Where to Eat in Placer County

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With whitewater rafting, hiking, and wine tasting, Placer County is known for its diversity of activities and the challenge of its terrain. The restaurants that dot the beautiful region are similarly diverse, pulling in flavors from around the world, while never straying from that sensibility for California freshness.

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Restaurants /

The Chef’s Table

This bright, unpretentious eatery takes favorites like cheeseburgers and turns them into innovative culinary delights. With an open floor plan and giant windows, guests feel like they are actually in the kitchen—or, more appropriately, the titular “chef’s table.” All the food, like a sandwich made from short rib braised for five hours, is made with sustainable ingredients.

Insider Tip

The tortillas for the tacos, filled with meat in accordance with the seasons, are made in-house every day.

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Restaurants /

Cafe Luna

This breakfast and lunch joint is widely known as the best Mexican restaurant in Placer County. Classic south-of-the-border fare like quesadillas and Mexican chicken salad are local favorites, but the café’s excellent espresso drinks and pastries also earn raves. A visitor could easily stop in for a breakfast croissant and coffee, and circle back around in the afternoon for a hefty burrito or bowl or tangy ceviche.

Insider Tip

The restaurant offers to make many of the most popular dishes gluten free.

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Restaurants /

Hawks

Hawks vaunts a refined American-inspired menu within stylish digs worthy of the cosmopolitan eateries of San Francisco or Los Angeles. If you’ve become exhausted by choosing different wines all day, order the daily tasting menu and let the talented chefs at this restaurant do the selecting for you. Short ribs or seafood, like the seasoned halibut, are also excellent choices if a la carte is more your speed.

Insider Tip

Entrees can get pricey here, but Hawks also features a happy hour menu from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays with great deals on cocktails, draft beers, and wine.

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Restaurants /

Bistro 103

Bistro 103 brings farm-fresh, locally sourced food to the charming downtown area of Auburn. While the surrounding shops and buildings are quaint, the delicious meals from this restaurant’s kitchen are prepared by some of the most talented chefs in the region. The inviting space is small but accommodating, and Cajun-infused dishes like shrimp po’boy sandwiches make for a memorable lunch.

Insider Tip

The crispy veggie chips, made from fresh vegetables each day, will make the mouth of even the staunchest carnivore water.

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Restaurants /

Heyday Cafe

This rustic storefront may only offer counter service, but the cooks are committed to freshness and flavor. The café possesses a long wine list featuring many locally grown bottles, so it’s not uncommon for a lunch at this trendy eatery to turn into a several-hour-long affair involving relaxing conversation. Handcrafted pizzas, like the butternut squash and bacon or truffle chicken, are upscale, sharable favorites for dinner.

Insider Tip

Don’t overlook the greens like the BLT salad, built from produce grown on organic farms throughout California.

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Restaurants /

Farmhaus

Farmhaus is quickly earning a reputation among locals within Placer County – people are even regularly driving in from places like Sacramento for its refined take on country comfort food. The chicken pot pie with a homemade béchamel sauce is a succulent place to start (although you probably won’t be able to finish it). A massive outdoor patio with welcoming wood tables delivers a leisurely retreat just near Granite Bay.

Insider Tip

Like most real farmhouses, dinners are served early in the evening—Farmhaus closes at 8 p.m., so arrive early.

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Restaurants /

Joe Caribe

Like the tropical fare, the aura of Joe Caribe is inspired by the Caribbean – relaxed and informal. Flip flops are definitely welcome, but that doesn’t mean the cooks slack off when creating tasty fish tacos, curries, and sandwiches. Stop in for a lunch burrito, or come by later for a more refined dinner of curried noodles and strong drinks.

Insider Tip

The wine and draft beer list is tempting, but the mojito is often the locals’ first pick.

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Restaurants /

Diegos Restaurant

Diego’s Restaurant, in the heart of Grass Valley, has arty aspirations that blend with the scrumptious flavors of the best taco trucks. The menu looks south toward Mexico, Central America, and even Peru, but the rustic interior and local ingredients are pure California. You’ll want to order a mess of dishes like the empanadas, jalapeño poppers, and panqueque, and share among friends.

Insider Tip

The fantastic crab meat chili is a mouthwatering blend of Pacific seafood and Tex-Mex spice.

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