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Natomas Area of Sact'o

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Attending a meeting at Residence Inn Natomas in May.

What do you recommend relatively nearby for a group of about 15 (all California residents from up and down the state) on a Friday evening? And for Saturday lunch?

Many thanks.

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  1. Higher priced, but good is the Rio City Cafe. That's in Old Sacramento. If you are only in town for a day or two, it's worth checking out. I did that last year around this time when I was considering moving out here.

    Also, you can try the Tower Cafe. I recently found this place and it was GREAT!

    If you are in Natomas, there are plenty of places to eat. Within a few miles, chains like Applebees, Hooters, Logan's Steakhouse, Carinos. You can also try BJ's Brewery.

    My sure pick would be to call the Tower Cafe and see if they can get you in for lunch on Saturday. It will be busy, but totally worth it!

    1. I forgot...there is also the Firehouse which I hear is great, and Fat's. Both are not chains and are also located in Old Sac.

      1. Tuk Tuk is in Natomas and everyone raves over it. Here is a thread about it from the past http://www.chowhound.com/topics/363157. I haven't been, but those I know that have loved it. Say it is the best Thai restaurant in Sacramento.

        Natomas is kind of chain city. So maybe midtown is more like it. Waterboy, Tapas etc for dinner. Check some of the other Sac-centric threads for reccos there.Old Sac has some nice places too but not The Crab Shack. California Fats is nice and the Delta King is nice too with a murder mystery thrown in.....

        3 Replies
        1. re: bennyboy1

          I have been to Tuk Tuk many times and love the place! It is excellent Thai in an attractive setting. Do not let the strip mall location fool you, it is a great spot with easy access. Tuk Tuk is perfect for Friday dinner, especially given the extreme logistics of moving 15 out-of-towners from Natomas to midtown on a Friday night!

          Saturday lunch would be perfect for the river, especially a sunny weekend in May. Crawdads on the River is not the best food wise, but its location is very close to Residence Inn and directly on the Sacramento River. That might be a fun place on Saturday.

          Tuk Tuk Restaurant
          4630 Natomas Blvd Ste 150, Sacramento, CA 95835

          Crawdads River Cantina
          1375 Garden Hwy, Sacramento, CA 95833

          1. re: Sacto_Damkier

            I second Crawdads for lunch. I try to get there every spring when you can sit outside right on the water and watch the boats put on a show. The burger is pretty good and the beer is cold.

            1. re: BN1

              Had a very nice lunch at Crawdad's this past Monday. Their Blackened Catfish on creamy white beans with andouille sausage topped with red pepper sauce a tomato, red onion, cilantro relish was very tasty. Two generous fillets of fish. Sat out on the deck where it was actually too warm to sit in the direct sun, only a few boats, one toting a sunbather followed shortly by a river otter. Most pleasant and relaxing.

        2. How willing is your group to drive a little? And what type of cuisine are you looking for? Is your group adventurous at all? The Natomas area is chain city. Tuk Tuk Thai is one bright star in that area. If you are willing to drive then mid town (J & K Streets between 15th and 23rd) is great for many excellent places. I am negative on the Old Town scene, esp. Joe Crap Shack (I mean Crab Shack) and Rio City. The Firehouse is good but a little on the expensive side.

          For Friday evening you'd pretty much need to make a reservation.

          1. My recommendations would take you away from Natomas, save for BJ's and Tuk Tuk Thai. If you want good sushi, head downtown to Tamaya on 22nd and J, no Old Sac parking problems, and great food - good for both lunch and dinner, although lunch for 15 may be a little easier than Friday dinner for 15. If you're looking for Italian food, you have your choice of the Spaghetti Factory on J and 19th (cheap eats, not *bad*, but not fantastic either); or try Espanol on 56th and Folsom. Excellent food, service, family run restaurant. I'm recommending places that can accommodate 15 and not cause you a long wait. I would recommend calling ahead, though, just to expedite things. There are also a couple of places both in and across from the Arden Mall area, but the drive may take a little longer than getting to downtown. Reply if you want more info. Know that on the south side of Sacramento, construction on I-5 is supposed to start soon (I don't know when, exactly) so you may be in for delays (once you get downtown, it should be much better).

            http://sacramento.citysearch.com/prof... (for Spaghetti Factory
            )http://midtowngrid.com/directory/view... (for Espanol


            If you want more info on a wide variety of restaurants visit http://midtowngrid.com/

            Hope this helps

            3 Replies
            1. re: gsshark

              It looks like the Downtown I-5 Project will not take place until June, so the OP should be OK. Dinner for 15 on a Friday night is the biggest challenge.

              1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                Thanks for the update on I-5 construction. The party size is the reason I recommended the places I did.

