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Fresno for a week

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I will be working in Fresno next week and I want to find a place to eat breakfast and some places for dinner. I’ll be staying out by Shaw and 41 (Eisenhower Fwy). I want to find a place near the Hotel for breakfast, but I am willing to go further for dinner. I like all kinds of food. Last time I was there I went to Kims for Vietnamese (close to the hotel and I enjoyed my meal), so I’ll be going back there. I have been reading some of the posts from Fresno and I want to try Basque food at the hotel downtown. Anything I should order there? I also went to The Train Depot on N 1st Street near E Univeristy Ave for breakfast and I’d like to find another place closer to the hotel (The food was not bad, but not great either). I’m not really looking for fine dining (this is a work trip so I’m on a budget). I’d appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

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  1. I have had surprisingly good dinners at the Sequoia Brewing company (777 East Olive location). Good beer too, and jazz on some evenings.

    http://www.sequoiabrewing.com/

    1. For breakfast, try the Fresno Bagel Company at the SW corner of First & Nees. From your hotel, go North on Fresno St. to Nees, turn right (East) and it's on the SW corner of the next major intersection. Back in the corner, next to Von's. Great budget breakfasts--omletts, etc--all with the best fresh bagel . Not too close to the hotel, but worth the drive.

      1. Hmmm...breakfast right in that area is going to be a toughie. If you don't mind going a few major blocks, you could go west on Shaw past Blackstone and the next major street will be Palm. The major shopping center at the corner of Palm and Blackstone is called Fig Garden Village. In the shopping center are a couple of really good options.

        For a sit-down breakfast/lunch there is the Patio Cafe. I love their omlettes, especially the one with avocado and bay shrimp, and they have a huge menu. They have 2-3 selections of coffee each morning and everything is super fresh. You can also get breakfast sandwiches to go, which are toasted English muffins with various toppings. I don't know if you have dietary restrictions, but they have a great vegetarian selection as well.
        5138 N Palm Ave
        Fresno, CA 93704
        (559) 243-1074

        Also in the same shopping center is a great French bakery, La Boulangerie. They have great morning pastries and coffee, worthy of a special mention are the custard brioche and the pain au chocolat. They also have light cooked to order breakfasts and light lunches. The quality is very high and they are very busy in the morning. You could also purchase bread there and buy some cheese at the Whole Foods in the shopping center for snacking purposes.
        730 W Shaw Ave
        Fresno, CA 93704
        (559) 222-0555

        As I mentioned above, Whole Foods is also in the same shopping center and they have a few breakfast items during the week as well as a breakfast buffet on the weekends. Not the cheapest, but pretty good. They also have a huge deli selection and a very fresh salad bar for lunches and stuff like that.

        Also in the shopping center is a Uncle Harry's Bagel Shop right next to a Starbucks. Personally, I really like Uncle Harry's, they do a more New York style of bagel and some people don't care for that. They have several different kinds of cream cheese spreads and make breakfast sandwiches out of bagels (with egg, cheese, and your choice of breakfast meat). The bagels are always fresh and the people there are friendly. You can buy a beggelwich from Uncle Harry's and a mocha from Starbucks and you're set!
        5048 N Palm Ave, Fresno, CA
        (559) 225-6884

        If you feel like going a little further for breakfast, you could hop on 41 going north and get off on Herndon, which is 2 exits up. Make a right on Herndon until you get to First Street. At the southeast corner of Herndon and First is a French cafe, Le Parisian Cafe for delicious crepes and pastries. They also do lunch with amazing french fries, sandwiches, and savory crepes. If you are right at Shaw and 41, it should only take about 8 minutes or so to get here from the hotel.
        Parisian Cafe/Breakfast/Pastries:
        Le Parisien Cafe
        1085 E Herndon
        Fresno, CA
        559.432.4454
        CLOSED MONDAYS
        Tuesday-Saturday 7:00 am-6:00pm
        Sunday 7:00am-3pm
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/311500

        For lunch and dinner, you are going to be fairly close to Don Pepe's, a hole in the wall taqueria with some to die for seafood. I won't bore you with all the details, but am pasting in some of links regarding the deliciousness that can be found there. This isn't too far from your hotel, especially if you take the freeway.
        Don Pepe's
        4582 N Blackstone Ave
        Fresno, CA 93726
        (559) 224-1431

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/338034
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/327865
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/320822
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/319908

        There is a really great Thai place right across the way from the Parisian Cafe. Please follow the links below for a description.
        Thai Royal Orchid
        6735 N. First St. Ste 110 (SW corner at Herndon
        )559-431-0132
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/317028
        The above link is to Polar Bear's report on Thai Royal Orchid
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
        This link is my report on Thai Royal Orchid--we both agree this is probably the best place in town for Thai. Complex sauces, terrific rice, and very flavorful.

        There are a couple of excellent, very traditional Basque restaurants in town, two of which happen to be in the downtown area. I include them because you were talking about trying Basque. I would go for dinner and usually there aren't many choices. Ask your server what they recommend and go from there. Most of the time there is set menu for the evening that can be varied slightly.

