If you're trying to figure out where to find the best food in Sacramento, let us help. This destination celebrates food in its purest form — farm to fork — and there's a lot to discover. The Daily Meal was invited to experience this culinary hub of California in September during the monthlong Farm-to-Fork celebration.
The sixth annual Farm to Fork Festival took place September 28 and 29 and brought 80,000 people to the streets of Sacramento to explore local food vendors while eating and sipping their way through the day. The street was filled with vendors showing off their Sacramento specialties, like these marshmallows from The Rustic Puff.
Regional wines and local brews were on display and available for tastings. Sign up now to get notifications for the 2019 festival. Just scroll to the bottom and put in your information. It's worth it to plan your stay in Sacramento around this event!
Tower Bridge Dinner
The festival also includes an amazing event that requires a bit of luck to get a ticket. Most of the more than 700 guests are invited directly, but 80 tickets are sold to the public through a lottery — and it's worth it to do whatever you have to do to get one!
The Tower Bridge Dinner is one of the most spectacular food events in the country. Led by the legendary chef Jeremiah Tower, this event serves 800 seated diners on the Tower Bridge. If the name Jeremiah Tower sounds familiar, it's because the late Anthony Bourdain produced a documentary titled “The Last Magnificent” inspired by Tower's autobiography.
The five chefs for the 2018 edition were led by Tower and included Ravin Patel, Brad Cecchi, Ed Roehr, and the Kathi Riley-Smith. Cecchi told the Sacramento Business Journal that the dinner was “not too much of a departure for me. We cook like this every day.” Trust us when I say you need to visit Sacramento if you love food! Joining the group was the mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg.
Right on cue, appetizers were served as people mingled sipping Champagne and wine and eating appetizers.
Guests were told to take their seats for the meal and served smoked sturgeon with lemon cucumber salad.
On the side was sturgeon skin chicharron, served with Russian caviar sauce and remoulade sauce.
Next was confit leg and roasted breast of duck served with cardamom and black pepper roasted figs and mahogany and black rice with charred grapes in late harvest zinfandel.
The duck was followed by a braised shoulder of lamb with roasted cipollini onions, tomato confit, heirloom bean gratin, and salsa verde.
But this event was far from over, as guests made their way to the dessert party where they dined on a variety of desserts and after-dinner drinks.
Best Food in Sacramento: Restaurants
Of course, Sacramento is a great destination even when the festival is not going on. For visitors just looking for a great restaurant, there are far too many to cover them all. We've chosen a handful you'll want to visit.
Revival at the Sawyer
Revival is the restaurant at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel. The breakfast menu boasts favorites like avocado toast and smoked salmon Benedict. The appetizers at Revival at the Sawyer are incredible, and if you try them all you won't need dinner.
Urban Roots Brewing
Urban Roots Brewing is not your typical brewhouse, where food is an afterthought. Meat gets pulled from the smoker twice a day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Chow down on pork shoulder or ribs, Angus brisket, house or poblano sausage, and smoked turkey.
Everything can also be put on a sandwich, though there is so much goodness here you may want to skip the bread. Sides are a la carte, and there are a lot of them! Do not miss the mac and cheese!
Did we mention this was a Brewery? Our minds go off on a tangent when we're thinking about food, but the beer at Urban Roots Brewing is the perfect accompaniment. We had a blast at Urban Roots, but if you're a brewery fan, get out and explore a few of the other fabulous breweries in Sacramento. You'll have over 60 to choose from!
Wine Tasting is another favorite pastime in Sacramento, and you'll have plenty of choices here with eight nearby wine regions.
While in Sacramento, we were able to spend an afternoon at Bogle Winery. But don't just go for a tasting. Take a cue from the locals and once you decide what you like, grab a couple of bottles and head for the garden.
For a fine dining experience, you've got to check out Ella Sacramento. Randall Selland, Ella's founder, is well known in this farm-to-fork community. Grab a table by the kitchen so you can watch as the works of art hit the counter.
You must try the deviled eggs. They are not on the menu, so tell them The Daily Meal sent you!
One of the most popular small plates is the Gnocchi Alla Bolognese. We demolished it. For an entree, it's tough to choose. Try the pan-seared scallops. This dish was among a handful of our absolute favorites in Sacramento.
Have we given you enough reason to head to Sacramento? Where would you start?
Expenses for this trip were covered by Lou Hammond. Thoughts and opinions are the writer's own. Kelly Stilwell is a member of The Daily Meal's Culinary Content Network and regularly publishes at KellyStilwell.com. You can follow her at @kastilwell.