California’s capital city is home to numerous cultural attractions, cutting-edge cuisine, and a rich history. Known as America’s farm-to-fork capital, Sacramento offers diners some of the freshest and most exciting localized cuisine in the nation. Here, we’ve compiled the some of the best restaurants in East Sacramento, from authentic French cuisine to neighborhood delis to Korean and Mexican fusion.
French Chef William Rolle opened Cafe Rolle, a quaint café and delicatessen in East Sacramento, in order to provide the town with authentic, flavorful, and exciting French food in a traditional and pleasant atmosphere. The employees all speak French, the pictures lining the interior are French, and the food is all delicious, traditional, homemade, and of course French. People from everywhere love the salmon sandwich, the croque roast beef monsieur, the regular croque monsieur, the creme brûlée, the baguettes, and especially Stacy’s Favorite, which consists of brie, garlic aioli, and roast beef on a fresh baguette. The café was even featured on the popular show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives thanks to the authenticity of its French food. The hours are a bit irregular, so make sure to check before going in.
If you’re looking for some delicious perfectly seasoned and smoked BBQ that is so good it doesn’t need sauce, MoMo’s Meat Market is the best place to go. There, you can get either a BBQ Plate or a BBQ Sandwich. Most people love the plates, which can be ordered on of four ways with any combination of your choice of ribs, tri-tip, chicken, or links. It also comes with two sides, the most popular of which are the pepper jack mac and cheese and the red beans and rice. The sweet potato pie is a favorite dessert to finish off the hearty meal. If it’s your first time there, the friendly servers will be happy to give you samples of each meat. It’s best to get to this little taste of the American South early though because they will run out of the favorites later in the day.
An extremely popular deli known for its microbrew selection, smoked meats, and huge delicious sandwiches, Roxie Deli and Barbecue is one place you don’t want to miss. Many loyal customers continue to come back everyday for the Roxie House and Meatball Mafia sandwiches, the meatloaf, and the freshly baked Dutch Crunch bread. If the giant sandwiches are too much for you, they also have a junior size. All ingredients are always fresh, the portions of meat served are massive, and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. The rotating barbecue specials of ribs, brisket, and pulled pork are also excellent. This little shop, reminiscent of a New York City deli, gets extremely busy around lunch time, so plan accordingly.
Though small and easy to miss if you aren’t keeping an eye out, Juno’s Kitchen & Delicatessen is one place you’ll definitely want to make the effort to find. Their American-style banh mi, smoked trout sandwich, roasted potatoes, and shrimp mac and cheese bring many customers back again and again. The homemade bread, fresh salads, and rich pastas are also great for those who want to eat healthy. Because of its popularity, they do often sell out of certain items like the eggplant sandwich quickly. The chef’s special is also usually a great surprise, and the amazing pesto and super Sriracha aioli truly elevate the sandwiches. It is a very tiny café, though, so ordering to go is often a good idea.
The utilization of traditional Mexican ingredients along with with new forms and combinations makes Cielito Lindo Mexican Gastronomy truly unique. With the finest locally sourced produce, the best meats, and the freshest seafood, the kitchen is constantly evolving, collaborating, and reinventing the use of colors, aromas, and textures in order to create a fusion of elements that gives their food balance and stimulates the palate. Servers happily bring samples of the mole, black bean sauce, and agua fresca to customers, and popular dishes include the Chile Poblano Relleno de Queso, the Enchiladas de Mole, and the Enfrijoladas. People also love the complimentary fresh chips and two salsas. If you are looking for authentic gourmet Mexican cuisine with a sophisticated feel, Cielito Lindo is the place to go.
Established in the spring of 2008 by Sacramento native couple Aimal Formoli and Suzanne Ricci, Formoli’s Bistro incorporates a European background to an eclectic small menu sourced from local California farmers. The unique mixed media artwork adorning the wine colored walls makes for a wonderful environment to enjoy favorites like the whiskey burger, stuffed dates, cucumber water, yam frites, habanero aioli, mussels, and poutine. Great deals during happy hour and through Groupon make the restaurant a great choice for those trying to save money, and they even have a kids’ menu if you’re looking to bring the family. A classy and unique take on American classics with French, Spanish, and Italian influence, Formoli’s is a favorite for all.
In a quaint and cozy atmosphere, La Trattoria Bohemia offers big Czech and Italian flavors. The potato pancakes, schnitzel, and chicken paprikash are extremely popular, and people also love the pizzas, pastas, and beers. With big portions and cute and quiet setting, it is perfect for a family gathering or a date night. At no other place in the area can you find such outstanding and authentic Czech beers, wine, and food. In addition, the schnitzel is comparable to those made in Germany. The airy, crunchy crust of the pizzas and quality gnocchi dishes make the restaurant a favorite for lovers of Italian food as well.
The nopal cactus is namesake of the Nopalitos Southwestern Café, a popular, cozy neighborhood nook that offers a rich variety of Mexican specialties for both breakfast and lunch. Since April 1992, Dave and Rose Hanke have run Nopalitos and turned it into a landmark in East Sacramento on the strength of Dave’s legendary muffins and the amazing pancakes. The customer service is great, food inexpensive, and customers love stopping by for Mexican classics like burritos and quesadillas. Especially popular are the tamale bowl, the chocolate chip cookies, and the Little Cactus Special, composed of layers of tortilla chips, eggs, fresh corn, and nopales scrambled together, topped with cheese, salsa, and sour cream. It is a local favorite for breakfast, and it often gets crowded for lunch as well.
Inside the restored historic Alhambra and T gas station, Tako Korean BBQ serves the best Korean and Mexican fusion quick bites in town. Popular menu items like the rice bowl, the kimchi quesadilla, bulgogi tacos, nachos, and fire chicken represent the unique variety of food at this fun spot. You can order at the counter and then sit either inside or outside the station, reminiscent of an old side-of-the-road diner. Service is friendly and fast, and it’s a great place for a casual meal with interesting flavors. Whether you are partial to Korean/Mexican fusion food or you like trying different and tasty food combinations, Tako Korean BBQ is a fantastic stop. They are even open until three in the morning Thursday through Saturday, so if you’re looking for a great late night eat, this is it.
The Kitchen Restaurant, Sacramento | Courtesy of The Kitchen Restaurant
The Kitchen Restaurant
National award winner The Kitchen Restaurant is the place in Sacramento everyone wants to go at least once in their lives, thanks to the unique dining experience it offers. The Kitchen serves a five course prix fixe demonstration dinner menu that changes every month in order to incorporate the best and freshest ingredients available, mostly from local and regional suppliers. The service also includes an interactive intermission featuring the chefs’ tasting stations, as well as a finale of fresh herb tea service and artisan coffee that is served with the dessert. In all, it takes about four hours, so don’t plan on leaving any earlier. Throughout the evening, the executive chef also comes out and explains the dinner process. Reservations are definitely needed months in advance, and you can do so by phone up to six months ahead.