Here's a compilation of Gene Shalit-like one-line impressions of places I've eaten at, or slightly longer lines where warranted. Most of these comments are not worthy of spreading throughout the wiki. Others are summaries of comments or edits I've previously made on individual pages. If you agree with my general comments about restaurants, you might find this page useful.
- Applebee's A few years back, I said "mediocrity at its worst." The food has gotten better, so I'll revise that to consistently mediocre for most of its food, and good marks for the burgers.
- Baker's Square Decent pies.
- Cindy's Greasier than Jerry Lewis's hair
- The Graduate Decent place for dancing which somehow manages to avoid getting a noise violation
- The Grill at G Street Pub Attempts and fails to deliver food classier than bar food and shadily takes cover charge right before announcing last call.
- Hot Dogger With the exception of the chicken linguica, I like their stuff, particularly the nice selection of mustards.
- Seasons Good overall, but the rabbit pasta was generous with the bunny and light on the interesting.
- Sudwerk They've got a western burger that's pretty tasty, but their appetizer selection was better before the ownership change.
Sandwiches / Delis
- Noah's Bagels Okay bagels. Despite faux NY atmosphere, these bastards replaced Dr. Brown's Kosher soda with more regional Thomas Kemper Soda.
- Pluto's I enjoy their salads and the occasional seasonal ingredients. The stuffing is very filling if you're looking for an inexpensive and filling side dish
- Quiznos Pricey but decent for a chain sandwich shop.
- Subway Low-quality, over-processed, and devoid of taste.
- Sunrise Restaurant Vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich is inexpensive and delicious
- Togo's Their blatant overuse of avocado is inexcusable.
- Zia's Delicatessen The meatball sandwich w/ extra sauce is one my my favorite lunches. Try also the pepper salame sandwich and the gelato. Yum!
California / Fusion food
- Bistro 33 The fairly priced panini make this the best restaurant to eat at after 10 PM. The service has improved much since their first six months.
- Cafe Bernardo Overpriced and over-rushed for a restaurant where you have to order at the counter.
- Fuzio Mediocre Yuppie-Chain food.
- Mustard Seed I avoid b/c the owner gave my iron chef team a low rating and the wait is too long. Otherwise fine if someone else if paying or you really like mayo.
- Natural Food Works Rose Ann's Farmers Kitchen Cafe is refreshingly unlike any other Davis restaurant. You'll enjoy your ultra-fresh meal here, but they typically serve food that takes a while to prepare. As such, this is a great place to chill out, but if you're in a rush, I recommend you give them a call ahead of time— it's worth it!
- Kabul Afghan Cuisine Meat mantoo dumplings are my favorite dumpling in Davis, and the Lamb Kebob is some of the tastiest meat I've had in Davis.
- Davis Noodle City One of my favorite Davis restaurants. The homemade noodles well complement their generously portioned and tasty dishes. They are probably the fastest made-to-order Chinese place in Davis.
- Ding How Bland and uninteresting. Everyone else seems to like their stuff but I've never ordered anything here that was all that good.
- Great Wall Generic.
- House of Chang Good Hong Kong Style pan fried noodles.
- Hunan Generic.
- Jade Garden Sizzling oyster dish is distinct and satisfying.
- Yummy Guide Cafe As a Westerner, my thoughts of this place invoke references to the Uncanny Valley.
- Noodle Express Red bean noodles are cheap and a welcome departure from standard american-chinese fare
- Orange Hut The potstickers are really good, but someone must have left Captain Hazelwood near the lunch offerings.
- Old Teahouse Gets points for authenticity, but nothing has ever warranted repeat visits. Suggestions are welcome.
- Shanghai Town Best (only ...) Dim Sum in Davis, and hands down the best Chinese in Davis. The deep fried and Americanized dishes come out overly oily, but numerous steamed dishes, noodle dishes, and the Lion's Head Casserole are plentiful, well-prepared, and unique to the Davis Chinese scene. Anything dish preceded by "Shang-hai" is well worth getting.
- Silver Dragon Good quantity lunch specials, but generic.
- Wok n' Roll Really generic.
- Wok of Flame The house special pan-fried noodles come with a gazillion different vegetables, which isn't to my taste, but might be to yours.
- 2k Thai Food Most improved restaurant 2005.
- Sophia's Thai Kitchen Fritter appetizers are really good and the Tom Ka Gai (sp?) is probably the best Thai dish in town. They get mad props for including rice into the price of their dishes. On weekend nights they get pretty busy, but the service and atmosphere of the bar is always great, so its' no big whoop to wait there for a table.
- Thai Bistro Fresher feel than other Thai places, and the duck is always good.
