O'ANNE AND O'DAVE RESTAURANT RATINGS (* means we rated on Yelp)
How we rate restaurants and hotels: General total score :
We walk in with zero points and an open mind.
If an aspect is not remarkable, it gets zero points.
If any aspect is remarkable, it gets one point, either way.
Add up the points.
Simple.
- = we will not return
0 = We won't return unless we are desperate
1 = We will return if in the area
2 = We will go out of our way to return
3 = We plan entire trips to return

Back to the Travel Index


Al's Redwood Room - Casual white tablecloth
207 S Main Street, Willits, CA   707.459-2444
* Very quiet on a week night, bar to the left, eating to the right. Very extensive menu of Thai and American cuisine. I would investigate other delights we have missed if I could get away from my favorite Redwood salmon dish.
Visit   #1   #4
Food  

+1

  +1
Atmosphere
Service

   
Prices

+1

  +1
Total

+2

  +2

Beirut Falafel Hut - super casual
2917 Yosemite Blvd, Modesto, CA 95354 / 209.557.9454

* Standard Middle Eastern food, gyros, falafels, hummus, swarmas, but GOOD, GOOD, GOOD. We will plan a day trip to Modesto to eat here.

Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

+1

Prices

+1

Total

+3


Branding Iron, 640 W 16th St, Merced, CA 209.722.1922 - white tablecloth, old ranch family
Mon-Fri: 11:30 - 2:00 and 5:30 - 9:30
Saturday: 5:30 - 9:30   Sunday: 5:00 - 9:00
Website: http://www.thebrandingiron-merced.com/
One of the most popular, more elegant places in town, based on the old Merced farmer's, cattle ranchers and their brands.  A rich wood style, white tablecloths, local cattle brands encompass the walls. Includes a garden courtyard, unfortunately, right next to the train tracks. Since we are a small town, most people are not bothered by this, especially if you smoke. The service is always impeccable.
Our favorites: salmon, scallone, scallone, and scallone, prime rib, and their Bleu Cheese is to die for. Joey is worth his weight in gold, for his service, attitude, and the extra mile. Cheryl, Sarah and Pam are equally wonderful!
Visit #1 #52
Food   +1

+1

Atmosphere +1

+1

Service +1

+1

Prices

Total +3

+3


Breakfast Club - Casual comfy country
356 Elm Avenue, Auburn, CA   530.823.3561
* Family owned and operated, small but cheery place in a shopping area, strip mall atmosphere. Loving, hand creation decors: white lace curtain, pastel pink and blue decor, cabbage rose fabrics, lovely plant photos on the walls. Slightly uncomfy booth seats. A good selection of breakfast meals all reasonably priced under $10, including burgers, many sandwiches, hot dogs and salads. David had Belgian waffles, Anne had Joe's scramble which could have been better with a little less spinach. If we lived there, we would be regulars.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

Prices

+1

Total

+2


Brentwood, Lucerne, Clear Lake, CA - Casual white tablecloth
Very quiet, smaller but elegant place. Spaghetti, chicken. Closed as of 2005.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

Prices

Total

+1


Broiler Steakhouse - Casual white tablecloth
8400 Uva Drive, Redwood Valley, CA   707.485-7301
* The local, large steak house, good solid menu, average steak house prices, good service, full bar. Woodsy atmosphere with booths and tables. Consistent service and food. The bleu cheese dressing makes my mouth water when we plan a trip. They sell it, but I have to remember to bring a glass jar!!! This should really deserve a three point rating. Anytime we are in the area, we make a point to eat there.
Visit   #1   #5   #7 #10
Food  

+1

  +1   +1
+1
Atmosphere +.5          
Service

+.5

  +1   +1
+1
Prices

         
Total

+2

  +2   +2
+2

Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale, CA - Traveling white tablecloth
11570 Highway 9, Brookdale, CA 95007  831.338.1300
http://www.brookdaleinnandspa.com/
* Nice selection on the menu, select recipes, fair to poor service with a group of 20, small to normal portions, side dishes are not offered, priced a bit high, the only dinner available in the immediate area, does not include cheaper or plainer entrees for children . The citrus salmon is very different and quite good, the ravioli and prime rib looked wonderful. The only problem with the seating arrangements unless you are at a two person table is that the wide, comfy chairs are so close together that it is very difficult to get in and out of a chair without everone at the table having to get up.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +2
Service

-1

Prices

-1

Total

+1

For the hotel rating, you must go here.


Brookdale Cafe,  Brookdale, CA - Cafe casual
Open 7 am to 2 pm, I think? (I lost the menu!)
* Plain, no-nonsense cafe with plenty of room. Even when bustling full, the girls, Kim and Annie, are cheerful and treat you like you are neighbors, can take a ribbing and dish it back delightfully. The food is excellent, home grown standard breakfast and lunch with standard prices. This place saves the day when at Brookdale Lodge. Kim gets an extra smile for noticing David hardly ate his soup and sincerely asking if it was ok. (His stomach was at odds, the soup really was wonderful!)
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

+1

Prices

Total

+2


Cafe de Paris, 2032 Union Street at Buchanan Street, San Francisco - Very white tableloth - Gone. Sob.
Very wonderful old style place, the flavor and the food is fantastic. Definitely our favorite place to go. Bring at least a hundred dollars. We go for the ginger saki salmon and the steak covered in their famous garlic sauce. Complete with piano bar, singer, romance, class and a style rarely found.
Visit #1 #6
Food   +1

+1

Atmosphere +1

+1

Service +1

+1

Prices

Total +3

+3

2005 note: we planned an entire weekend around this place only to find it closed, can't BELIEVE this place closed!! 


The Carousel, 417 Main Street, Woodland, CA - Casual white tablecoth - CLOSED
Very enchanting place with a wide menu, superb food and good, home style, comfy service. Comfortable booths, pretty decor without being cutesy, and a full bar. The bathroom isn't bad, either.
Visit #1 #4
Food   +1

+1

Atmosphere +1

+1

Service +1

Prices

Total +3

+2

This is now closed. What a disappointment!


Cafe Deva - Pajama casual
1202 J St, Modesto, CA 95354 - 209.572.3382
Cold toast and heavy coffee was a disappointment but the eggs and potatoes were good. The price was a tiny bit steep, but the liquids menu was excellent. David assured us this was not up to their usual standard, so we left them with a zero score, but a willingness to return another time.
We returned, and shall not again. Cold mocha, browned scrambled eggs with coagulated cheese on top. Bathrooms lacking any toilet paper in any way, shape or form.
Vist #1 #2
Food -1

Atmosphere 0

Service 0

Prices 0

Baqthroom -1
Total 0 -2


Cafe Pescatore - tourist white tablecloth
2455 Mason St,  San Francisco, CA 94133   / 415.561.1111 - website
* Don't let the "cafe" fool you. A very elegant place, full bar and distinct menu. Bartender Steve has saved us from the cold winds on more than one occasion.
Food  

Atmosphere

Location +1
Service

+1

Prices

Total

+2


Castagnolas - very white tablecloth on the wharf
286 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA   415.776.5015 -website
* Very exclusive place, usually very good food, service can vary. A large room with windows overlooking the ocean, white tablecloths, elegant waiters, some of which have attitudes, a full bar. Pricing is a bit steep unless you don't mind paying for where you are. They USED to have scallone. Possibly have eaten there for the last time.

We do stop by the bar after walking the wharf in the wind for a drink and to warm up. The piano player comes by about 5, we like to be gone by then. He's pleaseant, just loud and we aren't exhibitonists.

Visit #1 #3

#5?

Food  +1 +1

-1

Atmosphere

Service +1 -1

-1

Prices

Total +2

0

-2


Cattlemen's Restaurant - semi casual white tablecloth
2882 Kitty Hawk Road, Livermore, CA   (925) 447-1224 -website
* Good old standby steak house, lots of wood, large booths, good atmosphere. The salad dressings are spectacular, service is cheerful, friendly and sincere, (thank you, Dave) and made our weekend.
Visit #1
Food  +1

Atmosphere

Service +1

Prices

Total +2


Chic's Seafood - white tablecloth casual
Pier 39, San Francisco - (415) 421-2442
I think we hit a bad time? Not memorable except I wrote down the brand of their silverware.
Food

Atmosphere

Service

Prices

Total


Cinderella's Bakery & Cafe,- Russian cafe
436 Balboa St, San Francisco - (415) 751-9690 - website
* Incredible food, to die for peroski, parking is extremely difficult.
Food  +2

Atmosphere

Service

Prices

Total +2


Cinema Cafe - Casual
661 West Main (17th) Street, Merced, CA    209.722.2811
Open for breakfast and lunch every day, dinner during the summer.
* Another of our favorite Saturday morning breakfast stops, a tiny place, most always heavily occupied. Tables inside are slightly cramped, but the outside tables are delightful, even when a motorcycle roars by. The food is basic, reliable and always delicious. David varies between a sausage omelet and sandwiches, I have a standard breakfast with the best patty sausage this side of Texas. The biscuits are home made, hot and almost as good as mine. Gerry, the owner, and all the girls are delightful. We will miss Sarah. She moved away. Lydia and Veronica know us well, owner Jerry takes exra plants off our hands and misses us when we are away for the weekend.
Visit #1 #26
Food +1 +1
Atmosphere +1/2 +1/2
Service +1 +1
Prices +1/2 +1/2
Total +3 +3

Colosseo Ristorante & Bar - white tablecoth casual
414 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133 / 415.398.1300 - website
Between Vallejo and Green, North Beach

* We wandered into this establishment off the streets while looking for someplace new, our beloved Gold Spike was closed forever. Marble floors, column painted on the walls, echoes galore, Venice atmsphere, the entire staff speak with a heavy Italian accent (creepy! It was like they all just got off the boat!) The tables were crammed together like sardines, they didn't have O'Douls and some idiot put a lemon slice in my Drambuie. Prices ranged from $14 for lasagne to a $30 Kobe burger. David had chewy chicken, I had salmon with capers. Potato pave, pear & balsamic vinegar. It was way too loud for a romantic evening, the french bread was hard, the salmon sauce was pure lemon., we had to flag down a waiter to ask for Parmesan, the negative list goes on and on.

Food -1
Atmosphere -1
Service -1
Prices -1
Total -4

Cool Hand Lukes - Casual steak house - CLOSED
475 W. Olive Ave, Merced, CA   209.383.3038
Relatively new in town, wooden wall steak house atmosphere. Good menu variety, reasonable prices. We were warned to service can be very slow. The first trip was on a Sunday night, not bad. The bean appetizer is delicious, the gumbo was very good and the blue cheese got a smile.  The quantity of food was plentiful, the rolls were worth noting. The second trip was the first time we have ever not eaten a meal and complained about such a poor, cold meal and horrific service, and we were pleased they released us from the bill. In all fairness, we need to go back a third time.
Visit #1 #2
Food   +1

-1

Atmosphere +1

Service +1

-1

Prices

Total +2

-2


Country Skillet - Casual
708 S Main Street, Willits 95490 / 707.456.9916
* Reliable breakfast and early lunch, closed after 2. Average cafe menu, friendly service, bright and cheery atmosphere with booths and tables. $28 for two breakfasts a tad high.
Food
Location +1
Atmosphere
Service
Prices
Total +1

Cravings - 25 W Main Street, Ione, Ca  Fancy casual, white tablecloth (Aka the Ione Hotel)
* Used to be the Twisted Fork in the Ione, "California Cuisine" with short, eclectic but excellent menu selection, full home-stomping grounds bar. Four distinctive pizzas, polenta, salads, pastas. Six entrees are chicken scallopini, grilled salmon, fried prawns, BBQ ribs, ribeye steak, and prime rib, $13 to $22. Our garlic taste buds were very happy, and the waitress Marisa was a kick.

Friendly local service.
Visit  

#1

 

#2

Food  

+1

+1

Atmosphere

Service

+1

+1

Marisa

+1/2

+1/2

Prices

Total

+2 1/2

+2 1/2


Crepe & Curry - Thai casual
5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, 94111  415.772.9900  - website
* This was before we did serious ratings, so we must go back.

Food  +1

Atmosphere

Menu +1
Service

Prices

Total +2


Curly's - Casual - CLOSED
624 Powell St., San Francisco   (415) 392-0144
* Very busy place but good, home made food at a very reasonable price. Cafeteria atmosphere, nothing spectacular.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere

Service

-1

Prices

+1

Total

+1


D'Angelo's - White tablecloth
350 W Main Street, Merced, CA   (209) 383-3020
* Reservations generally needed. Dark, quiet, elegant dining, basically Italian, a full bar, the place is always bustling. We do not go as much since our favorite waitresses left, service became mediocre but food was always dependable.

2013 note - back to being our favorite place now that they moved to what used to be the Eagle's Nest.

Sept 2014 note - D'Angelo's closed. Merced is severely lacking in decent restaurants, and we are all puzzled as to why.

Visit #1 #9
Food +1 

+1

Atmosphere +1

+1

Service +1

Prices

Total +3

+2


Diamond Jim's, - Casual white tablecloth, heavy tourist and local destination
24535 Highway 108, Mi Wuk Village, CA  209.586.3561
* Knotty pine interior, plenty of space, lovely atmosphere, complete separate bar, bizarre bathrooms that get a point for quaintness and design in a cramped space, but loose a point due to the size. Excellent menu selection, especially for such an isolated location, including the 'Feathered Flock' chicken dinners, ribs, prime rib and seafood galore. Friday night Buffet is famous.
A long wait but well worth the effort. Besides, you can have a drink and a cigarette on their deck while you wait. Incredible buffet, always busy!
Our third visit was a Sunday at 4 pm, we were the first diners, seated immediately, scallone (served with a caper sauce to die for) was on the menu!! Thanks to Lauren (who would not let us lick all the spoons) and the chef, the visit was fantastic and became one of our few three pointers. No useless vegies, either!

Note: We bought a cabin in Mi Wuk, walking distance to Diamond Jim's - life does not get any better. THEN, Diamond Jim's closed, the rumors abound. The bar re-opened in 2013, but no sign of dinner. How we mourn this place.

Visit

#1

#3

Food  

+1

+1

Atmosphere

+1

+1

Service

+1

+1

Prices

Bathrooms

Wait

-1

Total +2

+3


The Dog House - Casual - NOW CLOSED
661 West 16th Street, Merced, CA   209.384.3207
* Jack and Linda opened the dog house in March of 2008, and now it's a famous gathering place for hot rods, classic cars and music on Friday nights.  Twenty eight varieties of hot dogs from classic to wild and everything inbetween. Black and white race car motif, airy but small, but the entertainment is usually in the parking lot.  (Keep in mind we are not great hot dog fans)
Food  

Atmosphere

Service

+1

Prices

Total +1


Elephant Bar - White table cloth casual CLOSED
3401 Dale Road, Modesto, CA 209.544.1700
* Industrial jungle atmosphere done without overkill. Excellent menu selection, food was what you would have expected, the price was quite steep.
Food +1
Atmosphere
Service
Prices -1
Menu +1
Total

+1


El Serape, Pixley, CA - Casual  
423 E Court Ave, Pixley, CA  93256   (559) 757-3456
* The best Mexican food ever. Distinct homestyle atmosphere, service, attitude, good prices, and a huge menu.  The original ratings was: [Food +1, food +1, location (as in not near home) -1, food +1 = 2] but realized we plan trips in order to eat here.
Visit #1 #2 #3
Food +1  +1 

+1 

Atmosphere

Service

Prices

Menu +1 +1  +1 
Food (it was that good) +1 +1  +1 
Total +3 +3

+3


Eritrean Ethiopian Restaurant - Casual white tablecloth  
907 Irving St, San Francisco, CA? - (415) 681-1288
* Our first try here, we might go again.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere

Service

+1

Prices

No Drambuie in a full service bar -1
Total

+1


Fajardo's - Casual festive neigborhood Mexican - CLOSED
609 Seventh Street, Modesto, CA   209.523.4847
* A secret hideaway in a scary looking part of town. An odd winding path leads you to large dining area with booths and tables, gaily painted walls, large wood beams ceilings that are finally painted all one color. An intriguing painting of Villa and Zapata adorn the walls of our booth.  The five page menu sports a variation from crab legs, shrimp, ribeyes and fajitas, salads, horchata, ham and flan to classic dinners. Prices range from $9 to $18. The food is close to authentic and delicious. We had chili relleno and chili verde tapatia. Service is fast, and mostly in Spanish. The bar, sadly, does not include Drambuie. David has been coming here for more than 40 years.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere (loud  classic music)

-1

Service

+1

Prices

Bar but no Drambuie

0

Total

+1


Feed and Fuel - Casual to semi elegant white (green) tablecloth - CLOSED!!
18938 East Highway 88, Clements, California  95227  209.759.3100 -website
Excellent service, food and menu, from nachos to escargot. Slightly higher prices, up to $20 a person.
The trip in detail is mentioned here.
Food   +.75

Atmosphere

Service +.75

Prices

Bad Drambuie -1
Wonderful people +1
Total

+1.5


Fina Estampa - family casual
802 West 16th Street, Merced, CA 95340 / 209.726.1656
* The best Mexican food in town to date, they put the rest to shame with their homemade chili rellenos, green sauce and tasty dishes, slightly hot but delicious guacamole. New to town, and we pray they stay! Very clean, some booths fit 6. Two large dinners with drinks was $28. Food and service is consistentlky wonderful.

Food   +1

Atmosphere

Service +1

Prices +1

Total

+3


Fisherman's Grotto - Touristy white tablecloth
The Wharf, 2851 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA   (415) 673-7025
* This rating is for the Santa's Village side, we must go again but sit in the adult section  - SCALLONE!!!

2014: We managed to go again and remember to go upstairs to the 'adult' section. The service is austere and proper, prices are a bit steep. $8.50 for a Drambuie! But again, the only place on the wharf we have found scallone. Crab already shelled runs almost $40.

Visit #1 #2 #3
Food (Scalloni!!)   +1 +1

+1
Atmosphere

 
Service

 
Prices

 
Waiter with stick in the wrong spot -1
Total

0

+1

+1

Five Ten Bistro - black tablecloth
510 West Main Street, Merced, CA 95340 / 209.381-0280
* What a disappointment. Every restaurant that has appeared in this spot has failed so we waited. Finally, with hopes held high, we went. I guess they rarely received reservations from the reaction of the genetleman who answered the phone. Black tables, basic bar, black, black, an attempt to be elegant which might have succeeded had it not been for the end result. Patio dining looks great until you realize the view is the homeless, and not their fault. The menu looks good, chicken, steaks, salmon and beef stroganoff, dishes range from $14 to $19. Salads are extra. No Drambuie, but excellent choice of scotch. Salad dressing was good, the lettuce had stems I find tedious to deal with. The side of mac and cheese (well raved about in town) had an interesting taste, a combination of aged cheddar, gorgonzola and Swiss, with Black Forest Ham. Not too thick, some bread crumbs on top, thank goodness we ordered a side, not an entire entree. The penne pasta used was tough, chewy and undercooked. Next came Landon's PBJ, we asked for it not to be grilled as stated on the menu, and it was on sour dough. This came off the children's menu, and they used thick sourdough? Our beef stroganoffs were next, the dollop of sour cream was a bummer, the al dente penne was enough to make me give up on the meal. Jena's flank steak with gorgonzola and carmelized onions, but I think carmelized means cooked for a while, her face told me she was not happy. In other words, the food received a huge negative. The atmosphere and service and prices were as expected, and receive a zero. A whopping $92 for terrible food. We won't be back.

Food  

-1

Atmosphere

Service

Prices

Total

-1


Fontana's Italian - White tablecloth
20840 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA  95014 / 408.725.0188 - website
* A rare delight, and a real treat. This low light, California Mediterranean style stucco and wood restaurant has a large, open, slightly noisy room full of tables and side booths and a small outdoor patio. The service is impeccable, friendly and professional.  The online website advertised they serve scallone, which made this an absolute must on our trip. The scallone was fantastic, quite different than our beloved Branding Iron dish, but wonderful, none the less. The dinner was completed with a perfect server in an elegant tie, O'Sandy, who took our offered loan of our reading glasses to read the drink list with perfect humor. She was a delight, and should get a good chuckle out of the O'Anne and O'David travels.
Slightly higher prices (what you would expect) but worth every penny. Italian flavors and specialty dishes, lunch and dinners from $13 to $34. The crab cakes were heavenly. Drambuie is not on the menu but they magically had it in stock, and made my evening on a difficult weekend.
Food (Scalloni!!)  

+1

Atmosphere

Service

+1

Prices

Drambuie

+1/2

Total

+2 1/2


Friar Tuck's Restaurant - Casual white tablecloth
111 North Pine Street, Nevada City, CA   (530) 265-9093 - Website
* A small brick building in historical downtown, an obvious favorite of the locals. We ate in the bar with it's long, classic, solid wood saloon bar of gorgeous polished dark wood. Five booths and a quiet guitarist, John Griffon, and a fun waiter also named John made this casual and enjoyably slow meal a delight. A nice selection of meals from $14 to $50, all with an elegant touch and focus on detail. Crab salad and the salmon were wonderful.

A second visit years later proved to be as delightful. The service was superior, thank you, Melissa. The salmon and steak were perfect, and the vegies were not useless! The full bar adds to my delight, the music is nice, just a tad loud for my old ears now.

Visit   #1 #2
Food  

+1

+1

Atmosphere

+1/2

Service

+1/2

+1

Prices

Total

+2

+2


Gaspare's Pizza House - Casual
5546 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121 / 415.387.5025
* Simply one of the best Italian food places in the city. Dark, quiet homey atmosphere, typical Italian tablecloths, wine and vine decors. Poor service was most likely due to the lateness of the evening?
Food  

+1

Atmosphere

+1

Service

-1

Prices

Total

+2


Gilbert's - Fancy casual
The Wharf, 460 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz / 831.423.5200
* Shrimp Louie, Clam Chowder, Shrimp cakes and an excellent rice pilaf. The salad plates were teensy but I will remember that rice.
Food  

0

Atmosphere

+1

Service

+1

Out of Drambuie

-1

Total

+1


Goldies Route 66 Diner - Casual homey  
425 E Route 66, Williams, AZ / 928.635.1990
* A three star stop. Decoration is true fifties, the prices are too! You almost expect to see the Fonz at the counter sipping a shake. The people (owners and clientele) were fantastic. The food was just as good. We shall return! We couldn't rate it as a three star because we can't exactly plan a trip around this distance. Well....hmmm......maybe....
Food  

+1

Atmosphere

+.5

Service

+1

Prices

+.5

So far away -.25
Total

+2.75


Gold Spike - Casual red checkered tablecloths - NOW CLOSED Feb 20, 2006- we are stunned.
527 Columbus, North Beach, San Francisco
* A three plus star stop we have visited on several occasions and plan trips around in order to return. The minestrone is to die for, contested only to Reinero's in Merced. We keep thinking we should go up to SF, bring home their minestrone, get a bowl from Reinero's and have a taste test. The atmosphere is incredible, service is grand, always impeccable. The bar is a flashback to the past, complete with a reliable and personable bartender, Paul, and an ancient cash register. Dollar bills and business cards coat the ceiling and the walls, reminiscent of sadly long gone Mountain View's St James Infirmary. Red and white checkered tables scattered in every nook and cranny along a delightful maze, and the bathroom is simply hilarious.  
Food  

