Best Restaurants: Sacramento, CA

Expertise Provided By: “Best Places Northern California”

33rd Street Bistro

It’s hard to top a vibrant building and decor paired with “terrific food at reasonable prices.” A hit from the day it opened, the Bistro offers Pacific Northwest cuisine, including excellent salads and soups and “large plates” of fish or chicken with grilled seasonal vegetables. Seasonal desserts as well.


Classic, authentic Italian fare prepared with the freshest ingredients at one of the region’s top restaurants. Entrees might include grilled shrimp wrapped in basil and Parma ham or handmade garganelli pasta in a Bolognese meat ragu. Vast wine list. Owner and chef Biba Caggiano is the author of seven books about Italian cooking.

Café Bernardo

Known for its exceptional brunches, this European-style cafe offers three meals per day, featuring high-quality salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and burgers as well as vegetarian selections. Three other branches in Sacramento and one in Davis, all operating under the Paragary Restaurant Group banner.

Dos Coyotes Border Café

Creative and fresh Mexican food, such as mango-charbroiled chicken quesadillas and paella burritos. Satiate your cravings at one of the five Dos Coyotes in the Sacramento area.

Fox and Goose Pub

British pub and a Sacramento institution. Down a pint over a game of darts, choose from a menu that offers traditional American selections, British fare such as bangers and mash, or California cuisine. Live music on weekends.

Lemon Grass

Unique blend of Thai and Vietnamese cooking at this elegant restaurant “keeps getting better and better and is approaching nirvana.” Using locally-sourced organic ingredients, owner-chef Mai Pham, a best-selling cookbook author who has been featured on National Public Radio, whips up scrumptious meals.

Mulvaney’s B & L

Patrick Mulvaney’s 2006 restaurant, featuring New American cuisine, set the tone for a downtown culinary revival. You can dine inside or outside on the lovely patio and choose from a revolving daily menu that might included a starter of house-smoked salmon, followed by grilled Hawaiian ahi and a whimsical dessert Ding Dong.

Paragary’s Bar & Oven

Using numerous ingredients from its own garden, this member of the Paragary restaurant empire features southern French and northern Italian cuisine, including pizza from wood-burning ovens, mesquite-grilled entrees with Italian accents, house-made pastas, and luscious desserts.

Rio City Café

Pleasant eatery on the Sacramento River serves up a mixture of Southwest and California cuisine. Wine list features quality selections from California vineyards.

Tapa the World

Wealth of choices includes small plates, paellas, grilled lamb and venison, Kobe beef. Spanish and California wines, terrific desserts. Spanish and flamingo guitar musicians play for your dining pleasure.

The Waterboy

Named after the Celtic band, this is “a bright and cheery gem,” combines the finest regional ingredients in dishes inspired by southern France and northern Italy. Monthly menus to match the season. Leave room for the heavenly desserts.

Zinfandel Grill

The two branches in Sacramento and Folsom dish up “consistently good and imaginative food.” For example -four mushroom lasagna or spiced and grilled pork tenderloin with Anaheim chiles. Award-winning desserts.

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