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Fresno Chowhounds?

What has happened to to the Fresno Chowhounds? I haven't seen any recommendations for or against a Fresno restaurant for months now! i had a great Chicken Ticka Masala last night at The North India Bar and Grill . Chef Liu has been ringing my bell at Hunan Restaurant ! El Toro Cafe is down on my list with greasy Taco shells. Alla's Armenian Restaurant has been getting their cudos! I care what you think about your eating out experiences! I definitely want to hear them! I really hope you folks get back on point here! Fresno has sooo many good places to try! They surely don't have to be high caliber places,...just good ,tasty food!! Happy Mother's Day!

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  1. Thanks for the shout out. You can call me a Fresno hound although I chow up and down the valley especially in Modesto, Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield.
    Valley posts in general seem to be rare these days.

    1. Sadly, lack of opportunities lately to explore much the past few months. One bright note last night:


      Reports are that Ripe Tomato is back up to par, and that Mi Casa that moved into the old Tamale Shop at Van Ness and Shaw is doing good things, especially carnitas.

      The Bee reported that Organic Fresno, 903 N. Parway Dr, is putting out a good Putanesca (no pun intended, trying to avoid sarcasm) and a revamped diner, Golden State Grill, which opened last month at 3767 S. Golden State Blvd, might be worth a shot.

      A little Mexican place at Belmont & Hughes (iirc) also got some thumbs up recently.

      Guiseppe Gallo at Willow and Alluvial is high up on our list.

      My houndly BIL reports enjoying the dishes at Vino and Friends along with their wine selections.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PolarBear

        My stop at Organic Fresno was just to pick up a beverage, as posted here. If anyone else has had a chance to try it, please add your report to the thread.

        1. re: PolarBear

          Actually there is a little pit of pun intended with Organic Fresno offering Putanesca, it is a bit of a play on the location.

        2. Sadly, I have become a reader more than a contributor these days! Will attempt to liven things up! Agree that Fresno has some amazing eats out there - I am continually impressed by the amazing places that contribute the food scene.

          1. I have to rave about Hunan at the new Clovis location. They are incredible. I have found nothing like them anywhere else in the valley. My particular favorites are the Dumplings with homemade sauce, Mongolian Lamb, Hunan Chicken and Hunan Beef. Simple yet thoughtful preparations, and the consistency is incredible. Chinese food can be very hit and miss, this is all hit!

            1. I want to report on Taco's Tijuana y Mariscos n Fresno.
              I had just landed after a long trip on the east coast and was craving Mexican food.
              Since I live in Merced, and I am not familiar with Fresno Mex scene, I Busted out the yelp app and searched Mexican restaurants and came across this place.
              The restaurant is in a pretty rough area of Fresno, regardless the food was awesome.
              I ordered two tacos, one crispy beef and one carne asada, and one shrimp coctel. All the food was delicious and tasted fresh. The shrimp coctel is one of the best I've had, very crisp and fresh tasting with lots of plump shrimp. I'll definitely go back.

              1. I have to give a shout-out to Tako Truck, the new food truck in town. Their Kimchee Fried Rice Burrito is amazing & huge. The Kalbi & Bulgogi tacos rock, too. The entire family agreed that we're going to be regulars here. We went on Friday when they were at the Manchester Mall Farmer's Market & found them parked next to Dusty Buns. Support them, please, we need more great food trucks in Fresno.

                2 Replies
                1. re: victoriam14

                  For anyone looking for a great Mediterranean restaurant, Meze House in the Tower District rocks! We have dined there twice now with my son and his wife. Tender Lamb, yummy Pilaf, great Greek salad and excellent Bakalava!

                  When we are in town, we are weekly regulars at the Hunan in Clovis. Buttercream Prawns, Orange Chicken and Vegetable Chow Mein are our favorite dishes, and we love the Hot and Sour Soup, also! For Father's Day, we dined at Pismo Coastal Grill with our group of 8. You can book this restaurant on opentable. Very good seafood, clam chowder and the Tri-Tip Salad was excellent if you don't like seafood. My Dad had the Parmesan Encrusted Calamari which he loved and the Calamari was also delicious for an appetizer before our lunch entrees. :)

                  1. re: victoriam14

                    Gonna second the Tako truck. The kalbi IS amazing. Food trucks are "finally" here. We now have CartHop (kudos to whoever came up with that name, i think its really clever). Either Tues or Thurs (I think its Tues) there are 4-5 carts on Fulton mall (by the Longs I am told) and on Fridays they are outside of the water tower at Fresno and O streets. Saturday they are at Bella Fruta at Willow and Shepherd. There are usually the same four trucks: Tako, Benediction, Dusty Buns and a desert truck (forgot the name). There is also a new truck called Eat Street that just started and they are at Bella Fruta with the others on Saturdays (full disclosure - I am friends with the chef on that truck).

