Restaurant Guide–Sacramento

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  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Carmichael

Firebird Russian–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. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Shige Sushi–5938 Madison Ave. (Japanese) Lunch Tue-Fri, dinner Tue-Sat.  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). Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Tugboat Fish & Chips–7601 Fair Oaks Blvd. (Seafood) Closed Sun & Mon.  Supposedly the fish & chips are London style, and reviewers say the food is excellent. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Davis

Casablanca–640 W. Covell Blvd. (Moroccan) Open Daily.  Some Sacramento restaurants are fancy with belly dancers, but this place is small with good prices. Has two tajines and one soup (not much selection, but I think they serve the ones they think are the best). Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

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. Also in Sacramento. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Davis Noodle City–129 E St. (Chinese) Closed Tue. Handmade dumplings make it popular and authentic, but the menu is limited. Map (Dining room is open 7-8-21)

My Burma–500 1st St. (Burmese) Open Daily.  Tea leaf salad is a favorite. Reviewers warn against ordering the Burmese version of Thai dishes (such as pad thai). Their spice level is at a 1 to 5 scale, and reviewers say order at least 3 if you want it spicy at all. Has dine-in but the outside patio is the most popular place to sit. Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine–301 B St. (Middle Eastern) Open to 7:30 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Casual Middle Eastern food (sandwiches, etc.). Beef and chicken shawarma are their most recommended dishes. Note: also in Rohnert Park. Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Elk Grove

S.E.A. Bowl–9635 E. Stockton Blvd. (Cambodian) Lunch Wed-Sun; open to 7 pm Wed-Fri.  Reviewers say they like the skewers, curry, dry noodles, and noodle soup. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Folsom

Chant’el Cafe–1750 Prairie City Rd. (Coffee Shop) Closed Sun lunch & closed Mon.  Has a breakfast menu and croissant sandwiches for lunch, but most people go here for the desserts (pastries are made with original Ukrainian recipes). Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Galt

StreetZlan–415 C St. (Mexican) Lunch daily; Dinner Wed-Sat.  The vaquero tacos and battered fish tacos are examples of the “Alta California cuisine” here that elevates Mexican food beyond what is typically found. Also said to be “top picks” are the chicken sandwich and the StreetZlan burger. Map (Dining room is open 9-6-22)

Loomis

Green Elephant–5911 King Rd. (Burmese) Dinner Tue-Sat; Lunch Fri only.  Burmese restaurant on the outskirts of Sacramento with very good ratings. As with most Burmese restaurants the tea leaf salad is recommended, but here the reviewers mention a number of other dishes they like. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Placerville

Cascada–384 Main St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Upscale Mexican mixed with California and Southwest cuisine. Mexican food looks good with green chile enchiladas, etc. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Timmy’s Brown Bag–451 Main St. (Sandwiches) Lunch only (closed Mon).  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. Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Rocklin

Mezcalito Oaxacan Cuisine–5056 Pacific St. (Mexican) Closed Mon & Tue.  Reviewers say their food is classic Oaxacan with a wide selection. Has red and green mole (apparently they don’t have the black one).  Reading the reviews I think the best feature is not that they have red and green mole, but they have such a large selection of other Oaxacan dishes that you get what you cannot find at most other Mexican restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

Sacramento

Ariana Gyros & Kabobs–8785 Center Parkway (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. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Bali Kitchen–1100 Front St. (Indonesian) Open daily 11 am to 6 pm.  Located in the Old Sacramento Historic District. Some reviewers say it is very good food compared to the tourist traps which surround it. Some say this is a tourist trap itself and not authentic Indonesian. Even if the latter is true these seem to be some items that are good enough to give a sense of what Bali food is all about (the Bumbu Bali seems to be a good item). Some say there is not much to the dining room (only a couple of tables). Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Banh Cuon Tay Ho–6840 65th St. (Vietnamese) Open Daily. 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). Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Binchoyaki–2226 10th St. (Japanese) Open Thu-Sat (closed from 1:30 to 3 pm). An Izakaya style restaurant that serves everything from skewers to traditional dishes such as udon. Reservations required for dinner. There is a $25 minimum order for dine-in and an automatic 20% tip. Apparently, though, it is very authentic and not too expensive for what you get. Because of Covid they now have an outdoor patio where you can dine if you wish (and bring your dog). Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)

