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Fresno - Sat. Dinner - Casual, Delicious?

Haven't found a lot of recent posts on Fresno specific to this quest - we will be there Sat. night around 8-9p looking for delicious, low-key (no reservation or jacket required, eating at a bar would be fine) option for dinner - any type of food that's being made and served with passion/pride by local ownerships - with local ingredients a real plus - willing to drive anywhere in the area - what the favorites?

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  1. Hunan for world class Sichuan (order from the yellow menu)

    Cracked Pepper Bistro (call first, possible wine bar seating if full)

    Trelio in Old Town Clovis (call first, possible wine bar seating if full)

    Parma for Italian (call to make sure they're not still booked)

    Chef's Table in Fig Garden Village

    Limon - Peruvian, sister resto to the SF venture

    Thai Royal Orchid or Sweet Ginger

    Samos Kitchen - Korean

    North India Grill in Clovis

    Old Basque Hotel (not sure of closing time)

    11 Replies
    1. re: PolarBear

      Wow, nice list PB. My only additions might be The Palms, Ripe Tomato patio area and Lime Light. It would help if we knew the age group we're talking about too.

      1. re: Gail

        Agree these are good candidates also, Gail. Didn't mention Ripe Tomato thinking it might be a little more on the dressy side and might require resos on a Fri/Sat night, not sure though. Lime Lite is also a favorite, but your age group comment might factor in here, i.e. to me it's more of an "old school" place. I've been hearing hit and miss re the Palms, do you have any recent 4k11?

        Should mention for the OP, while these three might be considered the most "dressy" for our burg I think someone from the Boston area would think they're casual, in fact can't really think of a place in town I'd wear a jacket, Erna's up in Oakhurst being the exception. Hell, any place that would require a coat & time where it can be over 100 degrees at dinner time (July/Aug) wouldn't last long here.

        1. re: PolarBear

          >>>>I've been hearing hit and miss re the Palms, do you have any recent 4k11?<<<

          Nothing recent. Our company Christmas party...excellent and a lunch for two a couple of months later...excellent.

      2. re: PolarBear

        Meant to include

        Imperial Garden - very good Chinese and limited dim sum (carts on Sat/Sun mornings)

        1. re: PolarBear

          Great list, PolarBear! Thank you! I'm not the original poster but will keep it in mind the next time I'm in CenCal.

          P.S.

          I see no mention of Livingstone's. We were taken there a couple of years ago and it was very good for martinis and steak dinners. Is it no longer good (in that old school kind of way)?

          1. re: scarmoza

            Our office has had a staff lunch meeting (in the past year?? I don't know, time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana .... thanks to dear Groucho). The lunch was solid, however when we're in that area we prefer other options in the Tower District, do a search on that and you should have a number of options. Unfortunately, for steak dinners we seem to be at the mercy of the chains, and Flemings gets my vote. Not to say you can't find a decent steak at Manhattan, Elbow Room, or Chef's Table (maybe even Lime Lite) but it saddens me to see the independents (Outpost for example) disappear over the years. There are still a few in the out lying areas, Jon's Bear Club is one that comes to mind.

            1. re: PolarBear

              I love how Jon's Bear Club starts their (online) menu with martinis! This is the kind of place we're always looking for.

              Thank you!

        2. re: PolarBear

          Very wonderful list!! I would also add:

          Max's - always consistent
          Bistro Rustico - menu reflects local and seasonal cuisine

          Hope you have a wonderful meal!!

          1. re: PolarBear

            Hey PB how about Veni Vidi Vici in the tower, Lantana and Compania.

            1. re: kaoticfoodie

              Campagnia would also be a good choice, nice patio, had lunch at VVV a while back, been quite some time since we've been for dinner which is usually very good. Lantana has been closed for a year or so, iirc.

            2. re: PolarBear

              Perfect response - helpful, concise, and great diversity - thanks for taking the time - we will use it and will report back. Please hit me up for recs in Boston, Ottawa, and maybe NYC at some point.

              Since someone asked - we didn't specify age bracket, but we're an adventurous adult (early 40s) couple with no kids happy to eat with 20s-60s crowds - its the food that counts for us!

            3. Here's a link to the closings and changes in the area that might keep hounds from wasting time looking....scroll down to my entry on Feb. 27 for the latest list.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/571492

              Someone asked about Livingstone's, below the list mentioned above Ken Writez posts about an unpleasant experience there so I wouldn't consider going there when there are so many other much better options.

              1. Has anyone tried Bentley's Bistro for their dinner service? The chef was previously employed at the French Laundry in Yountville and left to cook here. We had an amazing brunch this past Sunday with perfectly cooked, soft pancakes and an omelette that was properly portioned, just enough cheese, and really good potatoes.

                For dinner prices range from $20-35 and the chef offers a 3-course pre-fixe menu daily for a little over $30 which includes an app, entree, and dessert.