+1

Atmosphere

+1

Service

+1

Prices

0

Bathroom + 1/2
Total

+3 1/2


Grand Canyon Caverns Cafe - Traveling casual
A nice little place at the caverns, nothing terribly remarkable about the food, service or atmosphere, but it was handy.
Food  

Atmosphere
Service

Prices

Total

0


Granzella's - traveling casual white tablecloth
451 6th Street, Williams, CA  / 530.473.5583 - website
* Very busy place, great stop for stretching, eating, wandering through the shelves of delightful condiments. Excellent service and minestrone. Standard reliable good cafeteria food.
Food  

Atmosphere

Location +1
Service

+1

Prices

Total

+2


Gribaldo's - family casual
1551 S Main St, Willits, Ca 95490 / 707.459.2256
Mon to Sun 9 am to 10 pm

* Classic diner, can be busy. The hash browns are cooked in butter. Somewhat reliable food and service, the locals hang here. Once in a while, the waiter is, well, less than fun. It felt like a burden to ask for anything, and you oft times have to ask twice,

Visit   #1 #3
#6
Food  

+1

+1
+1
Atmosphere

   
Service

-1
+.5
Prices

+1

+1
+1
Total

+2

+1
+2.5

Hamilton Cafe- Cafe Casual
7313 Hughson Ave, Hughson, CA  209.883.9202
Hours: Mon-Thurs 6am to 4 pm, Fri-Sat: 6 am to 7 pm, Sun 6 am to 3 pm. Closing time will differ depending on traffic.
* We make a point of stopping here when we are in the area. It is a small place, cozy, standard lunch counter with a few booths and tables, and outdoor seating in good weather. The girls are extremely friendly, service is impeccable, the menu is fairly standard, but the meat loaf is like Grandma made. Tuesday is Meat Loaf day and there is rarely anything left over by Wednesday.

2013 note: Our last trip was a bit of a surprise.  I ordered a patty melt and it came so crispy and burnt I could not eat it. We returned the sandwich and asked for another, which came once everyone else was done eating. It looked okay until you cut into it, perfectly, completely raw. I was stunned, and left hungry. I was even more angry when a few days later, a friend who eats there assured me that was a flip off from the cook. An apology is in order. It took everything I owned not to call the management. We will not be back.

Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

+1

Prices

+1

Total

+3


Happy Days Diner- Casual - CLOSED!! Now the Coffee Cup Cafe
512 Nevada Hwy , Boulder City, NV 89005 / 702.293.4637
The Fonz should have been here. Super food, old fashioned hamburgers to die for, not to mention the authentic shakes. Beware, you will waddle out.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

Prices

+1

Total

+3


Hoffman Bistro & Patisserie - Casual Santa Cruz stylish bistro
1102 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060   831.420.0135 - website
* This was a bustling, crowded, cheerful delight, full of the upscale, discriminating hippies, old originals and new wannabes alike. Yellow walls, many little tables, open and airy, outside seating with heaters, full pasta display counters filled with every delectable childhood memory you can imagine. Brunch and lunch menu with unusual, totally un-boring selections from Cheese Blintzes to Crab and zucchini omelets, champagne to chai tea, salads, soups and dinners.
The service is good, especially for a busy Sunday late morning. We left completely stuffed after a crab avocado omelet and a crab melt. The clam chowder was up to par, but the "Cafe Potatoes" were scrumptious. Garlic powder and a red spice? Simply delicious.

Second visit included a long wait between being seated and being approached for anything to drink. Our server said, and I quote, "I guess I am your server," to which we should have replied, "I guess we are your paying customers." Dave's turkey club was fair, Anne's crab melt was blah, but the salads were good. Even another woman waiting in line for the restroom was astounded by the Sunday late morning delay.
Visit

#1

#2

Food

+1 

Atmosphere

Menu

+1

+1

Service

-1

Prices

Total

+2

0


Holder's Country Inn -  Casual coffee shop
1424 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129    408.378.6022 - website
* Large, bustling, bright coffee shop a huge step up from Denny's or Perko's,  an obvious favorite for locals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Green yellow decor, many booths, very few tables. Airy and clean. Excellent service, wide menu, good prices. Crepes, omelet souffles, scrambles, burgers, sandwiches, salads, dinners from prawns to NY steak, lasagna, and several chicken dishes, all between $9 and $18.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

+1

Prices

Total

+2


Hoppe's Garden Bistro - white tablecloth in the garden casual
78 North Ocean Avenue, Cayucos, CA 93430 / 805.95.1006 - website
* The most expensive place in town but a true delight. Inside and outside seating, terrific staff, incredible select menu. For a detail of our wonderful visit see the Cayucos trip.

Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

+1

Prices

Total

+3


Hungry Hunter- Casual white tablecloth
3580 Rosedale Hwy., Bakersfield, CA  (661) 328-0580
* Standard nice faire, but really tremendous food
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

+1

Prices

Total

+3


India Curry House - Casual - Now called Kennedy's Irish Pub & Curry House
1040 Columbus between Chestnut and Francisco, San Francisco, CA  (415) 441-8855
* Rather dark, quiet, large building with a fabric canopy roof. Perhaps an old steak house revamped? The buffet had a variety of delights and we left as full as can be of delicious food.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

0

Prices

0

Total

+2


International Market & Deli- Take out deli and market
580 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, CA 93940 - 831.375.9451
* This isn't really a restaurant, but the store contains prepared food to go. The walk into the store is simply heaven. Falafaels, gyro's, hummus, swarmi's (sp?) and every other weird food from the other side of the world.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

0

Prices

0

Total

+2


Ione Cafe - Casual cafe
15 Preston Street, Ione, CA  95640  209.274.6820
* Casual cafe, fifties bus stop table style, bright and cheery. Tireless, efficient waitresses. Bustling business.
Standard breakfasts, many different omelets, sandwiches and hamburgers, pork chops and spaghetti.
Reasonable prices, and the best hash browns we have ever had. Only open until 4 pm.
Food   +1

Atmosphere

Service +.5

Prices

Cleanliness +.5
Total

+2


JA Steakhouse, Kingman, CA - Traveling casual
3157 N Stockton Hill Rd, Kingman, Arizona   928.718.2292
* Smoking Section!! Standard woodsy steak house atmosphere, extensive menu, great burgers and ice tea. (2013 note: We ised to smoke, lol!!)
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

+1

Prices

Total

+2


Jedro's Steakhouse, Needles, CA - Traveling casual - Now the Wagon Wheel
2420 Needles Hwy, Needles, CA  (760) 326-4361
* A bit funky Wagon wheel decor, great atmosphere. They had a chart of cities and the distance to each one. Merced wasn't in the main section. Bummer. Then we noticed another column labeled "Other Important Places" and there we were!!
Food for the price and proportions  

+1

Atmosphere and decor

0

Service

Total

+1


Jenny's Family Restaurant - Casual cafe
1515 Herndon Road, Ceres, CA  95307    209.538.7000
* Bright and cheery country style with large windows, many booths, wood walls and cluttered but pleasant decor featuring Marilyn Monroe. We were surprisingly disappointed, but plan to try one more time. Our waitress, "Flo" might want to think about retiring soon. Very odd experience. Having to explain how to cook David's eggs should have been our first clue
The food was, well, horrific. My omelet was coagulated, the hash browns were crispy beyond palatable, David's steak was shoe leather, coffee refills impossible to obtain,  the biscuit weighed a ton, home fries were flavorless, the browned avocado should have been tossed out a few days before. My second batch of hash browns were better and happily swimming in real butter. We would have left hungry if the food had not spoiled our appetites.
Visit