              2. re: gsshark

                FYI..the 1-5 work is happening on the downtown section of the freeway, not in South. Sac.

              3. I'm assuming 15 is for both the Fri dinner and Sat lunch?

                I agree with all the others who pointed you to Tuk Tuk. The first time I went, I met a friend there for lunch on a Saturday. Outside strip mall atmosphere made me concerned, but once we walked inside, concerns went away. It was very quiet that particular Sat for lunch; dinners can be very crowded but I would still think of this for Friday dinner (definitely need to call them for a group of your size). Actually I like the food so much, if your group doesn't want to drive very far, I would happily eat there 2 days in a row, :).

                Another dinner suggestion is Enotria in North Sac, not too far away:
                Opposite of the strip mall experience.

                I agree with the ideas about Sat lunch on the river. That's the only time I go to Rio City, and it's to sit out under the umbrella tables on the deck, not under the covered outdoor section. Crawdads or even Chevy's on the River would also work for a group of 15.

                Other options for Sat lunch in downtown Sac, consider:
                Lucca on their lovely patio, http://www.luccarestaurant.com/home.htm
                Zocalo also a lovely patio. I'm not a big fan of the bar atmosphere inside at night, but like it at lunch or early evening on the patio. I don't know if it's still true, but we had a birthday dinner party of about a dozen people on one of the two patios one night and there was an alcohol curfew for the outside diners, so if you wanted to continue to have your glass of wine with your dinner, you had to relocate. I don't know if it's still true, but it was an irritating note on an otherwise lovely warm summer evening.

                1. Our non-profit board had a very nice meal for a group at the Bella Bru in Natomas. Give them a call and see if they can accomodate your group for a brunch or lunch. I have always enjoyed the food there. The atmosphere and service were surprisingly nice. I haven't eaten dinner there but I have seen that they have a dinner menu and nice wine list.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: dimsumgirl

                    I agree, dimsumgirl...Bella Bru is very nice. And, then Tuk Tuk is in the same shopping center. You've gotta try Tuk Tuk. I would definately call ahead. Two great choices in North Natomas.

                    1. re: jennyfur

                      Jennyfur is right about Tuk Tuk. It is very tasty food at a reasonable price with excellent service. The atmosphere is a plus-- very soothing and warm at the same time. However, I am not sure they can accomodate a group the way the tables are set up. You might want to call to ask. If it can be done, I am sure they would do it for you.

                    2. re: dimsumgirl

                      Thanks for your kindness!

                      According to the web site, the lunch menu at Bella Bru applies M-F, so don't know about Saturdays.

                      Guess I'll contact them.

                      On another subject: I don't know how to say this without seeming both snooty and unappreciative, but please bear with me: I've studied a dozen or more menus in Sact'o area and realize how unbelievably out of touch with the "real world" I am, foodwise, and how far away Sact'o is from the Bay Area.

                      1. There has seemed to be zero awareness at the places I've checked that there are serious environmental problems in the world and that some diners take these into consideration when choosing where to eat. (This doesn't totally apply here, since I'm making recommendations to colleagues and not choosing for myself.)

                      2. I have also seen not one single indication that any of these businesses have even heard of sustainability--be it in trying to emphasize local sources or ocean-safe seafood

                      3. On my block alone in San Francisco--among those I've met through efforts to organize--there have been probably 5 vegetarians. There were also a couple who observed religious dietary laws of one kind or another.That doesn't take into account those who, because of various health conditions, have had to watch their diets vis-a-vis flesh, etc. Most Bay Area restaurateurs include such individual considerations when designing their menus, either with choices suitable for such folks or notes assuring diners that dishes can be made vegetarian or vegan.

                      Looking at these menus--with the exception of goat cheese's turning up on every other dish--I've felt as if I'd been transported back to the fifties.

                      I've not even dared whisper the "O" word!

                      If the Chow powers-that-be remove this, I'll try posting it on another site. I'm sure others have had similar experiences with the cultural/culinary abyss between a very few pockets of the country and the rest of it.

                      1. re: Fine

                        Fine while the menus may not reflect the consciousness of sustainability, it does exist here although not nearly at the level as in the Bay Area and East Bay. If you want to email me off the board, I would be happy to try to assist in your pursuit of a place that would serve your purposes. And I would also be willing to contact Bella Bru and other establishments on your behalf. Having helped put together a wine and food event for a non-profit organization these last two years, I have had some contact with restaurateurs and some folks in the food industry. Also many of the people who sell at our local farmers market frequently talk about sustainability. I would be willing to ask them for their feedback as well. The worst that can happen is that I could come up emptyhanded and you rwould be no worse off than you are now. You can email me at dimsumchum@gmail.com if you would like.
                        Best, dsg

                        1. re: Fine

                          Yes, Sacramento is not San Francisco. While we are not a cultural/culinary abyss, the organic/natural/slow/etc movement is taking hold in Sacramento. We have the core ingredients - organic farms in abundance, sources of natural meats and dairy, sustainable seafood, and fantastic bakeries using organic ingredients - just not the abundant number of restaurants as in San Francisco. You are asking for something that only exists in San Francisco.

