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Neighborhood eats in East Sacramento

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If you're like me, there are times when travelling more than four minutes to a restaurant is just unacceptable. For me, that means a focus on East Sac (bounded roughly by the American River on the north and east, Highway 50 on the south, and Biz-80 on the west). Here are my favorite neighborhood joints:

- Thai Palace (J St at 32nd). Solid every time. Portions a bit small but small price to pay.
- La Fiesta Taqueria (1105 Alhambra). Just moved in within the last year or so. Dollar for dollar, the best food in East Sac (in my humble opinion). Try the shrimp cocktail!
- Three Sisters (Folsom and 51st) - Love the carnitas. A bit pricey but worth it from time to time.
- Tupelo Cafe (Elvas, just north of H St) - Great coffee and espresso. Try the Kerouac. Show your support because Starbucks is moving in next door. Free wireless, too!
- Giovanni's Pizza (Folsom at around 56th or so) - Again, solid pizza every time.
- Sellands (H St and 53rd) - For gourmet take out and wine tasting. The price can add up quickly, though.

Two places I frequent often but the food is not that great:

- Napolitos (H and Elvas) - Sort of a tex-mex place. Really friendly people and outdoor tables. Food is not bad but not great.
- The Wienery (Elvas just north of H) - I love everything about this place except the dogs themselves. They're bland and uninteresting. But, again, friendly people and a neighborhood hang-out. Root beer comes in frosted mugs.

Any others? Or really bad places to avoid?

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  1. j
    janet of reno

    Have you tried Kaveri? South Indian, Fulton near Northrup. I think that's in the neighborhood you describe.....

    1 Reply
    1. re: janet of reno

      Fulton and Northrup isn't east Sac. But I'll try Kaveri next time I am over that way.

    2. Three places that are not on your list:

      33rd Street Bistro - a little higher end but consistantly good.

      Sweet Water - Nothing spectacular but solid mid priced.

      The French place across the street from Selland's.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Peter

        "The French place across the street from Selland's."


      2. Black Cat Cafe, a few doors down from The Wienery, serves fabulous crepes and sandwiches.

        1. Thanks for starting the thread. I'm going to try the Thai place you mentioned -- I've been going to Thai Basil on J Street and I'm not crazy about it.

          I live around E. Sacramento but I think the eating options are pretty limited there so I generally go elsewhere.

          For a quick dinner near home, I agree that Three Sisters on Folsom is a decent choice (even though it feels kind of like a Chili's inside). I always get the chicken mole and I think it's pretty good.

          I went to the Pasty Shack on J Street for the first time pretty recently and enjoyed it. For those who've never had a pasty, it's a big Welsh pastry shell surrounding a hearty filling of potatoes, carrots, onions and meat. The chicken pasty was much better than the meat one, in my opinion. It's a little dull on its own, but makes a nice takeout dinner when paired with some lightly dressed greens.

          For freezes and ice cream, I like Merlino's and Burr's on Folsom. The chocolate chewy cookies at Phillipp's Bakery on Folsom are excellent.

          I would avoid Andiamo.

          1 Reply
          1. re: beanbag

            FYI, Pasty Shack is open really late too. Not sure what time, but I've been there after Midnight.

          2. This is a bit beyond your boundaries, but I had a good meal once at Taste of Thai on Broadway, about a block from Tower. I don't remember too many details, but the fried rice (crab, I think) was very good.

            1. This is my neighborhood . . . a few of our favorites:

              --Giovanni's - in addition to the pizza, the rotisserie chicken is fabulous. Extremely moist and well flavored. The manager there told me that whenever the owners come in they always demand the chicken; the herb mixture they use apparently an old family favorite. Other locations are in South Land Park, near Loehmann's plaza, and I think there may be another one.

              --33rd St. Bistro -- kind of have a love/hate thing with this place; I still think the basic breakfasts, are pretty poor and overpriced although you wouldn't know it by the crowds they pack in on the weekends. Was there for dinner a few weeks back and greatly enjoyed it. Great salads and sandwiches; really enjoyed the atmosphere, very friendly and neighborly. These guys are on the expansion move too, just opened one in Davis, with El Dorado Hills, Roseville, and Midtown on the list.

              -Thai Palace on J - only been there twice I think, but really liked it both times. Portions were really big on our visits

              -- La Fiesta Taqueria - pretty decent,although there are definitely better taquerias (quality and value) if you travel further, like the new La Favorita (#3 I think) on STockton Blvd.

              --Andiamo's - never been a big fan.

