12 Unique Restaurants in Sacramento: Explore the Eccentric Side of Sacramento’s Food Scene

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Sacramento
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Our guide is your ticket to the most extraordinary, quirky, and unique restaurants in Sacramento. From dining spots where art meets cuisine to places where the ambiance is as captivating as the menu, we’ve got you covered. Prepare to be amazed by Sacramento’s culinary creativity and flair.

Welcome to Sacramento, a gem in California where food becomes an unforgettable journey. Imagine walking down vibrant streets, each turn inviting you to taste something extraordinary. This guide is your treasure map to the city’s most unique dining spots. From rooftops with stunning views to cozy corners filled with history, Sacramento offers a feast for the senses.

Here, every meal tells a story, and each restaurant is a world of its own. Whether you’re craving the comfort of a classic dish or the thrill of something new, you’ll find a place that feels like it was made just for you. We’ve scoured the city to bring you a collection of dining experiences that stand out for their creativity, atmosphere, and, of course, delicious food.

These aren’t your typical eateries; they’re destinations that promise memorable moments and flavors that linger long after the meal is over. Join us on a journey through Sacramento’s dining scene, where every visit is an opportunity to discover something wonderful.

The top restaurants to visit in Sacramento right now

Unique Restaurants in Sacramento: 12 Incredible Sacramento Eateries

Our guide is your ticket to the most extraordinary, quirky, and unique restaurants in Sacramento. From dining spots where art meets cuisine to places where the ambiance is as captivating as the menu, we’ve got you covered. Prepare to be amazed by Sacramento’s culinary creativity and flair.

1. Bottle and Barlow

Bottle and Barlow shines as a gem among unique restaurants in Sacramento. This innovative spot merges the art of cocktails and barbering into one seamless experience. Created by Jayson Wilde and Anthony Giannotti, it’s a place where the buzz of clippers meets the clink of glasses, offering a unique twist to your usual outing.

The interior, with its art deco flair, invites guests to indulge in a drink while they wait for a cut or shave. The cocktail menu is a playful mix of flavors and clever names, from the refreshing “Passion of the Cross” to the smooth “Kiss & Tell.” At Bottle and Barlow, the aim is to make every visit memorable, blending the best of both worlds under one roof.

Whether you’re in for the drinks or the barber’s chair, this establishment proves to be a standout destination. It’s a place where every detail adds to the charm, making it a must-visit for in Sacramento anyone looking for an experience that’s a cut above the rest.

Bottle and Barlow is one of the unique restaurants in Sacramento.
Bottle and Barlow merges cocktails and barbering into a unique experience. | Image Source: https://www.visitsacramento.com/

2. The Butterscotch Den

Bringing a slice of the past into the present with its ’70s-inspired vibe is The Butterscotch Den in Sacramento. This new spot on Broadway, once known as Arthur Henry’s Supper Club and Ruby Room, has undergone a transformation. Now, it offers a cozy atmosphere with plush booths, patterned wallpaper, and a mirrored back bar, all under a warm, inviting glow.

As one of the coolest restaurants in Sacramento, The Butterscotch Den revives classic drinks with a modern twist and serves them alongside affordable, delicious dishes. Imagine sipping on a freezer martini for $8 or enjoying an 8-ounce top sirloin for just $10.

The menu doesn’t stop at drinks; it extends to a grill-your-own steak format, offering a variety of meats and vegetarian options for a personalized dining adventure. With live funk and soul music setting the scene, it’s a journey back in time, offering a taste of nostalgia with every bite and sip.

The Butterscotch Den is a cozy '70s-inspired spot on Broadway.
The Butterscotch Den is a cozy ’70s-inspired spot on Broadway. | Image Source: https://www.thebutterscotchden.com/

3. Bawk!

Southern comfort meets Sacramento flair in Bawk! on R Street. This spot serves up vodka-battered fried chicken that’s crispy, flavorful, and downright delicious. The secret? A unique dry cure and a vodka-infused wet batter, ensuring every bite is a crunchy delight. The chefs behind Bawk! have spent years perfecting this recipe, making it a standout in the city’s culinary scene.

The restaurant’s vibe is as bold as its flavors. With a decor that nods to an abandoned Parisian train station, it’s a place where art meets appetite. Bawk! isn’t just about great chicken; it’s about creating an experience. From the mural of Muhammad Ali to the graffiti-adorned walls, every detail adds to the ambiance.

Among the best places to eat in Sacramento, Bawk! shines for its innovative approach to a classic dish. The menu also features unique sides and cocktails, blending tradition with a twist. Whether it’s the chicken tikka croquettes or the “chicken-fried” cauliflower, there’s something for everyone. And for those who love a good drink, the Bawktails and rare microbrews are not to be missed.