                          1. re: Fine

                            I'm wondering why you didn't list these items as requirements or desired options in your initial request? I spend a fair amount of time traveling in California, and your statement that "most Bay Area restaurateurs include such individual considerations when designing their menus...." I simply haven't found to be the case. Yes, I can think of many examples that are what you describe but "most" no.

                            Here is one list of restaurants to start that you might investigate:

                            I'm sure there are lists for Sacramento as well; this is the one for Yolo County that came to mind.

                            And I'm still really not clear what you seek for 15 people, how far you wish to go, or do you want it catered, and at what price points are you thinking for the lunch and the dinner?

                            1. re: Fine

                              While I agree that the most of the options mentioned on this post are not among those in the area which support sustainably responsible practices (and are mostly chains - which can support larger parties), there are a number of options in the Sacramento area. However, another limitation is the location of your party - the Natomas area - the area surrounding your hotel - is largely suburban.

                              Food options downtown (where more of the unique, non-chain restaurants are located) are more likely to support slow food, veg, and other environmentally responsible areas. plus the midtown/downtown area is far more walkable and less reliant on auto-traffic.

                              Two options off the top of my head in the Downtown/Midtown area are 1) Ella and 2) Mulvaney''s. Both are on the high end price-wise, but high-quality, local, and more along the lines of what your're looking for. Other options, although some which may not be completely right for your group are the Buckhorn Grill in midtown (good for groups), and tower cafe (although I'm not sure if they will take a reservation for a group).

                              Again, Natomas is a suburb, and its culinary offerings are mostly limited to chain restaurants which cater to a general audience and large parties. Tuktuk and Bella bru would be good options for a group that are locally-based.

                              1. re: ajoe

                                Or, you could always head to one of our fine Saturday farmers markets, chat with the vendors, and then take your organic produce back to your hotel rooms.

                              2. re: Fine

                                "O" like in Obtuse? If sacto. doesn't meet your sensibilities then I suggest you bring box lunches from a Bay Area restaurant.

                                1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                  Calm down. I think OP is right in some sense, but also considering that Sacto is indeed not SF. But still, we do have our share of "environmentally conscious" restaurants. For example, Paul Martin's Bistro and Hawks, both out in Roseville/Granite Bay area.

                                  Also a cursory look at menus on the web does not tell the whole story. And there are plenty of Bay Area restaurants that have not watch Al Gore's movie. Take for example, all the Chinese restaurants that serve shark fin and abalone.

                                  1. re: PeterL

                                    As one who dines predominantly at Chinese restaurants, I know exactly what you mean. Fortunately, most of the places we frequent have daily choices posted on the walls that comprise mostly market ingredients.

                                    I subscribe to every sustainable fish info source/guides I know of but didn't realize farmed abalone was a no-no; wild, of course, has never been legal to sell.

                                    BTW, with restaurant hygiene inspection reports now required to be posted online in California, eating Chinese has a further complication!

                                2. re: Fine

                                  Let's compare apples to apples. You asked about Natomas, not Sacramento. That's like reading menus from Livermore and complaining about the food in the Bay Area.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    Sorry--didn't grok that Natomas was so far from Sact'o--thought it was just a neighborhood.

                                    I did try to apologize in advance and did not want to disprespect anyone's turf.

                                    1. re: Fine

                                      There aren't as many miles between Natomas and downtown Sacto as there are between Livermore and downtown SF, but the gustatory distance is just as vast. I stand by my analogy from a cultural standpoint, but it would be more geographically accurate if if Livermore were ripped up and dropped on Daly City.

                              3. I'm from the Bay Area and currently live in Natomas. There is *very little* decent food to eat around here. If we go out, its usually to Davis or Midtown. Everything is a chain and I agree that there's no organic food here (hence our trips to Davis!)

                                Tuk Tuk is ok, its overpriced--we prefer Bangkok Garden on the other side of 5...Bella Bru is ok too, but if we're eating in Natomas, that means we're eating at home! I can't wait to move back home!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: guavagirl

                                  Recently we went to CF Cheng's, and were very pleasantly surprised. Too bad we don't live close by or it'll be our regular Chinese place. Get the Chinese menu (it's in English, although if you are not Chinese you'll have to ask for it). We tried the beef briskets in clear broth and it's comparable to the best we've had in the Bay Area.