I was just up there for a birthday party (some call it redneck town - but I wouldn't). We went to this restaurant situated on a big creek and I thought it was very good. Kirby's Creekside in Nevada City.
Nevada City population is about 3,000 and it is a preserved gold rush town. Many of the buildings are from the mid 1800s. The ground is red dirt (iron rich) and the hills are covered with pines, oaks, acacia, and more.
If anyone is looking for a back to the salt of the earth (or the gold, if you will) historical area vacation, I would recommend this area and restaurant. Granted it is an old building, but you can sit on the patio and listen to the creek. I pictured the old miners standing in it up to their calves while they panned for gold.
For an appetizer, I ordered proscuitto wrapped prawns that rested in a creamy sauce with a few diced tomatoes. Then I had the shrimp with saffron risotto entree that was also impressive fare for such a small old town. Also on the table was a vegetarian plate that was better than many places I've seen here in Orange County. The potatoes were offered in a sliced stack of Mandolin layers melded with a light scalloped potato sauce and the red and yellow peppers were quartered and grilled. There was an offering of petite whole french green beans and a vegetable bread pudding with hints of rosemary. I could go on, but I will just say that they had a fine chef. Their wine selection was also quite attractive (Course when a place has J. Lohr Chardonnay, I like it). Dessert was a very tall slice of creamy New York cheesecake nestled between ribbons of raspberry and chocolate sauces and entertaining a few blackberrys. My only disappointment was the service, but that got better as the evening went on.
It's really hot weather up there right now - and it gets hotter later as the day nears 5 PM. It was flirting with the 100s. The hotel we stayed in was new - The Courtyard Suites - in Grass Valley. It was luxurious (except I could hear the air conditioner). Other places in town are in buildings and homes built in the 1800s - and what an experience! From our suites we could walk to the Holbrook Hotel (built 1862) where there is a full bar and restaurant. (We stayed there last time in the luxury of the bygone days - iron beds - antique dressers). Anyway, grab your old granny boots (or pack in a new pair of Viktor & Rolf's mini boots) and enjoy a time away from the big city. It's about 1.25 hours northeast of the Sacramento airport.
I am anxious to go again next year (or maybe in the winter, too) and try some more of the area's restaurants. Ciceros looked good. And, there was a great looking Mexican restaurant. I hope they are of the same level of chef appeal I found at Kirby's Creekside.
Has anyone else been to places in Nevada City or Grass Valley they would recommend?