Skip to main content

Style Magazine

Best Thing I Ever Ate

I’ve eaten a lot of great meals in my life, but there’s only a few embedded in my “stomach memory” as the best thing I ever ate. One of them was at The Restaurant at Meadowood for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner experience: two Michelin-starred chefs, each with two stars apiece, preparing a one-off “four-star” tasting menu. That night, I, a lifelong brussels sprout hater, devoured a dessert of caramelized brussels sprouts with a salted caramel sauce that was so good I’m pretty sure it caused me to leave my body. The combination of flavors still confuses and delights me to this day. That’s the thing about the best things you’ve ever eaten; you can still taste them no matter how much time has passed. And fancy schmancy isn’t a prerequisite, either. We put our ears to the ground and compiled an in-depth list of the reputed 25 “best” in our region, from simple and comforting, to extravagant and creative, and everything in between. Whether it’s mac & cheese, filet mignon, bacon clam chowder, or a cheeseburger, what we’re really telling you is it’s time to create some new stomach memories!

Viscontis; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


If chicken parmesan isn’t part of your love language, it should be. Chicken parmesan is life. But you can’t put your faith in just anyone; for this dish, you go to Visconti’s Ristorante. Their Pollo Parmigiana is a classic tender chicken breast, breaded and baked in house-made marinara sauce, topped with lots of melty mozzarella, and handled with the care and attention to detail that Visconti regulars have come to expect. Simple dishes are a religion in Italian cuisine and Visconti’s is worthy of a hallelujah. 2700 East Bidwell Street, Suite 700, Folsom, 916-983-5181,

Sutter Street Steak House; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


If there’s a hierarchy of best meals, steak is at the top. The folks at Sutter Street Steakhouse can be trusted to show the most obsessive meat lovers the care and attention to detail required, or, dare I say, deserved. Ultimate on the bucket meal list is their signature creation and perennial favorite: Nick’s Grill—a mouthwateringly tender petite filet grilled to perfection and served with garlic mashed potatoes, spinach, stone-ground mustard sauce, and crumbled blue cheese. Maybe “heaven on a plate” is an overused phrase, but what else can you say about something this good? 604 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-351-9100,

Amore Italian Bistro; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


Americans, I hate to tell you this, but your standard version of lasagna kinda sucks. Smooth red sauce and ricotta? That’s it? Where’s the meat, the creamy white sauce, the fresh pasta? Amore Mio Italian Bistro is here to take us all to lasagna school (a school I would attend willingly) with The Pope’s Lasagna: a rich, glorious white lasagna made with layers of creamy béchamel, mushrooms, ground beef and ground pork, crumbled sausage, pancetta, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan. Cheese! Cheese! More cheese! Meats! Pasta! Yes! Let us take a moment to give thanks to the pope, assorted meats, and sweet cheeses. 451 Main Street, Suite 8, Placerville,

Chef's Table; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


We’re all about creative and unique meals. If I say egg rolls, you might say of course! But maybe it’s a little pedestrian. What about galaxy-brain egg rolls though—what if we take the egg roll to a Jewish deli in New York? That’s what the geniuses at The Chef’s Table have done with their Pastrami Reuben Egg Rolls: crispy, golden-fried egg rolls filled with a mixture of tender shaved pastrami, Swiss cheese, caraway seeds, sauerkraut, whole-grain mustard, and served with Russian dressing for dipping. I’m getting verklempt over here. 6843 Lonetree Boulevard, Suite 103, Rocklin, 916-771-5656,

Wallys Pizza Bar; photo by Ray Burgess ©stylemediagroup.


Wally’s Pizza Bar has a sister restaurant, Base Camp Pizza in Tahoe. And if you’re fans of their semi-famous signature pizza, the Basecamp Pizza, then you don’t have to travel all the way to Tahoe to eat it. Because that heaven-on-a-pizza-crust is right here in Cameron Park. For the uninitiated, Basecamp is their delicious chewy-thin crust topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, roasted bell peppers and onions, Wally’s signature four-cheese blend, and delicious portabella mushrooms. Meaty, cheesy, vegetable-y and mushroom-y. Pizza heaven! 4079 Cameron Park Drive, Cameron Park, 530-677-5205,

