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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Stay Local, Eat Global

03/01/2019 03:10PM

Take your palate on a trip around the world with flavorful plates from these internationally inspired eateries, all right in our backyard. From the perfect buttery croissant to steaming pho, jagerschnitzel, and biryani, there’s a host of decadent dishes to try that might just become a new favorite. 

Afghanistan

Bamiyan

1121 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-8787, bamiyanafghan.com

Known for its friendly service and unique meat dishes, this family-owned dine-in or takeout Afghan eatery is also vegetarian- and vegan-friendly with a full bar to boot. Even the most carnivorous diners can’t get enough of the eggplant dishes.

Must-try dish: Brony Bojan (sliced eggplant layered with tomato sauce, yogurt, and herbs)


Brazil

Brisas Do Sul

380 Palladio Parkway, Suite 305, Folsom, 916-883-2747, brisasdosul.com

Go rodizio or go home at Brisas Do Sul, a dining style where a perpetual stream of meat skewers flows out of the kitchen and is carved at your table until you’ve had enough. Don’t miss the globally infused cocktails, like the Brazilian Bloody Mary or Brazilian Iced Tea.

Must-try dish: Brisas Cocktail Camarao (wild-caught jumbo shrimp served with a specialty malagueta sauce)


Flame & Fire 

963 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Suite 100, Roseville, 916-790-5750, flameandfire.com

“Where’s the beef?” is one question you won’t ask at Flame & Fire. Here, meats like filet mignon, top sirloin, and pork shoulder arrive in endless hefty portions to your table, where it’s dinner and a show when gaucho chefs slice them tableside with a bit of fanfare.

Must-try dish: Picanha (prime cut of top sirloin)


China 

Folsom Palace, Photo By Ray Burgess


Folsom Palace

1169 Riley Street, Folsom, 916-983-8880; 3941 Park Drive, Suite 10, El Dorado Hills, 916-936-0909, folsompalace.com

Sleek décor, a shady patio, and an extensive wine and sake list set the scene for spirited socializing over Asian fusion dishes and shareable plates. An emphasis on Chinese fare ensures all the usual suspects, plus savory picks from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and more.

Must-try dish: Wor Wonton Soup (chicken, shrimp, oyster mushrooms, bok choy, cauliflower, chayote, carrots, and green onions with wontons in chicken broth)


Golden Dragon

1341 Broadway, Placerville, 530-621-1568, goldendragonca.com

This casual neighborhood cornerstone touts delightful hard-to-find dishes, like steaming clay pots full of chicken curry or seafood, and sizzling plates piled with scallops or shrimp. Authentic options don’t stop there: chow mein and chow fun are both available Hong Kong style if you please. 

Must-try dish: House Special Chow Fun (stir-fried meat, wide rice noodles, bean sprouts, and vegetables)


Lotus 8

199 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, 916-351-9278, lotus8ca.com

Named for the lotus flower, which rises from the mud to bloom before sinking underwater at night and resurfacing again at dawn, and the number eight, which is considered lucky because its Chinese pronunciation sounds similar to “prosperity,” this restaurant meshes modern techniques with traditional flavors.

Must-try dish: Honey Walnut Prawns (honey-glazed walnuts with prawns in a light cream sauce)


Rose Garden Chinese Restaurant

1079 Sunrise Avenue, Suite 1, Roseville, 916-781-3823, rosegardenroseville.com

Big round tables and comfortable booths make this Mandarin-Szechuan restaurant perfect for a family night out, with combination dinners and shareable feasts, plus a selection of beer and wine.

Must-try dish: BBQ Pork Fried Rice (barbecued pork, peas, scrambled egg, carrots, and green onions)


Sunny Garden

25085 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, 916-983-8882, folsomsunnygarden.com 

Bay Area restaurateurs and husband-and-wife team Sam and Elaine opened Sunny Garden in 2006, vowing to keep their cooking style fresh and made from scratch. Offerings range from Chinese staples to other Asian and Thai selections.

Must-try dish: Mushroom Chicken (mushrooms and chicken in oyster sauce)


El Salvador

El Salvador Market & Restaurant

3021 Sunrise Boulevard, Rancho Cordova, 916-851-0733

This tucked-away treasure and family-run affair is all about authenticity. Don’t miss the sweet fried plantains, and while you’re there, pick up a tamale to go.

