A lot of people think of Sacramento’s Zocalo as a great bar and energized social scene with food just an afterthought. Zocalo does have an excellent offering of cocktails and fine tequilas as well as a very nice happy hour – and there are worse ways to spend a late Sacramento afternoon than sitting on Zocalo’s patio with a cold cerveza and an array of appetizers. But Zocalo also offers excellent regional dishes of Mexico at both lunch and dinner.
Even before the menu appears, a basket of chips is presented with three varied salsas and dips. From the menu, I focus on a carnitas plate served with green herbed rice, pickled red onions and warm tortillas. That is my favorite version prepared by any restaurant in California. On a cold day, I lean toward the pork and hominy pozole, with an understated hint of cilantro. And if you’re feeling particularly self-destructive after dinner, the restaurant provides the lure of an appealing list of desserts. Go with the warm churros, served with ice cream.