Skip to main content

Style Magazine

30+ Must-Order Eats + Drinks in the El Dorado County Region

Feb 22, 2017 02:42PM ● By Style

When hunger pangs hit and a cocktail is calling your name, it can be difficult deciding where to feed your need and what to order when you arrive. Luckily, for the third year in a row, Style staffers put their taste buds together and compiled over 30 of their favorite local dishes and libations. In no particular order… 

 Two of my favorite things—carbs and vodka—come together in the Pasta alla Vodka at Papa Gianni’s Ristorante, and the result is a culinary match made in a heaven. I could eat the creamy tomato-based sauce by the spoonful, and don’t get me started on the perfectly al dente pasta. Well done, Papa G, well done. $14.95 (includes garlic bread and salad); 3450 Palmer Drive, Suite 1, Cameron Park, 530-672-2333

 I always make sure to save room for the Doughnut Holes at Sienna Restaurant. Served with a trio of dipping sauces—Jack Daniel’s crème anglaise, chocolate and raspberry—they’re little bits of heaven and the sweetest ending to a memorable meal. Oh, and forget a glass of milk with this dessert; the Vanilla Old-Fashioned is the only beverage you’ll need. $9 (dessert), $12 (cocktail), 3909 Park Drive, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9694

I've been going to Bakerie and Latte Chateau Arme for 14 years and love how everything is homemade and baked fresh every day by Owner Helen. My go-tos for breakfast include a raspberry scone or cinnamon roll, but the Chicken Salad Sandwich at lunchtime is my absolute favorite. The blend of crunchy celery and walnuts, creamy mayo and savory chicken—all stuffed into a flaky croissant—is out-of-this-world incredible. $8.50 + $2 for criossant, 2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 500, El Dorado Hills, 916-939-0834

 Totem Coffee Co. has my favorite coffee, donuts and atmosphere of any café. They pride themselves on ethically sourcing beans and connecting with growers and our local community. I always get a hot cup of their Guatemala Roast and whichever Vegan Donut was just freshly baked. $2.25-$2.55 (coffee), $3.50 (donut); 312 Main Street, Suite 104, Placerville, 530-903-3280

The Crème Brûlee French Toast at The Farm Table is the ultimate morning meal. Sweet, satiating and sinful, it’s a good thing each order comes with fresh fruit. They only serve breakfast on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the warm, cozy space gets crowded, so arrive early and come hungry! $10.50; 311 Main Street, Placerville, 530-295-8140

As a lox lover and bagel buff, it shouldn’t be a shock that I’m such a big fan of the Lox and Cream Cheese sandwich at Big Apple Bagels. Made fresh onsite every morning, their bagels are the perfect vessel for the cured salmon, tomatoes, red onions and capers. Just make sure to ask for it toasted with onion-chive cream cheese! $8.99, 2209 Francisco Drive, Building 10, El Dorado Hills, 916-936-4343

 For breakfast that’ll stick to your ribs and have your dining companions begging for a bite, Biscuits and Gravy is clearly a good call. At Sweetie Pie’s, they’ve perfected this dish, thanks to house-made buttermilk biscuits that are fluffy, extra-large and buttery; and seasoned-to-perfection sausage gravy. Warning: One bite and a food coma may commence. $4.99 (small), $6.59 (medium), $7.59 (large); 577 Main Street, Placerville, 530-642-0128

There isn't anything not to love about fried potatoes, but the Truffle Tots from Timmy's Brown Bag take it to the next level. The superbly crispy, golden brown, fluffy-on-the-inside tots are drizzled in decadent truffle oil that’s so fragrant your mouth waters before even opening the bag. Pair them with any of Timmy's daily sandwiches for a combo that’ll make your taste buds sing. $6.50; 451 Main Street, Suite 10, Placerville, 530-303-3203

 Farmer's Delicatessen and Bakery serves up a wonderful selection of Greek, Italian, Hungarian and Romanian specialties—both ready-to-eat and frozen to prepare at home. For lunch, my go-to is the Greek Meatball (Keftethes) Sandwich on their drool-worthy, scratch-made European flatbread. Filled with heavenly meatballs made from Wagyu beef, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, a bit of mint and herbs, it’ll have you hooked from bite number one. Oh, and don't forget some baklava for dessert! $10.50; 3952 Cambridge Road, Cameron Park, 530-672-6800

Steak Fajitas are always a good call, but especially when dining at Cascada. Tender, flavorful beef is served sizzling hot alongside a plentiful helping of sautéed onions and peppers, cilantro rice, black beans, guac, sour cream, pico de gallo and fresh tortillas. To really get the fiesta going, order the ridiculously delicious Cascada Margarita. $17.95 (fajitas), $10.50 (cocktail),384 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7757

The bird doesn’t fly solo on the Chicken Pesto at Old Town Grill, but it’s so juicy—thanks to a marinade of olive oil, fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, basil and pine nuts—that it could. After being charbroiled and topped with melted jack cheese, it’s stuffed into fresh sourdough bread that’s smothered in pesto mayo. I always order the crispy, piping hot Seasoned Garlic Curly Fries; although big enough to share, I’m usually tempted to eat the entire basket myself. $7.75 (sandwich), $3.25 (fries); 444 Main Street, Placerville, 530-622-2631   

 At Heyday Café, it’s always a dilemma deciding what to order, but at lunchtime their Lobster Bisque and French Dip Panini win every time. The sherry-infused soup is ultra-creamy and comforting, while the sandwich—with its tangy garlic aioli, peppery arugula and sautéed mushrooms and onions—will knock your socks off. $13 (panini, comes with soup or salad), $5 (cup of soup), $8 (bowl of soup); 325 Main Street, Placerville, 530-626-9700

