The 10 Best Restaurants In Greenhaven, Sacramento

| © stephanie vacher/Flickr
Catrina Pang

Sacramento’s cozy suburban community of Greenhaven, also known as The Pocket, is better known as an idyllic little place to live than as a hub for popular restaurants. Yet, it is actually home to some of the best cuisine you can find in the city. Whether you’re a resident of the neighborhood or visiting from nearby downtown, you won’t want to miss these spectacular restaurants in this homey part of California’s capital city.

1. Ravenous Cafe

Cafe, Restaurant, French

Ravenous Cafe
© Kirk K/Flickr
Ravenous Cafe is an unexpectedly urbane restaurant that serves seasonal dishes inspired by the cuisine of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Everything is thoughtfully and skillfully prepared, with excellent quality ingredients and gracious service that make dining at the restaurant a truly exceptional experience. The owner, Wade Sawaya, always makes sure that guests feel welcome. Patrons fall in love with incredible dishes like the tomato applewood smoked soup with feta cheese and micro greens, crab cakes with spicy corn tomato relish, sautéed organic mushrooms, risotto with prawns and cherry tomatoes, steak and crab, pan seared scallops over shies leaf, and the duck breast over celery root mash and a tamarind reduction, just to name a few. Lunchtime features sophisticated sandwiches like the smoked salmon, the eggplant, the steak, the fried egg topped with Manchego cheese, and the bacon, watercress, and tomato. All of the breads come from Acme in Berkeley and are the perfect texture, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They also offer amazing desserts like creme brûlée, lemon ginger sorbet, and delicious creamy gelato, with flavors including caramel sea salt, honey lavender, and port and berry. Though it also has a wonderful outdoor patio, the restaurant is rather small, so reservations are a good idea.

2. Sai Varee

Restaurant, Thai

Sai Varee | Thai Cuisine, Sacramento
Thai Cuisine, Sacramento | © Khánh Hmoong/Flickr
A bright and spacious restaurant located on the corner of one of the many buildings in the Promenade shopping center, Sai Varee is the perfect place to experience contemporary Thai cuisine. The restaurant’s name means ‘Flowing River,’ a reference to the Kwai River in Thailand, made famous by Hollywood films like ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai.’ Sai Varee’s chefs are highly skilled in the ways of presenting authentic Thai cuisine, and they put numerous hours into the preparation of the restaurant’s menu items. The owner of Sai Varee spent many years carefully selecting which items to put on the menu, making sure that everything would be made from the freshest ingredients. In addition to the regular menu with all of the classic Thai dishes, there is also a Chef’s Choice Specialty menu and a lunch menu, all of the items on which come with Jasmine white rice or brown rice and salad. Some of the most popular menu items include the pumpkin curry, crab lagoons, pad thai, spicy basil, eggplant, and cashew nut. Vegans love the drunken noodles, wonderfully made without using any fish sauce, as well as the delicious mango and sweet sticky rice dessert. In addition, the restaurant’s dishes all have no MSG, a quality much appreciated by those with allergies and the health-conscious alike. The restaurant’s decor is modern and elegant, with beautiful potted plants, wide windows, hanging lights, and images of Thailand adorning the walls.

3. Pho Bac Hoa Viet

Restaurant, Vietnamese, Asian

Pho Bac Hoa Viet, Greenhaven Dr
© Alpha/Flickr
Voted one of Sacramento’s ‘Best Vietnamese Restaurants,’ Pho Bac Hoa Viet is an enchanting family-owned Vietnamese restaurant specializing in pho and home to some of the best Vietnamese food in town. With many different combinations of rare steak, tripe, fat brisket, tendon, skirt flank, and more, the restaurant has become a favorite among pho lovers. In addition to their wide selection of delicious pho noodle soups, the restaurant offers tasty charbroiled chicken over vermicelli noodles, banh xeo, catfish in clay pot, and banh mi, as well as great Filipino and Chinese options including crispy lechon, nilagang baka, lumpia, chow fun, chow mein, oxtail in peanut sauce, and hot and sour soup. The food always comes out hot and fast, and the prices are great for the large portions. Patrons also love the Thai tea, coffee, beer, and unique boba drinks like the popular creamy avocado shake. The location is nice and clean, there’s always great music playing, the service is always fast and friendly, and the staff always remember the regulars and what they like to order. Next to a 24-hour gym, the parking lot can be very crowded, but it’s also a great place to eat after a workout. Whether you’re a lover of pho, Vietnamese, Filipino, or Chinese cuisine, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy at this hospitable restaurant.