Must-try dish: Chile Relleno Salvadoreño (fried, batter-dipped pablano chile stuffed with meat and bell peppers; served with rice and salad)

Fernando's Costa Del Sol Photo by Dante Fontana


Fernando’s Costa Del Sol

2650 Cameron Park Drive, Suite 170, Cameron Park, 530-676-4460, fernandoscostadelsol.net

Lifelong chef Fernando Sierra and his wife Martha dish out Salvadorian and Mexican fare in Cameron Park with a comprehensive menu spanning wet burritos, classic eats from El Salvador, nine soups, and eight salads.

Must-try dish: Salvadoran Sampler (Cheese Pupusa, Fried Yuca, Tamale, Fried Plantain)


Nuby’s Cafe

329 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-358-9210, nubyscafe.com

Don’t let the unassuming interior fool you: This taqueria and pupuseria’s food is on point, with menu highlights that include a one-pound burrito (yes, really) and street tacos. Stop in for a quick bite and a cold Corona or add to your GrubHub queue for your next Netflix night.

Must-try dish: Mixed Pupusa (pork, beans, and cheese in a thick corn tortilla)


France

Allez

4242 Fowler Lane, Diamond Springs, 530-621-1160, allezeldorado.com

Napa hospitality veteran Jennifer Masse took one bite of a tarragon sauce at a new French restaurant in town and declared that she was going to marry the chef—and then she did. Born and trained in France, Chef Christian Masse and Jennifer joined forces to open their French gourmet restaurant in Diamond Springs.

Must-try dish: Bouef Bourguignon (beef stew simmered in red wine, pearl onions, mushrooms, and carrots)

Julian's Patisserie and Cafe Photo By Ray Burgess


Julian’s Pâtisserie and Café

6610 Folsom-Auburn Road, Suite 7, Folsom, 916-936-4735, julianscafe.com

Mouthwatering pastries and an assortment of sweet and savory crêpes plus other quick bites draw crowds to this bright, family-owned sidewalk café, where everything is freshly prepared on the premises and promises a memorable meal.

Must-try dish: Lemon Blueberry Crêpe (blueberries and lemon cream in a thin pancake; served with vanilla chantilly cream)

La Provence Photo by Dante Fontana


La Provence

110 Diamond Creek Place, Roseville, 916-789-2002, laprovenceroseville.com

A tried-and-true crowd favorite, this undeniably romantic love letter to French country cuisine with a Californian twist serves up Provençal classics, tapas, delightful brunch options, and a short but sweet vegetarian menu.

Must-try dish: Beef Wellington (6 oz. filet mignon, puff pastry, mushroom duxelles, and prosciutto; served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables)


Germany

Kathrin’s Biergarten

4810 Granite Drive, Suite A1, Rocklin, 916-251-7502, kathrinsbiergarten.com

German native Kathrin Grosse believes that thirst is worse than homesickness, so what’s a European in the states to do? Bring a sip—and slice—of home to share with her new neighbors, of course. Expect elevated German and Austrian fare in a beer hall plus a breezy beer garden to boot.

Must-try dish: Oktoberfest Sampler (one schnitzel, three choices of specialty sausages, two pork links, and one frankfurter; served with sauerkraut, rotkraut, mustard, and fries)


The Forester Pub & Grill

4110 Carson Road, Camino, 530-644-1818, foresterpubandgrill.com

Nestled in the heart of Apple Hill among mature cedars sits a cheery pub with small-town vibes, complete with an outdoor patio and horseshoe pit, mini arcade, and pool table. The acclaimed neighborhood spot offers comforting classics like steak sandwiches and buffalo burgers as well as German nosh.

Must-try dish: Wienerschnitzel (tender breaded pork cutlet served with “schlag sauce,” spätzle, and red cabbage)


Greece

Extreme Hummus

7820 Zenith Drive, Citrus Heights, 916-727-2500, extremehummusgyro.com

Complete with a drive-thru, this Greek spot is perfect for on-the-go munchies or a quick dinner. With a kosher and halal menu that’s vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, expect full plates, plenty of sandwich options, and a heap of fun twists on hummus (think cilantro jalapeño or artichoke and pesto).

