Sacramento and the Gold Country Restaurants

American, Italian, and Mexican are common Gold Country fare, but chefs also prepare ambitious European, French, and contemporary regional cuisine that mixes California ingredients with international preparations. Grass Valley's meat- and vegetable-stuffed pasties, introduced by 19th-century gold miners from Cornwall, are one of the region's more unusual treats.

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  • 1. Alchemy Cafe

    $$ | American

    A casual spot on the eastern edge of town with yellow walls and artsy French posters, Alchemy serves sturdy comfort food like braised lamb shank...Read More

  • 2. Biba

    $$$ | Midtown | Italian

    Celebrity chef and owner Biba Caggiano's elegant yet comfortable haven of northern Italian cuisine, opened in 1986 near Sutter's Fort, stands...Read More

  • 3. Camden Spit & Larder

    $$$ | Downtown | American

    Upscale London haberdasheries reportedly inspired the aesthetic of this impeccably designed, pressed-metal-ceilinged paean to spit-roasted,...Read More

  • 4. Carpe Vino

    $$$ | American

    What started as a boutique wine retailer has become a must-visit experience for foodies who appreciate the hearty and imaginative French-inspired...Read More

  • 5. Magpie Cafe

    $$$ | Midtown | American

    This Midtown eatery with a vaguely industrial look and a casual vibe takes its food seriously: nearly all the produce is sourced locally, and...Read More

  • 6. Smith Flat House

    $$$ | American

    Carefully sourced ingredients from local purveyors, meticulous execution, and a historic setting at a former mine site have made this restaurant...Read More

  • 7. Taste

    $$$$ | American

    A serendipitous find in downtown Plymouth, Taste serves eclectic modern dishes made from fresh local fare. Phyllo-wrapped mushroom "cigars"...Read More

  • 8. The Firehouse

    $$$$ | Old Sacramento | American

    Sacramento's rich and famous including California governors going back to Ronald Reagan settle into the elegant spaces within the city's restored...Read More

  • 9. The Waterboy

    $$$ | Midtown | European

    Rural French cooking with locally sourced, seasonal, high-quality often organic ingredients is the hallmark of this upscale white-tablecloth...Read More

  • 10. Allez

    $$ | French

    The tale of how the couple running this spot for to-go or dine-in French food came to be husband and wife says all one needs to know about their...Read More

  • 11. Aria Bakery & Espresso Cafe

    $ | Bakery

    For a place as small as it is, this bakery café often smelled before seen turns out a staggering array of sweet and savory pastries, sandwiches...Read More

  • 12. Auburn Alehouse

    $ | American

    Inside the historic American Block building, which dates to 1856, you can see this craft operation's beers being made through glass walls behind...Read More

  • 13. Awful Annie's

    $ | American

    One of Auburn's favorite old-time breakfast and lunch spots entices patrons with waffles, pancakes, Monte Cristo French toast, and a slew of...Read More

  • 14. Bistro 33

    $$ | American

    This striking venue, in and outside what long ago was Davis City Hall, does brisk business well into the evenings. Wood-fired pizza and a diverse...Read More

  • 15. Cafeteria 15L

    $$ | Downtown | American

    The exposed brick, reclaimed wood, mismatched chairs, and natural light streaming through large-paned windows of this easygoing hangout for...Read More

  • 16. Castillo's Mexican Restaurant

    $ | Mexican

    Tasty tacos, enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and burrito combinations plus chimichangas, fajitas, steak, and seafood are served in this casual...Read More

  • 17. Charles Street Dinner House

    $$$ | American

    Centrally located Charles Street, its rustic decor heavy on the wood and Old West adornments, at once evokes gold-rush days and the 1980s, when...Read More

  • 18. Cirino's at Main Street

    $$ | Italian

    A family-owned spot with exposed brick walls, a tall ceiling, and a well-worn bar and floor, Cirino's serves up a vast menu of hefty Italian...Read More

  • 19. Cousin Jack Pasties

    $ | British

    Meat- and vegetable-stuffed pasties are a taste of the region's history, having come across the Atlantic with Cornish miners and their families...Read More

  • 20. Diamondback Grill and Wine Bar

    $ | American

    The bright decor and refined atmosphere suggest more ambitious fare, but massive half-pound burgers and sandwiches like the Ultimate Grilled...Read More

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