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Davis: Friday Dinner, Saturday Lunch?

I'm taking my son to Davis for a math competition this weekend. We'd like to have dinner someplace within walking distance of the Palm Court hotel. Maybe Mexican, Chinese, Thai or boring old American. I'd like good food, but my son has pretty conservative taste. Seasons gets a lot of mentions on this board. Is it kid friendly? I see two Mexican places, Guadalajara and El Mariachi. Which has better food? How about atmosphere? Also, I really hate to ask this, but does any place have curly fries?

For lunch the next day, I'm on my own. (Yay!) I see a mention of bahn mi at Sunrise restaurant. Is that within walking distance of the campus? If not, is there someplace closer with a good take out lunch?

Thanks for any help. I've never been to Davis before and am looking forward to it.

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  1. a great guide to davis is
    www.daviswiki.org which is basically a wikipedia style guide to all of davis.

    It has alot of personal reviews from students and people of the community.
    Their mexican food there is horrible, horrible horrible horrible ><!

    The spanish tapas place is horrible there (next to subway), the italian across from it is also horrible.

    my favorite two spots there are Old Tea house and Teriyaki Express. (Hong kong style food + taiwanese food and boba) and ( delicious teriyaki chicken).

    My girlfriend likes Sophias in downtown davis for thai food.

    1. Everything in downtown Davis is within walking distance of your hotel.

      Seasons is excellent. As for kid-friendly -- depends on the kid. They have fancy flat-bread pizzas, so that might work. Menu: http://www.seasonsdavis.com/menu.htm (That seems to be the fall menu. Can't find the Spring menu online.

      )

      Your hotel also houses Cafe Bernardo, which is very good as well. Menu: http://www.paragarys.com/pdf/menus/Be...

      One of my favorites is Noodle City, which is sort of Pan-Asian. Menu: http://daviswiki.org/Davis_Noodle_Cit...

      As for taquerias -- there are two Guadalajara locations in town, but neither one of them is walkable. El Mariachi is a straight-up taqueria (burritos, tacos); it's good.

      Sophia's is the most popular place in town for Thai, but I actually prefer the Thai restaurant across the street from it (Thai Recipes, I think).

      Pluto's, which is next to Border's, has curly fries and huge, fresh salads. They also have roasted meats and sandwiches.

      For Saturday lunch, you might try the Farmer's Market, very close to your hotel. There are several food vendors there on Saturdays -- the Hot Dogger, Kathmandu Kitchen (Indian), the tamale lady, Village Bakery (soups), and a few others I can't remember. And, of course, lots of fresh produce.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mudster

        I think that seasons may have gone out of business. I seem to recall that they were shuttered with a note on the window to that effect the last time I walked by. Memory is a bit fuzzy though, so I could be wrong.

        The rest of these recs are solid. I would add that even though the hotdogger makes boring old American food, they do turn out a really excellent Chicago style dog, which imo is far from boring.

        1. re: peashoot

          Seasons is still up and running, thank god. Closed on Mondays, though.

      2. There are a lot of a good places around Davis. I agree with Cafe Bernardo and Pluto's. As mentioned before, Bernardo is in your hotel. Plutos would be about a three block walk (it's at 1st and E). Both are American- salads, sandwiches, etc. You should be able to find something you will both like.

        If you're feeling like a bit of a greasy spoon (and your arteries can handle it), Redrum burger is a "hole in the wall" burger place just off 80 heading into downtown. Excellent shakes, good (greasy) burgers and fries.

        On the Mexican food places you asked about- El Mariachi has an amazing salsa bar, but otherwise it's not too memorable. A lot of people love Guadalajara- I think it's good but not amazing (and drive from your hotel). I'm from San Diego, so neither really impress me that much.

        If you're up for a short drive, Symposium is a great Greek restaurant (it's on J street near Pole Line). Tasty Greek food, and amazing pizza. I recommend starting with the Teramosalata (I can't spell! It's the Greek caviar)

        Enjoy your trip!

        4 Replies
        1. re: woodlandkate

          Funny that I forgot Symposium, since I live across the street from it. Heh.

          Anyway -- a correction. It's on 8th and M near Pole Line, not on J Street. And they definitely have the best pizza in town.

          1. re: mudster

            Thanks for the tips and the links. I'll go to the farmer's market for sure. A little research has shown that the curly fries at Pluto's are garlic fries. Don't think he'd go for that. (How did I get a picky eater for a son?) Pizza sounds good, though.

            1. re: Glencora

              The garlic is chopped fresh cloves, and it's tossed on after they're cooked. I'm sure you could get curly fries without the garlic. I had some last week and can still taste the garlic. Should have asked for garlic lite.

              (It's funny, though, that curly fries are your Davis Holy Grail....)

        2. I'd drive a few miles to Woodland and dine at the utterly amazing Tazina Bistro.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Bob Foster

            I don't remember hearing anything about this place; can you tell us more about it?

            1. re: susancinsf

              Tazzina deserves more mention on the board than it gets. Upscale california style food in downtown woodland. Much better than anyplace in davis, and I've eaten at most of the resturants in Davis. Reminds me of Rivoli in Albany, only a much better value. Their menu is on their website http://www.tazzinabistro.com/. It's worth the drive from Davis or Sac to check this place out.

              1. re: peashoot

                That does look very nice. I see that it's in the same building as the Next Chapter, a fabulous indendent bookstore. Together they would absolutely be worth the trip.

          2. I second Seasons and Cafe Bernardo. Also check out Vanilla Garlic's website. He is from Davis and has reviews of dining options there. http://www.vanillagarlic.blogspot.com