Must-try dish: Greek Wrap (lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, rice, feta, and your pick of signature hummus in warm flatbread) 

Kabob House Photo by Ray Burgess


Kabob House 

648 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-983-6619, kabobhousefolsom.com

Succulent skewers are lovingly prepared at this Greek eatery, with kebab options ranging from lamb to sirloin, plus pita sandwiches and amped-up appetizers like babaganoush. Stay in the quaint dining room or enjoy the grape arbor canopied patio.

Must-try dish: Ground Sirloin Kebab (a skewer of seasoned ground top sirloin served with pita, rice, and Greek salad)


Petra Greek

230 Palladio Parkway, Suite 1213, Folsom, 916-693-6397, petragreek.com

This casual restaurant blends family recipes with locally sourced ingredients, delivering plates packed with flavor and toasty stuffed pitas. Enjoy fun appetizers like saganaki (fried cheese flambéed with a shot of Greek cognac) all day or at happy hour.

Must-try dish: Chicken Souvlaki Pita (chicken cooked over an open flame with tomatoes, onions, parsley, and fries on a warm pita with tzatziki sauce)


Hungary

Crepetown Cafe Photo by Dante Fontana


Crêpetown Café

4064 Mother Lode Drive, Shingle Springs, 530-677-5993, crepetowncafe.com

An ideal spot for all-day brunching and dinner, this homey and eclectic nook offers a host of sweet and savory goods (we’re talking beef burgundy crêpes and fries dusted with Hungarian paprika).

Must-try dish: Chicken Paprikash (skinless chicken thighs cooked in a mild creamy paprika sauce served with homemade spätzle or mashed potatoes)


Farmer’s Delicatessen & Bakery

3952 Cambridge Road, Cameron Park, 530-672-6800, farmersdeli.net

First-generation Hungarian-American chef and owner Christine Ondrus-Lykos grew up surrounded by flavors of her family’s homeland swirling around the kitchen, as her grandmother made strudel from scratch. Now she serves up fresh pastries, sweets, and breads, plus other hearty European bites at her very own brick-and-mortar in Cameron Park.

Must-try dish: Lemon Tart (gluten-free almond flour crust filled with fresh-squeezed lemon curd)

   

India 

Bawarchi Photo by Dante Fontana


Bawarchi

2085 Vine Street, Suite 102, El Dorado Hills, 916-222-8222, edhbawarchi.com  711 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Suite 140, Roseville, 916-633-6000, rosevillebawarchi.com

Specializing in biryani, the ultimate dish for rice lovers (a one-pot delight of aromatic spices, meat, and rice), this Indian restaurant also touts tandoor and Indo-Chinese specialties. Originally a Bay Area venture, the eatery has expanded across the state, adding its vibrant and chic dining room to El Dorado Hills and Roseville.

Must-try dish: Hyderabad Chicken Dum Biryani (a mixture of aromatic basmati rice, Indian herbs, and tender chicken cooked in the traditional hyderabadi dum method)


Curry Club 

196 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 130, Folsom, 916-353-0855

A crowd favorite for its lunch buffet and takeout, Curry Club offers authentic favorites in casual digs. Regulars rave about the butter chicken and aloo gobi, and rumor has it that if you’re a spice fiend, you can request extra spicy and perhaps finally meet your match.

Must-try dish: Butter Chicken (chicken in a mildly spiced, buttery tomato sauce)

Mehfil Indian Photo by Dante Fontana


Mehfil Indian

1605 Douglas Boulevard, Roseville, 916-791-1199, mehfilindianrestaurant.com

Eat your fill of naan at this unfussy outpost, with twists on the traditional bread like peshwari (dried fruit), paneer (homemade cheese), and keema (minced lamb). Of course, there’s also an extensive menu of tried-and-true favorites spanning lamb to seafood and chicken to veggie.

