I did a search but most of the posts were from 2006 or earlier....We have made a few treks to Gold Country over the past year and would love more tips on where to get a good meal. For what's it worth, here are a few of the places we've tried:
Willow Steakhouse in Jamestown has been our go-to place because we love their prime rib melt sandwiches. We've probably gone at least 5 or 6 times now. Funny thing is that I don't think many Asians go there, because the one male waiter there recognizes us now on sight. :)
We also have eaten several times at Louie's Saloon in La Grange. This is a tiny town and the saloon is in an amazing old building. We never would have guessed that they have an amazing prime rib sandwich. Yes, more red meat, and prime rib specifically! We've taken family and friends here as well and many rave that this rivals the best prime rib they've had from places in SF (aka House of Prime Rib). Yet they are priced at a fraction of the cost of what you'd pay in the city. I think this is even better than Willow.
We also tried the Lumberyard, which is closer to Lake Don Pedro side of La Grange. This place has burgers and hot dogs, as well as beers on tap (including our new favorite IPA from a Tuolumne County brewery, Hops of Wrath). I've seen signs about their "world famous hamburger" but I wasn't that impressed. The kids liked the play area in the back (lots of toys, including a tricycle that my then 4 year old rode around the area). It used to be an actual lumberyard store, so it's huge, with a pool table and not the best ambience. But it's casual, bus-your-own-dishes kind of place and friendly folks working there. Yet I don't think it's worth the trek out there. They don't have much competition, as the only other establishment nearby is a gas station/mini-mart.
We wandered over to Coulterville one day and ended up having lunch at Coulter Cafe. There was a very friendly woman at the counter, where we ordered our sandwiches. I was surprised when first walking in, as the cafe is part of a general store. It's not a huge building, so there's limited seating (albeit very cozy booths) and you can see customers walk up to the same woman to buy toilet paper and other sundry goods. Basic solid food, but it's one of the few options when in the tiny town of Coulterville with young children (we passed a noisy bar when walking through the one street town).
In Sonora, the big city of the area, we tried Emberz. Menu looked appealing on-line, but execution was disappointing. I think they were sorely understaffed the day we went, too. Anyhow, not worth a return trip when there are so many other options.
We are heading to Sonora again tomorrow to check out a few more options so I'll update when I have more to add.