Restaurant Guide–California

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Los Angeles

Orange County

San Bernardino/Riverside/Palm Springs

San Diego

San Francisco/Bay Area


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Arcata

Japhy’s Soup & Noodles–1563 G St. (Thai) Closed Sat & Sun.  Despite its name, the curries are the items that get the most comments (I supposed the soup and noodle dishes are also very good). People seem to think this is better than the Thai restaurants in Eureka. (5-7-19)

Renata’s Creperie–1030 G St. (Crepes) Breakfast & lunch Tue-Sun; dinner Fri & Sat.  This seems to be the standout restaurant in Arcata. Mainly popular at breakfast, but if you can envision an upscale sandwich with organic ingredients, and crepes instead of bread, you will understand its appeal for lunch or dinner also. (5-7-19)

Big Sur

Sierra Mar–46900 Hwy. 1 (Californian) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5:30 pm). $$$$ (Get the prix-fixe lunch if you want to save money). It impressed Gil (so that’s why it’s one of the few upscale rests. I’m including on this list).  This is a restaurant with a view, and would be considered a “romantic” place. Some reviewers say this is one of the best restaurants in California. (2-22-19)

Carmichael

Ariana Gyros & Kabobs–7336 Fair Oaks Blvd. (Afghan) Closed Mon.  Mostly serves kabobs and gyros, and reviewers say it is all excellent. Might have some more interesting and traditional Afghan dishes, but I could not tell from the reviews. (6-4-19)

Firebird Slavic–4715 Manzanita Ave. (Russian) Closed Mon & closes at 7 pm Sun.  If you want to try Russian food, reviewers say this is an excellent place to do it. There is a large variety of food (menu includes stereotypical Russian dishes and some items not normally found in U.S. restaurants). Recently changed owners. Reviewers say it is still the same great food, and maybe better, but prices are higher.  Note: located in the Sacramento area. (6-4-19)

Shige Sushi–5938 Madison Ave. (Japanese) Lunch Tue-Fri, dinner Tue-Sun.  Apparently this is the same kind of high quality sushi restaurant they have in cities such as Seattle, and the customer base here is from all over the Sacramento area (and many say this is the best sushi in Sacramento). (6-4-19)

Tubboat Fish & Chips–7601 Fair Oaks Blvd. (Seafood) Closed Sun.  Supposedly the fish & chips are London style, and reviewers say the food is excellent. (6-4-19)

Chico

Basque Norte–3355 Esplanade (Basque). According to reviews, this is as good as any Basque restaurant in Nevada. Steaks are the most popular item. (2-22-19)

Cafe Petra–163 E. 2nd St. (Middle Eastern) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it tastes like the food in small family restaurants in the Middle East. (2-22-19)

Taste of Hmong–1008 W. Sacramento Ave. (Lao) Closed Sun & Mon.  Authentic food with a menu that people really like, but it may be hard to figure out for those who have not had this type of food before (although it is similar to Thai). (2-22-19)

Citrus Heights

Armenian Grill House–5925 Birdcage Centre Ln. (Armenian) Open daily except Sun evening (closes at 8 pm).  What I think makes this restaurant worthwhile is that the Armenian food has a “unique flavor” that is different from food in neighboring countries (Turkey, Greece, Iran, etc.) according to a reviewer. Perhaps California is one of the few places where all of these restaurants exist and are authentic enough to accurately represent their home countries. (6-4-19)

Clovis

Ararat Market–497 N. Clovis Ave. (Armenian) Open 9 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  There was a discussion on Roadfood indicating that there was good Armenian food in the Fresno area, and this one had the highest ratings on Yelp. It is a food market with a restaurant inside, mainly serving kabobs. Reviewers say it is seasoned perfectly with a very good Middle Eastern flavor. (5-29-19)

Colusa

Birrieria Michoacan–1246 Market St. (Mexican) Closed Mon & closed Sun evening.  Authentic Mexican food. Birria and mole are recommended, among other things. (2-22-19)

Crescent City

Chart Room–130 Anchor Way (Seafood) Closed Mon.  Fish & chips are popular (they are said to be especially good compared to others with a light batter). (6-11-19)

Kin Khao–1270 Front St. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say it is authentic, with Thai ingredients that most restaurants do not use. This is a spinoff of Kuhn Thai in Brookings, OR. (6-11-19)