Must-try dish: Punjabi Bakra (bone-in goat meat cooked in a rich curry of fresh herbs, spices, and masala)


Mylapore

1760 Prairie City Road, Suite 160, Folsom, 916-985-3500, mylapore.us 

A favorite stop for Tahoe weekenders and locals alike, this entirely vegetarian hangout specializes in South Indian cuisine—think tangy chutney and savory dosa (crisp, savory pancakes). 

Must-try dish: Bhel Puri (popular Indian snack made with puffed rice, tomatoes, onions, garbanzo beans, and sweet and tangy chutneys)


Italy

Ciao Restaurant

1410 East Roseville Parkway, Roseville, 916-782-0404, ciaoroseville.com

American fare meets Italian flair in this chic space with a roomy dining room and crescent wine bar. House-made pastas and sausages are sprinkled across the menu that also offers sizable handhelds (lamb burger, anyone?) and ribeye.

Must-try dish: House Ragu (slow-simmered meat ragu, house-made pappardelle, and grana)

Papa Gianni's Photo by Dante Fontana


Papa Gianni’s

3450 Palmer Drive, Cameron Park, 530-672-2333, papagiannis.net

For two decades, family-owned Papa Gianni’s has been a Cameron Park tradition. Pair a glass of wine from El Dorado and Amador Counties—as well as Italy and Napa—with traditional Italian dishes and a roster of Perri family recipes. The comfy spot sports a bright mural, cozy booths, and friendly service.

Must-try dish: Penne alla Rabiata (spicy marinara made with ample chili peppers and garlic atop penne; served with garlic bread)


Vaiano Trattoria

7160 Douglas Boulevard, Granite Bay, 916-780-0888, vaianotrattoria.com

Named after the hometown of its two founding partners, this restaurant specializes in Tuscan fare in a modern and industrial setting, complete with art-adorned walls. Fan favorites include the wild boar pappardelle and veal marsala.

Must-try dish: Pollo alla Parmigiana (chicken breast with homemade tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, then baked and topped with parmesan and fresh basil)

Visconti's Photo by Ray Burgess


Visconti’s

2700 East Bidwell Street, Suite 700, Folsom, 916-983-5181, viscontisristorante.com

With family recipes from Sicily and Calabria passed down through generations, this family-run restaurant has old-world vibes meshed with strong community ties. Founded in 1992, the kitchen whips up its signature marinara sauce fresh every day. Pro tip: Save room for the cannolis.

Must-try dish: Linguini con Gamberi & Asparagus (linguini with shrimp and asparagus sautéed in olive oil and garlic)


Jamaica 

JD’s Bakery & Caribbean Cafe

3700 Midas Avenue, Suite A1, Rocklin, 916-624-3350, justdivine.cafe

Delicious pastries, loaded omelets, and a heap of vegan options have been the focus of this local fixture since 1989, but it’s also bringing a taste of the Caribbean to Rocklin with unforgettable Jamaican patties, beef, and jerk chicken.

Must-try dish: Jamaican Patty (a flaky pastry filled with savory spices and veggies or chicken and beef)


Japan 

Hisui Sushi Photo by Ray Burgess


Hisui Sushi

25004 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 107, Folsom, 916-985-7778, hisuisushi.com

Smooth service, lofty ceilings, and a cool blue backlit bar are three hallmarks of this contemporary sushi hangout that serves up tapas, a comprehensive list of special rolls, and lunchtime all-you-can-eat sushi.

Must-try dish: Prisoner (deep-fried shrimp, cucumber, spicy tuna, real crab, avocado, BBQ albacore, masago, and tempura flakes)


Kazoku Teriyaki

5131 Foothills Boulevard, Suite 1, Roseville, 916-784-8646, kazokuteriyaki.com

This family owned and operated spot—kazoku literally means “family”—offers authentic Japanese fare with fun surprises like Hawaiian shave ice, a tribute to relatives from the islands. In addition to teriyaki specialties and sushi, stop into the market stocked with fresh fish to make your own rolls at home, plus Asian sweets, snacks, and sauces.

Must-try dish: Chicken Teriyaki (chicken soaked and cooked in teriyaki sauce with steamed rice; served with a side or as a bento box)


Mikuni

Locations in Folsom, Roseville, Fair Oaks, and Sacramento; mikunisushi.com

With the finest ingredients and attentive service, you can have a taste of Japan and enjoy sushi specials from myriad menus (including a gluten-free and kid-friendly one) that are sure to make your mouth water. 