#1

#2

Food  

+1

-1

Atmosphere

Service

-1

Prices

Bathroom +1/2 +1/2
Total

+1 1/2

-1 1/2


Joe and Aggie's, Route 66, Holbrook, AZ - Casual
120 W Hopi Drive, Holbrook, AZ 86025   (928) 524-6540
* A Mom and Pop place, advertised as the oldest still existing and it's obvious why. Really good home cooked food. Great couple, Joe and Aggie. We were there in 2000? and they are still there in 2013 - so glad!!
Food  

+1

Atmosphere

Service

Prices

General Principal +1
Total

+2


Jones Sports Bar - casual - GONE
2400 Lombard St, San Francisco
Great if you are into this sort of place, but the food was a disappointment. The prices fair, service questionable, odd attitude if you ask for a beer glass, waiting to be served after ordering was very long, salad was pathetic but artsy, salmon was large and good, shrimp linguine was borderline too spicy to enjoy.
Food  

Atmosphere

Service

Prices

Everything else -1
Total

-1


Just Breakfast - Cowboy casual
2901 Monterey Hwy, San Jose (408) 225-7631
* I miss this place. Fresh squeezed orange juice and food beyond compare. They are only open until 2 pm, and the long line is always worth the wait. Definitely a must if you are in the area. Bustling all the time. 10 booths, 6 small tables, 7 bar stools, roosters motif everywhere. Their menu is up on our kitchen wall, framed.

2013 Note: They now serve lunch!!

Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

+1

Prices
Total

+3


Kate's Cafe, Edgewater & Main Sts, Tuba City, AZ - Casual casual, pj's prolly ok - CLOSED THANK GOD.
* Oh, this is NOT a good memory. I think we were the joke of the place because we were served dog burgers, and every one but us knew it.
Food when served  

+1

Food an hour later

- 1

Food that evening

-1

Atmosphere
Service

Prices
Total

-1


La Hacienda 2 - Casual
3355 North G St, Merced    209.723.7890
* When La Hacienda's traffic increased, La Hacienda 2 opened in a new location. In a large new development center, the decor is new, classic adobe, walls painted with typical patio scenes, booths and tables surrounding a large fountain, and collections of crosses and sun plaques we drool over. The food is the same reliable, Americanized Mexican classics that drew us to Hacienda 1. The bar bustles at any hour, the service is friendly and fast whether you are a newbie or regular customer. We are so regular that we know all the girls' names, seat ourselves and no longer need menus. I do a chili relleno (the girls don't ask me anymore) and David will waver between meatball soup and everything else except fish tacos.
Visit (Hacienda #2   #1 #30     A cute side story: One Friday night, the restaurant was so crowded we had to wait for a table, and chose to mingle in the ear splitting bar.
When we orderd our drinks, the bartender laughed and said , "That's weird. Every Friday night, I have a customer that orders a Drambuie
with a soda side." We laughed and held up our hands with "Guilty!" I am the only person on Merced who drinks Drambuie, David always
has a club soda with a twist.
Food +1 +1
Atmosphere
Service +1 +1
Prices
Total +2 +2

La Morenita's - Casual
30030 State Highway 108, Long Barn, CA. 209-965-3187
* Much better than I expected, just as good as David remembered. Small, local place with excellent Chili Relleno and Chicken Mole'. Fair service, beer and sodas. Comfy wood, fireplace atmosphere.
Possibly gone, was for sale last time David was there.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

Prices
Total

+1


La Morenita's - Casual - Gone
1352 W 13th Street, Merced, CA. 209-723-5636
* First visit in years as the seats were horrific. Food is good, chili relleno very good, David likes avocado dip for than I do (too much lemon bite), horchata is delicious. My tongue was burning by the end of the meal but I darn near licked the plate.  $22 bill.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

Prices
Total

+1


Lovejoy's Tea Room - quaint & sophisticated high tea
1351 Church Street (between Clipper and 26th St, Noe Valley area) San Francisco, CA 94114 / 415.648.5895

* A must experience. British tea room at its finest, crowded and jam packed, always busy. Take two dozen tables with chairs, place them as close together as you can, fill the room with everything victorian and high tea, antiques, wall hangings, brocades, pillows, overstuffed chairs, fireplace, boudoir room dividers, classy, ribbon and lace finery, tea cozies, biscuits, tea sandwiches, tiny details, delicate plates, marvelous cups and saucers, and not one thing matches. It's a bit overwhelming at first, and requires a few hours to take everything in. There is a tea shop across the street where you can browse the delightful fancies while you wait for your name to be called. Even my gruff cowboy husband loved it and cheerfully stuck his little finger in the air as he riased his porcelain tea cup. The baths are a riot, don't miss them!

Food  

+1

+1
Atmosphere +1 +1
Novelty +1 +1
Service

 
Prices

 
Total

+3

+3

Lumberjack's - family casual
1740 South Main Street, Willits, CA 95490 / 707.456.0300 website
* This is a chain restaurant with a Red Lobster type of appearance in an old Perko building. Total tree and, log decoration theme, extensive menu, standard fare and reasonable prices. This was our first vist, will not be our last. $7 to $15, $10 average, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

A third or fourth (?) visit was Januray 2015. We were in a hurry and late, the waitress obliged us by taking ur order 'right away', but left the table without David's order. Had it been a less stressful day (headed ot a family wedding and late!!) it would have been almost funny. Still a reliable, good meal.

Food  

+1

+1
Atmosphere    
Service

 
Prices

+1

+1
Total

+2

+2

Lupita's Eproson House - casual Mexican - CLOSED!! Now the Eproson House
Twain Harte Dr, Twain Harte, CA 95383 / 209.586.3700

* Standard Mexican fare, rustic log cabin atmosphere, a few tables on the patio dining with animals welcome on leads. Full bar next door. The guacamole is to die for, the chili rellenos with green sauce is worth driving there for. Winter of 2012, Lupe closed, telling us he would be back in May, and never came back. We mourn the loss terribly. $8 to $16

Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

Prices

Total

+2


Magpie's Coffeehouse - Casual, pajamas ok - possibly moved to Main Ave, Durango?
15 North Market Street, Cortez, CO /  970.564.8595
Great CA funky style coffee house with a wide selection of coffee, comfy bar seating and a bathroom worth visiting. Wish she had smiled a bit!

Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

-1

Prices

Total

+2


Massawa - Casual   - GONE!!!
1538 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117   415.621.4129   Mon - Sun 9 am - 11 pm
* My first willing "funny food" experience, but not my last. Zigni, Tsebhi, Alicha, Injera. Fantastic stuff eaten by scooping up the piles of food with a thin bread that also doubles as the plate. Really.
Food +1  +1

Atmosphere

Service +1 +1

Prices

Total +2 +2


Mesa Verde Cafe, Mesa Verde, CO - Casual
* The only place to eat or we would not have. Tourist trap USA, prices and food wise.
Food  

Atmosphere
Service

Prices

-1

Total

-1


Mike's Roadhouse Cafe - Traveling casual - CLOSED
15834 Sierra Highway, Mojave, CA 93501 / 661.824.2227
* This is one of the few places in town to eat, but it is decent, reliable and has a fun atmosphere. The entire place is decorated in pink, and about a hundred vintage pedal cars and pedal airplanes cover the high shelves around the rooms.  The food is also reliable, good cafeteria style classic entrees.
Visit #1 #3
Food  +1

