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This foodie just moved from NYC area to Sacramento and needs help!

We live off American River Drive and Watt - and have been happy to find some nearby restaurants to sustain us between unpacking moving boxes. But now it's time to get serious. Really needing some
good Mexican food. Can be upscale or a dive but good. (I stumbled on Chando's tacos the other day - alas, had only one but it was great.) Want Chowhounds' opinions on the don't miss places in Sac.
Could also use some really good pho. And how about Couscous Royale? Looking forward to
a lengthy discourse on all things food in Sacramento with local Chowhounds. Tafttiger.

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  1. Here is a post that discusses some great restos


    Sacramento's strengths are the freshness of the food. Have you checked out the Sunday Farmers' market under the freeway? Also we are only 1 hour -ish away from the Napa Valley and SF for super world class food. I just went to Ad Hoc for brunch on Sunday and it was a super easy drive.

    Just up the street from you is El Rey Azeteca, the food is tasty and their salsa bar is great. Also you can get a great smoked chicken and sides at El Pollo Feliz.

    Ad Hoc
    6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

    Rey Azteca Taqueria Restaurant
    6140 Fair Oaks Blvd, Carmichael, CA 95608

    El Pollo Feliz
    4715 Whitney Ave, Carmichael, CA 95608

    1. Roma Pizza on Folsom Blvd. Best NY style pie in the area.

      Chinois City Cafe (Watt and Fair Oaks) is great chinese food, cooked with very unique recipes.

      Also on the Chinese front. the Mandarin is my favorite in the area. By Whole Food, Arden and Eastern.

      The Flaming Grill (El Camino and Bell(?) has exotic meats, great burgers and excellent beers.

      For good, and cheap, Mexican food, try the taco trucks (one at El Camino and Howe) and the places that are "ertos" or Carolinas. Great quick mexican food. Huge burritos etc...

      Chinois City Cafe
      3535 Fair Oaks Blvd Ste A, Sacramento, CA 95864

      1 Reply
      1. re: bennyboy1

        i work at watt and american river dr. i like all the places in arden town (where chinois is)-cafe vinoteca, crepe danielle and plan b.
        my husband is mexican and he would second the vote on rey azteca and el pollo feliz. also a new place opened right by us El Forastero-like Adalbertos but he thinks it's better and he would know :)

      2. Thanks for your help so far. Can't wait to try El Rey Azteca. Love Cafe Vinoteca; haven't tried
        Chinois yet but will. Lunch at Danielle's was good but brunch wasn't. Tonight we had our
        first really bad meal in Sacto at Scott's. Won't be going back there. Other places in the nabe
        Zinfandel Grill and Roxie's. Both okay so far for sustenance. Further afield - we've been to
        Waterboy several times before we moved here with our kids and love it. Mulvaney's once -
        it was okay - but we definitely need to go back. Ella's so=so; didn't like Grange much at all.
        Is Casablanca okay? Tried to check out their menu online but couldn't find it. In the meantime
        we are LOVING Sacramento. Chowhounds, keep those recommendations coming!

        Waterboy Restaurant
        2000 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95814

        Cafe Vinoteca
        3535 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95864

        Azteca Restaurant
        4235 E Fountain Way, Fresno, CA 93726

        4 Replies
        1. re: tafttiger

          Too bad, Scott's is usually decent. Jack's Urban eats is great, fast casual etc....Loehmans plaza.

          1. re: bennyboy1

            Scott's has gone downhill all over!

          2. re: tafttiger


            Was that Scott's seafood near Loehmann's?

            Been wondering about that place. What did you not enjoy?

            1. re: bukzin

              Yes, at Fulton & Fair Oaks. Maybe we ordered wrong. Had a sole doree - with egg
              batter. Petrale sole at that which I (being an east coaster until recently) have had only
              at Tadich's Grill in SFO. It was so egg-battered that you couldn't find the fish. Service was
              only so-so; we had a bad table and a bad experience. Too many better places so don't
              need to go back.

          3. I live pretty close to you. I can't help you with Mexican food, but a few of my local favorites are, Rice Noodles for Vietnamese noodle bowls (not Pho) at Arden and Fulton, Maloof's on Fulton for Mediterranean, Kaveri on Fulton for Indian food, Roxy on Fair Oaks Blvd. for happy hour burger, Ettore's for pastries and great pizzas, burgers, roast chicken etc., Noodles and Co. at Loehman's plaza for cheap pasta (not authentic Italian), Grateful Bread at Loehmann's plaza for bread, and Chef Bo on Fair Oaks for Wor Won Ton Soup. My friends like Fins Fish Market on Fair Oaks Blvd and Eastern Empire at Howe and Fair Oaks. I am not keen on either, but to each their own.