Must-try dish: Albacore Pepperfin (thinly sliced albacore tuna, citrus soy dressing, jalapeños, sesame seeds)


Umi Sushi 

107 South Harding Boulevard, Suite A, Roseville, 916-788-8333, umiumiumi.com

If you don’t like sushi yet, Umi might just be where you change your mind. This all-day happy hour spot offers an inventive lineup of cooked and vegetarian rolls in addition to creative picks for sushi veterans, plus savory ramen bowls and consistently solid entrées.

Must-try dish: Everything Roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber, crab salad, and spicy tuna topped with assorted fish, spicy mayo, masago, and unagi sauce)


Yuki Sushi 

3470 Palmer Drive, Suite 1, Cameron Park, 530-672-9854, cameronparksushi.com

This Cameron Park keeper offers the typically pricey cuisine for all, with constant half-off deals and a complimentary roll when you order two. Other tasty options include udon noodle bowls, teriyaki plates, and oyster shooters.

Must-try dish: Tonkatsu (deep-fried panko-breaded pork over steamed rice with katsu sauce)


Korea 

Blue House

2030 Douglas Boulevard, Roseville, 916-472-6598, bluehouseusa.com

Electric blue lighting amid industrial chic décor set the scene for a unique dining experience. Smokeless grills function as centerpieces at the tables, where the sizzle and flash make for an entertaining evening as you cook your own feast. If you’re looking for the night off, the kitchen will prepare your meal for you, but either way, you’ll probably have leftovers—regulars warn that portions are delightfully huge.

Must-try dish: LA Galbi (house-marinated prime beef short ribs)

Gangnam Ave. Photo by Dante Fontana


Gangnam Ave.

2216 Sunrise Boulevard, Rancho Cordova, 916-840-5645, gangnamavebbq.com

Bring your appetite to Gangnam Ave., an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ with a hip, ultra-modern backdrop. Prompt service and great value are two pluses here, not to mention the steady stream of morsels to stuff yourself with. Whether you’re an adventurous eater—think marinated intestines and pork jowl—or more timid (short rib and garlic shrimp), you’ll get your fill here.

Must-try dish: Beef Bulgogi (beef marinated in traditional Korean sauces and grilled on a BBQ)


Lebanon

Wally’s Cafe

2110 Sunset Boulevard, Rocklin, 916-580-0850 , facebook.com/WallysCafeRocklin

Thoughtful service, fresh ingredients, and authentic flavors sing at this hidden gem. Regulars warn that one bite into your meal, you’ll already be planning a return trip. And, whatever you do, save room for dessert: All meals come with a helping of baklava, made fresh daily.

Must-try dish: Chicken Shawarma Wrap (chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and garlic or yogurt)


Mexico

Carmelita’s Restaurant

204 Riverside Avenue, Roseville, 916-783-0411, carmelitasgroup.com

Welcome to the mecca of margaritas, with freshly squeezed limes and agave nectar setting the stage for sweet or savory stars like raspberry basil and grilled pineapple jalapeño. Pair your cocktail with scoops of to-die-for guac before setting your sights on the house specialties. Oh, yeah: They also do brunch.

Must-try dish: Chipotle Eggs Benedict (avocado, sliced bacon, pepper jack cheese, house-made chipotle lemon hollandaise, and poached eggs over toast; served with ranchero chili herb potatoes)


Hacienda del Rio

702 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-351-1800, hacdelrio.com

Quality is something you can taste in every bite at Hacienda del Rio. From their flavor-packed fajitas to gooey enchiladas, anything on their menu will have you walking away with a full belly and happy taste buds.

Must-try dish: Chile Verde (diced, slow-cooked pork in homemade tomatillo sauce; served with rice, beans, sour cream, and tortillas)

Mexquite Photo by Ray Burgess


Mexquite

25095 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, 916-984-8607, mexquite.com

If you’re looking for a comfortable, family-owned Mexican restaurant with handcrafted margaritas, high-quality food at affordable prices, and fresh flavors straight from the kicthen to your table, Mexquite is just the place for you.