+1

Atmosphere +1 +1
Service

Price

Only place in town 11

-1

Total +1

+1


Mimi's Cafe - Casual Tablecloth
3401 Dale Rd, near the Modesto Mall, Modesto, CA - website
* I thought,  hmm, ok, standard upgraded Denny's you can find just about everywhere in a larger town now. The decoration is truly comfy/elegant French Cottage, a massive place once you get to look around. Good service, attention right off the bat, but the killer was yet to come. We have been back since, and so far, we have not managed to order anything that was not to die for. We are planning to return this weekend, and I can't decide if I want the right side of the menu or the left side.  We chatted with the neighborly manager (thank you, Joe!) who brought us a packet of four giant homemade muffins for being first time visitors.  If you have to decide which soup you want, good luck. They are all simply superb. The meatloaf and garlic mayo? Heaven. I predict this will become a standard (it made our highest grade and we will make every effort to return when we go north) in our eating habits. Crossing our fingers for one in Merced, soon, too.
Visit #1 #2
Food    +1

 +1

Atmosphere  +1

 +1

Service  +1

 +1

Prices

Total +3

+3


Miramar Fish Grotto - Casual tourist
45 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, Ca 95060  831.423.4441
* This meal came very close to ruining the weekend. The atmosphere is typical wharf full window walls and formica tabletops. The food was horrific, the service was appalling. We were handed bread by our waitress, and then completely ignored for twenty one minutes. The crab cakes were hard with the prominent taste being the over deep fried crust and David's shrimp were tough. While the menu was extensive, prices range from $12.95 to $25.95, the light is too low, and we honestly thought the useless vegies were the best part of the meal. We were there on a Saturday night a 8 pm, and this was the only open restaurant on the wharf! We were also one of two occupied tables. The manager was far more interested in a baby she was holding than the satisfaction of her clientele. Very sad. Be sure to miss this one. Dinner  was $54.
Food    -1
Atmosphere  
Menu +1
Service -1
Management Attitude -1
Full bar +1
Too Low light -1
Prices
Total -2

Mo's Grill, - Casual
1322 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA   415.788.3779  North Beach - website
* Very busy place, fun to watch the cooks within close proximity
The owner, cooks and waiters look like they belong on the docks unloading 200 pound crates or in a Mafia family. They do a smash up job, quick, efficient, extremely delightful to watch. The food all has a special touch and flavour. No wonder they are so busy. Whimsical decoration, a bustling joint with 9 tables and 8 bar stools. I hope they never move or close. There is no skimping on the food quantity, and you have to actually wait for your food to cool down enough to eat.  Last visit included burnt to a crisp eggs, noticed and re-cooked but only after David had finished his meal.
Visit #1 #2

#3

#4

Food   +1 +1

+1

Atmosphere +1 +1

+1

Service -1

-1

Prices

+1

+1

Total +1 +2

+2

+1


Mother Lode Coffee Shop - casual - GONE as of summer 2013
Main Street, Jamestown, CA 209.984.3386
* Wonderful little place with home cooked food and old fashioned napkin dispensers. Felt like we went back in time.
Food  

Atmosphere

+1

Service
Prices

Total

+1


National Hotel,   - White tablecloth
18183 Main Street, Jamestown CA  95327 / 209.984.3446 - Website

* Elegant and quiet, excellent food and service in an grand old building. They have a wide variety of appetizers, from steamed clams to a shrimp melt and baked brie and escargot. Five salads, four pastas, two pork dishes, four chicken, two veal, seven fish, five steaks, and a garlic prime rib. A full bar, two rooms with only tables, an outside patio and quiet, elegant service. The bleu was bland at first, absolutely yummy now, the salmon a tad skimpy in size but the potato was perfect. David's filet was also perfect, the burgundy sauce alone was worth the trip. $75 for two on average including drinks from the bar. Thank you, Steve, Sara, for each dinner on the patio with the cat and the garden. And thank you for the Drambuie!

Visit #1 #20+
Food -1 +1
Atmosphere
Service -1 +1
Drambuie +1
Prices
Total +2 +3

Nicely's, Lee Vining, CA - Cafeteria style
* Strictly cafeteria food. Eat there, if you must. (It might be the ONLY place to eat.) We tried it twice just to be fair.
Visit #1 #2
Food   -1

-1

Atmosphere
Service

Prices +1

+1

Total 0

0


Olive Garden - white tablecloth
2749 Countryside Drive, Turlock, CA 95340 / 209.632.2694
* I think all the Olive Gardens are the same, and we have gone to two, Turlock and Modesto. They are my daughter's absolute favorite place to go, possibly because they serve Primo Amore and Castello del Poggio moscato wine (prospective suitors, take note!) The food is good, service what you would expect, the prices are quite steep. The commercials make you think its a super family place but the prices say otherwise. I am not a big pasta fan, it is hard for me to find a meal that isn't tomato or pasta..
Food  

+1

Atmosphere  
Service

Prices

-1

Total

+0


Original Joe's - Casual white tablecloth - CLOSED - now at 601 Union St between Stockton and Columbus
144 Taylor St between Eddy & Turk, Tenderloin, San Francisco, CA 94102 / 415.775.4877
* Having spent many a dinner at the San Jose version, we had to try this one. The waiter's are experienced and older, elegant in tuxedos, with equally delightful old style manners. Scampi, veal parmesan and lasagne were all delicious, the garlic bread was saturated with garlic as ordered. An old tradition that might need to remember stuffy is out of style. Thenm, the meal was ruined by the cockroach running across our table.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere
Service

+1

Prices

Cockroach -3
Total

-1


Paul's - Casual home style
2991 G St, Merced, CA 95340 / 209.723.1339
* This used to be one of our favorite places, reliable food, fair prices, reasonable service. Family atmosphere, always open, a decent variety on the menu, the owners are usually milling about, repeat locals are greeted cordially. We keep going back because the other choice for a standard meal in town is Denny's, but after six years, and possibly the last meal there, we are going to Denny's or cook at home.  We waited for a half hour this morning for our breakfast, watched others seated after us finish their meal before we got ours, overdone, inedible, and cold. Never once, if our food is openly uneaten when we pay for the meal, does anyone ask why.  Very sad.

2013: Paul's has reopened after a kitchen fire, and we should try again, but I am not holding my breath.

Food  

 0

Atmosphere  0
Service

-1

Prices

Total

-1


Potsticker, 150 Waverly Place, Chinatown, San Francisco - Casual
* Absolutely our favorite Chinese place in the city. A tiny place full of tables and happy eaters. Quiet, sincere, proper service, delightful food.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

-1

Prices

+1

Total

+2


The Ramp, China Basin, 855 China Basin St, San Francisco - 415.621.2378 - Casual
Kitchen: Mon-Fri 11:00am-3:00pm, Sat-Sun 8:30am-4pm
* A must for breakfast or brunch. Amidst sail boats galore, immediately next to the water is this huge, wandering patio full of uneven ground, levels, surrounded by balconies, planters overflowing with flowers, railings, tables, people, friendly waiters, a generally wonderful mood to be had by all. Full service bar (try the Bloody Mary!) and a delightful menu. Wish we could start one in Merced!! We decided this is a well known secret. (Odd, their website says the same thing.)
Our pictures are here
Website
Visit #1   #6  

#20

#22
Food   +1 +1

+1

+1

 
Atmosphere +1 +1

+1

+1

 
Service +1 +1

+1

+1

 
Prices

 
Total +3 +3

+3

+3

 

The Ranch - Casual white tablecloth - CLOSED years ago after it changed hands and went downhill fast
245 W 16th Street at K St, Merced, CA 95340
* Privately and locally owned, this was a main stay for the old Mercedians. A good variety on the menu, personal and attentive service, a classic that never goes out of style. Booths and tables, full service bar. We eat here several times a month if we can.  I go for the Bunkhouse special, salmon or fish and chips, David does the left side of the menu and Jena is stuck on the frizzled ham. Thank you, Kim, Kim, Jeanine and Sarah.
Visit #1 #26
Food  

Atmosphere +1 +1
Service +1

+1

Prices

Total +2

+2


Rappa's - Fancy casual
101 Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940 - 831.372.7562
* David had Shrimp Louie and Clam Chowder, Anne had Salmon and Clam Chowder
Food  

