A few years ago I used to write the Sacramento Heatmap for Eater.com. If you are familiar with Eater, they do a Heatmap for every city showing the current hot places to eat. Not necessarily the best, but what's currently the hot new spots everyone is trying out. Every month they add and remove restaurants from the list. Restaurants are less than six months old.
I can no longer write for Eater as it is considered a conflict of interest for my job. At the same time, I referred them to another blogger to do Sacramento for them, but in three years they've never put us back on their Heatmap list.
I've decided it's time to take the matter into my own hands and therefore present to you Sacramento's Hot List à la Ms. Munchie.
September 2016: added Mimosa House, Highwater, The Hotel Bar, El Rey
Winning the award for "Best Opening Date and Location in Tandem with the New Arena" is El Rey. Once upon a time the location they occupy at 7th & K was considered a dead zone for any restaurant that opened there. No more. It's perfectly situated across the street from the new arena and opens with perfect timing for the Golden 1 Center's opening date of October 4th. Expect great Mexican bites including a tacos (duck, ahi, rockfish, carnitas, veggie, and more!), queso fundido, elote, and a large array of cocktails. Lots of screens to watch the games and two bars.
|courtesy of Highwater|
Located inside the Marriott at the corner of 15th & L, the Hotel Bar is what takes the place of the Three Fires Lounge. The concept is a fun one - vintage decor and showing classic movies paired with themed foods. Ms. Munchie always loves pairing movies and food (Sacramento Food Film Festival after all), so I'm excited to see what is coming up and whether you can actually watch the movie or if it will be too busy and noisy to do so.
The newest location of The Mimosa House is located in the River Park area. Focusing primarily on breakfast/brunch and a long list of mimosas, this location also serves lunch and dinner fare.
If you are into history, then Saddle Rock is for you. The original Saddle Rock restaurant was located in Old Sacramento back in the Gold Rush era. It was apparently Sacramento's first restaurant and lasted over 150 years, closing in 1995. This new version is in Midtown and takes inspiration from era menus and updates them with contemporary methods and ingredients. For instance, above is the Sacramento Cioppino, made with sturgeon and crawdads found in our rivers and delta along with oysters, which were popular at the time. Another dish includes an updated Hangtown Fry, after the famous dish named after Placerville. Matt Masera is the chef and he not only brings his expertise to savory, but he's particularly known for his desserts, so save room.
|courtesy of OBO'|
OBO' is the long awaited, new addition to the Selland Family Restaurant Group. Like their Selland Market Cafes, this one is a fast casual restaurant where you order at the counter and then your food is brought to you. The difference is the Italian focus and the fact that this one has a full bar, not just beer and wine. This is a neighborhood restaurant where you can socialize with friends or grab a meal from the prepared case for those nights when you are too lazy to cook. (3145 Folsom Blvd)
A few have tried and not been successful at bringing a Japanese izakaya restaurant to Sac. Binchoyaki looks like it has succeeded. The focus is grilled skewers and small plates that are often found in izakayas, or Japanese style social houses. During lunches the menu is filled with bento box selections while dinner offers the extended menu. (2226 10th St)
|courtesy of Coconut|
Southside is becoming the hot area of town for new restaurants. The newest addition is the second iteration of Coconut Thai. This one is much larger than the original J St. location. Ms. Munchie hasn't had a chance to visit it yet, but is excited to have Thai in walking distance! (1110 T St)
Ms. Munchie loves restaurants that bring something new to town and Skool has done that. Skool features Asian influenced seafood dishes that we really haven't seen anywhere else but from Kru. Owned by two couples who opened the first Skool in San Francisco, the Sac location has been getting positive reviews from critics and Ms. Munchie. (2319 K St)
|courtesy of Coconuts|
Another Coconuts? This one is unrelated to the Thai one above. Started by a Sacramento native who was living in Maui, Coconuts Fish Cafe is known for its Hawaiian style fish tacos featuring lean ono, poke with ahi tuna, and grilled mahi mahi as well as many other seafood dishes. Coupled with Hawaiian aloha spirit, it's a friendly, cheerful place to grab a bite and sure to be much more successful than the Noodles & Co. it replaces. (16th & O Sts)
Anticipating: Some are already in soft open or just opened. Those will be in October's list.
Malt & Mash