If you dine at a restaurant that buys locally, not only will the meal taste great, but you’ll be directly benefiting regional farmers who have devoted their livelihood to growing and producing nutritious, flavorful, fresh food. Here are five farm-friendly restaurants:
Le Bilig French Café
One of the region’s earliest and most passionate proponents of the “eat local, eat seasonal” philosophy, Le Bilig is owned and operated by chef Marc Deconinck, a native of France, and his wife, Monica. The restaurant’s cuisine is rustic, comfortable French, and ingredients are sourced from small local farmers, artisan food producers and the Deconinck family’s own extensive family garden. Don’t miss the ravishing tarte tatin.
11750 Atwood Road, Auburn; (530) 888-1491
Cozy and snug, Boulevard Bistro celebrates local produce in its pretty salads and seasonally-inspired entrees. Owner Bret Bohlmann does a great job with locally grown mushrooms and heirloom tomatoes. Make sure to sample his handmade Neufchatel cheese—tangy and smooth, the white cheese arrives like a pristine snowball, drizzled with a fragrant pesto sauce and scattered with kalamata olives and sweetly ripe, just-picked cherry tomatoes.
8941 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove; (916) 685-2220
Mulvaney’s Building & Loan
Located in a gorgeous old brick building originally used as a firehouse, Mulvaney’s exudes conviviality and fun. Local greens end up in the restaurant’s famous raviolis, freshly plucked fruits and vegetables appear in salads, entrées and ice creams. Farms that supply food to the restaurant are often listed on the menu, and the farmers themselves are regular customers. This is a midtown hotspot, so make reservations.
1215 19th St. (between L and Capitol), Sacramento; (916) 441-6022
Spataro Restaurant and Bar
Chef Kurt Spataro regularly shops at the local farmers’ markets and has developed long-standing relationships with many of the region’s small farms to source produce for Spataro’s kitchen. He also buys whole hogs from local Bledsoe Pork for the restaurant’s pork menu items and beautiful array of housemade Italian-style cured meats. Try the lonza, a delicately pink, salt-cured dry sausage made from the pork loin, and the finocchiona, a fragrant Tuscan-inspired fennel seed salami.
1415 L St., Sacramento; (916) 440-8888
Seasons is involved in the region’s “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaign, developed by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (www.caff.org). Produce from Guinda’s Riverdog Farm and West Sacramento’s Del Rio Botanical shine in the kitchen’s menu items, such as the sumptuous bruschetta, featuring juicy (and locally grown) heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
102 F St., Davis, (530) 750-1801