Atmosphere +1
Service

Prices

Total

+1


Red Lobster - white tablecloth casual
3000 Sisk Road, Modesto, CA  209.529.3033
* Nice to fancy steak house, standard Red Lobster faire, lacquered wood tables, lovely worn plank wood walls, sectional, cozy booths. Thank goodness the biscuits are still served. The bleu cheese salad dressing rates the best we have had with the exception of perhaps the Branding Iron. Prices range from $9.99 to a whopping $35.50. Any kind of seafood your heart would desire except scallone. Steaks, stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes, taste bud fantasies. Full bar and you automatically get a glass with your beer!
A visit in August 2008 included one of the best waitresses we have had the pleasure of meeting, Brandi. Cheerful, very quick and efficient, (it was 6:30 pm on Friday, and VERY busy) and she checked on us regularly without being a pain. We were in Modesto under very painful circumstances and she made our evening a delight. Our full dinners (salmon, shrimp, salads and drinks) ran only $43? Wow.
A rare bad meal on the 20th something trip. Hope it was just the waitress on a slow night.
Visit

#1

#12

#2X?

Food  

+1

+1

+2

Atmosphere

Service

+1

+1

0

Prices

+1/2

+1/2

Total

+21/2

+2 1/2

2


Red Lobster Fancy casual
2500 S Beulah Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 / 928.556.9604
* Standard Red Lobster faire, but it was a welcome to weary travelers
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

-1

Prices

Total

+1


Red Pearl, Boulder Creek, CA - Cafe casual
13151 Highway 9, Boulder Creek, CA 95006 /  831.338.9800 - website
Open 7 days a week, 11 am to 9 pm
* Tiny, cozy main street Chinese cuisine run by Jenny Wu. Recommended to us by the locals and well worth it. We had the egg foo yung, mu shu vegies, fish with bean sauce, kung pao calamari, and vegie fried rice. We overate and loved every minute of it. If this place was in Merced, it would be a standard stop.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere

0

Service

+1

Prices

Total

+2


Red Robin - fancier burger joint - casual
2031 Bronze Star Drive, Woodland, CA 95776 / 530.661.7470  
* My first Red Robin. It was good for a 'burger joint' with delicious steak fries. The bacon aioli was ok. We will be back when we crave greasy, heavy, fried food.

Food  

+1

Atmosphere

0

Service

0

Prices

Total

+1


Reinero's, Merced, CA - Casual - CLOSED, Phil didn't feel like opening anymore
640 West Main St, Merced, CA 95340 / 209.383.6445
* Good Italian food, one of the best minestrone ever. Red table cloths, standard Italian decor, lots and lots of noise, excellent garlic bread, hustle and bustle and always a wait. No reservations accepted. You can wait in the bar with bra covered moose heads and the owner in his inevitable white togs, however, the owner has some attitude problems. Rarely open with any regularity. We have been kicked out of there for getting inside when he felt 50% of the tables was full enough and locked the doors on a Friday night. Our favorite waitress let us in and got yelled at quite loudly in front of everyone for doing it. Such a shame. She works somewhere else now. We eat elsewhere now.
Food  

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service

+1

Prices

Owner -1
Total

+2


Rizzonelli's - family casual - CLOSED!!!
591 Bellevue Rd, Atwater, CA 95301 - 209.357.1955
* We waited too long to find this superb restaurant, run by the owner, Susie. The menu needs hours to read, from steaks to pizza, and all the Italian classics. 1940 Italian family finally had to close the doors. Sad.

Food  

+1

Atmosphere  
Service

+1

Prices

Owner +1
Total

+3


The Rock - Twin Harte, CA
23068 Fuller Road, Twain Harte, CA 209.586.2080
Open 11 to 9 weekdays, to 10 weekends
* Lunch and dinner, beer and wine, sports bar in a log cabin atmosphere, bar and a few tables inside. Spacious patio picnic table dining, pets welcome on leads. Standard appetizier, salads, burger variations, with a build you rown feature. French dip, fish & chips, steak sandwich, ribs, tri-tip, salmos, steaks, pastas, vegies, grilled cheese, ice cream. Always crowded. Garlic fries are yum!! $8 - $21 Our second trip was not so wonderful. We sat outside as usual (after poking our heads in the doors to say we were sitting down) and waited over twenty minutes for someone to even take our drink order (three other cars in the parking lot, 5 pm on a week day) and we just gave up and left. I am sure they didn't even miss us. 

Trip   #1 #2
Food  

+1

 
Atmosphere +1  
Service

+1

-1
Prices

 
Owner -1  
Total

+2

-1

Rosemary's Cafe - Country cowboy casual
3rd Avenue and Fourth Street, Gustine, CA
* Cheery little place with a sign that says:
"Make sure you have the cow manure wiped off your boots."
French toast & eggs, Beef dip and mac salad

Food  

+1

Atmosphere

0

Service

0

Prices

Total

+1


Sanderlings at the Seascape Resort, Capitola, CA
1 Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos, CA   831.662.7120
We had to endure a drawn out verbal questionnaire before being seated, which became downright ridiculous after the fifth question and our second request to simply be seated. Otherwise, it was spacious, clean, windows with a spectacular view of the ocean, patio dining, very nice white tablecloth, proper waiters. Fair menu, what you would expect from a resort in the way of pricing, menu and service. I am not sure if his stifled reaction to my ordering a Drambuie was a "Whoa, no one orders that" or a "Huh?" but he managed to cover it well, quickly. I ordered salmon done in a fennel caper sauce. There was one single caper on my plate, and the risotto was rather slimy. I mentioned at the end of the meal that it would have been nice to have seen a few more capers and it was not received well. The small portion of salad was quite good. This is the pretentious level outside real value where prices become frivolous, and we aren't comfortable there.  
Menu  

Food

Atmosphere
Service
Price

Absurdity of it all -1
Total

-1


Silvers at the Wharf - Semi casual white tablecloth
32260 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA / 707.964.4283 - website

* Very nice, typical wharf windows, relaxed formal dining with a local flavor.

Trip two was awful. A classic wharf seafood place with white tablecloths and napkins, reserved waiters, windows and tables to the water. This had an interesting menu, very different, included oyster shooters, of all things. I settle for my standard salmon, David finally chose chicken marsala. The bleu was good, the salad plain, the salmon burnt (I could not cut it with a bread knife, I left it uneaten on the plate and received no comment) and David's dinner was unremarkable, all for the tune of $100. We will not be back.

Food  

+1

-1
Atmosphere

+1

 
Service

-1
Prices

-1
Total

+2

-3

Sir James,  Motel Drive, Merced, CA - White tablecloth - CLOSED!!
Two years ago, partially due to Shelby, who we miss tremendously, this was our favorite place. Salmon, shrimp, even the vegetables were simply delicious. A complete bar and dance floor done in the typical 70's black walls and glittered ceiling style provided a subdued, secluded atmosphere. We gave it a three star rating and brought out of town visitor here. Our last visit was just that, our last. Hamburgers at salmon prices seems to be the focus on their new menu.
Food  

0

Atmosphere

+1

Service

0

Prices

-1

Menu -1
Total

-1


Steam Donkey, Pinecrest, CA - Fancy casual in tourist area
421 Pinecrest Lake Rd, Pinecrest, CA 95364 / 209.965.3117
* Lovely , quiet grey wood and artful atmosphere, disappointing menu and food
Food

Atmosphere +1
Service -1
Menu

-1

Price

Total

-1


Stinking Rose  - Casual tourist, white table cloth
325 Columbus Ave bet Vallejo & Broadway, San Francisco, CA  415.781.7673 - website
After years of passing by to see lines that go around the block, we made in on a Thursday night. Superior food, garlic, prime rib, garlic, chicken , garlic, salmon and garlic. Everything incredible, the garlic appetizer was out of this world. Full bar, friendly people. Dinners are from $18 to $57.
We made it again, on a Monday, and got to see the rest of the restaurant, and took home their cookbook. A rare three star rating for us, wonderful in light of our favorite place, The Gold Spike finally closed. Read a longer description here. A third visit was as excellent except for the service..  
The last visit included raw salmon that wasn't done well the second time either, the garlic chicken was overdone and dry, and service was poor. The staff might have been apologetic, but their attempt to repair the dinner came far too late to have made a difference, and we left hungry. The only good point was that they removed my salmon from the bill..