        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.
        Basque Hotel
        (559) 233-2286
        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
        (559) 266-2228
        935 Santa Fe Ave
        Fresno, CA 93721

        Just a note to let you know that Kim's is under new management and I haven't been there since the switch. Maybe some other hounds could chime in here if they have been there recently. Hopefully it is just as good as it was.

        In the same shopping center as Kim's is a new place called the Cracked Pepper Bistro. I am not sure if it is in your price range or not, but it has been getting rave reviews.
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/309160
        Cracked Pepper Bistro
        389 W. Shaw Ave
        559-222-9119
        http://www.crackedpepperbistro.com

        This should get you started, please post back if you would like more recommendations for a specific cuisine or anything like that. I have pasted in some links regarding resturants in Fresno:

        General Fresno/Clovis recs:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/356434
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364689

        Soul Food (downtown
        )http://www.chowhound.com/topics/335329

        Sushi
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/328372

        1. GBG posted some great suggestions! I like Parisien Cafe (great pastries, sandwiches, crepes, coffee) and I concur that Uncle Harry's has very good bagels. One thing Fresno seems to lack is great breakfast places. Patio Cafe is pretty good but often the food is not hot enough. I like the organic scramble with spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, etc.

          If you decide to splurge one night between 5-9 Wednesday through Sunday only, consider venturing out to Upstairs Downtown. It's in downtown Fresno.

          http://www.upstairsdowntown.com/

          Do you like sushi rolls? Just next to the Parisien cafe is a funky place called Wassabi (To Die For). Warning: it can get a little loud in there and has a very L.A. vibe. They offer lots of creative and traditional rolls. Their unagi (eel) is very good.

          1. You've gotten a pretty good list from the local hounds. For a couple of more reasonable priced places that are close to you:

            Silver Dollar Hofbrau, across the street next to Hwy 41, decent variety of hot dishes, I usually go for a french dip with carved rare beef, cheese and a side of horseradish. Also in the same center as Kim's is Toledo's Mexican restaurant back in the corner of the "L".

            Mediterranean Cafe (believe that's the name, haven't been in a while), a half mile south on Fresno St. at the NW corner at Gettysburg.

            For breakfast, just south of Shaw on the east side of Gettysburg is BJ's Kountry Kitchen.

            2.5 mi north on Fresno (NE corner at Alluvial) is Sal's Mexican, get a Karl's Special Burrito (or the braised short rib lunch), if you have a micro in your room it'll make two meals for you, for any other Mexican food go to Don Pepes.

            In this same center (Alluvial-Fresno) is Helen's Gourmet Chinese and an Armenian place, iirc, though I haven't tried it yet.

            1. I agree that Fresno seems to be lacking in what hubby and I refer to as a good "Seattle breakfast spot". We would love to have a local spot that can execute traditional favorites as well as innovative specialty dishes all while pouring a great cup of coffee. Ususally we like places where we can see the cook behind the counter making your breakfast. Fresno hasn't really delivered on that yet. However, each city has their strenghths and weaknesses and Fresno's strength is its mind-blowing array of Mexican cuisine. Seattle sure can't compare in that department. So if the OP is in the mood to sample, I have put in some links to the discussions about Mexican breakfasts and breakfast burritos. There is not a shortage of great Mexican places doing an awesome breakfast.

              Mexican Breakfasts:
              Please peruse these links for an interesting disucssion on both breakfast burritos and other Mexican breakfast delights.
              Breakfast Burritos:
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/325187
              Other Mexican breakfasts:
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/333182

              P.S. I had no idea that the 41 freeway was named the Eisenhower freeway. The things you learn on Chowhound!

              1. Wow!
                Thanks for the recs! I’ve been traveling to Fresno for about six years now and always kind of dreaded the food. When I’m working I don’t have a lot of time or am too tired to look around for great food. Then I found Chowhound! This is going to be great. I’m not going to be able to get to all of these places on this trip, but I come back often enough I’m going to be able to try them eventually.

                I’ve read some posts about the Thai Orchid before and I really want to try it. Cracked Pepper Bistro is within walking distance of the hotel and it sounds too good to pass up! I love a chef that really cares about the food and the patrons. It sounds like I will be able to order anything off the menu and I won’t be disappointed. I’m going to go to the shopping center with Uncle Harry’s and The Patio Café and La Boulangerie. It sounds close enough and with the choices I can’t miss.
                Thank you all. This will keep me busy for a long time.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Muncheroo

                  Fresno can seem like chain city when you first get here. There are a lot of places serving mediocre food and many Fresnans seem okay with eating it. However, there are quite a few gems here and I hope you enjoy the recommendations. Please report back and tell us what you think, we love hearing opinions from others.

                  1. re: Muncheroo

                    Mucheroo I hope you'll report back on your dining experiences. The Cracked Pepper is wonderful! Their eggplant appetizer is amazing. Let us know how things went!

                  2. well young lady if you want a good breakfast with plenty on your plate I suggest you
                    go to shaw and willow to jusJoes. and if you like omlets. try the joes special.omlet.
                    with hash browns and biscuits and gravy. with plenty of coffee. if you like to eat you
                    won`t go away hungry.

                    1. In addition to the links you already have, here is my report from last year, with a link within it to another report:

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/89150...

                      outlining my quest for albondigas...

                      S