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2010 Best of Sacramento Winner
2031 S St.
2010 Best of Sacramento Winner - Best Restaurant to Watch the Action
It can be challenging to find a kindly, cozy neighborhood restaurant that also happens to serve first-rate food. Tuli Bistro happens to be such a restaurant, and downtown denizens are very pleased to have this feisty, welcoming little establishment in their backyard. A marvel of careful space design, this tiny bistro offers up a long, skinny granite counter which looks directly onto the line. Much of the interior is dominated by the cooks, who dexterously weave around each other like well-choreographed dancers. Diners perch on bar stools and watch, mesmerized, as chefs stretch pizza dough into paper-thin circles, quick-fry crusty pieces of petrale sole and carefully fluff salad greens. Behind the bar stools are two small round tables which (very snugly) accommodate two people. The rest of the tables are outside, so bring a coat if you’re visiting on a chilly night. Chef-owner Adam Pechal describes his cuisine as “Italian-influenced regional cuisine, with some Asian and Mediterranean touches,” and his menu changes daily. The lunch menu is small and comfortable, always featuring a nurturing-sounding housemade soup (like gingered red lentil or a Southern chicken and rice soup) and a handful of sandwiches and salads. Don’t miss the “Crispy Bird,” a generously-sized and refreshingly moist sandwich piled with slices of fried chicken breast, a creamy, vibrant Serrano chile-infused ranch dressing, and lettuce, onion and tomato. The ahi tuna melt is also fabulous—cleanly flavored and fresh, topped with thin, earthy slices of manchego cheese and enlivened with an aggressive punch of arugula. Recommended dinner entrées include the kitchen’s lovely bouillabaisse, loaded with diver scallops, prawns, tilapia and clams, and the signature petrale sole piccata, lemony and melt-in-your-mouth tender. And if you like pizza, try the popular thin-crusted and satisfyingly chewy Humboldt pizza, slathered with a sprightly arugula-herb pesto and generously dotted with intensely flavored oven-dried tomatoes, Nicoise olives and mozzarella and goat cheeses. Tuli also offers up an appealing breakfast menu, including French toast with strawberry compote, a breakfast burrito with housemade salsa, and an egg, cheddar and bacon sandwich. — Kira O’Donnell
Insider tip: The granite bar dining area is the most entertaining place to dine, but you should plan to arrive before 6 p.m. during the week and 5:30 p.m. on weekends if you want a stool for dinner.
Reservations: Not accepted
Payment methods: AmEx, MasterCard, Visa
Alcohol: Wine and beer
Corkage fee: $15
Hours: Breakfast: Mon.–Fri. 7–10:30 a.m.
Price Range: Inexpensive
2010 Best of Sacramento Winner: Editors' Pick
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