When the sun is shining and you’re in the mood for healthy food, nothing beats posting up with your pooch on the patio of Main Street Melters as you sip a Peach-Mango Sangria and enjoy their Nothing But Veggies Salad (although I oftentimes add teriyaki chicken for a punch of protein). They never skimp on the avocado and their creamy ranch is a taste of heaven; between the people watching and tasty eats, you’re in for a treat. $7 (salad), $6 (sangria); 589 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3871

 The Four Cheese Pappardelle at Smith Flat House is one of the only meals I constantly daydream about. It features fresh-cut pasta with a zesty cheese sauce and salty prosciutto (think grown-up mac and cheese); plus, the historic Smith Flat House is a great place for an intimate date night. $14 (lunch), $18 (dinner); 2021 Smith Flat Road, Placerville, 530-621-1003

The Lunch Boxes at Allez! are excellent to order for takeout. Filled with your choice of baguette sandwich (my favorite is the Chicken and Applewood Bacon with Dijon mustard and Caesar dressing), a side salad of your choosing (I love the Mediterranean pasta), hunk of creamy brie, chocolate chip cookie and your choice of dessert tart (I'm mixed berry all the way), they’re the perfect midday meal—and better than any sack lunch I’ve ever eaten or prepared. $14; 4242 Fowler Lane, Suite 101, Diamond Springs, 530-621-1160

The Garlic Nachos from The Main Street Buzz taste as good as they look and smell. Smothered in the café’s homemade garlic spread and topped with jalapeños, green onions and cheddar cheese, they’re spicy, creamy and pretty much the perfect plate of nachos. $5.25 (small), $6.45 (large); 6246 Pleasant Valley, El Dorado, 530-303-3006

When it comes to pie, my eye is always on the Smoky BBQ Chicken Pizza at Wally’s Pizza Bar. The creamy smoked gouda takes it from ordinary to extraordinary and—when washed down with their Italian Blueberry Collins—makes for a to-die-for dinner! $13 (small pizza), $19 (medium pizza), $26 (large pizza), $8.75 (cocktail); 4079 Cameron Park Drive, Cameron Park, 530-677-5205

The Mexican Style Grilled Corn on the Cob at Tortilla Flats Cantina transports me back to my time in Mexico where I devoured an ear of corn from street carts just about every day. The perfectly charred kernels with house spices are slathered in cumin crema and sprinkled with cotija cheese, resulting in a sweet-savory delight. Enjoy it with their tequila-filled Coyote Hole concoction, and get ready for a muy bueno time. $5 (corn), $8 (cocktail); 564 Main Street, Placerville, 530-295-9408

Comfort food at its best! The Chicken Paprikash at Taste of Europe is as creamy as it is delicious. The melt-in-your mouth meat pairs perfectly with the spaetzle tossed in bacon and green onions, and never fails to leave me mighty satisfied. $12.95 (lunch), $17.50 (dinner); 545 Main Street, Placerville, 530-306-6670

A trip to The Independent Restaurant and Bar always begins with an order of Ahi Tartare. Beautifully presented, it’s almost too pretty to eat, and will leave you wanting more. Simple, flavorful and fresh, order it alongside a glass of Lava Cap Reserve Chardonnay and be prepared for a party on your palate. $13 (tartare), $10 (wine); 629 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7645,

Who doesn’t love a plate of finger-lickin’ good barbecue fare? OK, so the vegetarians and vegans are out, but everyone else, listen up! The Hangtown Sampler at Hog Wild Bar-B-Que and Catering feeds two hungry people and comes with your pick of three meats (all slow-smoked, daily, on their all-wood Texas smoker), three sides and scratch-made rolls. It’s the perfect way for indecisive eaters to try a variety of the eatery’s flavor-packed fare. $29.95; 38 Main Street, Placerville, 530-622-3883,

Asian Bistro is my family’s favorite for Chinese food. Their service is quick and friendly, their food hot, and servings plentiful. We typically order the General Chicken, Beef Broccoli, Chow Mein and Honey Walnut Prawns; it’ll leave your wallet happy and belly full! $9.50 (chicken), $8.95 (beef), $6.75 (chow mein), $10.50 (prawns), 2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 200, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-0260

 Not only do I love the movie, but apparently, I love eating Fried Green Tomatoes too. The version at Bricks Eats and Drinks is easy on the eyes, tasty to the palate and the perfect way to kick off a meal. Order a Pear Martini and let the good times roll. $8.95 (tomatoes), $10 (cocktail); 482 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3480

The Chocolate Mousse at The Snooty Frog combines the richness of Belgian chocolate with three of my most beloved booze—Grand Marnier, Amaretto and Starbucks Coffee Liqueur—and other ingredients that my waistline would rather not know. Light, silky smooth and airy, it’s a sweet treat worth making a trip to this Cameron Park institution for. $8.95; 3300 Coach Lane, Suite E-3, Cameron Park, 530-677-9025

Poor Red’s Bar-B-Q is back and better than ever! Follow the crowd and order the beloved Golden Cadillac, then soak up the creamy, booze-filled beverage with an order of Pulled Pork Sliders. On warm, sunshine-filled days, partake in a game of corn hole on their spacious patio. $7.95 (sliders), $8 (cocktail); 6221 Pleasant Valley Road, El Dorado, 530-622-2901

Compiled by Style staffers // Photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group