4. New China Restaurant

Restaurant, Chinese

New China, Sacramento
© Lisa BC/Flickr
Fresh and flavorful Chinese favorites flood the menu at New China Restaurant, a local favorite for dining in, takeout, and delivery. With popular items like the honey walnut prawns, salt and pepper chicken, egg rolls, potstickers, chicken chow mein, chicken fried rice, and wonton soup, it’s no wonder New China has become the go-to spot for Chinese food in the neighborhood. Service is attentive and portion sizes are great, and people love the homey atmosphere of the place. The cute little family restaurant offers some of the most delicious Mongolian beef, chin ju chicken, eggplant, and salted cod fish you can find, and all of their food is made using healthy oils and the freshest ingredients. Even those with MSG allergies can eat New China’s food without worrying. In addition, they’ve got plenty of tasty vegan and vegetarian options, like the vegetarian General Tso or off-menu salt and peppers tofu, with tasty meat substitutes that could convince any meat eater that they are actually eating meat. Everything is reasonably priced, and if you’re too lazy to eat in, they even offer free delivery to certain places along with a minimum order. Still, people love eating at the restaurant thanks to the friendly servers and hot fresh quality food, and even if you don’t live in the neighborhood, it’s a just a short drive from downtown.

5. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Restaurant, Fast Food, BBQ

L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Florin Road
© Ernesto Andrade/Flickr
A popular Hawaiian plate lunch joint for decades, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has brought the taste and spirit of aloha to friendly neighborhoods all around the world. In its Greenhaven location, neighborhood residents have been treated to not only delicious Hawaiian food but also fantastic service. If you want to order their famous chicken katsu, for example, but can’t decide on whether you want the gravy, curry, or regular katsu sauce to go with it, they’ll let you have a selection of all three the sauces so that you can try each one. The interior is nice and clean, with lots of indoor and outdoor seating, and the food usually comes out pretty quickly. Prices and portion sizes are great as well, making the restaurant a very popular lunch stop in the area. Besides the chicken katsu, patrons also love the BBQ short ribs, fried shrimp, BBQ chicken, manapua, lumpia, udon, and saimin. They also offer a fantastic healthy menu, with great options like garlic fish with brown rice and healthy garlic shrimp. Though there are plenty of other L&L locations in Sacramento, the Greenhaven one is known for being the cleanest and most professional. Students even like the hang out at the restaurant and use it for study groups, thanks to the casual atmosphere and nice ambiance. The restaurant also sometimes hosts local music and singers.

6. Banzai Sushi

Bar, Restaurant, Sushi

Banzai Sushi, Sacramento
© stephanie vacher/Flickr
Comfortably tucked away in the beautiful Greenhaven neighborhood, Banzai Sushi is a Japanese eatery and sushi bar known as the neighborhood one stop sushi shop. The restaurant’s menu has a large variety of options including donburi bowls, bento boxes, ramen, udon, soba, and sushi rolls. The prices are good and the service is fantastic, as the servers always make sure that guests’ drinks are full and that they are happy with their food, in addition to being very friendly and quick. There’s a great selection of spicy foods for those who can take the heat, with favorites like the spicy scallop, the kinky roll topped with panko, kimchi fried rice, and the dragon roll. Patrons also love the spicy killer maki, hamachi nigiri, crispy salmon skin temaki with avocado, agedashi tofu, and the beef yakisoba. Nothing that they make is drowned in sauce, so you can really taste the complexities of what you’re eating. They also have a wonderful selection of sake, with over 30 different varieties to choose from, including the popular yuzu sake. Though the location is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, the restaurant still manages to attract plenty of people who know that the food is worth whatever effort it takes to get there. All the food is fresh and artfully presented, and there’s also a great Happy Hour you won’t want to miss.