Davis

Dos Coyotes Border Cafe–1411 W. Covell Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily. Seems to fit the classic definition of California style Mexican food, but is definitely fusion (not authentic). Readers say it has some of the best salsa you will find anywhere (served in a salsa bar where you can help yourself to several varieties). For food, the Yucatan chicken salad and mango burrito are popular. (3-31-19)

Dumpling House–129 E St. (Chinese) Open Daily. Handmade dumplings make it popular and authentic, but the menu is limited. Temporarily closed as of Mar 2019. (3-31-19)

Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine–301 B St. (Middle Eastern) Open 11:30 am to 7:30 pm (closed Sun).  Casual Middle Eastern food (sandwiches, etc.). Beef and chicken shawarma are their most recommended dishes. Note: also in Rohnert Park. (3-31-19)

Eureka

Annie’s Cambodian–1917 5th St. (Cambodian) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Top rated Asian restaurant in Eureka (on the Yelp ranking). Green curry is recommended. (5-7-19)

Gill’s By The Bay–77 Halibut Ave. (Seafood) Open 7 am to 3 pm daily.  Chowder is recommended. This is a casual place for (mainly) fried seafood. (5-7-19)

Humboldt Bay Provisions–205 G St. (Seafood) Dinner only (opens 1 pm Sat & Sun).  Like Gill’s By The Bay, this place is highly recommended. Otherwise, though, it is the opposite–this is a large place with a large menu (Gill’s is small), it is not on the oceanfront (Gill’s is), it is open for dinner (Gill’s is not), it is upscale (Gill’s is mostly chowder and fried fish). (5-7-19)

Oaxaca Grill–508 Henderson St. (Mexican) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Not strictly a Oaxaca style restaurant, but the Oaxacan mole is recommended. Note: the menu seems to indicate this is a serious sit-down restaurant (not a taqueria or fast food style place). (5-7-19)

Pho Thien Long–615 F St. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Good choice for Asian food if you don’t want the curry or spicy food served at the Cambodian restaurant  (5-7-19).

Fairfield

Koong Jyun–740 Texas St. (Korean) Closed Sun & Mon. Korean barbecue is good. They are generous with the side dishes, and the green onion pancake is very popular. Some say that it does not compare to big city Korean restaurants. (Some say Hot Stone Korean Kitchen and Koreana are better but so expensive they don’t like to go there). (3-31-19)

Pikul Thai Bistro–1305 Gateway Blvd. (Thai) Open Daily.  New restaurant that so far is impressing reviewers with Thai food done the right way–excellent flavors and execution. (3-31-19)

U-IT Filipino Cuisine–3035 Travis Blvd. (Filipino) Closed Sat evening, closed Sun & Mon.  Home cooking style Filipino food (this is the reason some like it and some don’t–the food is not upscale or even commercial). (3-31-19)

Fort Bragg

Asian Fusion Sea Valley–301 N. Main St. (Thai) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  I don’t know what is going on with Thai food in Fort Bragg, but this restaurant seems to be as good as Nit’s Cafe (very authentic with good flavor). I think the difference, though, is that this is northern Thai food, and possibly Lao. Like Nit’s Cafe this is a family run business, and service is slow if they have a lot of customers. (6-11-19)

Nit’s Cafe–322 N. Main St. (Thai) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Many say this is some of the best Thai food ever (photos indicate that it is upscale and authentic).  However, it is a one-woman operation and service is somewhat sporadic, depending on the crowd in the restaurant. (6-11-19)

Princess Seafood Market–32410 North Harbor Dr. (Seafood) Open 10 am to 6 pm (Closed Tue).  This is a seafood market with a deli where they serve food on picnic tables (I don’t know if they are indoors or outdoors). Reviewers say the food is definitely worth it. (6-11-19)

Fresno

AJ’s Armenian Cuisine–5048 N. Maroa Ave. (Armenian) Closed Sun & Mon.  The menu includes many items which seem to be from countries other than Armenia, but the Armenian items are ones that many reviewers say are like the ones made by their families (that is, the reviewers that are Armenian). (5-29-19)

B & K Asian Kitchen–1276 N. 1st St. (Lao) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Tue).  Very highly rated & rec. by Doug in Mesa. Chicken laap has authentic Lao sour flavor. (5-29-19)

