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mazman

Sacramento

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Have a few trips coming up to sacramento, looking for excellent food (SF/Berkeley/Oakland quality), and places I can easily go to the bar and eat as a solo. Open to all food types and price ranges. Walking distance from downtown is a plus as well.

Mazman

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I have a houseguest here right now who just moved from Sacto. His first response to your question was "San Francisco". His second response was "Zelda's". It is on 21st Street (he thinks). It's a pizza place/bar. Deep dish, garlicky and oily. And he said that if anyone recommends "Biba's", don't go. Actually, he said something else but I'm too much of a lady to type it!

For steaks, Morton's on K Street Mall is remarkably good, but it is a chain.

If you're looking for an experience, The Virgin Sturgeon (on the river, not sure which river), is cool but the food isn't great. But get a double burger and you'll be in good shape.

As for Celestin's, the Creole/Caribbean place on K Street, he loves it. Says it has a terrific bar too.

Freeport Bakery is a cool little locale for coffee and pastries. I seem to recall a decent bear claw but it's been awhile.

"And that is pretty much it," he says.

I say "good luck" and let us know if you find anything!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Rubicon Brew pub just east of capital area. Great IPA ales and pub food.


Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Hi,

The Waterboy is a very nice restaurant with service and quality comparable to SF, but like most places in Sacramento a lot friendlier and a bit less expensive.

Celestin's is another place that I can heartily recommend, their gumbo is amazing and they have interesting carribean seafood and vegetarian options as well.

The Midtown area of Sacramento just east of downtown has many interesting restaurants, including the two mentioned above. Parking is usually not a problem, unlike SF.

Pick up the local free weekly newspaper and look for what is interesting.

Here's a link to the Sac Bee's list of the top ten restaurants for 2003:

Sacramento's Top Ten


Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"

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I haven't eaten there in a few years, but I always enjoyed Biba's. I also like the River City Brewery in the mall near the Capitol. Alas, I haven't been their either for at least a year, you your experience might vary. The Brewery certainly used to fit your desire for a place to sit at the bar and go solo.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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kitwilliams wrote:

If you're looking for an experience, The Virgin Sturgeon (on the river, not sure which river), is cool but the food isn't great. But get a double burger and you'll be in good shape

Virgin Sturgeon is on the Garden Highway, on the Sacramento River, north of the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers. Not convenient unless you have a car, or cab. But, now that DST is in effect, a cool place to sit on the outdoor balcony during the evening, with the river below you, and all.

kitwilliams also wrote:

Celestin's is another place that I can heartily recommend, their gumbo is amazing and they have interesting carribean seafood and vegetarian options as well.

Some people equate "Sacramento" and "Jerk" with the State Capitol, and it's assorted elected denizens. But Celistin's leaves little doubt that quality jerk chicken is available in Sacramento. And I agree, the bar is very cool.

Also from kitwilliams' post:

His second response was "Zelda's". It is on 21st Street (he thinks). It's a pizza place/bar.

Z's, (as it is known to locals) is on 21st, between "N" and "O" streets, (I used to live on "N", between 21st and 22nd). Pizza here rocks! Deep-dish, but unlike any deep-dish I've ever had, including Chicago. Eating at the bar is no problem, but pizzas take a while to come out of the kitchen. I recommend the pepperoni w/xtra cheese, or the spinaccoli w/garlic. Over the phone, ou can call in your eat-it-there, or take-out, and then show up in 30-45 minutes, and it will be ready within a few minutes.

Also on 21st, between "K" and "L", is the Lucky Cafe. The serve only breakfast and lunch...but what a breakfast or lunch!! Very reasonably priced, and for the huge portions you get, you'll be thinking that they undercharged you on the bill. Breakfast here, and you won't be thinking about eating lunch.

Tower Cafe, on 16th and Broadway, has an interesting menu. Best thing there are their desserts!

For a true "downtown" experience, Frank Fat's is a restaurant/political institution. Opened in the late 30's, just down the street from the Capitol, (Frank Fat's is at 806 "L" street), it is known at the "3rd House", for all of the deal-making that goes on there. I once went in there with my Dad, and we saw then-Gov. Dukemajian forehead-to-forehead with then-Speaker Willie Brown, over an order of foil-wrapped chicken. Decent Chinese food, but priced for the expense account of a lobbiest.

