7 Secret PATIO DINING SPOTS around (but not in) SACRAMENTO
Al Fresco around (not in) Sac town
There are ubiquitous Sacramento al fresco dining destinations that see their share of action when the sun shines and the temps rise. Spots like Paragary's, Lucca and Tower Cafe all come to mind, but what about the hidden gems that sport sunny seating outside the city for us suburbanites? On this first day of spring, let's all take a moment to revel in anticipation that soon ,we'll be taking our meals out in the open and under the Northern California sun.
This was once a pizza parlor with barely passable pizza. The decision to become Siam Patio was absolutely in everyone's favor and the name says it all. Delicious Thai cuisine that spans the traditional to more interesting Thai-inspired dishes and a gorgeous, slightly whimsical patio area that turns from sweet to romantic as the evening unwinds. A little shabby chic chandelier action, dark wood & mood lighting makes for a rendezvous to remember. And did we mention live piano Fridays?
4071 Howard St., Fair Oaks, CA 95628 Tel: (916) 961-3327
This Fair Oaks hot spot has been around since 1962 and has been a favorite local gathering place since. What Carmelita's lacks in inventive or high-end comida, it more than comes through in the sunny, swanky patio department. Complete with drapery, outdoor bar area and occasional neighborhood rooster appearance, it elevates the usual enchilada experience. The price has increased since the old days to finance the decor upgrades but the food is decent, the drinks are icy and Rosa, our favorite waitress, and the sunny patio warm our corazones.
If you want to get your outdoor picnic on, Sunflower is the place to come for saucy, nutty, messy, piled-high take-out that happens to be vegetarian. Right next to Old Fair Oaks park, where the chickens do roam, it bustles with cyclists, strollers, families and friends. The wait can be tedious but when the sun's out get your Nut Burger bun's (or Nutty Tacos) out and get grubbin'.
The tucked-away back patio sees little traffic, but that just makes it all the more relaxing. It's spare, but fits you and your friends nicely when the two picnic tables are stuck together, farmhouse-style. While away a sunny happy hour with $3 beer specials and crispy tots with a smoky, porky topping and if you get hungrier, grab a set inside for more on-premises smoked barbecue specialties.
9611 Greenback Lane, Folsom, CA 95630 Tel: (916) 989-6711
Judging by the popularity of Scott's happy hour, it may not be much of a secret and chances are, you may have sat-a-spell on the patio. Sipping on a glass of ice bucket-chilled, buttery chardonnay while munching on fresh, ocean-sweet seafood is just the way to spend a summery afternoon. If you haven't christened Scott's patio, your chance is right around the corner.
Dark wood interior, a mellow, low-key vibe inside, top-notch bartender crafted cocktails (with an amazing $5 whiskey/bourbon-heavy happy hour cocktail menu) and mostly Italian food menu hidden away in strip shopping center is a worthy destination. The shady arbored patio with twinkling white lights & a cozy fire pit is inviting and the perfect spot for some of their tasty small-plate goodies.
2220 Gold Springs Ct., Gold River, CA Tel: (916) 853-9600
The interior of this long-time restaurant resident in Gold River is decked-out in purple, glossy black, mauve and sponge-dappled peach laminate...an 80's era study in interior decor that does have its own unique charm. That being said, the patio is expansive and perfect for a group gathering. After you've gathered, order the prosciutto pizza topped with lightly lemon tinged arugula or arguably the best burger this side of the American River (another secret we're divulging.) The wine pours are generous, the staff is always friendly and there's always a shady table waiting for you.