Fresno dining help: short on time; near Convention Center/Selland Arena...
We'll be in Fresno (concert) on Sunday evening August 6th. Staying @ Radissons near the convention center. We'd like to enjoy a quiet near by restaurant. I don't know the area very well and we'll be short on time. Does anyone have any good suggestions in the general area, hopefully within walking distance or short driving distance?
We're flexible on cuisine type (Italian, Middle-Eastern, Mexican, steaks, bisto's, Sushi, etc.)
Keep in mind, Sunday many places downtown are closed. That said, I second gbg's rec for the Old Basque Hotel (haven't tried Shepherd's Inn yet, but have heard good things) and they should both be open. I would expect Mezcal (4-5 block walk down Van Ness) to be open as well, they're new but put together by the Los Amigos folks that do a fine job.
IIRC, the Galleria (Allee's BBQ, George's Shish Kebab, etc) is closed on Sun., likewise the Mediterranean Grill. Sam's BBQ is in NW Fresno, at least 15 min. drive.
Since you are in Fresno, why not take advantage of our Basque food? There are a couple of excellent, very traditional Basque restaurants in town, two of which happen to be in the downtown area.
First up is the Basque Hotel, or the Old Basque Hotel. You can get a great Basque meal at a very reasonable price. The decor is old-school, but the food is very good.
1102 F St
Fresno, CA 93706
Second is the Shepherd's Inn. Personally, I like the Old Basque Hotel slightly more, but it is more a personal preference and nostalgia more than anything. Shepherd's Inn is right next to the train station, which I guess is the most traditional place for a Basque restaurant (the Basque people would ride the trains and stay and eat in the Basque hotels while working). The food is great here as well.
Shepherd's Inn in Historic Downtown Fresno
935 Santa Fe Ave
Fresno, CA 93721
(I think this one is closer to your hotel.)
There is a new Mexican place called Mezcal, which is marketing itself as a high-end tequila bar and specializing in seafood preperation and is getting good press. I myself have not tried it, so maybe some other hounds could pitch in here. I am not sure it will be very quiet, though.
1310 Van Ness
I don't know how you feel about BBQ, but there is a pretty good BBQ place downtown. Here is the link to the previous discussion here on chowhound:
And here's the address and phone number:
Allee Brand Bar-B-Q
2405 Capitol Street, Fresno, CA 93721
Hopefully this gives you a few ideas, there are a lot of good eats in Fresno! Please report back when you get a chance.
**Edited** Adding a couple of links regarding previous discussion about food around the convention center. A previous hound from out of town stayed at the Radisson for a few days. I am linking the post of her question and then her report on Lorena's, an excellent Mexican restaurant suggested by PolarBear.
Also, saw your post on LA board regarding the slowness of responses on the CA board. I guess we may not be as fast as on the LA board, but there are fewer of us covering more ground 'round these parts. Hopefully, this will get to you in time. There is actually some good discussion of downtown eats on the board, so not exactly a ghost town. I noticed you only waited about 2 hours until you posted to the L.A. board(although nobody has responded yet). Whew, you must be really spoiled!!
I took your suggestion and decided to try The Basque Hotel. We arrived Sunday night at around 7:15 pm, looking forward to trying Basque cuisine. Would you believe it if I told you they were closed due to their annual vacation? Well, that's exactly what happen. We were dissapointed but I guess that's what I get for not calling ahead and checking.
Fortunately, I had a back-up restaurant selected. We headed over to a place called "Veni, Vidi, Vici" at 1116 Fulton Street (just west of Van Ness and just south of Olive). It's a bar/restaurant with a unique ambience that's a blend of modern and good taste. I don't know if it was because it was Sunday night but there was only 2 other tables occupied.
For starters, we had a goat cheese appetizers decorated with kalamata black olives and garlic cloves in olive oil. Full of flavor and delicious! We stayed away from the garlic itself. You know how garlic stays with you and neither one of us desired that. My girlfriend got the ravioli’s stuffed with portabella mushrooms and parmesan cheese, mixed with sausage and sliced baby tomatoes and I got a chicken dish served over a bed of spicy mashed potato's (with skin) and asparagus. Both were very unique, full of good flavor and with great presentation. I'm surprised there was no mention of this restaurant anywhere on this board. With two cocktails, the bill came out to $74.00, without gratuity. We would definetly go back and would highly recommend it.
Veni, Vidi, Vici
1116 N Fulton St,
Fresno, CA. 93728
Thanks for the suggestions about Basque food.
On our way to Kings Canyon, we had the "set" lunch at Old Basque Hotel For around $10, it was great (both quality as well as quantity-wise)
On our way back, we tried out the Shepard's Inn.
The food here was not that great, it was just OK.
Glad you liked the Old Basque Hotel, the lunch is a great deal. I will keep your comments regarding the Shepherd's Inn in mind. It has been awhile since I have been there and I hope they are not slipping. They have been such an institution, it would be sad for them to go down in quality.