Maharani India, on Broadway btw. 17th and 18th, does a very nice lunch buffet. But, I recommend going for dinner, when ordering off of the menu gets you the true "mild", "medium", or "hot" flavors of their dishes. Ask for "medium", and you'll get an arched eyebrow. Ask for "hot", and you'll get a sadistic grin. They don't fool around.

MM.

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Masque, in El Dorado Hills. Just opened two weeks ago.

It's already the best restaurant in the Sacramento region. Yes, I said it.

It's a 25-minute drive (sans traffic) from central Sac, but it's well worth it. Former executive chef from Valentino.

Great service. Great dining room. Great food. Wine list isn't quite up to speed yet, but hey, three out of four ain't bad.

An absolute winner.

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Does anyone know anything about L'Image, or has anyone tried it? The menu looks nice and fairly fancy, but I'm confused by its appendage (a beauty store).

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I've eaten at L'Image twice. I probably won't return. There's nothing technically wrong with the food - well, aside from the toughness of the faux Kobe beef, and the extreme dryness of the duck tossed with pappardelle. OK, so maybe there was something wrong with it. Wasn't very interesting, I thought. Also found the service aloof, at best. But hey, I DID like the beignets! Too bad they didn't have them on my second visit. That was really what brought me back.

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Wonder if KitWilliams could translate the houseguest's anti-Biba statements into something innocuous to be printed here. Interesting, because Biba has by far more national visibility than any other Sacramento restaurant (in large part because of Biba Caggiano's cookbooks). Also, it looks like the SacBee has listed her as the #1 restaurant four years in a row. Have never been there so no personal stake one way or the other, just curious. . .


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Wonder if KitWilliams could translate the houseguest's anti-Biba statements into something innocuous to be printed here.  Interesting, because Biba has by far more national visibility than any other Sacramento restaurant (in large part because of Biba Caggiano's cookbooks).  Also, it looks like the SacBee has listed her as the #1 restaurant four years in a row.  Have never been there so no personal stake one way or the other, just curious. . .

Innocuous? Not likely from this houseguest! Translate? Well, I'll give you a couple of quotes. He said that Biba's is "the only game in town. There are no great local Italian restaurants like there are in LA, SF and New York. After Biba's there are just chain restaurants." After a few pointed references to the Kings and a prominent political figure, he said: "Finally, it's all they've got. So they pump it [biba's] up. Why else would the Maloofs (owners of the Kings) fly all the way to Vegas after a game for some grub?"


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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He said that Biba's is "the only game in town. There are no great local Italian restaurants like there are in LA, SF and New York. After Biba's there are just chain restaurants."

So let me see if I got this right. It sounds like your house guest was busy slamming Sacramento and Biba's got in the way. I suppose we could even interpret the comment as a back handed compliment.

That's too bad. I've always had a good meal there, with attentive service I actually had the pleasure of dining with Biba a few years ago and found her to be charming.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Biba is no longer the only game in town. Angelo Auriana of Masque is going to redefine fine dining in this region. And that's a great thing.

As for the Maloofs - Joe and Gavin are a horrible example. They eat very simple food (mostly, grilled meat) and eschew spices. In fact, they don't even like food prepared with garlic or onions.

They are culinary cavemen, and even their personal chef, Christophe Cornet, has said as much.

It's too bad, really. Christophe is a talented chef. I mean, here's a guy who was allowed to do specials in the kitchen of Michel Rostang in Paris, and who'd been chef de cuisine at Monte Carlo - one of the better restaurants in Vegas before they shut down the Desert Inn - and he's making steaks every night. Yawn.

My point being, though, that to use the Maloofs as an example of where the dining scene is in Sacramento is folly.

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And you are all correct in your musings. We all have our own opinions and wouldn't it be a boring place if we all agreed, not to mention how tough it would be to get a reservation! :wink:


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Biba is no longer the only game in town. Angelo Auriana of Masque is going to redefine fine dining in this region. And that's a great thing.