Visit #1 #2

#3

#4
Food +1 +1

+1

-1

Atmosphere +1 +1

+1

+1
Service +1 +1

-1

-1
Menu

Price

Total +3 +3

+1

-1


Strawberry Inn, Strawberry, CA - Casual camping
* Lovely setting, lovely building, a wood covered deck out in the trees over a roaring river. The sway of the deck can be a bit disconcerting. Good menu selection.
Visit #1 #3
Food

Atmosphere

+1

+1

Service

-1

Price

Total

+1

0


Strings, Merced, CA - wood table semi-casual
731 E Yosemite Ave Merced, CA 95340      209.383.9777
* This was actually our third visit in two years, but the first time we rated the restaurant. Our first visits had some flaws we do not remember, yet we were not disappointed this time, at all.
Whenever there is outside dining, we sit outside. I smoke and generally love the peace and quiet. The previous weeks were 100 plus temperatures, so the 90 degree (at 7 pm on a Saturday night) with a breeze was a welcome, along with the surprising absense of other diners who apparently preferred the very loud inner dining rooms. I ordered minestrone, crab in a chili, a cream dill and caper sauce, pasta with creamy alfredo and pesto. Hurrah and two solid points for all. David had salad (killer house dressing you can buy, sunflower seeds, raisins, onion, crutons and a tomato) veal marsala, new potatoes with pesto. The pesto was "for the masses" but that aspect was overlooked in light he received a bowl of extra pesto, easily, no questions asked. Two points again.
Other items worth mentioning: Atmosphere, a stark, plain but elegant courtyard, had the restaurant had the option, they would have been better off placing the area out of the winds. Overflowing cozy plants would have resulted in a point.
They serve wine and beer, but there is no bar. However, they have delightful Italian sodas. If you dont drink wine, soft drinks and it's evening, you are generally left with water, tea, milk or apple juice.
We were spared useless, slightly cooked, almost raw vegies. The pre-dinner garlic bread is delicious and soft.  
Our waiter, Paul Luis, was incredibly pleasant, fun, and very attentive, very elegant.

August 2008, a few months later we return to the patio where Paul remembers our last visit and selection details! The only reason Strings does not get a higher rating is because there is no bar for such a  nicer dinner place. Paula takes care us on another visit, and she is another gem!

2013: Paul has left, Paula has taken wonderful care of us over the years, along with Trish, Amanda, Michael, Laurie and Eddie. Never does their food or service disappoint.
Visit #3

#4

#52
Food +1

+1

+1

Atmosphere

Service +1

+1

+1

Price

+1

Total

+2

+2

+3


Sweetriver Saloon - wood bar casual
851 W Olive, Merced Mall, Merced, CA    209.383.5542 - website
* A grand wood, cozy booth, stained glass and old sign atmosphere completely ruined by horrific service. The menu and the food are good to fair, but flagging down a server is like trying to glue jello to a tree. I almost called the restaurant on my cell to let them know the couple at table eight would really, really like some water. By the time we wanted to leave, procuring the bill was equally difficult. The servers give you the impression you are imposing on them. To be fair, we have returned several times and have decided the service, really, depends on the crew working at the time. Choose your timing carefully and you can enjoy your visit.

2013 note: Service has improved, Katrina and Trish was wonderful.

Visit   #1 #3

#5

#10 #15
Food -1

  +.5
Atmosphere +1 +1
Service -1 -1 -1 1 +.5
Bar     +.5
Price

   
Total -1 0

-1

1 +1.5

Toni's Courtyard Cafe - Casual classy
156 W 18th St, Merced, CA    209.384. 2580 - website
* A cozy small place that has proved it's stamina for several years now, one of our two favorite eateries for breakfast or lunch, a smaller place, and most always heavily occupied, includes a lovely fenced garden courtyard  with a fountain, tables with umbrellas, great friendly staff and excellent food, all of which have a special flavour to them. Not your run of the mill cafe food.. The turkey avacado or the California scramble is my favorite, David loves the soups and sandwiches, recently discovered the Godfather. The garlic aioli is so special I can't get the recipe. Bright indoor booths and tables with local artwork, but our favorite seats are on the small, high walled, Monterey flavored patio covered in umbrellas and trees. As the website says "Organic whenever possible, but always fresh and natural." They cater to Merced's business crowd very well, and Toni admits she never would have guessed her place could become this popular. Home sweet home for breakfast for lunch, but get there early if you want a seat. Thank you, Toni, Scott, Jarvon, Melissa and Michelle, Antonio, Jane, Tessa, Paula and anyone else we forgot.

Visit  

#1

#10

#15

#50

Food

+1

+1

+1

+1

Atmosphere

+1

+1

+1

+1

Service

+1/2

+1/2

+1/2

+1

Price

Total

+2 1/2

+2 1/2

+2 1/2

+3


Tuck Box - Casual white tablecloth
Dolores between Ocean and 7th, Carmel, CA
* This is an experience more than a meal, a destination more than a happenstance.  It took years for me to get there again. I originally visited in the sixties, and had the most delightful experience, two young girls spending the week on the beach and having tea and crumpets where my parents ate after their Carmel by the Sea wedding twenty plus years before. When my husband and I returned in the late nineties, it had changed a bit, much smaller. The next door house that sold their jams was now a gallery, the patio where we ate back then was gone, but it was still a lovely, quaint and special.
Food

+1

Atmosphere

+1

Service
Price
Menu

-1

General

+1

Total

+2


Victorian Corner, Pacific Grove, CA - Casual
Food

Atmosphere
Service
Price

Total

?

My notes look like this:
David had:
Split Pea Soup    A = : ) D = : ( 
Hot Pastrami Bleu Cheese    D = : )
  
Anne had:
Quiche   : (
Salad   : (
GREAT one piece S & P shakers

Villa D'Oro - white tablecloth
23036 Joaquin Gulley Rd, Twain Harte, CA 95383 - 209.586.2182
* They are supposed to be the 'best place to dine in Tuoluymne County." I would not go that far. It might be the fanciest and most expensive restaurant in the area, but the are nearly as elegant as they think they are. They have been so rude it was hard to stay seated. They refused to serve us if we did not have reservations and there was one table occupied. We made reservations for my birthday, and it was ok. We were also the only people there. One more experience with a dear friend visiting was fair, but the last visit was that, our last. We sat for over an hour before we even got our salads, it took oer twenty minutes hjust to get someone's attention. The manager treated the matter too lightly, the dinner was horrid and cold.

Visit #1 #2 #3
Food 1 1

-1

Atmosphere
Attitude -1
Service 1 -1
Price -1 -1

-1

Total 1 0

-4


Wool Grower's Inn - Family casual
609 H Street, Los Banos, CA 93635 / 209.826.4593
* As with every Basque restaurant we have been to, it's impossible to stop eating the incredible food. We do not go as often as we like because of the distance. If we were local, this would be a mainstay. Food is nothing short of superb and reliable. Service can be sketchy based on how busy it is, but never ever are you neglected. Ever. It is an experience with the family style eating, sometimes you make friends, sometimes it a people watching night. Do bring cash, they dont accept cards.

Food

+1

Atmosphere +1
Service +1
Price

Total

+3


Back to the Travel Index