Diana’s–3050 W. Shaw Ave. (Armenian) Closed Sun.  Serves Armenian and Persian food (mostly kebabs according to the photos on Yelp). Has good reviews, has an upscale atmosphere, and people say the Middle Eastern music is very pleasant. Has reviews for the falafel, lentil soup, etc., so the menu is varied (but most people seem to like the kebabs). (5-29-19)

La Kebrada–1042 N. Marks Ave. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening.  This seems to be an excellent budget (usually $10 or less) Mexican restaurant with a large menu (not just tacos) and flavorful sauces on the burritos, enchiladas, etc. Also has some unusual dishes such as veggie fajitas and salmon. The menu says they have traditional Oaxacan style chicken mole (for less than $10!). (6-2-19)

Lao Cafe–3255 N. Cedar Ave. (Lao) Open 10 am to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Lao people recommend it (the spice level here is extremely hot, so order less than you would at a Thai rest.). Red curry and bamboo soup (not on the menu) are a couple of recommended dishes that look interesting. Note: I have had curry in the Lao restaurants in Amarillo, and I would rate this as one of the top Lao dishes. (5-29-19)

Esperanza’s Cocina–1521 Kern St. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Shares space with Ofelia’s Barber Shop, so some call it Ofelia’s Cocina. Small restaurant with food that tastes home made. Most people recommend pozole, but I saw photos of the red enchiladas and these look legit. (6-2-19)

PhilHouse–6048 N. 1st St. (Filipino) Open daily 8 am to 8:30 pm.  This is a food court restaurant located inside a grocery store, so it is very casual (with very cheap prices for what you get). Some photos on Yelp are of items I have not seen anywhere else, so the selection looks very impressive and interesting to try. (6-2-19)

SabaiDee–5730 N. 1st St. (Lao) Open until 9 pm (closed Sun).  Serves both Thai and Lao food, and reviewers say they do both correctly (as it is served in these countries). To me this would be an interesting place to not only enjoy the food, but to “study” it and discover the differences in these cuisines. For Lao food the papaya salad, larb gai, curry dishes, nam toke Lao style and the refreshing young coconut are some of the recommended items. For Thai the crispy tofu pad thai and pad see ew are a couple of the recommended items. Green curry is the most recommended curry. (5-29-19)

Kingsburg

Jeb’s Swedish Creamery–382 W. Sierra (Ice Cream) Open daily (11 am to 6 pm).  Home made ice cream. Some of the flavors have local fruit (the selection of flavors is one of the things that make the place interesting). (6-11-19)

Kady’s Country Kitchen–1701 Simpson St. (Swedish) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Swedish pancakes are the most popular item. (6-11-19)

Lancaster

The Thai Restaurant–44759 Sierra Hwy. (Thai) Closed Sun.  I don’t see claims that it is authentic, but reviewers say it is delicious and uses Thai ingredients such as galanga and lemongrass (in the tom kha soup). Most recommend their signature dish, the eggplant and shrimp dish (this is something you are not likely to find in other restaurants, even in L.A.). (6-11-19)

Mendocino

Trillium Cafe–10390 Kasten St. (New American) Open daily (closed between 2:30 and 5:30 pm).  Upscale dining–you’re paying for the view of the ocean.  Food is fresh and healthy. Can get sandwiches and other items that are not too expensive (fish tacos are recommended). Reviewers mention that the reuben has fresh sauerkraut. (6-11-19)

Merced

Noah’s Vietnamese Fusion–1327 W. 18th St. (Vietnamese) Open 10 am to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Has bun bo hue and other dishes that reviewers say you would otherwise have to go to San Jose to find. (5-29-19)

Modesto

Lan Xang Kitchen–411 H St. (Lao) Open 9 am to 6:30 pm (closed Sun).  Many reviewers say this is their favorite Asian hole in the wall place in Modesto. Is not strictly Lao–many like the Thai and Vietnamese dishes. (5-29-19)

Skewers Kabob House–821 L St. (Persian) Open Daily.  Almost everyone says to order the saffron chicken. Everything seems to be good quality. (5-29-19)

Mojave

Mojave Thai Cuisine–16870 State Hwy 14 (Thai) Closed Sat (open Saturdays during the winter).  Reviewers say this is big city quality Thai food in a very out-of-the-way place. Curries are especially recommended. Note: Thai Garden in Rosamond also has good reviews and is open Sat. (6-11-19)

