Bringing Farm Fresh to the Chef’s Table. Get the insider’s scoop on eateries that will serve up an honest plate of pure satisfaction in Lodi, California.
According to a new study in the journal Appetite, sharing a meal with others actually makes you a better person. I get that when I think of being a child and in the context of the family table. Sunday Suppers were a big deal in my household. This was a time when no matter how busy we were as individuals, we showed up and ate together. Our family was like a small community unit. Everyone helped in some way to bring the meal together. This made sitting down and the act of eating, an award the whole group could appreciate. And yes, I’m pretty sure this made me a better person.
In our evolved society, we have moved into public restaurants, where everyone can sit down and someone else prepares delicious meals. If we are fortunate, the chef knows how to tap in to the flavors and foods that soothe our souls and make us better people. Together, we can savor some of life’s most precious moments, around a table, anywhere in the world. Eating after all, is something we do everyday of our lives.
When we travel, eating the way we want can become a little tricky. I almost always ask a local where he or she would eat and get the best tips from those that know! Thanks to a few kind friends and local tips from Lodi Wine Country, I’ve been able to create a list of the best spots to confidently grab some grub in 2019.
Bubbles & Birds - The restaurant may be new (opened June 2019) to Downtown Lodi, but the owners, returning home from a multi-city whirlwind (Saint Helena and New Orleans), couldn’t be more thrilled to build on their local roots. Bringing all of their talent and passion to the table, this dynamic family is here to stay. Go in and hang out in swanky style, sipping Champagne (there are over 28 options for bubbly), paired with fried chicken. The highly styled, yet humble and elegant food is seductive and approachable. Open Wednesday thru Sunday. Closed Monday & Tuesday.
Pietro’s Trattoria is an absolute gem. Worth the drive, you are sure to fall in love with this old world-like, Garden of Eden setting. Found through a local recommendation, we were very pleased to discover such a charming and lively place to eat. My personal favorites are the Ravioli, the Spinach Salad with Prawns and the Cannoli. If you order the fettuccine, they often toss the pasta in a giant Parmesan cheese wheel; entertaining touch. I can’t wait to go back and try the Lasagna. Open Monday thru Saturday. Closed Sunday.
I am definitely a Burger Snob. Burgers are my go-to item on any menu. I have no qualms ordering a burger at any type of dining establishment. When I heard about Moo Moo’s Burger Barn, I had to make a point and stop in. Ummmm. Yeah. Hands down Moo Moo’s Burger Barn has the best BMS Moo Burger evAH! BMS Moo Burger rests on a Kaiser Bun with Bacon, Swiss Cheese, Sautéed Mushrooms, Moo Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato and Red Onions. Don’t worry if you don’t like what I like, there is a burger option for every kind. If you happen to be more of an herbivore, you can try the No Moo option. Open 7 day a week.
Located downtown, Rosewood Bar & Grill serves classic American cuisine. The menu offers seasonal, locally purveyed ingredients with simple, understated elegance. Check menu daily as it changes often. Tuesday thru Thursday, I love the 3 for $30 pre fixe special. Great Happy Hour and on Tuesdays, the Happy Hour goes all night! Open Tuesday thru Sunday for dinner. Closed on Monday.
Lodi Airport Café is overall on of the most loved eateries in town. Always consistent, the lunch menu is loaded with classic dishes. I appreciated the salad options, but went with a Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwich on House Made Focaccia Bread. So delicious! If you are into Kombucha, they make their own and it’s good! The service was awesome and I loved watching the action at the airport. Cash or Local Check Only. Open Wednesday thru Monday for Breakfast & Lunch. Closed Tuesday.
Towne House Restaurant (at Wine & Roses) has a timeless feel. The decor is beautifully appointed and exceptionally comfortable. It's obvious when you walk through the doors, that the establishment is quite accustomed to guests of any caliber. The Manager greeted us upon arrival and was helpful and gracious. Our server was attentive and full of interesting stories. As I overheard some of her conversations with other guests, it was clear that many locals were about and came regularly. We felt right at home. The server suggested that we try the crab cakes. We took her advice. Great choice! The crab cakes were perfectly crunchy on the outside and full of tender, zesty crab meat inside. It’s safe to say that, no matter the time of the day or the occasion, the Towne House Restaurant will not disappoint.
Conveniently located in vibrant downtown Lodi, the Lodi Beer Company is the establishment where everyone will find something to eat. Set in an old-fashioned tavern structure, locals and tourists alike enjoy the comfort food and down home vibe. All the burgers are made from fresh ground Kobe beef. The salads and gourmet pizza (crust has beer in it) are tasty and perfectly prepared. Most importantly, there is an on-site brewery with at least a dozen craft beers to wet your whistle. Open 7 days a week.
The Tin Roof BBQ is a small space that gets crowded (for a good reason). This casual hot spot is a local favorite as you can order online and take out, or eat in. I only discovered Tin Roof through a recommendation from a friend. It’s off the beaten path, but worth the journey. Open for Lunch 11AM – 4PM. Closed Sunday.
Thai Spices is a hole in the wall that serves some of the most flavorful Thai food I’ve had in a while. Severs dressed in traditional clothes, graciously assist in every seemingly silly question. I felt welcomed and warm as I sank into my Masman Curry and Pineapple Fried Rice. I’ve heard the Green Curry and Volcano Chicken are also popular. There are lots of Vegan and Vegetarian options. Open 7 days a week.
The Dancing Fox is enchanting. Be sure to click on the link and read their story. The three minutes it will take to digest, is well worth the effort. You’ll get it and understand why, the Lewis Family bring every ounce of their creativity, talent and magic to the table. Boasting their own winery and brewery on site, I found the Handcrafted Bread baked in the Spanish Style Brick Oven to be the real treat. Everything on the menu is fabulous. We ordered the French Dip, the Reuben and shared. Beyond amazing. Open Tuesday thru Saturday with Brunch on Sunday. Closed Mondays.
The Farm Café at Michael David Winery was the first restaurant I visited in Lodi. Located right on Hwy 12, it’s easy to find and a welcomed stop after driving through the expansive valley from Napa. As soon as we sat down, the servers appeared and catered to our every need. I found the seasonal Michael David beer called Freak Show to be most refreshing. We ordered the Tri-Tip Sandwich, the Shrimp & Avocado Sandwich (on a house made croissant) and the Greek Salad. Everything was perfectly cooked, fresh and full of flavor. The portions are large and the prices are reasonable.
Our server was also a great resource and provided us with a map of the wineries. There is an incredible selection of house made baked goods in the market. These items make great gifts. If you are in the mood to wine taste after lunch, you can walk right over to the tasting room and indulge. Open 7 days a week.