El Dorado Hills & Cameron Park Area Casual Dining Favorites
36 Handles Pub & Eatery is a favorite restaurant and watering hole for those who love the new generation of pubs that has emerged in California. This is not your old time darkened pub, but rather a bright and happy environment where you can meet friends, raise a few, and eat some good food in a nice environment. There is seating available outdoors on the patio, in the full bar, or in the main dining area. They have 36 taps that feature local domestics, craft brews from around the USA, and famous imports. If you enjoy beer, there is something everyone. The full bar also has wines and liquor alternatives. Menu items include lots of pub fare choices like Fish & Chips, Cottage Pie, Meatloaf and Bangers & Mash. They also have other entrees like Salmon, Pork Chops, or Pasta. In addition, they have a number of soups and salads. Open daily 11am to 2am. They do take reservations. The address is 1010 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills near the Town Center. Tel. 916-941-3606 Click here for website.
China City Restaurant is one of the better kept restaurant secrets in Cameron Park. Located in a modest strip mall behind the Safeway market, it is popular with locals while remaining virtually unknown to the outside world. Despite its plain surroundings, this place serves up really good Szechuan and Mandarin cuisine in a nicely appointed dining area. The large menu has over thirty lunch combination specials for good prices that are served from 11am to 3pm. The large menu contains all the favorites usually found on Chinese menus. The Hot & Sour Soup is excellent. Items worth special note include Seafood with Bean Curd Soup, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Hunan Three Delights, Kung Pao Calamari, and Hong Kong Style Chow Mein. Located at 4100 Cameron Park Dr. suite 114. Open for lunch and dinner every day except Tuesday. (530-672-9888)
El Dorado Saloon is a Texas style bar and restaurant that is rapidly becoming party-central for the younger western crowd in the area. And, yes, it has a mechanical bull. The restaurant is quiet during the day, but turns into a jumping hangout at night. This place has a party going on every night, including live music on Friday and Saturday. The long bar offers a signature Mason-Jar Margarita. Weekend brunch starts at 9am and they have Happy Hour M-F 2pm to 7pm. The menu has a number of salads and appetizers, a large selection of burgers/sandwiches, and a nice dinner offering including Prime Rib Mondays. Open 7 days. Located at the corner of Francisco Dr. and Green Valley Rd. in El Dorado Hills. Visit the website for details. (916-941-3600)
Fernando's Costa del Sol Restaurant provides an excellent selection of authentic Salvadorean cuisine in addition to Mexican style dishes. For something a little different, this is the place to go. What makes it extra special is that everything is fresh made with fresh ingredients. Really! The menu includes beef, chicken, and pork specialties along with an extensive list of seafood items. Some of my favorites are the Chile Relleno pork stuffed pepper, Pork Pupusa with a Salvadorean Tamale, Fried Yucca with Chicharron, or the Chicken Tamale wrapped in banana leaf that has the most incredible masa. Seafood selections include Crab or Shrimp Enchiladas, Fish Tacos, or Prawns Stuffed with Crab. Located at the corner of Cameron Park Dr. and Green Valley Road. (530-676-4460)
The Purple Place is really local history considering it was started as an actual roadhouse back in 1955. As suburbia encroached, it has transformed into a unique place with an amazing array of great food, drink, and entertainment. One side of the house is a sports bar and the other side is a family friendly dining room. Breakfast options include all the favorites plus items like Ooey Gooey Coffee Cake, Smoked Salmon Benedict, or Cajun Sausage Omelet. Lunch and Dinner has a huge array of creative selections like Deep Fried Sausage Ravioli, Thai Noodle Salad, Wasabi Salmon Panini, Ribs, Steak, and lots of Burgers. There are live entertainment, happy hour, and sports parties in the bar. Open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located at 363 Green Valley Rd. in El Dorado Hills. Click here for the website. (916) 933-2313
Que Viva is a wonderful family owned Mexican restaurant tucked away in the old Burke's Junction in Cameron Park. The locals love it because they serve up outstanding Mexican dishes and seafood specialties in a cozy atmosphere with a tropical decor. The owners, Isabel and Moises Rodriguez, previously operated restaurants in Florida where they developed the great dishes and good service. Moises is a well known guitarist of international fame and plays on Friday and Saturday evenings. They serve all the favorites plus specialties like Mole Poblano, Al Pastor, Camerones a la Diabla and many more. Located at 3300 Coach Lane in Cameron Park. Open lunch and dinner 7 days. (530) 677-3330
Shanghai Chinese Restaurant is tucked away in the Bel Air shopping center just north of highway 50 at the Cameron Park Drive exit. It is a clean and friendly little restaurant that is popular with the locals and worth a stop if you are passing through on your way to somewhere else. The menu is mainly Szechuan and Hunan, but contains all the usual Chinese food favorites. A few rather unique offerings include Famous Chinese Chicken Walnut Salad, Satay Beef, Lamb with Fresh Leeks, Sweet and Pungent Shrimp, and many noodle selections including Shanghai Chow Mein and Subgum Chow Fun. Open for lunch and dinner every day except Monday. Located at 3440 Palmer Dr. in Cameron Park. 530-676-9041