Note from Jeremy: This is a guest post from Chris Hamn, who until recently was a postdoc in the Dept. of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis. Thanks very much to Chris for taking the time to write up his favorite Sacramento drinking and dining spots!
This is a cross post from Chris’ own blog, Pizza, Beer, and Science. Can I just say, I’m really glad to have advice on where to eat and drink at ESA from someone who named their blog “Pizza, Beer, and Science”. 🙂
For more suggestions on where to eat and drink at ESA, go here.
For those of you from out of town visiting the Sacramento area for the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting here are a few of my favorite places to eat and drink with notes about the town and food culture.
Sacramento has a number of excellent local breweries. You can get excellent local beer at nearly any of the bars and restaurants downtown. The list below is a collection of places I have been to and would recommend that are either downtown near the event or are easily accessible via the light rail.
A bit about me and my tastes: I was a postdoc at UC Davis for a year and a half until recently moving to Kansas. I’ve never been one for fine dining so I won’t be of any help there, but I really like good food and good beer.
Capitol Garage – This is one of my favorite places to eat in Downtown, especially for breakfast/brunch. The Cap is the kind of place where most of the staff have a lot of tattoos but the food and drinks are amazing. They have a full bar and lots of local craft beer that really compliment their excellent menu. They have lots of things that foodies (for veg, vegan and carnivores) will enjoy. I should add that I have never had a bad meal here. The staff is friendly and keeps the coffee coming but sometimes they are not the fastest. They accept on-line reservation through their website and the OpenTable app.
Pourhouse – Another place to grab a delicious beer and sandwich. Pub style fair, nothing fancy but everything is tasty.
Zia’s – An Italian style deli that is a great place to get a sandwich during lunch. There is often a decent sized line because of it’s proximity to the capitol but they move quickly. They close at 6p on weekdays so plan accordingly if you want a sandwich for dinner.
Shoki – The best ramen in town with lots of options to keep it vegetarian or vegan. This is another place where I have never had a bad meal, but service can lag a bit when they are busy.
Burgers and Brew – The name says it all. Good burgers and a good selection of craft beers.
Shady Lady Saloon – If you like cocktails this is the place you will want to visit. They also have a nice menu. I should note that I like this place but it can get very loud at night and you may have to be assertive to get your order in at the bar.
Fox & Goose – A nice public house with good seating. There is often live music but I’ve found it to be a place to regroup and chat late at night. I have not tried the food here.
Dad’s – This is one of my favorite places to eat in Sacramento. Everything they make uses local ingredients and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had there. Beware, parking is a problem here because it is located in a residential neighborhood with 1 hr max parking time. But have no fear, there is a BLUE line station just up the street (4th and Wayne / Hultgren station). In my opinion, this has the best local craft beer selection in town (20+ taps).
Rick’s Dessert Diner – If you have a sweet tooth than this is where you will want to go. At any one time they have at least 20 different cakes/tortes/pies and they also make excellent shakes, all in a 50’s style diner that is open late.
Hot Italian – If you like Neapolitan style pizza than you want to come here. They do offer the traditional 12″ pizzas made with 00 Italian flour but they also offer a number of less traditional toppings that may sound odd but are delicious.
Pangea – A Belgian “Bier Cafe” with lots of imported ales on draft and a decent menu of contemporary bar food.
Firestone – This place has a large selection of craft beers (but is in no way associated with the Firestone Walker Brewery). I’ve found the food to be mediocre but the beer list is respectable.
Breweries – If you want to go and visit any of the breweries located in Sacramento I recommend the following: