2000 Capitol Ave Sacramento, Ca 95811
Waterboy is and has been, one of my dinner favorites. It’s a classy place to celebrate an anniversary, a special birthday, or a fine date. Their menu consists of a blend in Italian, French, & Californian cuisine, and is focused on seasonal and local ingredients which they do a phenomenal job with!
The service is always wonderful, well-paced, and tasteful- just like the menu.
If you’re a fan of eating seasonal and supporting northern California’s farmers- Waterboy is for you.
Their menu is artistic, considerate, and delicious.
Check out their beautiful website here: Waterboy Restaurant
2. Hawks Provisions and Public House
1525 Alhambra Blvd Sacramento CA 95816
Hawks Provisions and Public House is another one of our favorites- they make sure to use local ingredients and support small farms, which I love. (Sacramento is pretty darn good at that, as you’ll notice)
“Chef Ed Lopez II heads up the kitchen at Hawks Public House, crafting a menu focused on using the best ingredients from small farms and local purveyors. The dinner, lunch, and brunch menus each offer a wide range of shareable dishes and a well edited selection of entrees. In addition, Public House boasts a full bar emphasizing local beers and craft cocktails.” -From their website Hawks Public House
I’m always excited to check out any additions to their menu, and go all out when dining here.
The ambiance is beautiful- always warm and inviting, and I’ve never been there when it was not a full house. They serve rich flavors- with a California style that is simply crave-able.
3. Red Rabbit
2718 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
Red Rabbit is another great restaurant in the heart of Sacramento that stays true to our Farm-to-Fork Capitol status. They support sustainable farms, ranches and fisheries and always keep it local and seasonal.
What stands out about Red Rabbit is their cocktails- everything from scratch and with a creative flair. They have a great menu with some vegan options, and beer/wine selection as well!
The service here always seems to be upbeat and welcoming, nothing short of accommodating. The ambiance is lively and warm, makes for a great experience with friends and loved ones.
4. Hook & Ladder
1630 S St Sacramento CA
There’s quite a few things I love about Hook & Ladder. For starters, they have a little something for everyone. Their dinner menu (they also do brunch and happy hour) includes an array of different entrees and they are extremely accommodating to those with dietary restrictions- offering at least a few vegan options on their regular menu, and willing to alter other dishes to cater to those with preferences or restrictions.
Everything I’ve tried here has been spot-on delicious! Bright, flavorful and comforting. They even added a tapas menu recently (not sure if this is a temporary running or not) but I definitely recommend trying them if you make it in there while they’ve still got it! They did patatas bravas (potatoes with tomato sauce and garlic aioli) and gambas al ajillo (sizzling shrimp with garlic, lemon, etc.) JUSTICE.
I was swept into a reminiscent day dream of Spain…eating tapas, drinking sangria, siestas… all the good stuff. That whole essence was captured in a few small dishes at one of my favorite Sacramento restaurants!
Another thing they do great is dessert (see picture above). Not only is their presentation gorgeous, but their desserts are always so balanced and have a unique contemporary spin. My partner and I have a tradition of coming for dessert and a beverage every year in December to celebrate the holidays and another year together. One year they did a champagne poached pear served on a dollop of blueberry mascarpone (italian cream cheese) with hazelnuts……I still think about it every year. Hopefully they’ll make that one again someday! @hook&ladder HIT ME UP if you do.
I’m also a huge fan of their decor- its an industrial style design mixed with warm rustic cottage vibes…cozy and cute! My favorite! (Hygge anyone??)
5. Station 16
1118 16th St. Sacramento, CA 95814
My go-to spot when I want some crab… or some really bomb mac n’ cheese! Their focus is fresh and sustainable seafood- but they do have quite an extensive menu which is awesome!
We usually get one of the iron seafood skillets to share, and add on a couple of sides. The mac n’ cheese is a must… the first time I tried it, I was insulted. Why, you ask? Because my mac n’ cheese recipe is bomb. I took me years to perfect the bèchamel sauce and find the perfect blend of cheeses, so usually when I go out to eat, I may or may not be a little critical of mac n’ cheese. (read: I am, haha) I know the hard work that goes into perfecting it, and can tell instantly when some steps were missed, or cheated on. Station 16- knows what they’re doing on that one though! Getting sidetracked here thinking about mac n’ cheese but the point is, their food is delicious and done right- you have to try the mac.
The ambiance is fun and inviting- and they too, have that industrial theme goin’ on. Their drink menu is awesome- having sangria on your menu automatically earns you extra points in my book.
6. The Rind
1801 L street #40
Sacramento, CA 95811
Speaking of Mac n’ Cheese…. The Rind has the best vegan Mac n’ Cheese ever… Like seriously. They call it “The Masquerader Mac 2.0,” the sauce is a kale and herb pesto mixed with cashew-sunflower puree which makes it super creamy and gives none of that weird fake cheese taste that sometimes comes along with vegan (and often soy-based) options. Its also packed with artichoke hearts (my favorite), cherry tomatoes, onion and bread crumbs. So good!
They have a great wine list, some beer taps, and amazing charcuterie plates to go along with it!