Japanese / Sushi
- Fuji Chef Long wait makes it unappealing, but the high variety buffet is worth it if you avoid the sushi boats and get directly from chefs. Get there early— the crowds are small I've gotten nasty fish later in the day.
- Jusco Had bad fish here once and am loathe to return. The fried calamari is good, but the sushi has far too much rice, and not enough seafood. The sushi is about the same quality you'll get at a Chinese buffet.
- Osaka Sushi Decent quality, but pricey.
- Nobu Hiro Generally has the best quality sushi for a lunch buffet, but limited offerings and quality can be variable.
- Zen Toro Good atmosphere, good spam sushi.
- Manna I've always enjoyed my food here and should go more frequently. I enjoy the bibimbap.
- Hoa Viet Their garlic chicken trumps that of all chinese restaurants.
- Sunrise Restaurant Vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich is cheap and delicious.
- Kathmandu Kitchen The vegetarian momo plate is a really good TIbetan(?) dish. The buffet has gone downhill in recent times.
- New Delhi Chaat Cafe I frequent the Panir wrap and that Bhel Puri, but make sure to tell them to spice them up lest they be too bland. The wraps by themselves always leave me hungry, so it's best to get something else too.
- Raja's I enjoy the rice pudding which is the strongest element of the buffet. They servers are really nice.
- London Fish'n Chips Decent and plentiful fish and chips, really good fried shrimp.
- Little Prague Venison with pistachio nuts is yummy as are their breakfast dumplings. The potato pancakes are quite good, but only worth the money during happy hour. Desserts are top notch. Enough of my friends have complained about the owner and his wife that I no longer go here.
Crepeville Winner of a call to the Dept. of Health after an argument with the unhelpful owner. In 2003, I got a soup and sandwich to go. I finished the soup soon after, but didn't get to the tuna sandwich till the next day. Upon eating it, i discovered something plasticky. I figured it was packaging, but it turned out to be a band-aid minus the gauze. Sick to my stomach, I stormed into Crepeville and demanded to see the owner. I explained my discovery to him, telling him that I wanted to know from whom it came, if they had any diseases, etc. His reaction was completely unsatisfactory. He only spoke in reaction to my specific complaints, and he showed no effort to take control of the situation or to calm me down. He made me feel as if I were somehow inconveniencing him just by being there. His damage control tactics were limited to telling me of their stellar health code record, how he was sorry for my experience but that these things happen, and that I should call the dept. of health if I was concerned. In response to him unhelpfully saying, "what do you want me to do about it?," I gave him my phone number and instructed him to contact me when they found out the origin of the Band-Aid. I then went outside, called the Dept. of Health, and filed a complaint. After the call, I realized something— the manager didn't even have the decency to offer me my money back! I went in and said, "aren't you forgetting something?" He looked at me blankly, and then said "of course" after I requested a refund.
I'm not resentful about the Band-aid itself and thats why I've not explicated this on the Crepeville page. It was a horrible experience that no one should have to go through, but restaurants do have accidents and I'm sympathetic to that. I spoke with the Dept. of Health recently, and it appears that they've not had any complaints since mine, convincing me Crepeville is a perfectly sanitary restaurant. However, I do harbor resentment with the management and refuse to eat there. The customer might not always be right, but when they find a medical waste product in their food, the least the manager can do is immediately offer them their money back. BTW, Crepeville never called me to tell me from whom the Band-aid came.
Italian - Primarily Pizza
- Mountain Mike's Pizza Great portions for the price, but nothing special tastewise
- Papa Murphy's Um, since when have the Irish been renowned for their pizza making skills?
- Papa John's No pizzeria should depend on a side of garlic butter for flavor.
Don't you mean artificially-flavored, partially-hydrogenated soy oil? — aa
Ya, that stuff is the worst! —StevenDaubert
- Pizza Guys Okay, with good value when they have specials.
- Steve's Place Pizza Blech. The breadsticks are far better than the pizza and their "subs" are sub-par— there should not be cold veggies on a hot sub.
- Symposium Spicey Greek Pizza is best pizza in town, and the flaming cheese is hair singe-ingly good..
- Woodstock's Pizza Dessert pizza impressed me, but financially exploits people's misunderstanding of geometry
- Village Bakery Really variable, but still consistently the 2nd best pizza in Davis, notably the Eggplant and Kalamata pizza
Italian - Traditional
- Caffe Italia They can't make any dish right.
- Pasta? Really good appetizers, but their use of canned pesto and inability to make Pasta Arrabiata is inexcusable
- Strings Italian Cafe Generic and exercises the Law of the Diminishing Plate Size on their all-you-can-eat night. I do enjoy the bread though.
