5 Faves: Places to Linger

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How often have you finished a meal at a restaurant, only to feel as if the staff can’t wait for you to leave so they can re-fill your seats? That “turn ‘em and burn ‘em” approach can be a real customer turn-off, but there are restaurants that don’t mind lingering guests. Here’s five places where it’s okay to take it slow and order that second glass of wine, even if there’s a bar full of people yearning for your table.

Ella Dining Room & Bar
Sophisticated and stunningly appointed, Ella Dining Room & Bar has a menu you won’t want to rush through. Take your time after your entrée to savor one of the pastry chef’s delicious homemade ice creams or the lemon meringue pie (with candied Meyer lemon zest and organic honey).
1131 K Street, Sacramento; (916) 443-3772; www.elladiningroomandbar.com

Katrina’s Café
Guaranteed to be packed to the rafters on weekend mornings, friendly Katrina’s treats all its customers with true graciousness. Even if hungry people are peering at you through the windows as they wait outside, feel free to eat that delicious date-walnut French toast or housemade corned beef hash as slowly as you like – you’ll get no complaints from your waiter, just a brisk re-fill of hot coffee.
456 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn; (530) 888-1166

Crush 29
One of Placer County’s hottest dining spots, Crush 29 often has a waiting list for dinner. Never mind – just sit back, admire the restaurant’s stunning close-up photographs of wine and ask your waiter for a “house specialty” cocktail recommendation. I like the “Crushtini” – prepared from vodka, Chambord, and guava and pineapple juices, the cocktail gets a small cube of dry ice, which induces an eye-catching, misty fog to billow out of the glass.
1480 Eureka Road, Roseville, (916) 773-2929; www.crush29.com

Rubicon Brewing Company
If you’ve ever tried Rubicon’s delectable house-brewed beers, you’ll know they’re worth relishing. Lazily slurp down those last few drops of Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale or E.S.B (Extra Special Bitter ) as you finish up your finger-licking Rubicon Wings. The Midtown Mess Burger (loaded with house made chili, cheddar cheese, onions and chopped tomatoes) is another menu item that will require extra time (try it with the India Pale Ale).
2004 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, (916) 448-7032; www.rubiconbrewing.com

Centro Cocina Mexicana
Getting a table at Centro on a weekend evening can feel like winning the lottery. So when you finally nab one, settle in and plan to stay a while. Order a crock of the kitchen’s amazing guacamole, and sample one of the kitchen’s interesting regional dishes, such as the vivid Pescado al Mojo de Ajo Veracruz, grilled fish of the day topped with sauteed spinach, grilled Portobello mushrooms and toasted garlic-chipotle chile salsa.
2730 J Street, Sacramento, (916) 442-2552; www.paragarys.com/go/prg/locations/centro