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Dining in Sacramento

Dining in Sacramento

The capital of farm-to-fork dining in the capital

Known as the nation’s farm-to-fork capital, the Sacramento area is home to nearly 8,000 acres of farmland—including many smaller, “boutique” farms—and boasts the largest certified farmers’ market in California. So it goes without saying that the city’s best restaurants are sourcing from some of the finest farms in California. Read on for a rundown of just a few.

For more than 20 years, the Selland Family has been promoting the local food movement, and nowhere is that better demonstrated than at The Kitchen. Executive chef Kelly McCown continues the culinary legacy of Randall Selland, with five-course seasonal menus including such dishes as braised Montana beef cheeks with black truffle agnolotti and Yunnan black tea shortbread. With only one seating a night, it’s not easy to score a spot, but once you do, you’re in for the kind of exceptional dining experience that has made The Kitchen the first Sacramento restaurant to earn a Michelin star.

As difficult as it can be to get a reservation at The Kitchen, it’s fortunate that it isn’t the only restaurant in town to garner attention from the Michelin guide. Another spot that’s been awarded one of their coveted stars is Localis, where the offerings can be described as American, often meatless (the restaurant is famously vegetarian-friendly), and craveable. Diners can choose between the dining room or the easier-to-book tasting menu at the chef’s counter. Also recognized for excellence by the organization are Canon and Frank Fat’s—both have earned a Bib Gourmand Award, given to more affordable restaurants that offer exceptional food and service.

Other local favorites showcasing farm-to-fork dishes are purveyors of Californian Modern American cuisine Grange, swanky Ella’s Dining Room & Bar, and homey Mulvaney’s B&L, with a menu that changes daily to reflect the seasonal harvest at local farms. Unsurprisingly, global tastes are also easy to find in the capital of diversity-rich California: For ramen that is obsessively homemade, from the broth to the tare to the noodle, there’s Shoki Ramen; fans of Cantonese cuisine have a low-key mecca in Yue Huang Dim Sum; Ethiopian cravings can be satiated at Queen Sheba; and a fixture of the city’s thriving Vietnamese community is Quán Nem Ninh Hòa.

Fifteen miles to the south of Downtown Sacramento, there’s another city that has a solid culinary reputation, and considering its history, it makes sense. Founded as a stagecoach stop for travelers between Sacramento and San Francisco, Elk Grove owes its very existence to the business of hospitality. Today, restaurants such as Old Town Pizza, West Coast Taco Bar, and Mikuni are standout dining destinations, and opportunities to savor don’t stop at restaurants—the city offers wineries and breweries as well.

Back in Sacramento proper, bookend your day with visits to spots that dispense treats of the liquid variety—kick things off with a self-described “farm-to-cup” coffee at Temple Coffee Roasters, and end the day with a craft brew or cocktail (with, in one case, an optional haircut & shave) at Bottle & BarlowRuhstaller, or West Sacramento’s Drake’s: The Barn

Insider tip: To satisfy a late-night sweet tooth, longtime Sactown fave Marie’s Donuts is open from 11 p.m. to 4 p.m. and offers a great apple fritter too.


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