              --Burr's Fountain (Folsom Blvd.) - great ice cream, turkey sandwiches, grilled cheese, and the chili which I've not had, is supposed to be good.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Ann Vuletich

                I like Burr's too. Excellent lunches at a fair price.
                Good American soda fountain.

                I also like Rolle's. The Pasty shop doesn't do it for me. Kinda cheap on the filling. I prefer the Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie to go at Corti's.

                Another good meal can be put together at Corti's deli counter. A sandwitch, a beer and off to the park to watch the bocce match.

                1. re: Robert

                  Agreed. Also the Italian Importing Deli Co. or whatever it's called next to Trader Joes has some pretty delicious sandwiches. Other take out items too, lots of pastas, and they always have a lunch special. Less variety/choice than Corti's, but what I've had there (the smoked turkey comes to mind) has been good.

                2. re: Ann Vuletich

                  Giovanni's has won high points with me, the thin crust pizzas are wonderful. I was curious about the chicken, thanks for posting your feedback, I will have to try it soon.

                  1. re: Tracy L.

                    I just had one last night there and some leftovers for dinner, and the only thing about it is that it does tend to be pretty salty so make sure to drink lots of water.

                  2. re: Ann Vuletich

                    Funny you think La Favorita is better than La Fiesta -- they're owned by the same people and have essentially the same menu. Best taquerias in town!

                  3. what's really good at thai palace?

                    1. How about the old Moxie Jr.? It's now named Sapor, and I've heard good things about it. Not surprising as Moxie Jr. was always good. Hopefully i'll try it soon and report back. Oh yeah, its @ 3440 C St.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: 916Dave

                        Tres Hermanas is better than any of the Mexican places listed, great chile verde. Giovanni's is awesome, as is New York Bagel Boys, which is next door. Cafe Rolle is outstanding, a veritable bargain compared to Sellands, which I enjoy very much. The Middle Eastern place around the corner from La Fiesta on Alhambra is pretty good as well.

                        1. re: spineguy

                          There are a few new places in The Hood since this thread started. AND a few have disappeared - Sapor (now Sopratutti -very YUM); Italian Importing Company, among the missing - is Corti's leaving also?; Black Cat Cafe, replaced by Alegro or Adaggio or some such, the name as undistinguished as the food; Thai Basil replaced by a Thai noodle place which is okay but nothing special; Andiamo also missing - waiting, waiting, waiting for the food center to appear out of the remodel.

                          Some new, welcome additions to the neighborhood have appeared....
                          El Patron on Folsom Blvd. just east of 65th is an interesting place. It has some menu items not seen very often including several dishes which appear in a steaming hot molcaheta (my apologies for the spelling). They include your choice of protein, various vegetables (including cactus) and a delicious sauce. Thursday or Friday evening (it keeps changing, call ahead to see which night it is this week,) brings a wonderful Mariachi group - 8 or 9 guys playing, by request, everything from the current Mexican Hit Parade to "My Way".

                          Midtown Taqueria (not in midtown, but at J and 38th Sts.) has some of the best quick and sorta authentic Mexican food in the city. It's a mix and match kind of menu - list of meats (including el Pastor and lingua) and a list of presentations....burritos, tacos, etc. Very well done - nice salsa bar. Inexpensive.

                          Opa, Opa is trying very hard and doing very well at bringing inexpensive Greek food to East Sac. It's on J St. just west of CSUS. You order from a line ( a la Jack's Urban Eats)and the food appears by the time you reach the register to check out (well, most of the time, anyway). I think it's quite well done and the staff is very accommodating in terms of adding or subtracting side dishes, garnishes, dips, etc.

                          We've just recently discovered Formoli Bistro on J St. next to Thai Palace. It's run by a nice young couple who seem anxious to please. The food is quite good, reasonably priced and lovingly presented. I'm hooked on the sweet potato chips with Scotch Bonnet Aioli.

                          Anyway, food things are looking up in East Sac. and I, for one, am glad. When I wanna eat, I wanna eat and its nice to find the food in The Hood.

                          1. re: garlicginger

                            so what's good at sopratutti? i've been wanting to try that
                            isn't thai basil still on J?

                      2. Opa Opa, Evans, (Andiamos is closed people), 33rd Street Bistro, Trattoria Boheme (sp?) for wonderful snitzel. I better go look that up. It's on about 50th and J.

                        1. I'll start over. I think I lost the last post.

                          La Trattoria Bohemia for the best snitzle ever!! Great food. It is near 35th and J.

                          Andiamos has been closed for a long time...but it was okay.

                          33rd Street Bistro, Corti's Deli, Evans near Sweetwater and Opa Opa. I do like the real fries at Sweetwater.