Four Faves: Restaurants to Take Out-of-Towners

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Want to show off our region’s spectacular culinary landscape to your out-of-town friends? Here are four spots that are sure to impress ‘em.

Hawks Restaurant
Located in the lovely Quarry Ponds shopping center, Hawks showcases sophisticated seasonal fare in a hushed, elegant environment. With dazzling views of Quarry pond, an ever-changing menu utilizing local, farm-sourced ingredients, and an expert sommelier to assist you with your fine wine selection, this is one classy restaurant guaranteed to knock your guests’ socks off.
5530 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 110, Granite Bay, (916) 791-6200; www.hawksrestaurant.com

Lemon Grass
A Sacramento gastronomic treasure, Lemon Grass restaurant plates up some of the most vibrant and delicious Asian food in the region. Chef/owner Mai Pham is an award-winning cookbook author and part-time instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (when she’s not in the kitchen at Lemon Grass), and customers come from all over to savor the restaurant’s Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Don’t miss the succulent, sweet “Mom’s Catfish in Clay Pot” or the terrific Siamese Seafood Bouillabaisse.
601 Munroe St. Sacramento, (916) 486-4891; www.lemongrassrestaurant.com

Auburn Alehouse
After a day of sightseeing, take your visitors to Auburn Alehouse for a refreshing swig or two of the brewery’s excellent beers (try the thirst-quenching American River Ale and the thick, creamy Shanghai Stout with its irresistible, coffee-toffee flavors). The Alehouse also offers tasty upscale brewpub fare to pair with that frosty mug of goodness – popular items include the Prawns “Tostino,” grilled black tiger prawns wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon with a jalapeno-cilantro glaze; and the Shepherd’s Pie, beef cooked with housebrewed stout and hard cider, then topped with peas, corn and mashed potatoes.
289 Washington Street, Old Town Auburn; (530) 885-2537; www.auburnalehouse.com

Zócalo
With its stunning, grand interior, festive ambience, and zesty Mexican cuisine, Zócalo offers an experience like no other in Sacramento. Customers can either sit in the ornately decorated (and often loud) dining room or choose the outside patio, which affords good people-watching opportunities and a breeze or two. The menus specialties include a robust Chile Colorado (shredded beef simmered in red enchilada sauce, topped with queso fresco) and outstanding fish ceviche. Wash it all down with one of the bar’s unique blackberry margaritas.
1801 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, (916) 441-0303; www.myspace.com/zocalosacramento