Must-try dish: Veggie Fajitas (sautéed bell peppers, onions, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, corn and spinach; served with guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, cilantro rice, and black beans)


La Rosa Blanca

402 Natoma Street, Folsom, 916-673-9085, larosablancarestaurant.com

What began as a weekly chore of cooking dinner quickly morphed into a passion for owner and chef Patty, who still uses some of her mother’s thoughtful recipes in the restaurant. Expect a colorful, festive ambience and live music on Fridays.

Must-try dish: Mama’s Chicken (tender chicken in tomato and jalapeño sauce; served with rice, beans, and tortillas)


Nixtaco

1805 Cirby Way, Suite 12, Roseville, 916-771-4165, nixta.co

Decked out in bright subway tile and string lights, this hip taqueria has a bit of a cult following, offering superb tortillas (ground in-house) spun street taco style, burritos, and other goodies with friendly counter service. P.S. Don’t miss the chilaquiles at brunch.

Must-try dish: Taco Sampler (six, 2.5-inch tacos with chicharron, picadillo, chicken mole, shrimp, short rib barbacoa, and rajas with cheese)


Tijuana Taqueria 

1762 Broadway, Placerville, 530-622-9517

Unfussy, authentic, and deliciously greasy, this traditional taqueria scores points for its humongous burritos and al pastor tacos. Another major draw is the carnitas, which are available for purchase by the pound.

Must-try dish: Carnitas Burrito (beans, cheese, carnitas, rice, sour cream, and lettuce)


Pakistan

Kabab Hut Photo by Dante Fontana


Kabab Hut

6661 Stanford Ranch Road, Suite J, Rocklin, 916-315-3315

A one-man show, chef and owner Guddu Haider made his debut in Rocklin last year after leaving his restaurateur life in San Francisco behind. Strong Pakistani roots and a dash of Indian inspiration result in unforgettable dishes.

Must-try dish: Chicken Tikka Masala (marinated chicken in spiced curry sauce with rice)


Tandoori Nights

1420 East Roseville Parkway, Suite 155, Roseville, 916-780-8200,
tandoorinights.us

This restaurant’s namesake is from the tandoor, a clay oven that creeps up to a blistering 900˚, used to make authentic Pakistani and Indian dishes. Adventurous foodies will find lamb brain on the menu, while more reserved diners can eat their fill of chicken or vegetable dishes.

Must-try dish: Nihari (slow-cooked boneless beef curry)

Shalimar Photo by Ray Burgess


Shalimar 

711 East Bidwell Street, Suite 5, Folsom, 916-936-4200

With no-frills and counter service, this unassuming eatery wows with rich and flavorful curries and complex flavors that regulars note even their kids love.

Must-try dish: Murghi Korma Shahi (chicken in a creamy, mildly spiced, yogurt-based curry)


Peru

La Huaca Photo by Dante Fontana


La Huaca

9213 Sierra College Boulevard, Suite 140, Roseville, 916-771-2558, lahuacarestaurant.com

Today’s Peruvian cuisine owes its flavorful fusion to a history of Spanish, French, Italian, Asian, and African influence. At La Huaca, the kitchen keeps it elegant and playful, with photogenic plates, inventive pairings, and authentic roots.

Must-try dish: Ceviche Clasico (white fish cured in lime juice, red onions, and hot peppers)


Thailand

Chantara

4361 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 110, El Dorado Hills, 916-939-0389, chantaraeldoradohills.com

A spectacular El Dorado Hills mainstay, this restaurant boasts a beautiful carved bar and intricate décor that serve as a backdrop for some of the best Thai food in town. An exhausting—in the best way possible—menu offers options for all moods and palates, covering all of the expected fare plus rare treats like angel wings: tempura-style boneless chicken wings with honey plum dipping sauce.

Must-try dish: Duck Curry (boneless roasted duck with tomatoes, pineapple, bell peppers, and sweet basil simmered in creamy red coconut curry)


My Thai Kitchen

1465 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-781-7811, eatatmythaikitchen.com

Owner and wok master Joy Palmer is on a mission to show reluctant newbies to Thai cuisine that it doesn’t have to be spicy (although if heat is your thing, she can do that too). Gluten-free and vegan options are plentiful, plus there’s a daily happy hour.

