Dine Downtown Restaurant Week
“The season’s hottest, budget-friendly way to enjoy all of the flavorful selections of downtown Sacramento’s best restaurants returns! The 13th Annual Dine Downtown 10-day dining extravaganza, produced by Downtown Sacramento Partnership, gives local foodies and families the opportunity to explore pre-fixe, 3-course specialty menus from 30 participating restaurants for only $35.”
Sounds like a great way to get in on some good eats. But what about the specifics? Where will you have to go to enjoy some of these fabulous meals? Which restaurants are participating? When will the event take place? Read on, as we explore everything you’ll need to know about this yearly extravaganza.
Background & Specifics
Dine Downtown was first launched in 2005, an attempt to “elevate downtown’s dynamic dining scene and drive traffic to local restaurants.” On that front, they’ve certainly succeeded. From 2009-2017, the event generated $5 million in restaurant sales, and in that 2017 year, participating restaurants served more than 11,000 meals during the course of the festivities. Heading into 2018, it continues to serve as a showcase for Sacramento’s most distinguished chefs, and continues to draw in the big crowds.
It’s important to note, however, that the Dine Downtown is about more than simply raising the profile of participating restaurants:
“Not just an economic benefit, one dollar from every Dine Downtown meal served is donated to food literacy and social service programs in the community. It only takes one party of four to make the difference for beneficiaries like California Food Literacy Center.”
So, by enjoying the sumptuous meals of the 10-day event, you’ll also be helping out those in need (in your own, indirect way). As Downtown Sac notes, “Just $4.11 provides a week of food literacy education for one child.” What are some of those meals you’ll have the opportunity to try, though? We’ll go over some choice specifics later, but a list of participating restaurants comes to us by way of The Downtown Sacramento Partnership, and sheds some light on what’s in store:
Foundation Restaurant & Bar
The Melting Pot
Rio City Café
The Porch Restaurant & Bar
The Firehouse Restaurant
Skool Japanese Gastropub
Fat City Bar & Café
Downtown & Vine
Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.
Pilothouse at The Delta King
Iron Horse Tavern
Grange Restaurant & Bar
Ella Dining Room & Bar
Aioli Bodega Española
Sauced BBQ & Spirits
Punch Bowl Social
The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar
An impressive assemblage -- one that offers a range of choices. With all the interest in this year’s event, though, it’s probably best to get reservations to make sure you’re able to get a spot at the table when you’d like. For many of those, you’ll need to turn to OpenTable, who’s paired with 22 of the participating restaurants to make reserving a spot easy.
Once you’ve got your restaurant of choice picked out and a time selected, prepare yourself for a treat. While we can’t cover all of the restaurants on the list, we can take a peek at a few standouts, like Cafeteria 15L. This, they note, is “Sacramento's premier comfort and eclectic urban restaurant offering American comfort cuisine with a classic flair.”
It was designed by the same team that did The Park and Mix Downtown (so you know the aesthetics are quite remarkable). The interior of this establishment features a range of reclaimed woods, industrial light fixtures, and “an array of mixed and matched chairs create and atmosphere both whimsical and cozy.” All this goes to complement the delicious American-style cuisine, of which the cheeseburger sliders, grilled New York steak, and chicken & waffles are particularly tasty.
Then there’s Rio City Café, the place to go if you’re in the mood for seafood:
“Rio City Cafe is situated in beautiful historic Old Sacramento, overlooking some of the most prominent landmarks in Sacramento. The Sacramento River runs by our spacious outdoor patio, with spectacular views of the historic Tower Bridge and the Ziggurat (pyramid) building.”
Here, you’ll find sumptuous appetizers like calamari and crab cakes, delicious soups like the clam chowder, and sublime entrees like the Atlantic salmon and almond crusted halibut. All of their meals are tailored to the palate of the dedicated seafood aficionado.
And if you’re looking to try some Italian cuisine, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better restaurant than Il Fornaio. This downtown favorite offers “an authentic and unique Italian dining experience and a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2007 wine list.” With a trip here, you’ll be treated with “wood-fired rotisserie and grilled meats, poultry and game; house made and imported pastas; pizzas from an oak wood burning oven; fresh salads and house made soups; antipasti and a wide variety of desserts made daily from scratch.” A true delight for lovers of the finest.
Of course, there are many other fine options to choose from, so be sure to check the entire listing to learn about what restaurants are participating and what might excite your taste buds.
What They’re Saying About Dine Downtown
The festival has received plenty of coverage, in Sactown Mag, Fox40, and other outlets. They overwhelming consensus is that the meal options are diverse, the service at the various establishments is welcoming, and the entire experience is one that shouldn’t be missed. Perhaps the most glowing endorsement, though, comes from The Katchet Life. The former Downtown Sacramento Partnership organizer sums up the true reason Dine Downtown is so special:
“A few years ago when I worked for DSP, Dine Downtown was my project and it was the first year it had a philanthropic angle. I was excited and thrilled to cultivate relationships with our culinary community and since my departure, I make sure to always go out and dine, support my local economy and eat for a cause in January.”
So, make it a point to have a great time and enjoy a great meal, if for no other reason than to provide the community with a boost.
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