Monterey

Crepes of Brittany–211 Alvarado St. (Creperies) Open daily 7 am to 4 pm.  Popular mostly at breakfast. Strawberries, bananas, apples, etc. are popular on the crepes. (6-27-19)

Monterey’s Fish House–2114 Del Monte Ave. (Seafood) Lunch Mon-Fri; dinner daily.  Oysters are the specialty. Much of the food is upscale like Old Fisherman’s Grotto but also has lower priced items. This is not located on the waterfront. (6-27-19)

Old Fisherman’s Grotto–39 Fisherman’s Wharf (Seafood) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm.  Seafood restaurant on the waterfront. It is said they invented “Monterey style” clam chowder, but in any case people like this as well as the other food served. Prices run from about $15 for clam chowder or salad to $25 or more for a regular plate (lunch menu). (6-27-19)

Poke Time–484 Lighthouse Ave. (Hawaiian) Closed Sun.  Popular and highly rated place for poke bowls. (6-27-19)

Siamese Bay–131 Webster St. (Thai) Open daily except Sun lunch.  I looked through reviews of several Thai restaurants and this seems to be the only one that has all of the following: Thai style pad thai, curry that is not too sweet, spice level that is as high as it should be. (6-27-19)

The Crown and Anchor–150 W. Franklin St. (British) Open Daily.  Serves British style fish and chips, as well as other goodies such as chicken pot pie. (6-27-19)

Wild Plum–731 Munras Ave. (Organic) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Reviewers say breakfast is very good. Service is sometimes slow (but this is the type of food that may take a while to prepare). Has house made bread and soup. (6-27-19)

Napa

Bistro Don Giovanni–4110 Howard Ln. (Italian) Open Daily.  Highly rated Italian food. People particularly like the pasta dishes (the pasta is made in house). Usually busy, so people suggest going in the off times if possible. (2-3-19)

Foodshed Take Away–3385 Old California Way (Pizza) Closed Mon.  This is a very high quality pizza place with Italian wine. Many recommend the burrata pizza. (2-3-19)

Heritage Eats–3824 Bel Aire Plaza (International) Open daily 11 am to 8:30 pm.  Has a wide variety of cuisines (but mostly Asian) and is fusion in the sense of mixing and matching different items. Each item keeps the identity of its cuisine, though, and some of the recommended ones include bao, pork tacos, banh mi, lemongrass pork, falafel, and Jamaican jerk chicken. Reviewers say it is all good, and you can’t go wrong with any of it. (2-3-19)

Oakhurst

Erna’s Elderberry–48688 Victoria Ln. (Fine Dining) Open daily (dinner only)–lunch on Sun.  Very expensive, but people consistently say the meals here were some of the best of their lives. Owner is from Austria. Menu is fixed, but you have a choice of meat or vegetarian. There are many fine dining restaurants in Cal. but this seems to be one of the best, and worth splurging. (6-11-18)

Pacific Grove

Passionfish–701 Lighthouse Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily (dinner only).  Upscale–better fish than other places but less expensive (it is not on the waterfront, though). A Chowhound favorite. (6-27-19)

Vivolo’s Chowder House–127 Central Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Known for its chowder, but it appears to be a less expensive alternative to the upscale restaurants to get good seafood. (6-27-19)

Pismo Beach

Brad’s–209 Pomeroy Ave. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Most say these are the best fish & chips in town. Many also say it has the best clam chowder, but many like Splash next door (Splash has different toppings for the chowder which people like). Also has breakfast. (7-7-19)

Placerville

Taste of Europe–545 Main St. (Czech) Open 11:30 am to 8 pm (closed Tue & Wed).  Czech restaurant that has a very good presentation of the country’s most popular dishes. Reviewers think the meat dishes that come with sauce or gravy are best. (2-25-17)

Timmy’s Brown Bag–451 Main St. (Sandwiches) Breakfast Wed-Sat; lunch Mon-Sat.  Five star rating on Yelp–these seem to be some of the best sandwiches you can find anywhere. Portobello and leek, pulled pork, corned beef, etc. Not upscale–just high quality ingredients. (2-25-17)

Red Bluff

Sully’s–2620 Montgomery Rd. (American) Open Daily.  Located at Oak Creek Golf Course. Upscale restaurant that ranges from fine dining (steaks, etc.) to less expensive items (such as fish tacos). I do not see any reviews for breakfast, but apparently they are open then. (2-22-19)

