As a show of online unity heretofore unknown in the world of Sacramento food writers, we present you with a roundup of opinions from some of the best and most dedicated foodies in the Sacramento region. Seven of the most influential food enthusiasts in the area were asked for their opinions in a short poll about some of their favorite restaurants, dishes and local ingredients. Their answers may shock you (unless of course you are already devoted fans of their work, in which case their answers will seem mildly redundant to you, but hey, if you’re a fan, than be a fan all the way and drop the attitude.) The participants in this poll were Melly Elliot, moderator of the Sacramento Food Forums, http://sacramentofoodgroup.org/; Garrett McCord, writer of Vanilla Garlic, http://www.vanillagarlic.blogspot.com/; Ann Martin Rolke, writer for Sacatomato.com, http://www.sacatomato.com/, and writer of Hands Off Cooking, available at http://www.handoffcooking.com/; Jennifer Cliff, writer of Sacatomato.com and publisher of “Edible Sacramento,” www.ediblesacramento.com; Paul Somerhausen, founder of the Sacramento Epicureans dining group, http://www.sacramento-epicureans.com/; Kristy DeVaney, writer of Cakegirl’s Cakery, http://www.cakegrrl.com/; and Greg Sabin, food writer for the Sac Rag, http://www.sacrag.com/, under the name “sac-eats.”
Here is the poll:
What is your favorite restaurant in the area?
A. under $10 per person:
Greg- Angel’s Fresh Mex-Can’t beat $.99 chicken tacos, especially since they’re the best chicken tacos on the planet. It tastes like they’ve been feeding those chicken nothing but cilantro and cumin their whole adult lives. Yummy.
Kristy- Maalouf’s Taste of Lebanon
Paul- New Paris Bakery is my choice at this time. For well under $10 you can have an amazing Banh mi and a bowl of tasty Pho and leave with enough left over for seconds. Very close second is Bonne Soupe Cafe, incredible soups.
Jennifer- Dads, La Fogata, Jacks (I am a sucker for the buffalo chicken salad, probably a jenky non-food bloggeresqe response)
Garrett- Jack's, Moshi Moshi in Davis
Ann- La Fiesta, Dad's, Hoa Viet
Melly- Squeeze Inn, La Fiesta, Vientiane
B. Favorite restaurant between $10-$25 per person
Garrett- Queen Sheba, Pronto (both are delish and easy on my wallet)
Ann- Kathmandu Kitchen, Thai Basil, Taste of Thai
Melly- Cafe Bernardo (midtown), Edokko, Pho Bac Hoa Viet,Regent Chinese
Greg- Everett & Jones BBQ, always a tough choice between the hot links and the brisket.
Paul- Bamiyan, in Citrus Heights. It is a Afghan place with really good food. Something for everyone with pasta dishes, veggies, rice, meats, etc. Close second is Cafe Rolle in East Sac.
Kristy- Queen Sheba
Jennifer- Blue Nami, Pizza Antica
C. Favorite restaurant between $25-$50 per person
Jennifer- Waterboy - Le Belig - Mulvaneys – Kru
Paul- I think Biba's would win here, although you would have to have no wine to stay under $50. Otherwise, the Melting Pot, Aioli, or The Firehouse.
Garrett- Mulvaney's, Mason's
Greg- Moxie, Scott’s Seafood
Ann- Waterboy, Hidden Kitchen, Tuco's Wine Bar
Melly- Mulvaney's Building and Loan, The Waterboy, New Canton, Paragary's Bar and Oven
Kristy- Miyagi Sushi
D. Favorite restaurant over $50 per person
Paul- Hard to decide on this one. I think it is a toss up between The Kitchen, Waterboy and the Supper Club.
Greg- The Kitchen (although it’s so far above $50 per person that it should be in its own category)
Kristy- Moxie, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mulvaney's B&L
Jennifer- Masque, or my husband’s cooking
Garrett- Waterboy (dear god I love that place)
Ann- Mulvaney's (gotta have many courses)
Melly- Scotts Seafood Grill, The Supper Club, Biba, Spataro's, The Waterboy
(Note: whether or not a restaurant belongs in the $10-$25 category or the $25-$50 or the $50+ category varies depending on choice of beverage and/or ordering multiple courses and does not indicate price per entree.)
Favorite ethnic dive:
Melly- Viet Ha on Florin
Ann- Hoa Viet on Broadway
Garrett- Queen Sheba's, best ethnic food, and so yummy and filling
Jennifer- Does the Philly cheese steak shop on Sierra College count?
Kristy- Queen Sheba or Ming Palace
Paul- Hard to pick one. Bamiyan, Queen Sheba, New Paris, Pooja or New Canton do the "favorite" job depending on the weather, craving, etc.
Greg- Maalouf’s Taste of Lebanon, it’s like a Beirut flavor explosion in your mouth
Favorite local ingredient:
Kristy- Zinfandel Grapes/Zin Wines
Jennifer- Currently asparagus, cilantro, the nopales that come in my CSA box, love ‘em, arugula...okay that's the one, LOVE arugula, all other greens are inferior.
Garrett- Oh lordy... um, cilantro? Fresh bread?
Ann- the incredible variety of local honeys or anything from our backyard garden
Melly- Spoto Wine
Greg- Earth & Vine Bell Pepper and Ancho Chili Jam
Paul- Chocolate Mousse Ice Cream at Vic's. It's homemade!
Favorite entrée in all of Sacramento:
Paul- I tend to ask for what the chef makes best. I try to alternate in my orders, so I do not lose out on a new treasure by sticking too much with what I already know.
Ann- Pad Prik King with tofu at Thai Basil or anything with pork in it
Melly- Take your pick:
Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads-The Waterboy
Poached Halibut-The Supper Club
Gnocci in brown butter sauce-Biba
Iron Skillet Roasted Mussels-Paragary's Bar & Oven
Garrett- don't have one, too many to choose.
Greg- The meatloaf at Moxie. The greatest meatloaf I’ve ever eaten and with all the fixings for under $20. You cannot beat that (and if you do beat it, who cares, it’s still meatloaf and bruising isn’t an issue).
Kristy- My own cooking of shrimp or scallop would be my favorite dish, but as far as eating out goes, I'll go for the seafood bird’s nest at Hoicin Cantonese.
Jennifer- Don't have one, or it rotates. I am swayed by factors like the moon, time of day or month, season...kidding...but seriously don't have one, favorite is too permanent.
Thanks to SacEats for putting this together! If you're still curious about some of these places, check out the dining guide on the sidebar to the right.