Top Choice Californian in Nevada City

New Moon Cafe

Pure elegance, Peter Selaya’s organic- and local-ingredient menu changes with the seasons. If you visit during spring or summer, go for the line-caught fish or the house-made, moon-shaped fresh ravioli. The wine lis…
Top Choice Californian in Plymouth & Amador City


Book a table at Taste, where excellent Amador County wines are paired with a fine menu of California-style cooking (big on meat and game). There's open seating in the wine bar.
Top Choice American in Coloma-Lotus Valley

Argonaut Farm to Fork Cafe

Truly delicious soups, sandwiches, baked goods and coffee from well-known Sacramento and local purveyors find their way to this little wooden house in Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Crowds of schoolkid…
American in Jackson

Mel’s & Faye’s Diner

A local institution near Hwy 88 that dates back to 1956: there's a takeout window but it's not meant for quick stops. Take a seat on the bottle-green leather benches for solid diner fare that includes huge breakfast…
Diner in Auburn


If you’re cruising this part of the state without time to explore, the best pit stop is this expanded farm stand – now a diner/market – off I-80 a few miles north of downtown. Thick, grass-fed beef or tofu burgers, …
American in Placerville


With its whimsical take on the all-American comfort-food staple, this casual stop stuffs flaky, butter-crusted pot pies with a gourmet flourish (steak Cabernet! Thai chicken! tomatillo stew!). California beers are o…
American in Sonora & Jamestown

Diamondback Grill

With exposed brick and modern fixtures, the fresh menu and contemporary details at this cafe and wine bar are a reprieve from occasionally overbearing Victorian frill. Sandwiches dominate the menu (the salmon and eg…
Modern American in Murphys


This casually elegant cafe does everything competently – expert breakfast foods, a roster of light lunch mains and weekend dinners of steak and fresh fish. Iced herbal tea and fresh vegetarian options are key when t…
Californian in Murphys

Alchemy Market & Cafe

The stellar cafe menu here has a long wine list and many dishes, from parsley truffle fries to iron-skillet mussels, all great for sharing on the patio. Live jazz every Tuesday from 5:30pm to 8pm.
American in Auburn

Awful Annie’s

Huge breakfast scrambles, every possible variation on eggs Benedict and a sunny patio keep Annie’s packed. Worth the wait, though post-church lines on a Sunday can be very long.