Redding

Champa Garden–1107 Hilltop Dr. (Lao) Open Daily (closed from 3:30 to 4:30 pm).  Reviewers say it is owned by Champa Garden in Oakland, and that the food is similar (big city quality). (2-25-17)

Mae Ploy Thai–2600 Churn Creek Rd. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Many say Nipa’s (the former restaurant) was the best Thai in north state. They now say Mae Ploy is as good or better. (2-25-17)

Roquitos Taqueria–2605 S. Market St. (Mexican) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Of interest not only because it is very authentic, but also because these are some of the best tacos you will find (according to reviewers). (2-25-17)

Rohnert Park

Sam’s Mediterranean Cafe–613 Martin Ave. (Middle Eastern) Open Mon-Fri (breakfast & lunch only).  There are not many restaurants on Yelp that get a five star rating, but this is one of them. Casual restaurant in an industrial that mainly serves sandwiches (falafel, gyro, chicken, etc.). (2-25-17)

Rosamond

Thai Garden–3030 Sierra Hwy. (Thai) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Good reviews from people who seem to know authentic Thai food. Pad prik khing (one of my favorite dishes) is one of the recommended dishes here. (5-3-17)

Sacramento

Banh Cuon Tay Ho–6840 65th St. (Vietnamese) Closed Thu. A mini-chain located in several cities, and since one of them was Oklahoma City I am able to say that I’ve tried it and liked it. The specialty is banh cuon (rice sheet wraps). Good food, but I am careful to ask for things without MSG (which may limit the choices). (2-22-19)

CF Cheng–2063 Arena Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Has a Chinese menu with authentic dishes such as clay pot (this takes about 30 min. to prepare).  Good reviews for the food. (2-22-19)

Chando’s Tacos–863 Arden Way (Mexican) Open Daily. Excellent taco truck with “cheap eats” Mexican food. They say it’s so hard to decide which taco is best you’ll want to order several (but the tilapia is especially recommended). (2-22-19)

Cielito Lindo–3672 J St. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  Authentic food with items such as mole poblano, conchita pibil, and other items that might be found in a Rick Bayless restaurant. (2-22-19)

El Amigo–5722 Folsom Blvd. (Mexican) Open Daily. This seems to be old school California style Mexican food, and it is very popular. Chicken mole enchiladas are popular. (2-22-19)

Fogo de Minas–2606 Gateway Oaks Dr. ( Brazilian) Open Daily.  The thing that made me put this on the list is comments that say it is both good and affordable (Brazilian food is not usually very applicable to the second category). (2-22-19)

Hao Bao Dumpling House–6821 Stockton Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily until 8 pm.  Very popular place, not only because of the food but also the prices. Boiled dumplings are recommended. (2-22-19)

I-Shanghai Delight–1115 Front St. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Authentic food including xiao long bao. The reviews make me think it is quite good and very worthwhile. (6-11-18)

June’s Cafe–921 V St. (Japanese) Open Mon-Thu (lunch only).  Home style Japanese comfort food that people say is very good. It has been operating in the same place for over 20 years. (6-11-18)

Lemon Grass–601 Munroe St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (and closed from 2 to 5 pm). Highest rated Asian rest. in SAC (when I used to be able to get these ratings on Urbanspoon). Yelp reviewers say that it is Americanized (but still good). I would go to Banh Cuon Tay Ho (it is very authentic) but this one looks as if it is good as well. (2-22-19)

Osaka-Ya–2215 10th St. (Japanese) Open daily (closes 6 pm or earlier).  This is not a Japanese restaurant, but it serves Japanese dessets such as mochi. It is said to be notable for being authentic and good. (6-4-19)

Quan Nem Ninh Hoa–6450 Stockton Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily 9 am to 8:30 pm.  Authentic restaurant that has a large variety of items. Only one of a few, though, that specializes in central Vietnamese cuisine, and the food here seems to be very good. (6-4-19)

South–2005 11th St. (Southern) Closed Sun & Mon.  Seems true to Southern cooking, but may be a little more upscale than most. Reviewers do not claim that it has reached the level of healthy food, but they say it is very good. Fried chicken, Nashville hot chicken sandwich, and po boys are popular. (6-4-19)

