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2010 Best of Sacramento Winner
Basil's By The Lake
500 Leisure Lane
When we’re searching for a local restaurant, it isn’t often we think to visit a hotel. Hotels are for out-of-towners, right? Well, the out-of-towners staying at the Radisson near Cal Expo have a secret: The hotel’s upscale restaurant, Basil’s by the Lake, has a pretty waterfront view and a very attractive menu of Italian-inspired dishes. Sure, the lake is artificially made, but who cares, when you can squeeze your sweetie’s hand and watch the geese and ducks cavorting on the lawn and water right outside your table? While enjoying the pastoral view, order up the kitchen’s massive appetizer of deep-fried calamari and tempura-style baby artichokes, a dish that requires restraint—it could easily fill you up, leaving no room for dinner. Served with a watery-but-pleasant tomato sauce and a tasty basil mayonnaise, this is a satisfying dish that would pair beautifully with that jolt-your-mouth-awake, first-of-the-evening dry martini. If comfort is what you seek, tuck into the cannelini bean soup or the chunky, breathe-in-the-healthy-fumes minestrone soup, full of vegetables and macaroni. There are a number of seafood entrées from which to choose—a popular one is Basil’s shrimp garlic, tossed with bowtie pasta and tomatoes in a white wine-butter sauce; and there’s also a rich scallops Mornay, baked with Parmesan cheese, cream and leeks. Meat eaters will relish the blocky New York Steak, served with a succulent pile of sautéed oyster mushrooms; and if you’ve got a hankering for poultry, try the chicken piccata Dore, egg-battered chicken breast sautéed with capers, lemon parsley and white wine butter. Kids have their own menu at Basil’s, and the kitchen also offers patrons breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch. The restaurant’s interior is all creamy-beige, with exuberant fresh plants tucked into corners and cute little lamps perched on white linen-draped tables. The focal point of the restaurant is the lake, which features a large fountain in its center, so make sure to request a table alongside the window for the best view. — Kira O'Donnell
Insider tip: If you like fries, don’t miss Basil’s version. They’re thin, crispy and delicious.
Payment methods: AmEx, Discover Card, MasterCard, Visa
Alcohol: Full bar
Corkage fee: $8
Hours: Monday–Sunday: Breakfast 6:30–10:30 a.m.; Lunch 11 a.m.–2:00 p.m.; Dinner 5:30–9 p.m.
Price Range: Moderate
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