Bawk! serves crispy vodka-battered fried chicken, a standout in the city's culinary scene.
Bawk! serves crispy vodka-battered fried chicken, a standout in the city’s culinary scene. | Image Source: https://www.bawkfriedchicken.com/

4. Clayton Club Rooftop Lounge

Located atop the Hyatt Centric Downtown, Clayton Club Rooftop Lounge offers a unique blend of history and modern flair. With vinyl records lining the walls, the lounge pays tribute to jazz legends like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, offering a cozy spot to enjoy the evening.

The lounge’s decor and ambiance transport guests back to a vibrant era of music. The creative drink menu brings vintage cocktails into today with a twist, promising a taste of the past in every sip. It’s more than a bar; it’s a journey through time.

As one of the fun places to eat in Sacramento, Clayton Club stands out. It doesn’t just offer drinks; it serves lite bites that complement the crafted cocktails perfectly. Whether you’re inside the lounge or out on the rooftop terrace, the experience is unforgettable. It’s a must-visit in California for anyone looking to enjoy a piece of musical heritage while savoring delightful drinks and snacks.

Clayton Club Rooftop Lounge blends history with modern flair, paying homage to jazz legends with vinyl records.
Clayton Club Rooftop Lounge blends history with modern flair, paying homage to jazz legends with vinyl records. | Image Source: https://www.claytonclub.com/

5. Darling Aviary

Darling Aviary in downtown Sacramento offers a unique dining experience with a view. This rooftop spot brings a touch of history to life, inspired by Victorian “flight cages.” It’s a place where the past meets the present, offering guests a chance to dine among reminders of a bygone era.

The restaurant’s design features elements like mounted tree branches and a life-size birdcage, setting a special and cool atmosphere right from the start. It’s not just about the ambiance; the food and drinks are equally impressive, with a focus on quality and creativity.

Among scenic places in Sacramento to eat, Darling Aviary stands out. The rooftop deck, known as The Nest, provides stunning views of downtown landmarks. Here, guests can enjoy smash burgers and craft cocktails with a jazz era flair. The menu, designed by Sacramento chef Aimal Formoli, features gourmet smash burgers that are a hit with locals and visitors alike.

Darling Aviary offers a unique rooftop dining experience inspired by Victorian "flight cages."
Darling Aviary offers a unique rooftop dining experience inspired by Victorian “flight cages.” | Image Source: https://darlingaviary.com/

6. Punch Bowl Social

In Midtown Sacramento, Punch Bowl Social is a hotspot for fun and games. Located in the Kimpton The Sawyer Hotel, this place is a mix of old-school and modern entertainment. Think bowling, arcade games, and giant board games, all under one roof. It’s a sprawling 25,000-square-foot venue where you can play, eat, and drink.

The vibe here is quirky and modern, with decor that catches the eye and large windows offering views of downtown. It’s perfect for date nights or hanging out with friends. Whether you visit by day or night, Punch Bowl Social has a different energy, transforming from a chill spot to a lively scene as the evening rolls in.

As one of the fun restaurants in Sacramento, Punch Bowl Social delivers on all fronts. The menu is a foodie’s dream, with everything from tacos to burgers, all made from scratch. And the drinks? They’re just as impressive, with crafted cocktails, soda fizzes, and fresh juices. Whether you’re bowling, singing karaoke, or just enjoying the ambiance, this place is all about good times.

Punch Bowl Social is one of the unique restaurants in Sacramento.
Punch Bowl Social offers a mix of old-school and modern entertainment.

7. The Cabin

The Cabin in Midtown Sacramento brings a slice of Tahoe’s cozy charm to the city. Eric Rushing and Bret Bair, known for their vibrant local venues, have created a space that feels like a mountain retreat. With its rustic ambiance, this bar offers a unique escape.

Among unique Sacramento restaurants, The Cabin truly stands out. Upon entering, guests are welcomed by the scent of pine, a striking bear carving, and the warm glow of a digital fireplace. The decor, featuring nature murals by John Horton, transports you to a serene forest setting.

The drink menu at The Cabin is both simple and sophisticated, highlighting earthy elements such as cherry and honey. Favorites include the Stabbin’ Cabin, a bourbon cocktail with a hint of cherry, and the inventive Gimme S’More, complete with a marshmallow toasted right before your eyes. While the food offerings are limited to snacks like beef jerky and mixed nuts, they perfectly complement the cozy atmosphere.