Yue Huang–3860 Truxel Rd. (Chinese) Open daily to 10 pm.  Authentic Cantonese food that reviewers say is on par with restaurants in San Francisco. Well known for its dim sum, but menu offers a large choice of items (dim sum may not be comparable to SF though). They say that if they do not have the dim sum item you want it can be prepared in the kitchen (for me this is a good sign that the dim sum is prepared in house). (6-4-19)

Zocalo–1801 Capitol Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Chicken mole, guacamole made in a molcajete, chile relleno are good. $$ price range. Seems to be California style (not interior Mexican), but very good for this type of food. Has an outside patio where you can take your dog. (6-11-18)

Note: also see listings for Carmichael and West Sacramento

Salinas

Culturas–473 E. Market St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  This is supposed to be a “Hidalgo and Oaxaca” style restaurant. I’ve been to Hidalgo, and I’m not sure there is such a thing as Hidalgo style food. Nevertheless, reviewers rave about this restaurant (including the Oaxacan style mole). (5-17-17)

La Fogata–232 Main St. (Mexican) Closed Tue.  I get two stories about this restaurant. Some Chowhound reviews going back a number of years say it is excellent and authentic. Some newer Yelp reviews say it is actually Mexican-Japanese fusion, and that the fusion doesn’t really work. It has the same owners, though, so I think the tastes of some of the people have changed and not the restaurant. (5-17-17)

San Luis Obispo

Oasis–675 Higuera St. (Moroccan) Dinner only (closed Mon).  The people who like this restaurant really love it. Has some negative reviews for the service (I think mostly from people who are not that excited about Moroccan food). The strange thing is that they recently opened another restaurant in Pismo Beach (also called Oasis) and that one has better reviews (same food but better service). However, new restaurants usually have the best reviews and over time I think one of these restaurants will emerge as the consensus winner. (7-7-19)

Taste–2900 Broad St. (New American) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  High quality burger, sandwich, soup, and tapas restaurant. One of the keys to its popularity is the small plate mix and match concept. (7-7-19)

Thai Boat–3212 Broad St. (Thai) Open Mon-Fri only.  Authentic Thai (owners go to Thailand frequently). The down side is that the restaurant is frequently closed (the owners go to Thailand). Pad thai and yellow curry are the most recommended items (pad thai may be Chiang Mai style). (7-7-19)

Santa Barbara

Empty Bowl–38 W. Victoria St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Perhaps the best Asian food in the city. Expensive and located in a food court, but reviewers say the Thai food is quite good. (6-11-18)

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company (Seafood) Open Daily.  Very popular place on the beach. Very busy at times, but you can speed up the process by ordering from the outside window and eating on a bench outside. Appears to have good prices for good seafood. (6-11-18)

Stone Age–415 N. Milpas St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Authentic Sichuan style food. From the photos it looks very good. (6-11-18)

Santa Cruz

Charlie Hong Kong–1141 Soquel Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 11 pm.  Inexpensive, highly rated, and popular. Probably not very traditional, though. Food is healthy, gluten free, eggs removed, etc. (but I’m not sure if it’s in all dishes or just some). Probably worth a visit to see what they can do with this concept. (5-17-17)

Laili–101 Cooper St. (Afghan) Closed Mon.  Classified as Afghan and Mediterranean. I think it has Afghan food combined with local fruit and produce prepared Mediterranean style such as arugula salad, pear flatbread, etc. To me it seems like the best of both cuisines. (5-17-17)

O’Mei–2316 Mission St. (Chinese) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Tue-Sun.  Expensive, high quality food. Dumplings are home made. Reviewers like the flavors. Has some unique dishes such as apricot almond chicken (this may not be authentic but is a favorite with diners). Reviewers say the food is both standard (authentic) and creative (such as the apricot chicken). (5-17-17)

Pono–120 Union St. (Hawaiian) Open Daily.  Cheap, healthy, and good tasting food. Has a dog friendly patio. Has poke and Hawaiian plate lunch style food. (5-17-17)

Santa Rosa

Best of Burma 2–528 7th St. (Burmese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say the food is very good. Tea leaf salad is recommended. (4-18-19)

Bird & The Bottle–1055 4th St. (New American) Open Daily.  Apparently owners are Jewish and Korean, and menu has both types of items. In addition, this is supposed to be the number one place in town for seafood. Has some upscale items but mostly it is very affordable. (4-18-19)

