi scene. I can't stand their downtown location, though.
Thai: Thai Spice
Korean: Oz Korean BBQ off of Bradshaw go their Tuesday or Wednesday for all you can eat meat :)
Chinese: HK Wok
Filipino: South Villa
Mexican: Tres Hermanas or El Novillero
Greek/Mediterranean: Opa Opa
Vietnamese: Hoa Viet
Luigis Pizza 3800 Stockton Blvd. He's been around for at least 30 years. Makes his own sausage. Price is right and food is delicious.
Buds Buffet 1016 10th St. Hot deli sandwiches and more. Fresh carved roast sliced to order. Very busy during weekday lunch. Close at 3p.m.
J's Cafe 1004 J St. Great burgers and fries!
* everyone's talking about Maries Doghnuts - I;ve been going there since I was a kid. I know the deliver to other businesses, does anyone know of any place downtown that has Maries doghnuts?
I just found this site...wish I had known about it before! Here are some of my favorites:
Bakery: Freeport (love the cakes!)
Thai: In Natomas, Tuk Tuk and Bangkok Garden
Breakfast: Bella Bru (the locations are great for me, near home and near the bike trail)
Special Occasion: Enotria, Ella, and Mulvaney's B&L
Sushi (agree with another post about Kirala in Berkeley) but as far as Sac, Mana and Hana Tsubaki are pretty good
Mexican: La Favorita
Wine Bar: 58 and Holding (good selection of 2 oz tastes)
Coffee: Peets or Old Soul Baking
Italian: hmm...maybe Spataro here but my favorite is still Delfina in SF
oops...went over 10. Looking forward to other posts to try new places in the area!
Welcome to the site! It looks like you have some good spots already identified. I would recommend Temple Coffee & Tea in downtown for excellent coffee. I am also guessing you live in Natomas - obviously you found Tuk Tuk.
Try driving further south on Freeport to find the best Chinese food in Sacramento - New Hong Kong Wok, New Lai Wai, Jumbo Seafood, and New Canton (Dim Sum on Broadway, not Freeport). For fine dining, Waterboy receives high marks on this board. I always recommend Tres Hermanas in midtown for Mexican, especially their pork.
Let us know if you find any new gems in Natomas; on the surface it appears to be a wasteland, but smaller places are popping up all the time - like Tuk Tuk.
Thanks for the recommendations...I'll have to try them out...always looking for good places to eat.
I was hoping Crush 29 would come to Natomas, but they pulled out. There are far too many chains here in Natomas but will keep my eye out for some new places. I do really like Bangkok Garden in the Bel Air shopping center on Arena. Everything that I've had there has been great! It is much more casual than Tuk Tuk but the food is quite good and it is pretty reasonably priced overall.
It seems like North Truxel was starting to come into its own with more non-chain restaurants, especially near Arena Blvd. I have seen Bangkok Gardens stopping many times in Natomas for business. There are some good chains there - BJ's, Chipotle, In-N-Out - and Tuk Tuk is a true gem, but I think there is a strong desire for non-chain food in the area.
I'm new to this site and I know this is an old post, but it seemed to keep up well for 3 years and would be nice to see if people are still active enough to know about good places to eat in the area. I love finding new good places to eat but haven't always been the best at finding them. I've been to a mix of places, some I can remember, some not memorable. So far my favorite Spanish/Mexican resturant has been El Novillero on Franklin Blvd, their Huevos Rancheros with Carne Asada is by far the best I've ever had. I liked Tres Hermanas in midtown, but not nearly as much. My hands down favorite pizza has been Roma's, been going to the original Romas on Franklin for over 16 years now, order the Roma's Special with extra cheese and be prepared to eat it with a fork!. I love good Itallian food, but feel forced to often make my own as I don't find a lot of good Itallian resturants. I like Japanses and Chinese food, and would like to try more Asian foods, but will admit it's been difficult to find places I care for. I like food that when I eat it, it just tastes good, I don't want to have to "aquire" a taste for everything I eat. That being said I often don't know what to order in a lot of places anyway.
If anyone's still active here and knows good places to eat, and maybe even some menu suggestions, I'd love to hear what's current in Sacramento. I live just north of downtown and don't mind driving a little ways if it's for great food.
thanks for resurrecting this thread, just in time for my upcoming visit to the sacramento area at the end of july. any suggestions gladly taken. we will be two women (of a certain age, but not THAT aged) heading out for good food and conversation. too many years with me on the right coast and her on the left (wrong?) - this is a chance to catch up and visit while enjoying the best that sacramento has to offer...whatever that may be.
I grew up in Sacramento but have not lived there in over 25 years. When I come to visit I normally cook but I was interested to see that there was a new entry to Sacramento dining that made open table's top 100 list in the country. I have not tried it but it seems like it should be listed in this thread.
Boulevard Bistro in Elk Grove-