[...]

My point being, though, that to use the Maloofs as an example of where the dining scene is in Sacramento is folly.

I suspect the houseguest was a Lakers' fan. 'Nuff said.

Great article in the Sacbee online about Masque. I'm thinking about dinner there next weekend.

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Hey Jensen,

Thanks for the link. That was actually my story. The worst part: I had to expense a meal there. (Somebody's got to do the dirty work, you know.)

Josh

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I suspect the houseguest was a Lakers' fan. 'Nuff said.

But of course!

In defense of all of us who love good food and who have lived in big cities and moved to smaller ones, it is really hard to be objectively relative, if that makes any sense. We've got to learn to appreciate what is available to us, wherever we are. But when professional basketball rivalries enter into the equation...watch out! :wink:

That "Masque" link isn't working for me... :sad:


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Hey Jensen,

Thanks for the link. That was actually my story. The worst part: I had to expense a meal there. (Somebody's got to do the dirty work, you know.)

Well, thank God someone's up to the task! I loved the article; it was much better at piquing my interest in the restaurant than Dunne's review on Wednesday.

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In defense of all of us who love good food and who have lived in big cities and moved to smaller ones, it is really hard to be objectively relative, if that makes any sense.

It makes perfect sense to me. I moved here from Vancouver! And I thought that, since Sacto and Vancouver are the same size population-wise, that the same cultural amenities would be available here.

(Yes, you can stop laughing any time now ... :wacko: )

That "Masque" link isn't working for me... :sad:

Perhaps a link to the Taste section would work instead? The last time I was there, it was the top article.

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(Yes, you can stop laughing any time now ...  :wacko: )

I was laughing aloud before I read that line, howled after! :laugh:


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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The Sacramento Bee just published their year-end review of area restaurant's and list of the best for 2004.


Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"

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I am delighted to see The Waterboy on that list. A friend of mine, a woman chef who comes to lots of the farm dinners I've photographed, works there. I've never been, but maybe one day...

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Went to Masque based on recs on this board. Thanks guys. New Italian restaurant with chef Angelo Auriana, former chef at L.A.'s Valentino. We didn't end up ordering a normal meal and I missed out on dessert, supposedly one of their strong points (and the desserts at other tables looked pretty good).

Just a couple of quick notes:

I read this review but still didn't know what to order when I got there. Next time I go there, I am definitely going to skip the beet salad and get the lobster farro app which looked really good. I got the smoked cheese ravioli this time, but will probably skip that and go straight for the entrees because they looked so good. We shared a veal Delmonico that was a more on the medium side than rare, but still a beautiful piece of meat ($30), on a bed of chanterelle mushrooms and spinach, as well as a side of this goat cheese custard. Good if you have some pasta or something on the side as it is mostly a big hunk of meat.

All in all we spent about $90 before tip and had ourselves a nice little meal out in the rich, suburban neighborhood of El Dorado Hills.

View more pics on my image gallery, including the menu

Our beet salad. Your basic beet salad with goat cheese, pretty good, nice sized portion (this was a half portion).

gallery_9978_535_1104548802.jpg

Ravioli with scamorza (smoked mozzarella) tossed in sage butter. This was really good, quite a big portion actually, and very reasonable for $15.

gallery_9978_535_1104548818.jpg


I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Hi Tana,

Well if you ever need to go to an event at the Sacramento convention center or at the Capitol, then you will find The Waterboy is an easy 7 - 8 blocks away.

I have only been once, for lunch, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the experience. It's a stylish and comortable room, the service was great and the food was exceptional. I had their "famous" ten dollar hamburger and it was well worth it.

I just checked The Waterboy website and it seems that they have updated the site (there are some nice pictures of the restaurant) and tweaked their menu. It is an incredible value, if you are used to Bay Area prices.

The chef and owner, Rick Mahan, is a local institution, so I expect that this restaurant will be in the Sacramento top 10 for years to come. My big regret from 2004 is that I missed the Shallots cooking school wine dinner when he was the guest chef.

Happy New Year!


Edited by PamelaF (log)

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"

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