Khoom Lanna–107 4th St. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:00 pm).  “Real” Thai food (reviews indicate that it’s true). (4-18-19)

Sazon–1129 Sebastopol Rd. (Peruvian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say it has excellent Peruvian food, but price is an issue (it’s also good to get reservations). (4-18-19)

Solvang

Bit O’Denmark–473 Alisal Rd. (Danish) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  The only restaurant in town I can find that serves authentic Danish food. Apparently has smorgasbord (lunch & dinner), but can order from the menu also. Reviewers generally think the price is high, and some say the quality is not quite there (but I think like any restaurant, some items are better than others). (5-17-17)

Danish Bakeries (there are several in town). One review on Yelp compares all of them with the following results (5-17-17):

  • Birkholm’s Bakery–460 Alisal Rd.  Best Cheese Danish
  • Danish Mill–1682 Copenhagen Dr.  Best Danish Waffle
  • Mortensen’s–1588 Mission Dr.  Best Pistachio Bar
  • Olsen’s–1529 Mission Dr.  Best Marzipan Pastries
  • Solvang Bakery–438 Alisal Rd.  Best Danish Bread (pastries are not as good as the other places)

Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates–1679 Copenhagen Dr. (Candy store) Open daily 9 am to 5:30 pm.  Eric Dowdle on the show “Painting the Town” visited Solvang and recommended this as one of your “must visit” places. The recipes are from Denmark. They are best known for the chocolate candy and the ice cream. (5-17-17)

Paula’s Pancake House–1531 Mission Dr. (Danish) Open daily 6 am to 3 pm.  Mostly known for its Danish pancakes. (5-17-17)

Solvang Restaurant–1672 Copenhagen Dr. (Danish) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Best known for its aebleskivers (very good topped with raspberry jam). Also has Belgian waffles. (5-17-17)

Sonoma

La Salette–452 1st St. E. (Portuguese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:00 pm).  Excellent reviews. Rest. is expensive, but worth the price. Authentic Portuguese, but also has Brazilian dishes. Soup and Portuguese stew are recommended, along with the entrees. Has 3 oz. wine tasting menu. (2-3-19)

Taste of the Himalayas–464 1st St. E. (Nepali) Open daily except Mon lunch.  Reviewers say the taste is close to the way it is in Nepal. (2-3-19)

South Lake Tahoe

My Thai–2108 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Thai) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 5 pm). Owner is Indonesian, but reviewers say the Thai food is “authentic.” The curries have good reviews, so whether they are actually Thai or Indonesian, this seems to be a good thing to order. The main problem here seems to be the time it takes to get the food. (2-22-19)

Orchids Authentic Thai–2180 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 4 pm). Has items on the menu not normally found in Thai restaurants. Reviews say the Thai food is more authentic here than at My Thai but the service is not as good. (2-22-19)

Sprouts Cafe–3123 Harrison Ave. (Vegetarian) Open daily 8 am to 8 pm. This is in keeping with the “healthy” part of the mission statement for this list (apparently the “good food” criterion also applies). It is not strictly vegetarian–has tuna, turkey, and other meats. (2-22-19)

Taste of Europe–4125 Lake Tahoe Blvd. (Czech) Open daily except Wed lunch.  Not only seems to be very good food, but also good compared to other Czech restaurants. Goulash and stroganoff are recommended. (2-22-19)

Stockton

Bayon–2233 Grand Canal Blvd. (Cambodian) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Very casual, but perhaps more of a sit-down restaurant than Mitaphaep. It seems to be a good place to explore Cambodian food and find out what is good by getting things that are “safe” without sacrificing the authentic experience. Many dishes like noodle soup and things that are similar to Vietnamese food. (6-11-18)

Mitaphaep–8028 N. Eldorado St. (Cambodian) Open daily until 8 pm (7 pm on Sunday).  Reviews are good and they say food is authentic. Sour soup is similar to Vietnamese canh chua and kathiew (beef noodle soup) is similar to pho (but many think they are better). Cash only. (6-11-18)

Tita’s Ihawan Filipino Cuisine–6 W. Main St. (Filipino) 10am to 7pm (9-2 on Sun).  Casual restaurant with food served on paper plates. Reviewers say it tastes home cooked and it is cheap. (6-11-18)

