When I go to Biba, it’s like going home. Sure, the room is larger and far more elegant than anything we have in our house. Yet, the décor is warm and welcoming and the staff, from the front door, to the bar to the waiters is friendly and extremely helpful.
Owner Biba Caggiano is on site most nights to supervise the action and greet diners. She’s the award-winning cookbook author, TV chef and teacher of Italian cooking. There’s nothing pro forma about her table visits; she really wants to know you are enjoying the food and being served with care.
Biba is one of my two favorite restaurants in California for a whole host of reasons. No restaurant would deserve this lofty position if the food were not absolutely tops.
To start with, this is the only restaurant at which I will order calamari fritti. It comes so lightly battered that you can hardly tell it’s battered at all. The squid is firm but not tough and the flavor outclasses any other calamari fritti I’ve ever eaten. Then there are the can’t-miss pastas. There’s an ever evolving assortment of gnocchi that is not to be missed; same goes for the ravioli. Daughter-in-law Edie introduced us to her favorite – spinach linguini. Lamb dishes always stand out; the duck breast is outstanding. And then there are the things that come and go from the menu – sweetbreads, cioppino, stuffed pork chops.
As Sacramento has grown into an outstanding restaurant town, Biba remains one of the mainstays, attracting a loyal local following that includes many of the state’s political and governmental leaders.