Granito's in Granite Bay (near Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, Rocklin) is a neighborhood Italian restaurant with rich North Beach roots. Located in a non-descript strip center in Granite Bay at Auburn- Folsom road and Douglas Blvd this tiny restaurant serves up incredible Neopolitan food, a family atmosphere and the most entertaining staff in Sacramento. The staff is on a first name (and hug) basis with all the patrons. By the end of the evening the chef/owner had annoited me with my own personal nickname, ("Benny bag of donuts!"). This place is small and the wait was 30 minutes for a table we sat at the bar overlooking the tiny exhibition Kitchen,watching the chef/owner whip up outstanding food from a menu that changes daily. At Granito's they use only Neiman Ranch beef/ Made Rite sausages, and all foods are organic and hormone free.
The menu, with choices ranging from lamb Chops, Filet Mignon (a huge piece)to linguini with mussels, lobster, fresh calamari and wild mushroom ravioli was very well thought out and would please anyone. We opted for the Garlic Bread, 1/2 loaf. The bread, from Muzio, was grilled before our eyes, with tons of fresh roasted garlic and olive oil and was fantastic. We also ordered the Caesar Salad and it too was real good. Fresh organic greens, tasty caesar dressing, homemade (just the right crunchiness) croutons, and fresh grated parmesan, this salad stayed true to all the Caesars past. Because the wait between courses proved to be LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG our server offered us a bowl of oyster bisque. The soup was outstanding with just a hint of oyster flavor. Our entree's were chicken (free range) and shrimp for myself, and wild mushroom ravioli for my wife. My meal was incredible. The large breast of free range chicken was unusually juicy, and flavored differently than any chicken dish I have ever tasted. The shrimps were medium and cooked in the same garlic sauce as the chicken, unfortunatly there were only a few. According to Debbie, the ravioli were delicious, with a cream sauce reduction.
Watching the lone chef in the kitchen cook meals for everyone added to the meal. At 7;30 on a friday it was BUSY!!!! The chef/ owner is a falsely abrasive person, shouting orders and feigning disgust with the staff and patrons. the patrons all joke around with the staff, and the chef gets as good as he gives. We were witness to all of the menu cooked that night and all of the dishes looked unbelievable. The lamb looked to die for, grilled to absolute perfection. The regulars, (most of the patrons) were overjoyed when they saw certain entrees listed as this nights entrees. Debbie said that she would order the lamb chops when we go back. Everything looked fabulously delicious and most non-pasta dishes came with fresh steamed asparagus and garlic (the perfect amount, not overdone) with mashed potatoes.
There were some things that weren't up to par, though. The wait was very long between courses,(due to the full house and the tiny kitchen with one chef), our meal took a full 2 hours. The wine list was not made available at any time during our meal. I finally found a copy and it had some interesting if limited choices. Corkage seemed high (for Sac) at $15.00 per botle, yet a lot of diners brought their own. Our server had to go between the bar and the chef to serve our spot at the far end of the bar so water and wine were slow in coming. The place is pricey, with most entrees (ala carte) in the over $20.00 range.(But worth it!) Good that it was listed on the Entertainment card. Our bill with three glasses of wine would have been over $80.00. The card cut that to $62.00.
All in all the meal was one of the best we have ever had in Sacramento. the atmosphere was unique, the food unbelievable for the most part and if we go back we will go when it slows down about (8:30 it seemed) and get a table in the beautiful dining room adorned with photos of all things Italia. Or we may stay at the bar, the chef/owner was quite the sort, and it was interesting to see the man work.
When we return, we will take advantage of the wine tastings next door on Fri and Sat nights. We didn't know this until we were leaving. Lakeside liquors offers wine tasting at three bucks for eight hearty tastings. This is one of the best wine stores in the Sacramento area anyway and the pourings are very unique. That is why there were so many bottles brought into Granitos! You can wait for a table at Granitos there if they are busy, there was a large group there when we went by earlier.
We cannot wait to go back, the wine tasting then a most memorable meal can be had in Granite Bay.
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