Tokyo Ramen–5620 N. Pershing Ave. (Japanese) Open Daily.  Good reviews and they have a large variety of ramen dishes (as well as other Japanese food). (6-11-18)

Suisun City

Sukhothai–258 Sunset Ave. (Lao) Closed Mon (and closed from 3:30 to 5 pm). Lao sausage is very good. Has Thai and Lao food (both are popular). (2-22-19)

Tracy

Papa Urb’s Grill–549 W. Clover Rd. (Filipino) Open Daily.  Excellent & cheap food.  Part of Stockton’s large Filipino community. Adobo and sisig are popular. (2-25-17)

Ukiah

Lili Pad–311 N. State St. (Korean) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Korean fusion, but it’s not dumbed-down Korean, but rather Korean combined with American (such as the bulgogi sandwich). Crepes are recommended for dessert. (2-25-17)

Tastebuds–405 S. State St. (Caribbean) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  A vegetarian and vegan restaurant that will make you really enjoy this kind of food. Specializes in Caribbean style food (such as jerk tofu). (2-25-17)

Vacaville

Buddha Thai–2060 Harbison Dr. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  People come from surrounding towns to eat here. Best dishes are pad thai, drunken noodles, pad see ew, and basil dishes. (3-31-19)

Clay Oven–400 Orange Dr. (Indian) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm. Good Indian food (northern style) with generous servings. Is in a rather old, downscale neighborhood, though. (3-31-19)

Muay Thai–3039 Alamo Dr. (Thai) Open Daily. Serves Thai and Lao food, and I think the Lao dishes really set it apart from other Thai restaurants with a flavor that is different and that people like. The owners say the menu includes “original Isan home-style meals.” (3-31-19)

Roline’s Filipino–2048 Nut Tree Rd. (Filipino) Open daily (closes 7 pm; 5 pm on Sun).  Flavorful Filipino food that reviewers really like. One of their specialties is the halo halo (shaved ice and evaporated milk dessert). (3-31-19)

Watsonville

La Perla del Pacifico–458 Main St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Nayarit style Mexican food–specializes in seafood (shrimp enchiladas, agua chile, tilapia tacos, etc.). (5-17-17)

Uma Wan–1433 Main St. (Thai) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Reviews sound as if this is better and more authentic than the Thai restaurants in the Monterey area. Some say the green curry is not spicy enough, but yellow curry is recommended. (5-17-17)

Weed

Asian-American Bar-B-Q–10 N. Weed Blvd. (Asian Fusion) Open daily except Mon evening.  Specializes in Asian style barbecue meat.  The owner apparently is Lao, but the food is described as “Asian fusion” (and many people rave about it). (2-25-17)

West Sacramento

Vientiane–1001 Jefferson Blvd. (Lao) Closed Sun (and closed from 3:00 to 5:00 pm).  Cheap prices for good food. Reviews indicate this may be the best Lao rest. in the valley. Has good food, good service, and the proper spice level for Lao food (so go easy if you’re not used to it). (6-11-18)

Woodland

House of Shah–538 Main St. (Afghan) Closed Mon & closed Sun night.  Reviewers say it is quite good, but some think their special hot sauce makes it even better (Middle Eastern food does not usually involve eating something spicy). (2-22-19)

Yountville

Bistro Jeanty–6510 Washington St. (French) Open Daily.  Authentic French bistro. Expensive (but falls short of $$$$). One of the more popular wine country rests. (Once had a Michelin star, but patrons believe it is just as good now as before). Coq au vin one of the best anywhere. (2-3-19)

Yreka

Nature’s Kitchen–412 S. Main St. (New American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  If you can envision using the words “scrumptious” and “vegetarian” in the same sentence, then this is probably the place for you–reviewers say the food is excellent (it specializes in vegetarian but is not totally vegetarian). (2-25-17)

The Purple Plum–105 E. Miner St. (New American) Open Daily.  Healthy food–both meat dishes and vegetarian. Veggie burgers and cucumber salad are very popular. Large menu of rather upscale (but mostly healthy) items. (2-25-17)

Yuba City

Sun’s Cafe–646 Gray Ave. (Korean) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Sun).  American food, Korean food, or a combination of the two are all popular here. (2-25-17)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

CBS Sacramento (Mexican Food)

Chowhound (California)

Eater (The Essential Sacramento Restaurants)

Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

Roadfood

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (California)

Zomato (Fresno)

 

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