Sacramento and the Gold Country Restaurants

American, Italian, and Mexican are common Gold Country fare, but chefs also prepare ambitious European, French, and contemporary regional cuisine that mixes California ingredients with international preparations. Grass Valley's meat- and vegetable-stuffed pasties, introduced by 19th-century gold miners from Cornwall, are one of the region's more unusual treats.

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  • 1. Allez

    $$ | French

    The tale of how the couple running this spot for to-go or dine-in French food came to be husband and wife says all one needs to know about their...Read More

  • 2. Biba

    $$$ | Midtown | Italian

    Celebrity chef and owner Biba Caggiano's elegant yet comfortable haven of northern Italian cuisine, opened in 1986 near Sutter's Fort, stands...Read More

  • 3. Creekside Cork & Brew

    $$ | American

    At shift's end, workers from Fair Play wineries gather with neighbors at this nouveau rustic roadside watering hole whose chefs prepare elevated...Read More

  • 4. Ella Dining Room and Bar

    $$$$ | Downtown | Modern American

    This swank restaurant and bar near the Capitol is artfully designed and thoroughly modern. The California–French, farm-to-table cuisine changes...Read More

  • 5. Grounds

    $$ | American

    From potato pancakes for breakfast to grilled rib eye for dinner, this bustling bistro with a series of wainscoted rooms and an outdoor back...Read More

  • 6. Lola

    $$$ | Modern American

    Riffing off the calculated flamboyance of its namesake, the gold-rush-era celebrity Lola Montez, the National Exchange Hotel's restaurant flirts...Read More

  • 7. Magpie Cafe

    $$ | Midtown | American

    This Midtown eatery with a vaguely industrial look and a casual vibe takes its food seriously: nearly all the produce is sourced locally, and...Read More

  • 8. Smith Flat House

    $$$ | Modern American

    Carefully sourced ingredients from local purveyors, meticulous execution, and a historic setting at a former mine site 3 miles east of downtown...Read More

  • 9. Taste

    $$$$ | Modern American

    A serendipitous find in downtown Plymouth, Taste serves eclectic modern dishes made from fresh local fare. The signature mushroom "cigars"—sautéed...Read More

  • 10. The Waterboy

    $$$ | Midtown | European

    Rural French cooking with locally sourced, seasonal, high-quality, often organic ingredients is the hallmark of this upscale, white-tablecloth...Read More

  • 11. Alchemy Cafe

    $$ | American

    A casual spot on the eastern edge of town, Alchemy serves sturdy comfort food like braised lamb shank over couscous, seared mahimahi, and meat...Read More

  • 12. Aria Bakery & Espresso Cafe

    $ | Bakery

    For a place as small as it is, this bakery-café produces a staggering array of sweet and savory pastries, sandwiches, salads, and desserts you...Read More

  • 13. Auburn Alehouse

    $ | American

    Inside the historic American Block building, which dates to 1856, you can see this craft operation's beers being made through glass walls behind...Read More

  • 14. Awful Annie's

    $ | American

    One of Auburn's favorite old-time breakfast and lunch spots entices patrons with waffles, pancakes, Monte Cristo French toast, and a slew of...Read More

  • 15. Bistro 33

    $$ | American

    This striking venue, in and outside what long ago was Davis City Hall, does brisk business well into the evenings. Wood-fired pizza and a diverse...Read More

  • 16. Cafeteria 15L

    $$ | Downtown | American

    The exposed brick, reclaimed wood, mismatched chairs, and natural light streaming through large-paned windows of this easygoing comfort-food...Read More

  • 17. Castillo's Mexican Restaurant

    $ | Mexican

    Tasty tacos, enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and burrito combinations plus chimichangas, fajitas, steak, and seafood are served in this casual...Read More

  • 18. Charles Street Dinner House

    $$$ | American

    Centrally located Charles Street, its rustic decor heavy on the wood and Old West adornments, at once evokes gold-rush days and the 1980s, when...Read More

  • 19. Cirino's at Main Street

    $$ | Italian

    A family-owned spot with exposed brick walls, a tall ceiling, and a well-worn bar and floor, Cirino's serves up a vast menu of hefty Italian...Read More

  • 20. Diamondback Grill and Wine Bar

    $ | American

    The bright decor and refined atmosphere suggest more ambitious fare, but massive half-pound burgers and sandwiches like the Ultimate Grilled...Read More

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