Wally's Cafe; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


At Wally’s Café, your meal starts with a complimentary bowl of flavorful lentil soup and ends with a complimentary piece of homemade baklava. So no matter what, you’re in terrific hands. But the Pomegranate Chicken—slices of chicken shawarma marinated in pomegranate molasses alongside rice pilaf, salad, tzatziki sauce, garlic sauce, and pita bread—is the real star. If this is your first experience with pomegranate molasses, you’ll be an immediate fan: the way the sweet, tangy elixir elevates the chicken and complements the tzatziki and garlic sauce is truly unique. 4800 Granite Drive, Suite B-11, Rocklin, 916-824-1201; 2110 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 600, Rocklin, 916-580-0850,

Milestone; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


A cheeseburger is a good choice for a memorable meal, but a Milestone Cheeseburger? That’s a horse (or cow) of a different color. A sign that you, like Conan the Barbarian, know what is best in life. The 60-day dry-aged grass-fed cheeseburger at Milestone comes to you as a half-pound charbroiled patty served on a buttery, golden brioche bun dotted with black sesame seeds, with leaf lettuce, tomatoes, purple onions, house pickles, sauce, and cheddar cheese; if you’re smart, you’ll take them up on the offer to add thick-slab applewood smoked bacon. Don’t just settle for a cheeseburger in paradise: Go for the Milestone cheeseburger that is paradise.
4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 116, El Dorado Hills, 916-934-0790,

The Boxing Donkey; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


At the Boxing Donkey, there’s a bowl at the end of the rainbow, and that bowl is filled with piping hot homemade Bacon Clam Chowder, and that rainbow is Friday. Wait. The rainbow is the chowder, and the bowl is Friday. Listen. Boxing Donkey serves killer bowls of bacon clam chowder, but on Fridays only. That’s the important takeaway. However you get there—by rainbow or potato carriage like Irish Cinderella—to receive your chowder, you must arrive on Friday. If you arrive on Wednesday, you’ll be sad. So, in the paraphrased words of Robert Smith (The Cure): Fridays, you’re in love with bacon chowder. 300 Lincoln Street, Roseville, 916-797-3665,

Scotts Seafood Round House


Translated from Italian, Frutti di Mare means “fruit of the sea,” and this pasta dish is an Italian classic, celebrating the delicious bounties of the country's coastal regions. Scott’s Seafood Roundhouse uses the freshest and most sustainable seafood available; their version of the dish features Day Boat scallops, lobster, bucatini, asiago, lobster brandy cream sauce, sunchokes, watercress, truffle oil, and fresh basil—all working together in a delicious creamy wonderland of rich seafood flavors and tender pasta. If you’re a seafood fan and are looking for an unforgettable meal experience, cast your line in their direction. 824 Sutter Street, Folsom,

Mikuni Sushi


Sushi done right, done simply, is almost always a hands-down best-meal-ever situation. The Albacore Pepperfin at Mikuni embodies the perfect bite: thinly sliced, super-fresh albacore tuna paired with a citrus soy dressing, providing what foodies call “umami” (and what we call “whoa”), alongside sliced jalapeños for a bright burst of fresh heat, and finished with sesame seeds for texture. It seems like sorcery that a meal this simple could taste this good, but to the best of our knowledge Mikuni’s sushi chefs are not wizards; they’re just very, very good at what they do. 185 Placerville Road, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-934-5250; 1565 Eureka Road, Suite 1A, Roseville, 916-797-2112; 1194 Roseville Parkway, Roseville, 916-780-2119,

Josephine Auburn; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


Not sure what to choose for your best meal ever? Let the fine folks at Restaurant Josephine help. With a seasonal menu that changes weekly and a modern take on classic French cuisine, the eatery is a perfect pick for an exquisite fine dining experience. New favorites await you every week, but anything and everything guarantees to please. Check out these recent showstoppers: Maine lobster thermidor with cauliflower, vadouvan curry, gruyère, and pommes frites; lightly cured Ora King salmon tartare with celery root-apple remoulade, purple daikon, Meyer lemon, trout roe, and wood sorrel greens; or buckwheat crepe “au gratin” with black trumpet and chanterelle mushrooms, dino kale, and sauce mornay. Even the ghost of Julia Child is swooning. 1226 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-820-3523,

Independent; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


If there’s a food that could be a friend, mac and cheese is surely that food. (Followed by potatoes, in most forms.) It’s friendship in its most abstract yet beautiful form: creamy cheese blended with pillowy macaroni noodles. The Independent Restaurant & Bar has elevated mac and cheese to something magical, and that is their Truffle Mac & Cheese. And don’t worry: it’s not truffle in that way where it’s like the flavor version of someone shouting and it’s the only thing you can taste. No, dear readers. The Independent has incorporated the truffle in a gentle, restrained manner where you still get that cheesy pillowy comfort that you know and love, but now? Well, now you’re fancy. It’s like a friendship but now you’re both wearing monocles. 629 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7645,