            Rice Noodle
            2836 Arden Way, Sacramento, CA 95825

            Eastern Empire
            460 Howe Ave, Sacramento, CA 95825

            Chef Bo
            2310 Fair Oaks Blvd Ste A, Sacramento, CA 95825

            1 Reply
            1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

              i have to agree on maloof's- i always forget about that place!

            2. Two recommendations for you, tafttiger. The best Italian deli in town is Corti Brothers, and the best place to get a hot dog is The Wienery. Welcome to the Golden State!

              4 Replies
              1. re: RobertLaughlin

                Robert, we stumbled across The Wienery by accident and thought it was great. Have to go back soon. Have to get to Corti Brothers - just know I'll go nuts there with all the good stuff. Is lunch
                at the Crocker a must? Also clipped an article from the Bee about hamburgers at a place
                called Juno but haven't been.

                1. re: tafttiger

                  Haven't eaten at Juno or the Crocker Gallery, so I can't help you there.

                  One local specialty you must try eventually is Cornish pasties, popularized here by the Cornish miners who came during the Gold Rush. There are plenty of pasty shops in Sacramento and the Mother Lode country, but the best pasties IMO are at Sacramento's The Fox and Goose (which is also the best English pub in town).

                  1. re: RobertLaughlin

                    Adding link for Fox & Goose Public House for Cornish pasties.

                    Fox & Goose Public House
                    1001 R St, Sacramento, CA 95811

                    5530 H St, Sacramento, CA 95819

                    Lemon Grass Asian Grill & Noodle Bar
                    945 Howe Ave, Sacramento, CA 95825

              2. Not sure if it has been mentioned so far, but Palenque Cocina Mexicana at Fulton & Alta Arden has some pretty tasty Mexican food, particularly their Cochinita Pibil (make sure you get the habanero salsa to go with it, it matches perfectly and despite it's name is not very hot).

                Also worth trying right near you is Thai House, right off of Fair Oaks. The guys do a great job there and we went there often enough that they knew us by name. You can get cheap, good halal offerings from the deli in the back of International Market, and don't miss Cafe Rolle on J or H for some great sandwiches and dishes that reminded me strongly of my time in Paris.

                Another local favorite for us was OneSpeed on Folsom for creative pizza that was good to very good at times. When we wanted take-out we'd often order a whole rotisserie chicken to go from Bandera and eat some veggies with it. Not too bad for the price and really convenient. Cafe Europa on Howe surprisingly has very, very good Greek food.

                When we traveled just a bit away from our pad at Watt & La Riviera we'd often grab El Pollo Feliz for excellent, cheap smoked chicken & Mexican food, Quan Nem Ninh Hoa in Little Saigon for their unique charbroiled pork rolls & lemongrass chicken, Shoki Ramen House for very good ramen, and either Magpie Caterers or Fat Face Cafe inside of Bows & Arrows for more unique offerings or when we wanted to connect with our inner hipsters. When we felt like going vegetarian we often went to Andy Nguyen's on Broadway, and Queen Sheba nearby serves good Ethiopian food.

                For more upscale, our first choice was probably Mulvaney's B&L, and we had some good experiences at Waterboy and Ella. On the other end of the spectrum, for a real hole-in-the-wall feel there was a little Mexican place on the southeast side of Sac that served -excellent- ceviche, but for the life of me I can't remember the name of it.

                Bandera Restaurant
                2232 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95825

                Waterboy Restaurant
                2000 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95814

                Ella Dining Room & Bar
                1131 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

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

                Thai House
                527 Munroe St, Sacramento, CA 95825

                Shoki Ramen House
                1201 R St, Sacramento, CA

                OneSpeed Pizza
                4818 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95819

                1 Reply
                1. re: khelvan

                  2nd Cafe Rolle for amazing french style sandwiches. The bread is perfectly crusty outside and warm and soft inside, absolutely delicious.