7. Ocean Sushi

Restaurant, Sushi

Ocean Sushi, Sacramento
© Bob Hall/Flickr
If you’re in the neighborhood and craving some sushi, Ocean Sushi is one of the best places you can go. A popular spot for takeout, but also a great place to dine in, Ocean Sushi really knows how to please its customers. Both takeout and deliveries come with delicious miso soup and salad. If you dine in, they’ll bring you a free firecracker roll if you order over a certain amount. The staff is friendly and always remember what the regulars like to drink and eat. Favorite menu items include the sonomono salad, green balls, himachi carpachio, spicy scallop hand roll, chirachi, any of their spicy rolls, and the mango roll, just to name a few. People also enjoy the donburi, the combination dinner, the bento boxes, and the sesame chicken, as well as the miso soup and the hot tea. Even vegans love eating at Ocean Sushi, thanks to the many fantastic vegan and vegetarian menu items. The tempura rolls are vegan because the restaurant doesn’t use egg in their batter, the unagi sauce is free of any eel or fish, and the sweet potato tempura roll, the eggplant nigiri, garden roll, avocado roll, inner, and vegetable tempura roll are all amazing vegan-friendly options. Happy Hour is a popular time at Ocean Sushi, thanks to the fact that it features fantastic prices on beer, hand rolls, and sushi.

8. zpizza

Restaurant, Pizzeria, American, Italian

© Taku/Flickr
Inspired by California and a healthy way of life, zpizza was founded in the art colony of Laguna Beach, where creativity and craftsmanship have flourished for almost a century. A passion for great food led the company to create pizzas starting with dough made from non-GMO wheat flour prepared fresh everyday, that are hand-thrown and then fire-baked until uniquely crisp. The toppings consist of a combination of select ingredients using award-winning skim mozzarella from Wisconsin, certified organic tomato sauce, MSG-free pepperoni, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. The Greenhaven location opened in September of 2014, and since then, has captured the hearts of many neighborhood residents, thanks to its friendly and accommodating staff, self-pour beer on tap, and affordable happy hour menu during football. The space looks trendy and modern, with a mixed metal vibe. The self-pour beer is probably the biggest attraction of the restaurant, for which customers simply have to show their IDs to the host, who will explain how the taps work and provide cool wristbands for the customers to wear, which are actually used activate the beer taps. They charge by the ounce for the beers, which are changed every time the kegs run out. The pizzas, of course, are also very popular, with tasty gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

9. Edokko II

Restaurant, Japanese

Edokko, Sacramento
© Jen R/Flickr
A local favorite for udon, ramen, and other Japanese comfort food for decades, Edokko II is the little neighborhood hole-in-the-wall known for its wide variety of traditional Japanese items like teriyaki chicken, soba, hand rolls, tempura, curry, bento boxes, gyoza, and sesame chicken. One of their most popular dishes is the edokko don, which includes two shrimp tempura and breaded chicken steamed in sauce over a bed of fluffy eggs, onion, and rice. The portion is large enough for two people to share, or perfect for one really hungry person. In addition, the glass noodles, sliced beef, melt-in-your-mouth carrots, translucent onions, napa cabbage, tofu, and juicy shiitake mushrooms swimming in a sweet beef broth of Edokko’s delicious sukiyaki have earned the restaurant many loyal customers. Seating in the restaurant is limited, so many choose to call in an order and pick it up, but the staff are all extremely friendly, providing excellent service regardless of whether you choose to dine in or take out your food. If you dine in, though, you are offered free tea to go with your meal. The prices are great, and locals who frequent Edokko II will often even be sent coupons in the mail for the restaurant. Though they do have sushi on their menu, the restaurant’s patrons know that this is not the place to go for fancy trendy sushi rolls, but rather excellent authentic Japanese dishes.

10. Vientos Mexican Cocina

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican

Known as Greenhaven’s favorite Mexican restaurant since 1995, Vientos Mexican Cocina impresses its guests with the freshness and quality of its delicious food served in a fun, colorful, clean and simple environment. Everyone is treated to tasty complimentary chips with two different kinds of freshly made salsa, a unique warm type and a traditional cold one. Vientos Mexican Cocina’s delicious warm salsa is packed with flavor and one of the things that the restaurant is best known for, so you definitely don’t want to overlook it. Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include the chicken nachos, carnitas, shrimp tacos, cheese enchiladas, chile rellenos, chimichanga, and their ginormous burritos. Patrons also love the tender, fluffy rice and delicious beans, as well as the fantastic lunch specials offered at great prices. The place is often packed with locals who love not only the famous salsa and great Mexican cuisine, but also the wonderful friendly and attentive service. There’s a great outdoor patio perfect for enjoying warm summer nights or a lunch with your dog, and folks love to dine at the restaurant for family dinners, friendly outings, date nights, or even special occasions in the nice room they have for large parties. The bar offers a limited amount of draft beers and well-made flavored margaritas, and the menu even includes some great non-Mexican options like pasta alfredo and hamburgers so that the whole family can find something they’ll enjoy.

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