                  2. El Toro Cafe is back on top! .....like old times!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jeff Avis

                      We ate there last year and I thought it was NOTHING like it was 20 years ago. Didn't like it at all.

                      1. re: Bakersfield Hound

                        Had the same experience as you last year BH, the fish tacos were half price on Tuesday and so was the quality. Finally returned about a week ago and they were back to their former level. Can't comment on any other dishes, however, only go for the pescado.

                    2. Thanks for resurrecting this because it reminded me I want to do the Forestiere Gardens tour and would love to get some good recommendations for a midweek overnight visit to Fresno - come for one evening, tour the gardens, have breakfast and lunch and then probably be gone.

                      So probably looking for a place to stay near the gardens so open to anything close by for breakfast and lunch, but downtown Fresno or Fresno area for dinner would be great.


                      9 Replies
                      1. re: glbtrtr

                        What type of food are you interested in glbtrtr? For fine dining there is Cracked Pepper Bistro (Shaw & Fresno), Ripe Tomato or the Limelight (Shaw & Palm), Thai Royal Orchid (Herndon & First), Trelio in Clovis.

                        Did you mean breakfast/lunch near where you will be staying? If so need to know what you have in mind.



                        1. re: PolarBear

                          We are staying at the Garden Court Inn which is right next to the Gardens.

                          I did make dinner reservations at Trelio in Clovis from prior recommendations here, so good to get that updated recommendation again, so now it is just breakfast and lunch.

                          Since we don't know downtown Fresno at all, where would be a good lunch time spot to get the feeling for the place - street scene, people watch - something light? We will be arriving from the south on Highway 99.

                          Where is the "there, there" in Fresno? (As in Virginia Wolf's famous description of Oakland - there is no there, there.)

                          1. re: glbtrtr

                            Besides eating at restaurants, highlights of my previous visits to Fresno have included ---

                            Vineyard farmers market on saturday morning

                            Tasting a jammy super ripe Fresno strawberry

                            Paletas from La Reina Michoacana

                            Hunting for Hmong food

                            Tasting my first berrock (though once was enough

                            Meeting the next generation of young farmers

                            Immersion into New Armenia

                            And actually I looked through my photos because I was sure I had some pictures of historic architecture in downtown Fresno, but I can't find them.

                            1. re: glbtrtr

                              >>> Where is the "there, there" in Fresno? <<<

                              Being a little over 100 sq mi our "there's" are scattered everywheres.

                              Northbound 99 exit Fresno St, turn right toward the DT area. Stay in the right land after G St. to get on H St. then left on Tulare in front of Chuckchansi Ballpark.

                              As you cross Van Ness the Courthouse Park will be on your left.

                              Your first lunch option would be to turn right on M St., left on Kern, and right on N St. which immediately becomes Capitol, then into the first parking lot on your left. Inside the long building are a number of restaurants, the most notable being George's Shish Kebab, 2405 Capitol St, (559) 264-9433. This is an old time institution known for their lamb shanks as well as the kebabs.

                              The other midweek lunch spot downtown I would recommend is the Mediterrannean Grill, 1031 'U' St, (559) 441-7050, reached by continuing on Tulare pas P St. (City Hall aka the Starship Enterprise, on your left, four blocks past the RR tracks and historic Santa Fe Depot (on right) then turning left on U St. and into the small little strip mall with limited parking. This is my go to place for a Gyro, falafel, or a great chicken salad with extra garlic dressing.

                              Another "there" nearby would be the Tower District easiest access by entering DT as above, left turn on Van Ness in front of the Courthouse Park, then remaining on Van Ness as it curves and another mile to Olive Ave with the district running approximately 8-10 blocks to the west.

                              I haven't been to the Tower for lunch in a while so maybe some of the other hounds might have the more up to date 4K11.

                              For lunch in the NW area ironically Mexican is my first thought (since you requested near Forestierre). Had a great ceviche tostada (camaron y pulpa) at Maricsos Colima the other day (NE Shaw & Brawley next to Panda Xpress).
                              3692 West Shaw Ave (559) 275-3340

                              Across the street on the SE corner is Casa de Tamales,
                              3747 W Shaw Ave, (559) 275-9300

                              As for breakfast, when I do indulge it's usually at a small little Mexican place determined by which part of town I happen to be in. I seem to recall getting a breakfast burrito once at Mariscos Colima, but call to double check.

