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Aug 13, 2008 01:50 PM

Help! Brit in Sacramento

Hi, just moved to Sacramento from London and I'm looking for a few things! Firstly somewhere top end for my wedding anniversary, secondly some proper HK style dim sum and finally some recommended Mexican places. I am completely new to Mexican food (other than Tex-Mex which doesn't do anything for me) so I have no idea what to look for or try on a menu. Oh, nearly forgot .. any good Indian restaurant's, I get Dhaal craving's after a few weeks!

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  1. Focusing on Sacramento proper, here. If you're in the 'burbs, other recommendations may apply, but they'll depend on what area you're in.

    Top end--Sacramento tends to be pretty casual, so some of the best food is served in relatively informal environments. My personal favorite is the Waterboy: delicious Mediterranean-influenced California cuisine. Another good place is Mulvaney's Building & Loan; others have commented that it can be inconsistent, but it's always been good when I've been there. Biba's serves good Northern Italian food in a slightly more elegant setting.

    Dim sum--New Canton is probably the best dim sum in town, but I usually end up at Happy Garden, where the food is also very good and the final bills always seem much smaller.

    Mexican--oh, my, where to start. For seafood, try a ceviche tostada (crispy corn tortilla topped with fish "cooked" in lime juice) and a coctel mixto (mixed seafood cocktail) at Mariscos Mazatlan. The La Favorita / La Fiesta taquerias are pretty good; try a variety of tacos: carne asada (grilled beef), carnitas (pork poached in lard), lengua (tongue), whatever strikes your fancy. For a sit-down meal, there's El Novillero, Tres Hermanas, Vallejo's, and others. I frequent Xochimilco, not just because it's close to my house, but also because they have great homemade flour tortillas and pretty good menudo (tripe soup).

    For Indian, try Gaylord downtown or (breaking my own rule to stick to Sacramento proper) Sher E Punjab in Carmichael.

    Good luck, and good eating!

    La Fiesta Taqueria
    1105 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95816

    Biba Restaurant
    2801 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95816

    Tres Hermanas
    2416 K St, Sacramento, CA 95816

    Waterboy Restaurant
    2000 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95814

    Gaylord India Restaurant
    1501 14th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

    New Canton Restaurant
    2523 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818

    La Fiesta Taqueria
    4740 Natomas Blvd, Sacramento, CA

    Vallejo's Mexican Restaurant
    1331 O St, Sacramento, CA 95814

    Mulvaney's B & L
    1215 19th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

    Happy Garden
    5731 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95824

    Mariscos Mazatlan
    4800 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95820

    La Favorita Taqueria
    3131 Fruitridge Rd, Sacramento, CA 95820

    La Favorita Taqueria
    5060 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95820

    La Favorita Taqueria
    7131 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95823

    La Favorita Taqueria
    5940 Florin Rd, Sacramento, CA 95823

    Vallejo's Restaurant
    1900 4th St, Sacramento, CA

    Vallejo's Deli
    400 T St, Sacramento, CA 95811

    El Novillero Restaurant
    4216 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95820

    Xochimilco Mexican Restaurant Sacramento
    4904 Auburn Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95841

    6400 Fair Oaks Blvd, Carmichael, CA 95608

    1. Wow, thanks Alan.. that should keep me busy for a little while. Someone at work recommended The Kitchen, do you know anything about it?

      2 Replies
      1. re: JamesBrit

        Assuming you're talking about the demonstration restaurant and not the new Chinese place, I've only been once, and it was years ago, but it was great. It's not your typical upscale restaurant meal, it's more dinner and a show. Or, more accurately, dinner AS a show. The owners procure the best ingredients they can find and then prepare a meal (with a fixed menu; there are no options, so it's not for picky eaters) while entertaining and interacting with the guests. There's a single seating at a fixed time, and it lasts until close to midnight.

        Reservations can be difficult to obtain--plan a month in advance. Pricing is high for Sacramento ($125pp plus wine, tax, and tip). Speaking of wine, buy it there: the restaurant has a confiscatory corkage policy, but a wine list that is priced at retail rather than including typical restaurant markups.

        1. re: JamesBrit

          The Kitchen is a very high end "demonstration" style restaurant. I understand that the reservation is a 3 months wait. If you can time that with your anniversary that would be quite an experience.

        2. I agree with New Canton as the best dim sum in town.
          For top end Italian, in addition to Biba's, may I suggest
          Osteria Fasulo in Davis. It is very good, but rather pricy.
          The top Asian restaurant in Sacramento is Lemon Grass.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bclevy

            I agree with your recs except Lemon Grass. It's a faux southeast Asian restaurant for those who are afraid of going to a real Vietnamese place. There are plenty of Vietnamese and other southeast Asian cuisines in Sac that are miles better than Lemon Grass. But they don't have the nice dishes and silverware and table cloth and thus don't get the press.

            1. re: PeterL

              I love Vietnamese, I've seen a couple of places on Broadway (we live in Land Park) are they worth a go? They look fairly cheap and cheerful.

              1. re: JamesBrit

                Pho Bac Hoa Viet at 19th and Broadway is pretty good, although sometimes inconsistent. Try to go when things are busiest to make sure your meal is fresh. For more choices (including the Hoa Viet mothership), head to Little Saigon on Stockton Blvd. between 47th Avenue and 65th Street.

                Pho Bac Hoa Viet
                1827 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818

                Hoa Viet Restaurant
                6645 Stockton Blvd # 300, Sacramento, CA

              2. re: PeterL

                I beg to differ. My wife is Vietnamese, and both her and
                my mother in law like Lemon Grass very much. It is indeed
                upscale, so you don't find too many Vietnamese, but its
                dishes are outstanding, essentially a fusion of Vietnamese
                and Thai cooking. Most other Vietnamese restaurants
                in Sacramento are rather mediocre compared to top
                Vietnamese restaurants in the San Jose area.

            2. One thing to remember about Mexican food is that there are many different types based on the region - just like United States food. Tres Hermanas has excellent northern Mexican, while others have their specialties. We have good representations of all the regions in Sacramento.

              New Canton is perfect for dim sum identical to HK. Gaylord is also excellent for Indian.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                I agree on Tres Hermanas, really good food!

                For Indian, I have always been partial to Kaveri in Arden Arcade. Their specialty is dosas and there is a market attached if you ever feel like cooking up some Indian food yourself.

                Kaveri Madras Cuisine
                1148 Fulton Ave, Sacramento, CA 95825

                Kaveri Indian Groceries
                1148 Fulton Ave, Sacramento, CA

              2. Vientianne in West Sacramento for Viet/Laos food. Absolute perfection. Get the stuffed wings! There is a wonderful Indian restaurant in Rancho Cordova/Gold River called Udupi Cafe at 2226 Sunrise Blvd. I went with a couple from India and they thought it was fabulous..and it was packed with Indian people. Very impressive indeed!

                Spataro's has wonderful Italian food and not as expensive as Biba's. We love Kings Palace on Stockton for Dim Sum.

                If you like Sushi, Akebono II on Freeport...hands down! Their ramen is fantasic as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: melly

                  Agree with melly that Vientianne is a great call. Some of the best food (regardless of provenance) in the entire area. Go often.

                  If you're down by Freeport Blvd. (close to you, so definitely find your way there), Akebono has great sushi, but also check out Oto's Market, which has all sorts of Japanese goodies (including prepared sushi and sashimi-grade fish). And across the street are Jade Fountain and New Hong Kong Wok, which have some of the best Cantonese food in town.