Must-try dish: Avocado Curry (avocado, bell peppers, carrots, and snow peas with your choice of protein in creamy green coconut curry; served with rice)

The River Thai Photo by Ray Burgess


The River Thai

424 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-983-7388

Fresh textures and subtle flavors sing at this warm, inviting dining room. Here, the papaya salad is heavenly and the curries are all they’re cracked up to be, with generous portions and devoted authenticity.

Must-try dish: Papaya Salad (shredded green papaya, tomatoes, peanuts, shredded carrots, green beans, and garlic in a spicy lime dressing)

Thai Paradise Photo by Ray Burgess


Thai Paradise 

2770 East Bidwell Street, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-984-8988, thaiparadisefolsom.com

From the former chef of a five-star hotel in Bangkok comes elevated Thai fare in an equally sophisticated dining room. Locavores will love that nearby farms supply the bulk of the ingredients, making the curries and entrées as fresh as can be.

Must-try dish: Drunken Noodles (pan-fried flat rice noodles, green beans, onions, snow peas, red bell peppers, jalapeños, tomatoes, bean sprouts, green beans, basil, and garlic chili sauce)


Thai House 

3181 Cameron Park Drive, Cameron Park, 530-350-8020

Unique décor, cheerful art, and genuinely kind service elevate this casual space that’s known for its fresh, tasty curries. Expect typical fare, surprisingly good green beans, and large portions.

Must-try dish: Thai House Delight (sautéed shrimp, scallops, mussels, calamari, and fish mixed with egg, onions, bell peppers, and celery in mild yellow curry)


Turkey

Anatolian Table

6504 Lonetree Boulevard, Rocklin, 916-772-3020, anatoliantable.com

Traditional Turkish fare delights at this warm eatery with roomy tables for big parties as well as booths for more intimate dining. Expect shareable appetizer platters for sampling new flavors, plus dreamy kebabs, fluffy pita bread, and charming décor.

Must-try dish: Turkish Ravioli (house-made pasta filled with beef and served with yogurt and spices)


Northstar Home Baking

2830 Sunset Boulevard, Rocklin, 408-656-0830, northstarhomebaking.com

This boutique bakery offers a lineup of European and Mediterranean pastries, eye-catching desserts, and more substantial entrées, including better-than-grandma’s baklava and super-moist cakes. Keep it in mind for a morning or afternoon pick-me-up, or to cater your next party.

Must-try dish: Simit (a circular bread—similar to but softer than a bagel—encrusted with sesame seeds)


Vietnam

DT Noodle 

5015 Foothills Boulevard, Suite 3B, Roseville, 916-797-8883, dtnoodle.com

If you’ve never had a good bahn mi, now’s the time to change that. The Vietnamese staple is a single-serving baguette stuffed with pickled veggies and meat, and DT Noodle offers six variations of them. Expect a lengthy authentic menu, imported beer list, and casual, cafeteria-style vibe.

Must-try dish: Bahn Mi Heo Nuong (grilled pork, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeños, pickled carrots and daikon; served on a fresh-baked French baguette)


Pho ABC

602 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-817-8588, phoabc.com

This award-winning, family-owned pho hub lives up to the hype, pouring steaming hot and flavorful bowls of its namesake soup, in addition to life-changing egg rolls, charbroiled specialties, and an extensive list of smoothies and other unique beverages. Note: The pho comes in small, large, and extra-large.

Must-try dish: Chicken Rice Noodle Soup (chicken, baby bok choy, scallions, and rice noodles in broth; served with bean sprouts, basil, jalapeños, and lime wedges)


Pho Hang

916 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Suite 150, Roseville, 916-771-2565, phohang.net 

Always a winner, this casual and brightly lit pho hangout is usually buzzing with hungry patrons. The warming and soothing soups still come out of the kitchen in a timely manner, making it an easy choice for a quick meal, plus you can order delivery online. 