                              Only other breakfast that comes to mind is the ages old Klein's Truck Stop at Herndon and 99. Easy to reach by taking Golden State (old 99) north from a couple of miles to Herndon.

                              BTW I believe you mean to stay at the Garden Inn & Suites at 4949 N. Forestierre. The Best Western Garden Court Inn at Clinton and 99 is closed, I believe, and not an area that you would want to stay in.

                              Hope this helps and do report back. You wouldn't believe how many people that live here have never seen the gardens.



                              1. re: PolarBear

                                Thanks for your perfect reply putting a "there, there". You are right about the name of the place we are staying - Garden Inn. The lamb kabobs at George's sound great. I still owe you one for Mathews at the Airport rec in Paso. Surprising find in a surprising place.

                                Read the wine list for Trelio and am quite stunned at its lenght and breadth - what is going on with that place "in the middle of no where"? And I mean this in the nicest possible way.

                                1. re: glbtrtr

                                  Tell Chris I sent you, his brother Mike is the chef in case you didn't know. Chris also puts on some of the best tastings anywhere around, up to 40 or so wines and usually no more than 80-100 people. He's also a part of the World of Pinot in Shell Beach every March.

                                  If you go a little before dinner you might enjoy a stroll up and down Old Town Clovis on Pollasky between 3rd and 5th Sts.

                                  1. re: PolarBear

                                    Reservations at Trelio for 7:30 pm, thanks for the tip. What is the dress code here in Clovis for a place like Trelio?

                                    1. re: glbtrtr

                                      Hopefully I'm not too late. I'm a former Fresno/Clovis-ite. I ate at Trelio a couple times. I wore a dress the first time, not really knowing it wasn't THAT fancy and felt a bit silly. I wore nicer jeans, heels, and a nicer top/blouse the second, and men seemed to be wearing either nicer jeans or slacks, non-athletic shoes, and button up collared shirts. Basically business casual or what one would wear on "casual friday" at work. No ties or suits or anything like that.

                                      Have fun at the gardens, I really enjoyed my visit there. We went on a very hot day and was amazed at how cool it was down there.

                                    2. re: PolarBear

                                      Couple of updates:

                                      Chris is now (and has been for a while) the chef and wine manager, putting out great food. Brother Mike left to pursue other interests.

                                      World of Pinot has moved to the Bacarra resort north of Santa Barbara as of this coming March.

                          2. Fresno people, I gotta question for ya. back in the 70;s there used to be a place in the JJJ shopping Center. (Triple J center, they called it) and I cannot for the life of me remember the name. Was quite good then if I remember correctly but it does figure into one of more of my stories and I would love to be able to come up with the name of that place. I really like it, they had salad shrimp on the salad and I loved that.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: bennyboy1

                              bb1, have to admit your query shook this old local (or loco) at first, had to actually goog 3J to get a geographic reference and came up with this:


                              Looking this over I do have a vague recollection of the Mexican place mentioned but salad with shrimp is throwing me. Any other recollections that might help? A mile west on the same corner (NW) at First was a Chinese place that was our goto at the time, but everything else is pretty foggy (hey, it was the '70s). There was a bar/resto, same corner at Gettysburg/Cedar, called The Pub, iirc, in the 80s. and I do seem to recall raves about a salad there, might have had a different name earlier (it WAS the 70s).

                              Will ask around in case any of our old cronies have more functioning brain cells than we do.

                              1. re: PolarBear

                                Not Mexican. Clubby, steaks and seafood. typically 70's style dining.

                                1. re: PolarBear

                                  Figured I would update this thread with some recent Fresno visits.
                                  Pho Paradise: A friend recommended this place for lunch. They have excellent Vietnamese food and it is popular with the local asian population. Ordered the vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and shrimp. Everything was fresh, the pork had excellent flavor.

                                  Cafe Corazon: Awesome coffee roaster/cafe in the Tower district. I had been here last year and ordered the 'Cafe con Leche' which was excellent.
                                  On the last trip, I ordered one of their tasty breakfast pastries and another cafe con leche.

                                  I also took home some of their 'Tweaker' blend of beans which brewed some awesome coffee.

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        Forgot to include the address for Pho Paradise.
                                        1848 N 1st St, Fresno, CA 93703. In yelp, it is listed as just 'Paradise'.

                              2. Why doesn't Fresno have it's own board, and how can it get one?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: aamnivore

                                  Sadly, not nearly enough traffic for Fresno to have its own board.