The Cabin is a cozy retreat with Tahoe's charm, known for vibrant local venues.
The Cabin is a cozy retreat with Tahoe’s charm, known for vibrant local venues. | Image Source: https://thecab.in/

8. Dive Bar

Thanks to its unique underwater theme, Dive Bar is a place where fantasy becomes reality.  Here, guests are treated to an extraordinary experience with live mermaid performances in a 40-foot saltwater aquarium. It’s a spectacle that blends modern elegance with a touch of magic.

As one of the most captivating themed restaurants in Sacramento, Dive Bar sets itself apart. The venue is alive with the enchantment of the sea, offering nightly shows that dazzle and entertain. Bartenders craft special drinks, adding to the aquatic adventure, while live DJs and stunning tank light-shows elevate the experience.

Open every day, Dive Bar invites you to explore an oceanic world without leaving the city. With shows every night and special performances on weekends, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable night out in Sacramento. Whether you’re here for the mermaids, the music, or the atmosphere, Dive Bar promises an unforgettable journey beneath the waves.

Dive Bar offers an underwater theme with live mermaid performances in a 40-foot saltwater aquarium.
Dive Bar offers an underwater theme with live mermaid performances in a 40-foot saltwater aquarium.

9. Star Lounge

Star Lounge just popped up in midtown Sacramento, and it’s shaking things up in a cool old building that’s been around for nearly a century. This place isn’t just about grabbing a drink; it’s like stepping back in time with a view of Sutter’s Fort right out the window. Housed in the new Hyatt House, Star Lounge mixes the old with the new, keeping some of the original 1928 vibes alive.

Here, you can try dishes like flatbreads or hummus and dive into some seriously good eats like rib-eye dinners or smashburgers whipped up by Chef Graham Forbes. The drink scene? It’s on point. With a wine list that’s got a French twist and cocktails that change with the seasons, there’s always something new to try.

Tucked away as one of those hidden gem restaurants in Sacramento, Star Lounge is the spot to hit for awesome eats and a peek at the city’s history. They’ve got a happy hour that’s hard to beat and a vibe that’s both laid-back and fancy. Open every day with longer hours on the weekend, it’s the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the best of Sacramento.

Star Lounge revives a nearly century-old building with modern flair while retaining its 1928 vibes.
Star Lounge revives a nearly century-old building with modern flair while retaining its 1928 vibes.

10. Edgewater Coastal Bar & Grill

For a unique dining experience that’s all about fire, smoke, and BBQ, head to Edgewater Coastal Bar & Grill. Located within Velocity Island Resort in Woodland, California, this spot is a bit of a journey from Sacramento but worth the trip. They pride themselves on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients for their dishes, which range from American barbecue and wood-fired pizza to seafood.

As one of the unique restaurants in Sacramento and its surroundings, Edgewater stands out for its stunning waterfront views, casual vibe, and friendly service. The menu is a celebration of American culinary traditions, perfectly complemented by a selection of 16 craft beers, wines, and cocktails.

Edgewater has something to delight every palate, whether you’re in the mood for a smoky BBQ flavor or a crispy pizza straight from the woodfire grill. This place is a must-visit for anyone looking to enjoy great food and an amazing atmosphere.

Edgewater Coastal Bar & Grill offers a unique BBQ dining experience worth the trip from Sacramento.
Edgewater Coastal Bar & Grill offers a unique BBQ dining experience worth the trip from Sacramento. | Image Source: https://edgewatereatery.com/

11. The Jungle Bird

The vibe of a tropical island comes alive at The Jungle Bird in midtown, right in the heart of the city. This tiki lounge is all about fun, from its leafy wallpaper and thatched roofs to the colorful cocktails that seem to whisk you away to a sunny beach.

It’s one of the unique places to eat in Sacramento, offering a taste of paradise with its island-inspired menu. Imagine biting into coconut shrimp, kalua pork sliders, or mahi mahi with a macadamia crust. And the drinks? They’re a tropical dream. Classics like the mai tai mix with original creations, all served in a setting that feels miles away from the everyday.

Whether you’re in for the food, the drinks, or just the cool island atmosphere, The Jungle Bird is a spot that promises a good time. It’s a place where every visit is a mini vacation, making it a must-try for anyone looking for something different in Sacramento.

The Jungle Bird showcases tropical vibes and colorful cocktails for a sunny escape.
The Jungle Bird showcases tropical vibes and colorful cocktails for a sunny escape.

12. The Firehouse Restaurant

The Firehouse Restaurant is a standout spot for fine dining in Sacramento. Nestled in a historic fire station in Old Town, it mixes old-world charm with top-notch dining. The interior, adorned with antiques and chandeliers, transports diners to a bygone era, while the outdoor courtyard offers a serene dining experience under the shade of trees and ivy-clad walls.

