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lunch in or around Sacto -- not burgers 'n fries, please

I will be passing thru Sacramento en route to the Gold Country, and am curious to get introduced to some interesting food. I will have 2 opportunities for meals (up to the foothills on Friday and then on the return, Sunday).

My tastes are eclectic: I very much enjoy a great taco (especially carnitas) or birria at a Mexican restaurant. I am also quite fond of Vietnamese food, and would enjoy a great bowl of bun bo hue, for example.

And I understand that there's a Punjabi community in the foothills -- does that also mean that there's an interesting South Asian Punjabi restaurant to enjoy?

I will be travelling from Oakland, but will gladly drive a bit out of my way for an interesting meal.
thanks for your tips on chow-worthy eats.

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  1. If you want Vietnamese that is not the usual pho but very good- Quan Nem Ninh Hoa restaurant off Stockton Blvd. They have really delicious rolls and other goodies like Banh Beo. When my stepdad comes to town from the east coast, he always wants to eat there.

    Quan Nem Ninh Hoa
    6450 Stockton Blvd
    Sacramento, CA 95823

    1 Reply
    1. re: septocaine_queen

      Oh I haven't had Banh Beo in ages! Thanks for posting. Sounds like a good place to try out.

    2. Well it's probably not Punjabi, but there was a South Indian restaurant called Kaveri just outside Sacarmento (1148 Fulton Ave, Ste A, Sacramento, CA 95825) that we used to go to a lot for their dosas. One of our favorites was their Rava Masala Dosa. They also have the usual curries and other dishes.

      6 Replies
      1. re: bryanilee

        yes, I saw this mentioned in older posts. It's intriguing. Do you have any experience with dosa eating in SF or Berkeley? I'm wondering how it compares.

        1. re: araminta2

          We actually haven't been to too many dosa places in the Bay Area (any recommendations are welcome). We went to Saravana Bhavan in Mountain View and then Annapoorna in San Mateo before it changed to a different place. I'm no expert, but Kaveri's seemed pretty comparable to those two.

          1. re: bryanilee

            Saravana Bhavan is great. I've also been to their location in NYC which is even better. Thanks for the tip. I'm now very curious to try Kaveri.

            1. re: araminta2

              I've never actually had the dosa there but I would definitely recommend Kaveri, if you enjoy South Indian food. My family is South Indian (Telegu) and we bring all of our relatives to Kaveri whenever they visit. I usually eat idli and curries, and rarely order dosa when I'm out.

              Kaveri also has all the typical North Indian/Punjabi type dishes on the menu. (Guessing most people in Sacramento wouldn't understand an Indian restaurant that didn't serve naan and butter chicken). I've taken a few friends who usually order the North Indian dishes and they also seem to love it.

              1. re: nickis

                Thanks for the post, Nickis. Kaveri's definitely is on the list.

                Any other suggestions for good eats between Sacto & Nevada City are also welcomed!

                1. re: araminta2

                  Cornish pasties have been a popular lunch item in this region ever since the Gold Rush. A lot of people swear by the pasty shops in Grass Valley, but my recommendation is The Fox and Goose in Sacramento.

      2. Vientianne in West Sac is Viet/Laos food..very, very good. It always gets great reviews. I love Andy Nguyens on Broadway..it is vegan and I am not..but the food, the pho is delicious. Love that place! The lettuce cups are fab too.

        Udupi in Gold River for dosas! Delish!! Gold River is basically Folsom. :) It's in a long string of businesses....always packed at night.

        5 Replies
        1. re: melly

          yum! one of my fave restos in Oakland is Lao, and their sausage + sticky rice.
          And another option for dosas! hooray.
          Thanks.

          1. re: melly

            ps- I wonder if that Udupi is related to the one in SF & Berkeley?

            1. re: melly

              Udupi was good but it has closed. I believe there's a Nepalese restaurant there? Something like that, I haven't been.

              And no, it's not related to the ones in the Bay Area. Udupi is a type of indian food, so it's a pretty common restaurant name.

                1. re: nickis

                  oh thanks for the info. I wasn't aware of the significance of the word "udupi".

              1. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. In the end, due to several logistical issues, we ended up going to Mehfil in Roseville. The buffet lunch was rather good, IMHO. I especially was intrigued by the punjabi curry -- with pakora in a yummy sauce.

                And I look forward to trying some of the other suggestions on future excursions thru Sacto.