Pizzeria Classico


Is it just me, or are the best appetizers always under-described on a menu, hiding in plain sight like flavor ninjas lying in wait? There are some extra-special appetizers that simply cannot be ignored, like the famous Garlic Chips at Pizzeria Classico. No, these aren’t mere chips of garlic. They’re a crispy, thin-crust pizza topped with butter, garlic, and mozzarella—sliced into small bites that you can easily eat all by yourself in one sitting (if you’re me). It’s garlicky-cheesy best-meal gosh-darn-goodness that’ll leave you with a greasy grin.
702 Sutter Street, Unit A, Folsom, 916-351-1430,

Aji Bistro; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


Soup is everyone’s favorite comfort food, and the only comfort food better than soup is ramen. Why? Because ramen is the best thing ever. That’s just facts! Ramen is galaxy-brain soup. It’s soup and stew but with fresh vegetables and more flavors than any run-of-the-mill soup would dare to have, and sometimes even incredible spicy ingredients that might make you see through time. Aji Japanese Bistro serves up a great Spicy Chicken Ramen that will definitely open up all of your five senses. Get into a piping hot bowl of their delicious ramen noodles served with grilled chicken, sprouts, spinach, kimchi, bamboo shoots, kamaboko fish cake, fresh jalapeños, and crunchy garlic in a house-made spicy broth (ability to see through time not guaranteed). 4361 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 111, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9181,

Brickyard Kitchen and Bar; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


There’s nothing better than good fish and chips; more of those essential food groups: fish, potatoes, and fried batter. Brickyard Kitchen & Bar has the perfect plate of Fish & Chips for those in search of a memorable meal: cod fillets dipped in their craft beer batter, fried until golden-brown (i.e., crisp and flaky), and served with fries, coleslaw, and a flavorful and tangy remoulade to complement the fried fish. Insert contented sigh here. 1475 Eureka Road, Suite 120, Roseville, 916-836-8406; 4364 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 128, El Dorado Hills, 916-772-9464,

Kathrin's Biergarten; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


The best thing about German food is the flavors are so comforting that it’s like the food is giving you a big warm hug. Kathrin’s Biergarten is a family-run German-style biergarten serving the best in authentic German homestyle cuisine, and big plates of warm hugs are their specialty. Dinner doesn’t get much more delicious than starting with an order of their Sauerkraut Balls: golf-ball sized tasty concoctions of ground bratwurst, sauerkraut, cream cheese, and spices rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown. Crispy, creamy, meaty, and geschmackvoll (tasty). Guten appetit! 4810 Granite Drive, Suite 1A, Rocklin, 916-251-7502,

Chicago Fire


As a kid I celebrated every birthday with a meat-lover’s pizza at a well-known pizza franchise. I thought that pizza was the best pizza I would ever eat, but I didn’t know about Chicago Fire. I didn’t know they build architectural pizza crusts like kiddie pools and load them to the brim with delicious meats and cheesy goodness. I didn’t know about their Stockyard Deep-Dish filled with garlic sausage, pepperoni, salami, and Canadian bacon—truly a true meat-lover’s pizza. Goal: Go back in time and have THIS pizza for every one of my birthdays. 500 North Sunrise Avenue, Roseville, 916-771-2020; 310 Palladio Parkway, Folsom, 916-984-0140,

Eat Pizza Bene; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


A mushroom walks into a bar and the bartender says “Sorry, we don't serve mushrooms." Mushroom says "Aw, why not? I'm a fun guy!” Anyway folks, I’ll be here all week. Try the Stuffed Mushrooms at Bene! Ristorante Italiano. Best mushrooms you ever ate? Yes, magically delicious, indeed. Take a humble mushroom, stuff it with Italian sausage, bacon, and garlic; top it with melted mozzarella and parsley; and serve it with pesto and a balsamic vinegar reduction. And multiply by many mushrooms, because you can’t eat just one, and maybe order two or three plates for the table, because these babies are so, so good. More than a humble appetizer, it’s a plate of fun! 423 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3415,

Manderes; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


When you order crab cakes you do so with the expectation that they will, at the very least, contain copious amounts of crab. At Manderes, the word is that their Crab Cakes are the crabby-est crab cakes to ever crab (not verbatim). Their pan-fried crab cakes are not only loaded with crab; they’re light and crispy and paired with superb flavors and textures: crunchy fresh cabbage, sweet and spicy mango-chili sauce, and a creamy citrus dill aioli to really set the dish off. Crabtastic! 1004 East Bidwell Street, Suite 600, Folsom, 916-986-9655,

