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As a fan of Formoli’s Bistro in East Sacramento, I was eager to visit its new digs at 3839 J Street, former site of Gönül’s J Street Café (which, interestingly, changed its name to Vanilla Bean Bistro and moved into the former site of…the original Formoli’s Bistro).
The restaurant’s ambience is very different now – gone is the cozy, intimate feeling, as is the very open kitchen that served as the focal point and heartbeat of the original site. The new dining area is separated from the partially-open kitchen, the walls are a somber, deep plum color, the ceiling is soaringly high and the overall feeling is more sterile and formal. But the whiskey burger is as good as ever, and I enjoyed the restaurant’s toothsome, satisfying eggplant portabella Napolean – a terrific dish for non-meat eaters. And one of the best features of the new location: a great outdoor sidewalk dining area, perfect for Sacramento’s gorgeous, warm fall afternoons.