- Aioli Bodega Espanola Really friendly service, and they don't seem to mind when you ask for bread 10,000 times to sop up the sauces.
- El Mariachi Best salsa in town, notably the pumpkin one.
- Taqueria Guadalajara Best Burrito in town. The Wet Chile Relleno Super Burrito is amazing.
- Chipotle Good by NY standards but equivalent to 7-11 by Bay Area standards. The only Taqueria in town that doesn't give complementary chips.
- Ali Baba Fessenjen is very sweet and awesome. Bacon Mushroom burger is best burger in town.
- Cafe Mediterranee Good muhumarah and the potato side salad is surprisingly worth getting.
- Sam's Mediterranean I was reluctant to get the chicken sandwich, but I swear by it now.
- Pita Pit Too sterile for 2AM hunger pangs. Nearly all of their items would be better on a bread other than pita.
- Burger King In specifically the Davis Burger King, Pallid and flat Whopper's are better dubbed Whimpers
- In-N-Out Extra syrup shake, animal style double double, and twice fried fries are the perfect fast food meal. And they don't put mustard on burgers, thank goodness!
- Jack in the Box This Crap in the Box is incredible slow.
- McDonald's Atrocious soda and food, and best used as an "American Embassy" to be used only for shelter, utensils, or a place to take a McShit.
- Redrum Burger The onion ring batter on the calamari is worth trying once, but prepare to wait a long time or call ahead. The ZOOM is really good, but if you sneak it into the movie theater, it's presence will be known.
- KFC Kentucky Fried Cramps is what you'll get from eating here. I like KFC, but its not worth the intestinal distress.
- Del Taco Makes Taco Bell look authentic.
- Taco Bell I typically get the Nacho Cheese Chalupa.
- Jimboy's Tacos Makes Del Taco look authentic. Cheese Quesadilla gave me the first stomach ache I'd had since I was 7.
- Panda Express Pandas to American's sweet tooths and their inability to identify quality Chinese food. I really panda Davis location in the Panda Express vs. Davis Noodle City experiment.
- Baskin Robbins Dollar scoop night makes this place awfully tempting
- Ben & Jerry's Generous with portions and fun to watch them toss the scoop onto the cone.
- The Candy House of Davis Scrumptious, generous with the free samples, and costs only $1 a truffle. Owing to location, its the most under-appreciated business in Davis.
- Ciocolat Salmon Croque Monsieur perplexed me at first, but wound up being very good.
- Konditorei Cassia dessert is heavenly. The hours are odd on weekends, but I always make an effort to bring out of towners here.
Coffee / Cafes
- The Posh Bagel Salt bagel with Lox Trim is affordable and passable for a California bagel place.
see also Doughnuts
Outside of Davis
- Zachary's Pizza Best Chicago style pizza
- Buca di Beppo Don't be fooled by the huge family style servings— this place should serve Rolaids as after dinner mints.
- Kru The Poki, served with an assortment of three flavored salts, was unbelievably good. Unbelievably good.
- New Canton Best Dim Sum I've had in California.
- Rice Bowl Good selection of Dim Sum, notably the Fried Meat Vegetable Bun and Char-Shiu Bow. If you like snails, be warned that crunchy baby snail shells cling to snail meat.
- SF Market Good Har Gow dumplings and Sesame Balls, but the duck was almost indistinguishable from chicken.
- Streets of London Pub Delicious meat pie. Try it on Sunday trivia night.
- Tapa the World Good overall, and I seem to remember the mushrooms being fantastic.
- Thai Basil Better Thai than most places in Davis.
- Buckhorn Steak and Roadhouse Best steak house in the area. Try the cajun steak bites appetizer if you want to try the steak, but would prefer a different main course.
- Putah Creek Cafe My favorite breakfast place in the area, I've never gotten something I didn't enjoy here.
