I'm on a quick trip to Sacramento (from Connecticut). After perusing these boards for some recommendations and ideas and consulting with my host we have been trying to hit the "best of" for some good eats.
Lunch on Wednesday was at La Provence in Roseville. It's a beautiful setting...if I lived here I would definitely inquire about using the space for a private event. The food was good. Not great. We started with the pissaladiere saumon which would have been amazing if the salmon hadn't been quite so salty. To add insult to injury, the dough was also salty. Two of the three of us couldn't finish our first piece. (And I quibble with calling it a pissalidiere when it was really more of a flatbread pizza but, whatever...) The waitress did ask how we liked it (after she had said earlier it was her favorite item on the menu) and we told the truth. To their credit, the restaurant removed the item from our bill. Much more to my liking was the grilled vegetable sandwich - a truly delicious cold lunch on a hot day - which I would definitely order again. We also enjoyed the turkey club and the croque madame although we wouldn't go racing back to have either again.
Thursday we had a terrific lunch at the High Hand Cafe in Loomis. First, the concept is great. The restaurant sits in a giant greenhouse at the High Hand Nursery. Attached/surrounding buildings include interesting artsy shops. We enjoyed a well-spent hour or so browsing the shops after lunch. The food itself was perfect for the setting. Lots of interesting sandwiches and salads along with a selection of wood-fired pizzas. Hits at our table included the tri-tip sandwich, the chicken salad sandwich, and the orange-glazed salmon salad. No dessert as we were saving ourselves for dinner...
at Biba's...where we dined Thursday night. We started at the bar and enjoyed cocktails (lemon drop martini was excellent) and took advantage of the happy hour pricing to enjoy calamari fritti as an appetizer. We moved into the dining room and were greeted by Giuseppe, who may very well have provided the best table service I've ever experienced. He was a real character - but in a good way. The Italian accent was real, the knowledge of food was impressive (he shared stories with us about his annual 100 jars of tomato sauce marathon as well as his recipe for a meat-based ragout), and his suggestions for our meal were incredibly helpful. We began with salads - one of us ordered the mozzarella/tomato combination (but thought maybe a little more tomato would have helped the tomato to mozz ratio) - and one of us had the bean/mint/parmesan/pine nut salad - a combination that was beyond divine. Since it was Thursday, we had to try Biba's famous lasagna and, although it was delicious and we're glad we had such a quintessential Sacramento experience, I'm not sure either of us would bother to order it again, unless we were really in the mood for lasagna. In comparison, the second entree was the real winner: duck breast with honeyed grilled figs served with a summer vegetable medley. The duck was delicious and the figs were eye-openingly amazing. For dessert we shared the zabaglione with fresh fruit - another excellent choice - and one that we don't find often on menus these days. It was the perfect end to the meal - airy and creamy and mixed with fresh berries. To top things off, Giuseppe brought us a taste of the mango gelato - and we enjoyed every bite.
Still on our list (and I'll write them up): Ella for sure and either Hawks, Spetaro, or something all of you suggest...and we need to make a run to Denios and Jimboys tacos.