Must-try dish: House Fried Rice (pork, shrimp, egg, sausage, peas, and carrots; served with a cup of soup)


Pho Tahoe

6530 Pony Express Trail, Pollock Pines, 530-344-7924, photahoe.com

After moving to South Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area, everything was perfect—except there was no pho. But if you build it, they will come, so these industrious owners opened their own pho spot in Pollock Pines. Something else they missed? An awesome sports bar to catch the game, so Pho Tahoe became that too.

Must-try dish: Grilled Pork Vermicelli (vermicelli noodles, shredded lettuce, grilled pork, bean sprouts, and cilantro—topped with sliced daikon, carrots, and crushed peanuts with Vietnamese dipping sauce)

Pho Tam Photo by Dante Fontana


Pho Tam 

25004 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, 916-542-7913, photamfolsom.com

Conveniently located next to 99 Ranch Market for a pre- or post-meal grocery trip, this small spot is deceivingly sleek inside: sparkling tile floors, trendy backsplash, and bar seating. Regulars love the inimitable broth (it takes 16 hours to make) and fresh spring rolls.

Must-try dish: Pho Tai (filet mignon, rice noodles, white and green onions, and cilantro in bone marrow broth; served with bean sprouts, basil, jalapeños, and lime wedges)


99 Ranch Market Photo by Ray Burgess


International Markets

So, you’ve tried the restaurants on the list, found your favorite dishes, and you’re ready to put your own twist on it at home—except you can’t find a certain ingredient at your local Trader Joe’s or Safeway. That’s where these global markets come in, offering a range of hard-to-find spices, sauces, staples, and sweets.

Asian 

KP International Market

10971 Olson Drive, Rancho Cordova, 916-853-8000, sac.kpinternationalmarket.com

Oriental Market 

203 Harding Boulevard, Roseville, 916-771-8488, orientalmarketroseville.com 

99 Ranch Market

25000 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, 916-984-6899, 99ranch.com/stores/folsom-ca 


Latin American

Mercado Loco

201 Sunrise Avenue, Roseville, 916-791-5626 

Santa Maria Taqueria, Meat, and Groceries 

175 Placerville Drive, Suite A, Placerville, 530-295-8121


Indian

Trinetra Indian Grocery

310 South Lexington Drive, Folsom, 916-983-7275 

Malabar Indian Groceries

817 Wales Drive, Suite 1, Folsom, 916-984-4845


10 Global Food Facts

1. Ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass—ingredients commonly found in Thai dishes—aren’t just delicious: They’re also medicinal. Ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, and ginger is thought to aid in digestion and circulation. Lemongrass is reportedly an antidote for stomachaches, headaches, and even the common cold. 

2. Chili peppers are thought to first have been domesticated in Mexico nearly 5,000 years ago, but now China is the top producer of the chili pepper.

3. While cassava hasn’t quite caught on in the U.S., it’s actually the third most popular carbohydrate on the planet. This drought-tolerant root vegetable is a major staple in much of the developing world, with Nigeria being its largest producer. 

4. Sushi is meant to be eaten in one bite. If you dip it in soy sauce, don’t commit the cardinal sin of leaving behind rice in the bowl or mixing together a wasabi dipping concoction. And the ginger on your plate? It’s meant as a palate cleanser. 

5. In the 1800s, Italy invented the Margherita (no, not margarita) pizza, named for Queen Margherita. The red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil aren’t a color coincidence—they represent the colors of Italy's flag. 

6. Favorite pizza toppings around the world differ. In Brazil, it’s green peas. In Germany, canned tuna is popular. In India, pickled ginger and minced mutton top the list.

7. Bread isn’t a traditional staple in East Asia, but Vietnam is an exception. French colonists introduced baguettes to the country, which the Vietnamese adapted. Now, you can find Vietnamese baguettes on every street corner—and in the famous sandwich: bahn mi. 

8. In France, approximately 500 million snails (escargot) are eaten every year. 

9. Traditionally, wheat noodles are the main staple of Northern Chinese diets, and rice is the main staple in the South. Noodles are also found in Southern Chinese diets, of course, but they’re typically rice noodles.

10. Most people know one kind of paprika—and maybe a smoked paprika, if you’re fancy. In Hungary, there are eight different flavor profiles of paprika, ranging from sweet and mild to pungent and spicy. 


BY LUNA ANONA

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