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Davis, California

Friday, May 24, 2024

Best of Davis

Best new restaurant

1. Tacos and Beer
715 Second St.
2. Namaste Nepal
825 Russell Blvd., Suite 30
3. Tres Hermanas

805 Second St.

Nothing hits the spot quite like tacos and beer.

This is something Joe Romero is very familiar with and roughly one year ago, he opened up Tacos and Beer – students’ pick for the best new restaurant in Davis.

“We have good quality food, reasonable prices and economically, we’re good for students,” Romero said.

Romero caters directly to the student crowd, offering a student special of two soft tacos with rice and beans for $5 and a California burrito – meat, French fries, cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole for $6.25 – purely due to student demand.

Another key factor in the restaurant’s popularity is that it’s open until 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. After a long night at the bars, the place gets mobbed with students with the drunchies looking for the ultimate in satisfaction.

However, students may find no reason to even bother barhopping on these nights now that Tacos and Beer has a full bar. Romero received an alcohol license Jan. 31.

“Now, we can be called Tequila and Beer,” he said with a laugh.

Nicole Genova, a junior psychology major, and Rene Holmes, a first-year undeclared major, go to Tacos and Beer every Wednesday afternoon for burritos.

“The atmosphere is great,” Holmes said. “They have good service and a pretty good nightlife.”

DJs spin on Wednesday and Thursday nights and live student bands are featured on Fridays and Saturdays, giving students another place downtown to groove – with tacos and beer, of course.

Namaste Nepal, a restaurant specializing in Nepalese and Indian cuisines, came in second. The student special, a lunch buffet for $7.99, brings in large crowds in the afternoons.

In third place is Tres Hermanas, a swanky, sit-down Mexican restaurant with a full bar, which entered the scene this past fall.

– Janelle Bitker

Best meal on a budget

1. ASUCD Coffee House

Memorial Union

2. Taqueria Guadalajara

640 W Covell Blvd.

417 Mace Blvd.

3. Hunan

207 D St.

After a revamping remodel, the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo) is a hot spot for students to get a cheap meal.

The CoHo, which offers coffee and pastries, Mexican food, sushi and more, was voted the best meal on a budget of Davis.

With a convenient location close to campus and easy, accessible food on the go, the CoHo has garnered a lot of attention from “starving” college students.

“I really like it because you can get a really good meal that is filling for under $5,” said Ricky Huber, a first-year chemical engineering major.

The CoHo works hard to make sure that their prices are low for students at UC Davis.

“I think people recognize that we do our best to keep our prices budget friendly for our customers,” said Darin Schluep, the food service manager at the CoHo. “We’re really proud of the fact that, especially in these tough economic times, we offer lower priced meal options.”

The CoHo is able to save because of its association with ASUCD, and the fact that many of the CoHo’s employees are UC Davis students.

“We are a break-even business; we’re not out to make money. The fact that we have such a high ratio of student employee allows us to save money on labor and to pass those savings onto our customers,” Schluep said.

Taqueria Guadalajara came in second place, with delicious and affordable tacos and burritos as excellent choices for students on a budget.

In third place is Hunan Bar and Restaurant, the perfect place for cheap Chinese food in Davis.

– Hannah Strumwasser

Best pizza

1. Woodstock’s Pizza

219 G St.

2. Village Bakery

814 Second St.

3. Village Pizza and Grill

403 Fourth St.

Woodstock’s has an arcade and music.

It has karaoke night and trivia night.

It also has some pretty damn good pizza.

Woodstock’s Pizza, conveniently located in the heart of downtown Davis, is known primarily for its food and culture.

“We have great pizza and a great atmosphere,” said director of marketing Connie Carbonee. “It’s the typical college hangout. We have good music and late night events. We also have good beer on tap.”

The pizzeria has won the honor of best pizza for many years, something general manager Dee Clark associates with the establishment’s ability to adapt.

“One of the things we always try to do is respond to customers’ requests,” Clark said. “A while back we got a lot of requests to put hot sauce at our tables. Now, we have hot sauce at every table.”

Carbonee also said they’ve had customers come in with topping requests. These requests have ranged from the normal, like soy cheeses and gluten-free dough, to the somewhat outlandish, like anchovies and octopus.

Both Clark and Carbonee agree Woodstock’s ability to adapt and stay ahead of the curve is one reason why it is ahead of the competition. Another is the downtown pizza joint’s sponsorship of UC Davis organizations.

“We support many different groups on the university campus,” Carbonee said. “We sponsor athletics and fundraisers for student organizations.”

Above all else, Clark believes its place in UC Davis college life makes Woodstock’s the “Best of Davis.”

“We really have that college vibe,” Clark said. “We employ college students and try to get involved with the university as much as possible. [Woodstock’s] is just a casual and chill place to be.”

The Village Bakery, located across from the Amtrak Station, known for their freshly baked bread, came in second place.

Village Pizza and Grill, the “sit-down” version of Village Bakery, known for its outstanding pizza and outdoor patio, finished third.