                2. For Mexican best to try Napolitos on H street (stay in the right lane over J street bridge and veer right after bridge for H; it is in little complex across from Haus near the Wienery). Only open weekdays-- small spot, order at the counter. Among top breakfast spots in town for both an authentic Mexican breakfast and also probably the best classic pancakes in Sac. Also open for lunch.
                  As for Roxy btw their best meal is breakfast/brunch on weekends IMO.
                  Other good Mexican spots worth the drive are El Novillero (ask/pay extra for the corn chips upon arrival, not on menu), and, of course, Tres Hermanos (make sure to try their Micheladas).
                  0nly other place to mention that is a must is Lemon Grass, on Fulton, just past the dreaded Scott's. Definitely worth going a few times to try the different entrees ( i like the pork medallions,spicy/sour chicken, and the pad thai). The mixed greens salad also has about the best tasting salad dressing in all of mankind (arguably i guess). Enjoy! And do hit Napolitos for breakfast. It will not disapponit.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jpull1972

                    Cornish pasties - OMG. In another lifetime in San Diego I had a friend who made them and
                    taught me how. Don't think I've had them in years and years. We are actually trying OneSpeed
                    Pizza tomorrow since so many places are closed on New Year's Day. And I've had Napolitos on
                    my list. Have been to Lemon Grass only once since we moved here - in October. It's time to go
                    back. Maybe it's our bad karma, but we went back to Mulvaney's a second time and still didn't
                    love it. Will take Waterboy any day. It may be time to try Ella again. Also anxious to visit Press
                    Bistro and Tuli's. And a neighbor told me about a place called Orphans - somewhere around
                    C in the 20s for breakfast/brunch. Anybody been there?

                    1. re: tafttiger

                      we like Orphan but alot don't. very different, almost vegetarian
                      very busy on sunday morning

                      1. re: toncasmo

                        I'll put Orphan on the list for a weekday morning. We tried OneSpeed Pizza last night. It was a total zoo but I thought the pizza was delicious. My husband was disappointed in his
                        fried chicken salad - told him he should have ordered pizza.

                  2. For Pho, and those wonderful sandwiches that you can also get in the same restaurants, you must drive to the corner of 65th and Stockton Blvd. On the northeast corner are two pho restaurants. The northwest corner holds Huong Lan Sandwiches, The Boiling Crab, and the Shun Fat Supermarket (the meat and fish area must be seen to be believed, and if you ever need a banana blossom, this is the place). Stockton Blvd is a hotbed of southeast asian cuisine, from Broadway to 65th seems to be the largest concentration of them. Even the little supermarkets on that part of Stocton Bl. all seem to have an "eat this now" area where freshly prepared food has been wrapped and set onto shelves. In Davis the Pho house at 1st and B is good, but also serves chinese dishes as well.

                    1. Juno's kitchen on 37th and J makes amazing sandwiches. You won't be disappointed.

                      If you want a total farm to table experience I suggest you take a drive to Auburn and eat at Carpe Vino. It is in old town. You will not be disappointed. We have eaten all over the world in some of the finest restaurants and I have to tell you Eric's food ranks right up there. The flavors are clean and bright.

                      Also hit Lounge on 20 in Sacramento to try some of Pajo's amazing food.

                      1. i recently moved to the area too and trying to find places outside of the boring/average places my family have been recommending.

                        its restaurant week here so i figure its a good way to try them out? any recommendations of the following:

                        3 Fires Lounge
                        4th Street Grille
                        Blue Prynt
                        The Broiler Steakhouse
                        Cafeteria 15L
                        Capitol Garage
                        Chops Steak, Seafood & Grill
                        Dawson’s at the Hyatt
                        de Vere’s Irish Pub
                        Ella Dining Room & Bar
                        Esquire Grill
                        Fat City
                        The Firehouse Restaurant
                        Frank Fats
                        Il Forniao
                        Kupros Bistro
                        The Melting Pot
                        Morgan’s at the Sheraton Grand
                        Mulvaney’s B&L
                        Paragary’s Midtown
                        The Pilothouse at the Delta King
                        The Porch
                        Restaurant Thir13en
                        Rio City Cafe
                        Ten 22
                        Tequila Museo Mayahuel
                        Tuli Bistro


                        Biba Restaurant
                        2801 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95816

                        1415 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Ella Dining Room & Bar
                        1131 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Rio City Cafe
                        1110 Front St, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Esquire Grill
                        1213 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Frank Fat's
                        806 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        The Broiler Steakhouse
                        1201 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Irish Pub
                        687 Pleasant Valley Rd, Diamond Springs, CA 95619