This place is a treasure among unique places to eat in Sacramento. The menu is a journey through high-end cuisine, featuring dishes like tartufata sea scallop and venison osso buco. Each plate is a work of art, promising flavors that are as rich and refined as the setting.

The ambiance of The Firehouse is matched by its extensive wine list, curated to complement the refined flavors of the menu. This list stands as one of the city’s most comprehensive, offering diners selections from across the globe, including rare vintages that are hard to find elsewhere.

The Firehouse Restaurant is one of the unique restaurants in Sacramento.
The Firehouse Restaurant features a fine dining in a historic fire station with old-world charm.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Sacramento

In the FAQ section of our Sacramento restaurant guide, you’ll find answers to all your questions about dining out in the city.

Is Sacramento known for any food?

Yes, Sacramento is famous for its farm-to-fork cuisine, making it one of the top places to live and visit in California. The city is surrounded by farmlands, making it rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. This abundance allows chefs to create dishes with the freshest ingredients. Sacramento’s unique restaurants often feature seasonal menus that highlight local produce. From juicy tomatoes to crisp apples, the city’s food scene is a testament to its agricultural roots.

What are some must-try dishes in Sacramento?

When visiting Sacramento, you must try the farm-fresh salads, artisanal cheeses, and locally sourced meats. The city’s proximity to the ocean also means seafood is a must-try, especially dishes like grilled salmon or oysters. Best food in Sacramento includes these, along with creative takes on classic American cuisine, like gourmet burgers and farm-to-fork tacos.

Where can I find affordable meals in Sacramento?

Cheap eats in Sacramento can be found in many neighborhoods. Look for food trucks and small eateries in areas like Midtown and Downtown. These places often serve delicious tacos, sandwiches, and Asian street food at budget-friendly prices. Many cafes and bistros offer daily specials that won’t break the bank but still satisfy your taste buds.

What makes Sacramento’s dining scene unique?

The dining scene in Sacramento is unique because of its strong farm-to-fork culture. Chefs work closely with local farmers, ensuring that the ingredients are as fresh and sustainable as possible. This collaboration leads to innovative and flavorful dishes. Unique restaurants in Sacramento for dinner often boast menus that change with the seasons, reflecting the region’s diverse agricultural output.

Can I find international cuisine in Sacramento?

Absolutely! Sacramento is a melting pot of cultures, offering a wide range of international cuisines. From authentic Mexican taquerias and Italian trattorias to Thai street food and Indian buffets, the city has it all. You can travel the world through your taste buds without leaving the city.

Restaurants in Old Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, USA
Restaurants in Old Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, USA

Are there vegetarian or vegan options available in Sacramento?

Yes, Sacramento is very accommodating to vegetarians and vegans. Many restaurants offer plant-based menus featuring locally sourced vegetables and grains. There are also several dedicated vegetarian and vegan spots that serve everything from veggie burgers to vegan sushi. The city’s focus on fresh, local produce makes it easy to find delicious meat-free meals.

What’s the best area in Sacramento for dining out?

The best area for dining out in Sacramento is Midtown. This vibrant neighborhood is home to a diverse array of eateries, from casual cafes to upscale dining establishments. Midtown is where you’ll find innovative dishes, craft cocktails, and a lively atmosphere. It’s a great place to explore Sacramento’s culinary scene.

How do I choose a restaurant in Sacramento?

Choosing a restaurant in Sacramento depends on what you’re in the mood for. Consider what type of cuisine you want, your budget, and the dining experience you’re seeking. Online reviews and local food blogs can be helpful. Also, don’t be afraid to ask locals for their recommendations. They might lead you to Sacramento’s hidden gems that offer the best food.

What are some tips for experiencing the best of Sacramento’s food scene?

To truly experience the best of Sacramento’s food scene, start by visiting local farmers’ markets. They’re a great way to taste the region’s produce and meet the people who grow it. Next, make reservations at restaurants known for their farm-to-fork menus to taste how chefs transform these ingredients into delicious dishes. Don’t miss out on the city’s food festivals and events, where you can sample a variety of Sacramento’s best restaurants all in one place. F

Final Thoughts On Unique Sacramento Restaurants

We hope our journey through the flavors and sights of Sacramento has left you excited to explore more, starting from the moment you fly into the city. Our Sacramento restaurant guide was crafted to highlight the city’s diverse and vibrant culinary scene. From farm-to-fork treasures to hidden gems offering affordable eats, Sacramento has something for everyone.

Whether you’re craving the freshest local produce, unique international flavors, or just a cozy spot for dinner, this city delivers with its West Coast charm. Remember, the best way to experience Sacramento’s food scene is to dive in and try something new.

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