Hands down one of my favorite spots to visit in Sac, and definitely the best place for charcuterie plates and wine!
7. Tower Cafe
1518 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818
Tower Cafe is a unique must-have experience in Sacramento. They opened up in 1990, and I just love what the owner states and implements about their intention.
“Owner James Seyman founded his worldly fusion eatery on Earth Day 1990, with the intent of bringing the hearts, minds and appetites of the city’s diverse population under one roof.”
They’ve done just that! Their menu is culturally diverse and offers options from multiple sides of the world. As a traveller, I love that.
Not only is their brunch phenomenal, but they have the best patio for a romantic summer evening dinner date. Twinkle lights, beautiful wooden deck, garden of trees and plants…it’s a beaut!
Its right next to tower theatre so if you’re trying to step up your “dinner and a movie” date game… this is your place. Tower theatre to catch a flick and Tower Cafe for some good eats.
8. Cafeteria 15L
1116 15th St, Sacramento, CA 95814
For starters, Cafeteria 15L has my favorite happy hour on the grid. Tons of delicious plates, wonderful drinks, and a fun, classy ambiance that allows for casual, business, dating or socializing to all be enjoyed equally, and to coexist in the same place. They serve dinner (loveable), brunch and lunch too… But their happy hour is really where its at!
Service is professional, laid back and fun.
The food is great for the price range- especially on the happy hour deals! Mac n’ cheese, sliders, shrimp haystacks…just to name a few of our favorites! (Do I talk about Mac n’ Cheese too much?)
It’s centrally located too, so it’s a great place to go if you’re planning on walking and exploring midtown Sacramento. Its right across from the capitol and rose gardens… take a stroll through before or after for an extra sac-town freshening up! Great spot for pictures 😉
3440 C St, Sacramento, CA 95816
Probably our favorite brunch spot right here! Its located in the middle of a beautiful neighborhood, and is a hit with locals and visitors. We suggest visiting on weekdays when its not as busy! Weekends here can serve up quite a wait time…however, it is worth it. Their Banana Blackberry pancakes are phenomenal and we seem to be constantly craving them! In addition to those, their list of omelettes is veggie and flavor packed (woohoo!).
Their breakfast burrito is also delish… I would basically recommend the whole menu at this point. 🙂
This place is a must try if you’re in Sacramento! Its a healthy, yet delicious breakfast spot. Get your brunch on during the week for peak experience.
Note: this restaurant is CASH only, for pretty cool reasons. Check it out:
“The name Orphan was derived from the term “orphan business”. An orphan business is a small operating business unit, which does not integrate into a larger business sector. This term is also used to indicate businesses that are not authorized, supported or funded by a larger entity; not part of a system; isolated; lacking commercial sponsors or commercial sponsorship.”
They don’t mess around with big ol banks n their loans n all that jazz. I support the movement.
Check this place out next time you need a good brunch fix!
1023 K St Sacramento CA 95814
Mother is a really great vegetarian restaurant in the heart of downtown. Located in the Crest Theatre complex, and just 3 blocks from Golden 1 center. So if you’re vegetarian (or just like good, meat-less dishes) and visiting downtown Sacramento for an event at Golden 1- Mother makes a great pick for dinner!
Their menu is unique and craveable… with many of their options being easily modified for vegan or gluten-free diners. (No GF pasta or bread though… they still yummy options!)
11. Federalist Public House
2009 Matsui Alley Sacramento, CA 95811
“FEDERALIST is the West Coast’s premiere shipping container restaurant with communal tables featuring wood-fired pizza, local craft beer & bocce.”
Lets just say this place is cool af. It’s a restaurant, but in a shipping container. AND their food is fire (ahem, that means really freakin good for those of you who aren’t familiar with calling things that are really freakin good, fire.) So that being said, who doesn’t love a wood-fire oven? Like for pizza? Thats honestly the best way to do it… (My Italian ancestors would be so proud!)
Not to mention their ice cream cookie… TWO wood fired chocolate chip cookies (yikes how amazing) with vanilla bean ice cream in the middle, AND… its dipped in chocolate then crushed pistachio nuts. I’d honestly come here just for this… however, lucky for us, they also have amazing food to get stuffed with.
Their pizzas, salads, sandwiches and small bites are all equally as amazing. We loveee the “Stanford” pizza. It has pesto, mozzarella, fontina, cremini mushrooms, red onions, arugula, tomatoes, lemon juice, evoo, sea salt. Delicious. If you haven’t tried this place, get on it!
Note: its located in the alley behind the Waterboy restaurant… so if you’re not familiar with midtown, keep this in mind. You won’t really see it from the street.
That about sums it up for now! There’s SO many good restaurants with amazing concepts, ethics and talent in Sacramento. The Midtown/Downtown area is really flourishing! Lucky us to have all these amazing restaurants to try, theres even more that aren’t listed! What are your favorites? Any favorites that I absolutely should add to this list? I know theres a lot and more are always popping up.
Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite spot to dine downtown is!
Thanks for reading!
Also; heres a few that are on my list to try:
- The Kitchen
- Beast & Bounty
Have you tried any of these? If so, let me know! Love to hear your thoughts 🙂
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