                        Broiler Steakhouse
                        8400 Uva Dr, Redwood Valley, CA 95470

                        Fat City Bar & Cafe
                        1001 Front St, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Melting Pot
                        12469 Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

                        Melting Pot
                        6839 Lonetree Blvd Ste 101, Rocklin, CA 95765

                        Broiler Steakhouse
                        1201 K St Ste 100, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Capitol Garage
                        1500 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        Melting Pot
                        814 15th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

                        1. Confirm the recommendation for El Pollo Feliz. Add a new Thai restaurant called Phaya Thai at Eastern and Marconi which replaces something called Mali Thai or similar--it closed before I moved nearby. Try the duck basil at Phaya Thai, or just about anything else. The owners at both places are really nice people--a pleasure to support their efforts.

                          1. Great thread. I second Shoki Ramen House for authentic homemade Japanese ramen (broth and noodles, including a vegetarian and vegan option). Also, Oto's market is a great little Japanese grocery story that is super clean and has fun foodie options. Next door to Oto's is a wonderful Japanese bakery that makes the lightest 'bread pan' type desserts-- they taste like clouds-- light, fluffy, not too sweet, and reasonably priced-- Majaroba Japanese Bakery.

                            Went to Ella's for Restaurant week last month, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Previously, we had gone to the Grange for restaurant week. Nice atmosphere and server, but the food was not worthy of return. Good luck and keep posting!

                            Shoki Ramen House
                            2675 24th St, Sacramento, CA 95818

                            Shoki Ramen House
                            1201 R St, Sacramento, CA

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: li fu

                              That's Maharoba with an 'h'.
                              4900 Freeport Blvd.

                              Tuesday - Sunday 7:30 am - 7 pm, closed Monday's

                              I found out we've been driving past this Japanese bakery on the way to Oto's for years. We stopped by this week for the first time. The curry pan were tasty. We need to get there before 11:30 next time to see more of their wares.

                              1. re: Kato

                                Oh for pity's sake, my correction wasn't quite enough -
                                it's Mahoroba Japanese bakery


                            2. Opa! Opa! on J and 57th is not to be missed. The Summer of Athens and Orzo Pasta salad are my favorite. They also have a small shop next door for cookies, chocolate and sweets.


                              6 Replies
                              1. re: maoliu

                                My kids who teach nearby have told us about Opa! Opa! We used to have Greek food all the
                                time back on the east coast - and just haven't here. Will definitely try it. Also has anybody
                                tried Greek Village at the shopping center at Howe & Fair Oaks - behind Safeway? Lastly
                                any consensus on the kitchen at Taylor's Market?

                                1. re: tafttiger

                                  Greek Village used to be my goto restaurant but I have not been going there for at least 6 years. Things went downhill suddenly not just the food, but also absence of services and sitting in heavily stained / punctured chairs. I gave up after repeated disappointment from eating heat up frozen food.

                                  You may give Shahrzad Fine Persian Cuisine a try. their lamb dishes are delic
                                  My brother highly recommends Taylor's Kitchen. but, it is a small place so go early to grab a table and don't forget to check out the Freeport Bakery on the next block.

                                  1. re: maoliu

                                    That's ironic. We just ate at Taylor's Kitchen this evening. I had bay scallops which were
                                    delicious; Jim the rib-eye - good but a tad fatty. Loved the place - but it's definitely on
                                    the pricey side. (They did have a scrumptious looking burger for $14 however. And
                                    one could definitely just order salads and aps.) Freeport Bakery was closed - but
                                    definitely have to stop by there soon.

                                  2. re: tafttiger

                                    Taylor's Market for deli food and their butcher shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  3. This isn't exactly what you were asking for, but make sure you take a road trip down to the Sacramento Delta for crawfish... Isleton and surrounds.

                                    1. Szechuan house in Natomas - spicy pig ears, the chicken, fish in oil - if you're craving something spicy and satisfying.

                                      1. Cafe Bernardo on Capitol. Fresh local ingredients and a great place for brunch. Their French Toast is great as is the Bernardo Benedict. The chef cares.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: melly

                                          Vientiane in West Sac for fantastic Laos/Thai food. Get the stuffed chicken wings. Cafe Rolle in East Sac! Guisti's in the Delta!

                                        2. Golden Dragon in Rocklin. Ask for the chinese (szechuan) menu. This is comparable (if not better) than a lot of restaurants in the bay area. Love the chong qing chicken, any of the cold appetizers in chili oil, twice cooked pork, and fish.