2005-09-10 11:34:09 I, for one, demand that Craig dresses up like Gene Shalit when writing these reviews. You can buy surplus mock facial hair at Stagecraft Studios in Berkeley. —LeightonHinkley
2005-11-07 00:39:21 thx Mr. CB —MichaelGiardina
2005-11-08 14:42:23 Given your Chipotle review, it's obvious what your Posh Bagel review should be... —AlexanderWoo
2005-11-19 14:49:29 You should check out Steady Eddy's in Winters. Good mochas, good sandwiches, great place to spend time. —GrahamFreeman
2005-12-07 22:37:16 I would like to tag along to dim sum sometime. Have you been to the Scottish Meat Pie Shop in Dixon? —JudithTruman
2006-01-04 22:18:18 I think Taco Bell makes Del Taco look authentic. I mean, sure D.T. has fries, but their mainstays are not a product of 'food science' endeavors like taco bell is. —JaimeRaba
2006-03-07 19:45:44 Interesting story on Crepeville. I don't eat there because I consider it Crap-ville. Crepes are the easiest thing to make at home anyway, so I save a lot of money. Ever gone to Sogas and tried their salads? They're a pile of iceberg lettuce with something worse than Hidden Valley Ranch... for $10. —KarlMogel
2006-03-08 13:53:09 In spite of the bland atmosphere, Ding How deserves another drive-by-Craiging. Order off their vegetarian menu (it's a different color), and marvel at the delicious vegetarian beef and green beans (thinly-sliced, savory seitan). Lightyears better than the regular beef and peas. Also, it might be worth adding "Farmer's Kitchen Table" to your Natural Food Works entry, because that is the name of Rose Ann's restaurant there. xox —ElHarvey
2006-10-13 17:00:28 Dude you have to understand this ins't The City or New York. Davis might not have the best food around, but it isn't too bad. Also on Del Taco, the only reason it exists is to make $.79 Chicken Soft Tacos for kids who are either drunk or stoned late at night. Quality is not to be expected. —RussellAnderson
- Yeah, I kind of wonder why anyone would go to Del Taco sober or during the day— Taco Bell is far tastier for cheap greasemeat. Generally, I'd say that the food in Davis has consistently improved and become more diverse since I moved here in 2001. Notably, Asian cuisine has really flourished with the addition of an Afghan, 2 Vietnamese sandwich, an Indian, a Filipino, a Taiwanese noodle, a Shanghai style chinese, a Korean, and multiple Thai restaurants. In terms of quality, one need not complain about restaurants by holding them to a "big city" yardstick. When I go to a restaurant, I judge it based on whether I can cook and easily assembly a superior dish at home. I'm neither Italian by heritage nor that great a cook, but I can easily make better Italian food than any place in town. If I, armed with only a cookbook and Safeway ingredients, can do better than people who cook for a living, there's definitely something wrong. That rule is why I praise Ali-Baba, Farmer's Kitchen Cafe, and Shanghai Town and insult Great Wall, Pasta?, Papa Murphy's and Crepeville. Well, I insult Crepeville because I found a band-aid in my food and the manager reacted like a douchebag, but you get the point. —CraigBrozinsky
2007-03-03 20:03:18 You need a one liner for the educated eatery! wanna go one of these days? —StevenDaubert
2007-06-28 14:30:57 could you elaborate on Yummy guide as being related to uncanny valley. Is it that as the food gets more authentic we enjoy it until it reaches an almost authentic status, and then we can only see the differences and become repulsed? Im a little confused by the comparison, but it sounds interesting. —MattHh
- That's kind of right. If they were completely European, that would be good. If it were completely Chinese, that would be good. If it were 50/50 fusion or taking the best of both cultures, that would be good. But when a chef trained in Chinese cuisine tries to make an American dish, their Chinese cuisine skills are going to somehow, even unintentionally, influence the dish. Their Mushroom Noodle Casserole might taste great to someone unfamiliar with American cuisine, but it's not going to taste like mama's home cookin. Also, some narrow range between 50/50 and 100% culture-pure just ain't good because the culture-pure is a superior dish. That's my impression of their pork chop, tomato dishes, gravy dishes, and spaghetti. My other problems with their food is that their more American styled sauces taste artificial, probably because they're factory made. —CraigBrozinsky
2007-07-22 12:51:18 i was recently reading the panda experiment, and i noticed the picture for DNCs orange chicken. It looks fried? ive ordered it there, and it has never been fried. While panda is way worse than noodle, i actually like their orange chicken a little better. I use to love noodle city but lately i think shanhai town, noodle express, and home town do a better job. I still come back to noodle city for their great noodle salad though. —MattHh
- Funny you should mention that— I'm now more of a Shanghai Town regular, and I haven't eaten DNC's orange chicken since the "experiment," but got it a few days back. It was really good, but it seemed different from what I'd remembered. Too bad I ate it too quickly to notice if it were fried or not :-) —CraigBrozinsky
2007-08-09 08:15:18 Why hasn't craig eaten at Delta of Venus? There IS good food there. I like their Samosa. JoshuaLee
- I only leave reviews if I can remember something specific about my dining experience. It's been several years since I've eaten there, but I should definitely return so I can write something. At present all I can say is that I had a good chickenny thing there once, and that I'm allergic to their curried tofu sandwich. —CraigBrozinsky