– Jason Alpert

Best ice cream or frozen yogurt

1. Yolo Berry Yogurt

316 C St.

2. Davis Creamery

2191 Cowell Blvd., Suite F

3. Pinkberry

500 First St., Suite 5

If you think all ice cream shops give the evil eye when you ask for a bunch of samples, Yolo Berry frozen yogurt may make you think again.

In fact, Yolo Berry, located in the heart of downtown Davis, encourages having a taste of all of its rotating flavors – there’s no such thing as “too much.”

“We have six flavors, so try six flavors,” said manager Zachary Coleman. “Why wouldn’t I want you to try everything we have so you can get something you want – something you want to come back and get?”

For its prime location off of Central Park, friendly environment, and assortment of flavors, Yolo Berry frozen yogurt was chosen as the best ice cream in Davis for the second year in a row.

The enthusiasm among the establishment does not go unnoticed by Davis residents, either.

“I go to Yolo Berry about once a week,” said junior Spanish major Samantha Kauser. “It’s self-serve, and you get to choose your own toppings. You get as many samples as you want and they don’t make you feel guilty.”

Coleman enjoys promoting a happy atmosphere and is thankful for the community’s support.

“It’s yogurt [and] it’s fun,” Coleman said. “We wanted this place to be a place people wanted to come to. Our customers are so loyal here. They come in, they just love it and they bring their friends.”

According to Kauser, there’s nothing better than Yolo Berry.

“I’ve tried other yogurt places,” Kauser said. “They’ve just confirmed my suspicion that I don’t need to go anywhere else.”

Davis Creamery was picked runner-up in the ice cream category.

Located in south Davis, Davis Creamery prides itself on a similar cozy atmosphere, along with its “udderly delicious” array of high quality ice cream flavors.

Pinkberry came in third, offering its range of frozen yogurts from passion fruit to pumpkin to green tea.

– Grace Sprague

Best sushi

1. Mikuni

500 First St.

2. Davis Sushi Buffet Japanese Restaurant

707 Second St.

3. Fuji Chef Sushi Boat Buffet

213 G St.

Looking for the catch of the day? It may be closer than you think.

Located in the Davis Commons on First St., Mikuni offers a modern take on Japanese cuisine, without compromising on quality.

General Manager Jay DeGuzman credits the restaurant’s success to a superior product.

“I believe we have built a great reputation on high-quality fish and great customer service,” DeGuzman said.

The sushi restaurant’s laid-back vibe, complete with attentive service and a fully stocked bar, makes it the perfect destination for a night out. The sushi itself is reasonably priced and ranges from more traditional nigiri to cleverly-named plates like the “Marilyn Monroll,” which proved too tempting to pass up.

Students looking to expand their palates can also try signature rolls from the Osusume menu.

Sophomore environmental policy analysis and planning major Margaret Link called their rolls innovative and said, “This Sacramento-based chain has proven that it has staying power.”

If you’re looking for a more economical alternative, try one of Davis’s top buffets. Both runners-up offer affordable buffet-style dining for under $20.

Coming in at second place, Davis Sushi Buffet Japanese Restaurant offers all-you-can-eat sushi for $16.95 for dinner, which includes a floating armada of rolls and a full menu of made-to-order plates.

Third-place winner Fuji Chef Sushi Boat Buffet, just around the corner, holds onto its top spot, thanks to a solid base of loyal customers who can be found in line each day before lunch.

– Becca Moore

Best Bar

1. Sophia’s Thai Kitchen

129 A St.

2. G Street Pub

228 G St.

3. Froggy’s Bar and Grill

726 Second St.

If the hypnotic fish tank in Sophia’s isn’t enough to draw in the Davis nightlife, perhaps it’s the bar’s relaxed atmosphere and unique drinks.

“You can get a gin-and-tonic at any bar, so while you’re charging for drinks, what you’re really selling is the vibe,” said owner Kevin Wan. “Everyone’s out to relax and have fun. That’s why I think a lot of people come here early to start their night and come back later to finish it.”

Wan graduated from UC Davis in 2001 and gave up a job at Random House Publishing in New York to open a “non-dive, non-college bar” with his college chums and the owners of Sophia’s Thai Kitchen restaurant.

A decade later, the bar hasn’t lost its friendly charm. The volume of the music is low to encourage conversation, and the pockets of seating throughout the bar and on the patio invite old friends to catch up. Tuesday nights challenge guests to a Trivia Night – arguably one of the most difficult in Davis, but with the most accessible rewards (come up with the best name, and you could score yourself a treat).

Patrons can order from a diverse menu of tropical mixed drinks and classic cocktails. The Lychee Cooler or classic Mojito are refreshing enough to make one feel like it’s summer. Flavorful twists on old-time martinis, such as the 007, served with white wine and lemon, bring zest to your grandfather’s favorite. Most cocktails are about $7.

The winter and summer concert series complete the get-away atmosphere of the Thai inspired bar. Folk, rock and electronic pop musicians perform on the patio, filling downtown Davis with a much-needed live music scene. Winter concerts have been held at Odd Fellows Hall. Visit the website, sophiasthaikitchen.com, for a calendar of upcoming acts.

G Street Pub and Froggy’s Bar and Grill round out the top rated list, in second and third place, respectively.

– Lauren Steussy


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