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. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-21)

Chando’s Tacos–5644 J St. (Mexican) Open Daily. Said to be excellent with “cheap eats.” They say it’s so hard to decide which taco is best you’ll want to order several (but the tilapia is especially recommended). Also at 863 Arden Way. Map (Dining room is open 2-2-22)

Fogo de Minas–2606 Gateway Oaks Dr. (Brazilian) Dinner Tue-Sun; Lunch Fri & Sat (closed Mon); .  Said to be a Brazilian steakhouse, but the thing that made me put this on the list was comments that say it is both good and affordable. Map (Dining room is open 8-5-21)

Frank Fat’s–806 L St. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Operated by the same family since 1939, this may be one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the country that serves quality Chinese food (not just the cheap chop suey/chow mein, etc.). I am not sure how authentic it is, but it seems to have true Chinese flavors (pot stickers, honey walnut, barbecued pork, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 9-2-22)

Hao Bao Dumpling House–6821 Stockton Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily until 6:30 pm.  Very popular place, not only because of the food but also the prices. Has house made dumplings and house made noodles. Map (Outside seating or takeout only 1-1-22)

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. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

Kin Thai–1050 20th St. (Thai) Open daily (closed 3 to 4:30 pm).  This is an upscale Thai restaurant with specialties from northern Thailand (Isan style). It is not expensive as much as just having dishes that are not available at other restaurants (many of them are Thai street food items). Maps (Dining room is open 9-6-22)

Kusina@Lumpia–4301 Truxel Rd. (Filipino) Breakfast & Lunch daily; Dinner (to 7 pm) Mon-Fri.  Items (such as lumpia) are said to be better than at other Filipino restaurants in the city (actually I think most of the other restaurants are takeout only). Lechon kawali is cooked to order and takes 15 min. (unless you call and order it ahead of time). Map (Dining room is open 9-6-22)

Mahoroba Bakery–4900 Freeport Blvd. (Japanese) Open 8 am to 2 pm (closed Mon).  This is a Japanese bakery with takeout only. Can get breakfast items  Kobe cream with custard is popular. Featured on a PBS program on bakeries in the United States. However, reviewers say that as of 2022 (after the pandemic) some items are not available that used to be on the menu. Map (Takeout only 9-2-22)

Osaka-Ya–2215 10th St. (Japanese) Open to 6 pm (closed Mon).  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. Map (Takeout only 7-1-22)

Quan Nem Ninh Hoa–6450 Stockton Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily 9 am to 8 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. Map (Dining room is open 8-5-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Taste of Angkor–4564 Mack Rd. (Cambodian) Open 11 am to 6 pm (closed Wed).  Small family run business that apparently has very good food, and photos seem to bear this out. Map (Temporarily undergoing renovation and is take-out only 7-1-22)

Tu Quy Cafe–6519 Savings Pl. (Vietnamese).  Small restaurant in a large commercial center full of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants. Rather than competing with each other, though, it seems that each one specializes in certain things. In the case of this restaurant reviewers say to get the duck porridge. Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

Yue Huang–3860 Truxel Rd. (Chinese) Open daily to 9 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). Map (Dining room is open 1-1-22)

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. 3 other locations. Map (Dining room is open 7-21-21)

West Sacramento

Vientiane–1001 Jefferson Blvd. (Lao) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 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). Map (Dining room is open 9-2-21)

Woodland

House of Shah–538 Main St. (Afghan) Closed Sun evening and Monday.  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). Map (Dining room is open 7-1-22)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

The following are locally owned restaurants that are distinguished by their timeless appeal, and which serve quality food that represents the character of their communities:

  • Sacramento: Frank Fat’s–806 L St.

Sources:

James Beard Foundation (America’s Classics Award Winners)

CBS Sacramento (Mexican Food)

Chowhound (former web site)

Eater “24 Exceptional Restaurants in Sacramento”

Eater “The Central Valley is the Heart and Soul of California” (Mexican Food)

Google Maps

Roadfood

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

Yelp (California)

 

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