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Aug 1, 2005 09:53 PM

Sonora lunch stop

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Coming home from Tahoe a week ago Sat. via the back roads (Hwy 4) stopped in Sonora for lunch after not seeing much in Angels Camp or Murhpys. Parked on the main drag (Hwy 49) right in front of a bustling place called the Diamondback Grill, place was packed even though it was close to 2 PM. With no seats available we headed across the street to Alfredo's, a nice little Mexican place. Good salsa and chips, wife ordered the Carne Asada, flavorful and fork tender and loaded with meat. I had the fish tacos (red snapper I believe) that came grilled with a little guacamole on them, good portion of fresh fish but very mild flavor. Ended up sharing one then finishing off her burrito. Also shared a decent flan for dessert. Reasonable prices, around $20 incl. dessert and a Negra Modelo. Crossing back to our car I noticed another little Mexican place, Pablitos, just south of Diamondback that looked interesting, stairs leading down to what looked like a shaded patio. There may still be gold in "them thar hills".

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  1. Greetings from the Gold Country! You are correct - Sonora has a number of great lunch (and dinner, and breakfast) spots. I haven't eaten at the Diamondback in a while, but it was always wonderful, and it's always crowded.

    We prefer Comacho's on Stockton Street (across from the fairgrounds, not far from Washington Street to Alfredos or Pablitos. Dave and Chunky make fresh tortillas, wide variety of meats, rice and beans, all from scratch, every morning. After Comacho's we like Garcia's (upstairs on Washington Street) very funky but great food, fish tacos are yummy, specials very creative. Another favorite choice would be Cocino Michoacana on Mono Way in East Sonora or Morelia's in Jamestown. Cocino Michoacana has resturants in Groveland and Oakdale as well. The carne asada with salsa verde is my favorite!

    Backstreet Bar and Grill on Stewart Street (one block up from Washington)has great wood-oven cooked pizzas, pastas and deli items,and is one of our favorites for leisurely, romantic lunches. Peppery Gar and Brill (on Mono Way in East Sonora) has wonderful everything, lots of beer on tap, lively atmosphere. Mono Way used to be Highway 108, before the bypass.

    If you ever have a chance to drive over Sonora Pass - the most beautiful mountain drive in the west - stop at Kennedy Meadows. Their Sunday night prime rib dinners are justifiable famous, and the saloon is a great place to wet down some of that trail dust.

    Polarbear, I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Sonora.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KarenR

      WOW Karen, thanks for all the great tips. Had no idea all those places were lurking off the main road. Will definitely have to plan our travel route through your lovely little town more often.



    2. Update.

      I was in Sonora today. Garcia's is gone. Comacho's has moved. It's at the Days Inn which is at the corner of Stockton and Washington (making it easier to locate). Had an a la carte chili relleno and iced tea as I was not super hungry. This was more than enough for me. It comes with a fresh homemade flour tortilla on the side. Very good. I had mine with habanero strength sauce (i.e. hot) which made the side of sour cream a godsend. This one had a good kick, not too much, but definitely there. A thumbs up. Total fop lunch, including tip, was $11.00. :)

      1. Thanks for the tips. Will be heading up to Pinecrest and over the Sonora Pass to Mono Lake soon. Will definitely make that stop at Kennedy Meadows - who would have guessed this was a dining spot too. Anything else to recommend in this treasured part of California?

        1. Yes, I forgot to update this post! Comacho's has moved to bigger quarters, and the food is as great as ever. Their homemade tortillas are absolutely's one of our favorite places when we find ourselves in town during lunchtime. The relleno burrito is my favorite. The owners, Dave and Chunky, once figured how many tortillas they had made by hand and it was a staggering amount...and this was when they were still located at the mini-mart/gas station in Jamestown! Everything else is homemade, too.

          Given a choice between Pablito's, Alfredo's or the taco wagon parked by Kragen at the end of Washington Street, we go with the wagon. It's cheap, and the food is much better than either.

          We enjoy Back Street Bar and Grill, on Stewart Street, one block up from Washington Street (which is the "main drag" through old town). They have wonderful brick oven pizzas, nice beer selections, and lots of other tasty lunch/dinner menu items. This is one of our favorite romantic lunch spots.

          The Peppery Gar and Brill is fun, loud and great food. It's on Mono Way, near the auto dealers. Eperson House in Twain Harte was wonderful the last few times we've been there for dinner.

          In Jamestown: The Willow Steakhouse is a favorite with locals, and it's a carnivore's dream... Morelia's has good Mexican food, and the Jamestown Hotel and National Hotel were both good last time we were there, although it's been a while.

          When we just have to escape Tuolumne County, we head over the pass and have a rack of lamb and a bottle of merlot at Bridgeport Inn, and then a nice long soak in the hotsprings. Think we're way overdue for a trip out of town, wish it weren't a holiday weekend coming up!

          Have a wonderful trip!

          1 Reply
          1. re: kmr

            Went for a drive through the southern end of the gold country over Columbus Day holiday, and stopped in Sonora for lunch.

            Camacho's was in the Days' Inn, just as stated above, but was closed. Dunno if this was because it was Monday, because of the holiday, or because of the notice in the window that the place had applied for, but not yet been granted, a liquor license. This latter implied, but did not explicitly state, that Camacho's had changed management. I have no idea what the real story is.

            So, failing our first choice, on a strong local reccomendation we stopped in at the Diamondback Grill. We started with an order of black bean chili cheese fries. We asked for the full order even though the waitress warned us off and suggested a half order. We should have listened; it was HUGE and far more than two people could eat. The fries were perfect and crispy, the chili was good, with perfectly cooked beans and occasional bite size chunks of tender, flavorful beef. The chili itself was rather too mild for our tastes, though. Over fries it was OK, but if I'd ordered a bowl of chili I'd have definitely wanted something more assertively flavorful.

            I ordered the cheeseburger, my fellow hound had the pastrami sandwich. The burger was an enormous half pound patty of flavorful meat grilled exactly as ordered, served on a toasted bun with crisp fresh iceburg lettuce, sliced supermarket tomatoes and pickle slices. A simply prepared, fairly standard burger, but one of the best, most delicious examples of the breed I've had in a long time.

            FH's pastrami san was beautifully grilled and quite tasty, bread crisp and not greasy; the pastrami was moist and tender but a bit mild in flavor. Again, a more assertive flavor would have been welcome in the pastrami.

            Both sandwiches were served with a cup of the soup du jour; pumpkin-chipotle in this case. The soup was beautifully made, rich and creamy, but we found the combination of pumpkin pie spice and chipotles 'interesting' but a little weird.

            There was a good selection of bottled beers, and we sampled a few of those. Service was prompt and courteous. The joint is quite small; a half-dozen two-person tables and a lunch counter with maybe a dozen stools. It's not difficult for such a small place to seem crowded, but we were seated right away (at 2:00pm). Prices were reasonable, about $7 for the enormous plate of chili chese fries, an $7 each for the sandwiches.

            Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.

          2. I can vouch for the Willow. Fabulous cowboy bar with great bartenders and the best steak in the Sierras.