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Fresno: Where to find the best...?

I'm opening a thread specifically pointed at the Fresno/Clovis and surrounding areas to discuss where the best (or most CHOW-worthy) food is to be found..

1. Where to find the best raw oysters in Fresno? Do they even exist? Is there a decent raw bar here? I love raw oysters but don't know where to find good ones here, and I don't want to have to drive to the coast or Bay area for them.

2. Where is the best spaghetti and marinara w/ meat sauce in Fresno/Clovis? I know it's not an upscale food, but sometimes you want comfort food you don't have to cook.

Ok, these two to get this thread started. Thanks for your responses!

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  1. OK Ken I have to say you pretty much have me stumped.

    Only place I can think of is Pacific Seafood but I've never actually had oysters there. However, the seafood is usually pretty fresh. Maybe you should go to Don Pepe's and see of they do oysters. :)))

    As for spaghetti and marinara - maybe my house if I make the sauce from scratch :); but short of that Mother Mary's?? Only thing with that is that they only do delivery/carry out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tavmark

      <<As for spaghetti and marinara - maybe my house if I make the sauce from scratch>>

      Cool! What time is dinner and what can the SW and I bring? ;)>

      I know Roe has a sushi bar and that should equate to oysters, but I know nothing about it. I'll check it out here on CHOW and see if I find anything on it.

      I imagine Wassabi or Sakura Chaya might offer them, but again, I don't know about the quality of their fish. It's easier to mask older fish with spicy roes and peppers and whatnot, I think.

      1. re: KenWritez

        Ken, I keep waiting for Pismo Coastal Grill to open. I'm also hoping they have a raw bar. The only one in town should go over like Gang Busters. I think it opens this Fall.

    2. I also don't know what restaurants regularly serve raw oysters, and I would probably be more inclined to buy them myself and fix them up the way I want. So my suggestion is Central Fish, which is now a part of the American Fish and Seafood Company network. They ship their oysters in daily.

      As for the spaghetti and marinara with meat sauce, I like the family chain - Di Cicco's (gasp!!!). I know they share supplies and menus, but I seem to gravitate to the one at West and Herndon.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fresnohotspot

        Thanks for the input, Gail and FHS! My family loves DiCicco's but, alas, I do not. Their red sauce is too salty for me, and I don't care for the overall taste of the sauce. I may end up doing the Central Fish thing for oysters, I was just hoping to find a place in town where I could get FRESH, well-shucked oysters as part of dinner or lunch.

      2. Hello Ken,

        Some of the best Oysters I've had in Fresno were at Japanese Kitchen a couple of months ago. It was part of my friends bachelor/last meal dinner before the wedding and we cleared out their entire weekend supply on Friday night. THe oysters were well shucked and served with a dash of sriracha and lemon on the side. We were speaking with the owner and he gets seafood shipments on Mon/Wed/Fri if I can recall and he owns Sakura Chaya, JK, and Edo-Ya so the quality should be pretty consistent among those three restaurants. I don't think that Wassabi serves oysters though, I can't remember seeing them on the menu.

        As far as the Italian angle; I believe that there isn't a quality Italian place in Fresno since all of my comparisons are with regard to restaurants in North Beach. My suggestion would be to go to Sam's Deli or Piemonte's and pick up some of their pre-made sauces, pastas, entrees and simply re-heat at home. If you do find quality Italian please report back, good luck!

        1. I don't know anything about a Fresno oyster bar, but for "high end" Italian, I always hear good things about Parma--NW corner of Marks & Herndon. I haven't been for a while, since the prices are pretty high, but everything I have had there was very good.

          1. Hmm,

            1) I was watching Man vs. Food the other day (a guilty pleasure) and suddenly have a HUGE craving for ramen. I can't seem to find a ramen house in Fresno and when I search online all I get is listing for Pho places. Now, I love Pho but ramen is completely different to me and I would love to find a killer place.

            2) A la Seinfeld, I would also love to find a place that serves a killer, BIG salad (think Pluto's in Northern CA or a similar restaurant). I love salad and would like to have more variety than just a salad bar (Sweet Tomatoes) or a sit-down, full service restaurant. I liked Pluto's when I lived in Sacramento because of the variety and would love to have that here in Fresno.
            G

            4 Replies
            1. re: gmk1322

              GMK, I know where I like to get salads in Fresno, but I'm not sure what you're looking for. You would like to have "more variety than a salad bar or a sit down, full service restaurant"? What, exactly, else is there? Sorry, I'm not familiar with Plutos, but obviously it's not a salad bar or a full service restaurant.

              For full service, sit down places, regretably, Cheescake Factory is at the top of my list, followed closely by the seafood salad at Limelight.

              1. re: gmk1322

                I've never heard of a ramen house. I'm guessing the title is self-explanatory. Would Imperial Garden or perhaps Hunan have what you need, or is ramen strictly a Japanese thing?

                1. re: KenWritez

                  Ramen is the Japanese version of Chinese la mian. The father of ramen, Nagasaki champon, evolved from Chinese chao ma mian. I think we had the chao ma mian at our lunch at Hunan last year.

                2. re: gmk1322

                  Along with ramen, I'd be pretty happy to find a place in Fresno that serves good yakisoba. For now, though, I've resigned myself to a place I frequent in Berkeley.

                3. Best oysters came into Fresno a few years back from the Hama Hama R. on the Hood Canal.... in my large ice chest. I'm sure the HH Oyster Co. would overnight a large order... hmmm... do I hear a "shuckdown" in the works? Problem is the water temp has been too warm for a while now and while still safe to eat they need to be cooked. Looking ahead, next April - June would be ideal. Oh yeah, if you're in Santa Barbara the SB Shellfish Co. at the end of Stearns Wharf had them on their list earlier this year.

                  As for spaghetti sauce, looks like there might have to be a throwdown with Mary, too damn hot now however to even think about simmering a gravy for 6-8 hours, unless it was outside.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: PolarBear

                    I'm happy to volunteer my place. It's comfortable, easy to find and we have a large back yard with an 8 person table and a gas grill, and we have plenty of shade.

                    My oyster preference is for smaller, more strongly flavored cold water oysters like Blue Points or Washington Kumomotos.

                    1. re: KenWritez

                      As is often the case, my tastes run contrary regarding oyster size, our friends that own the HHOC like the smaller ones also, they're fine but I love some of the big honkers. I have some fossil shells that I dug up in the oil field areas outside of Avenal, makes me drool imagining the size they must have been, easily 8-10 inches. Agree RE the water temp, I think that is why our friends encourage us to try and visit sometime in April when the river runoff is quite chilly. I'm down for a fall pastafest.

                      1. re: PolarBear

                        And I'm happy to volunteer mine as well. But I agree with PB - 106 and marinara simmering are not exactly a match made in heaven. Unless we plan to eat at 6:00 a.m. :)))

                        1. re: tavmark

                          There is no wrong time of day for fresh raw oysters on the half shell!