Land Ocean Restaurants; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


Ribeye is what memorable meals are truly made of. If you’re seeking a cut of steak that’s tender and succulent and bursting with flavor, then the ribeye is where it’s at. Land Ocean uses only the finest cuts of meat sourced from local farms, and we have it on great authority that they serve good ribeye. It comes to you as a 16-ounce cut, grilled to perfection, and is served with creamy mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and grilled asparagus. Simple, perfect, and super tasty! 1151 Galleria Boulevard, Suite 241, Roseville, 916-407-5640; 2720 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-983-7000,

Wise Villa Winery; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


How about the feeling of traveling without having to leave the region? Whisk yourself away to the Tuscan-style gourmet bistro at Wise Villa Winery for a meal you won’t soon forget. Soak up the scenery of the surrounding vineyards, located in the Sierra Foothills AVA, and dine divinely on their Roasted Duck Breast with red wine-braised cabbage, fingerling potatoes, fried kale and brussels sprout leaves tossed in bacon fat and honey, and apples—all topped with a mango-raspberry gastrique and candied bacon. Pair it with a generous pour of their sublime Tempranillo and enjoy your “vacation.” 4200 Wise Road, Lincoln, 916-543-0323,

La Rosa Blanca; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


There’s an argument for simplicity in a best meal ever, highlighting traditional methods and authentic flavors. That’s where Folsom’s La Rosa Blanca comes in, providing you with the ultimate in best-meal-ever comfort food with their Pollo con Mole. Tender chicken enveloped in a spicy, not-too-sweet, earthy chocolate mole sauce that satisfies the soul: the kind of traditional mole that tastes like it was made by someone who cares about the cuisine. Perhaps, even made with love. Just don’t let your tears of joy fall into the mole—it’s already perfectly seasoned. 402 Natoma Street, Folsom, 916-673-9085,

Hotel Sutter


When you eat the best thing you ever ate, you don’t want to be sitting on the couch staring at your phone. You want some atmosphere, some ambiance. The Sutter Restaurant (sited at Hotel Sutter) will serve you one of the best meals of your life with their delicious Lamb Shank—tender lamb shank served with a demi-glace, seasonal vegetables, and mashed potatoes. Along with this plate of divinity, you get ambiance galore. Sit yourself on the expansive balcony and enjoy the old-world charm: this Gold Rush-era nugget has been around since 1858 and has had some beautiful renovations done to highlight the period details. You could even say, between the meal and the atmosphere, that you’re striking it rich, on an emotional and spiritual level. (No? Kind of? Okay, it’s a great lamb shank is what we’re saying.) 53 Main Street, Sutter Creek,

Placerville Public House; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


The Pub Nachos at Placerville Public House will rocket to the top of your nacho hit parade chart as the best nachos ever. They start with salted kettle chips instead of tortilla chips (so they’ve got a good beat), and they’re topped with a fresh house-made beer cheese sauce (you can definitely dance to them). So that’s two big wins up front. Add to that tender carnitas, black bean corn salsa, green onions, and spicy habanero sour cream, and that’s one heck of a rhythm section: You’ve got yourself the nacho dance hit of the decade. (I got carried away with the metaphor.) Bottom line, these nachos are the bomb dot com, and you absolutely need to enjoy them ASAP. 305 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3792,

J. Wild's; photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.


Barbecue is a big ole hell yes, but only when it’s done right. Mosey over to J. Wild’s and order a BBQ Brisket Plate, fresh-smoked daily with cherry and oak. Polite folks might order the five-ounce plate, but for a best meal ever? Go for the seven-ounce serving. Now, it already comes with their excellent cowboy cornbread (a crowd favorite if ever there was one), but you also get a choice of two sides with your plate. So it would follow that if you’re doing J. Wild’s barbecue correctly, you are absolutely ordering a second helping of cowboy cornbread as one of your two sides. That’s just good old-fashioned good eatin‘. 614 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-353-0140,

by Sharon Penny
Wally’s Pizza Bar photo by Ray Burgess ©stylemediagroup. Other photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemedia group. Scott's Seafood photo by Jacob Cantu. Mikuni photo by Patrick Schwent. Pizzeria Classico photo by Jay Bedingfield. Chicago Fire photo by Yarcenia Garcia. Other photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup.

Photos by Taylor Allred © and wholly owned by Style Media Group—please don’t steal our copyrighted photos. For more information about our editorial photos, please click here to contact us