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Sacramento: need help picking one of three Mexican restaurants

emery_jc May 14, 2009 08:10 PM

I am arranging a dinner for my mom and my brother, who is visiting from out-of-state. Also with us will be my developmentally disabled sister, who can sometimes act the way a toddler might. I live in the Bay Area and need help choosing between one of the following three Mexican restaurants in Sacramento: Centro, Zocalo, and Ernesto's.

My two key needs are good service and not extremely noisy.

Chowhounders, what do you recommend?

  1. g
    gmk1322 May 15, 2009 06:26 AM

    If you want something that is not too noisy I would automatically scratch Zocalo and Centro off your list since those are more "scene" spots and the bar areas can be extremely noisy. Ernesto's, while a decent option, can't hold up to Tres Hermanas in my opinion if you want to stay in the Midtown area. The service can be a little more spotty and inattentive at Tres Hermanas but the food is way better and IMO.

    Tres Hermanas
    2416 K St, Sacramento, CA 95816

    4 Replies
    1. re: gmk1322
      PeterL May 15, 2009 08:23 AM

      Plus 1 on Tres Hermanas. Ernesto's can also be very noisy.

      1. re: gmk1322
        susancinsf May 15, 2009 10:02 AM

        Agreed to scratch Zocalo off your list (haven't tried the other two). Noisy AND spotty service.

        Tres Hermanas gets a fair amount of love on this board, but I've never understood why, really. I thought my recent dinner at Restaurant 524 was better than any of the meals I've had at Tres Hermanas, it was almost too quiet, and the service was lovely.


        1. re: susancinsf
          escargot3 May 17, 2010 10:48 PM

          went to Restaurant 524 last nite on the way back to Oakland from the Sierras.
          When I asked the dude for the house specialties, he quickly noted that the chile verde was excellent and very popular.
          But I gotta say, the meal I had -- 2 tacos de chile verde -- was very disappointing: a lot of lettuce, and little meat -- which I s'pose was good cause the meat that was there, wasn't particularly interesting.
          And my sweetie's chicken enchiladas arrived with the chicken cold inside.

          Restaurant 524
          524 12th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

        2. re: gmk1322
          Bcakes May 19, 2009 12:54 PM

          I agree with the Tres Hermanas suggestion

        3. r
          ricepad May 15, 2009 11:35 AM

          I don't know about the other two, but I've been to Ernesto's several times, and none have been memorable. Not bad food, just not remarkable.

          1. lilyalli May 15, 2009 03:42 PM

            I agree w/everyone else - Zocalo's and Centro are considered trendy, 'scene' spots. Ernesto's used to be very good a long time ago, but I feel is now overrated. I don't know how you feel about other suggestions, but there's also Vallejo's downtown (I like the 11th and O location; it's larger) and there's also my favorite, Caballo Blanco, in South Sac. (Franklin and Fruitridge). I feel it's a little more authentic and the service is always good and it's quiet/family-oriented, which might be nice for your sister.

            5 Replies
            1. re: lilyalli
              susancinsf May 15, 2009 08:05 PM

              I don't think I've seen much discussion of Caballo Blanco, so thanks for the mention. What do you like there?

              Caballo Blanco Restaurant
              5604 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95824

              1. re: susancinsf
                lilyalli May 18, 2009 02:26 PM

                I'm a taco & enchilada person, so I usually need a combo plate. But everyone I've always eaten with/taken there, has enjoyed everything. It's not a fancy place; just good, basic, homestyle Mexican/American food. It's definitely the opposite of 'trendy' :)

              2. re: lilyalli
                free sample addict aka Tracy L May 16, 2009 10:05 PM

                lilyalli - Caballo Blanco is a great suggestion. It's been years since I ate their but it would be much quieter than the other restaurants mentioned. Parking is also better there.

                1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
                  melly Jun 1, 2010 02:14 PM

                  I agree with Caballo Blanco. Centro Cocina is a noise machine!

                  Caballo Blanco Restaurant
                  5604 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95824

                2. re: lilyalli
                  dimsumgirl May 18, 2010 07:23 AM

                  I do like the food at Zocalo's but the service can be slow at times and it is very noisy. I agree with Lily about Caballo Blanco-- not fancy but solid Mexican food. I like their camarones al ajo.

                  Caballo Blanco Restaurant
                  5604 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95824

                  321 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901

                3. spineguy Jun 1, 2010 06:24 PM

                  I have always enjoyed Tres Hermanas. We don't go very often, so when we do we usually go to Rick's Dessert Diner just down the street.

                  Tres Hermanas
                  2416 K St, Sacramento, CA 95816

                  Rick's Dessert Diner
                  2322 K St, Sacramento, CA 95816

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