Best road to ethnic food

Fulton Avenue

Fulton Avenue

It may be the ugliest drive in town, this three-mile strip of asphalt that runs from Loehmann’s Plaza at Fair Oaks Boulevard north to the Business 80 freeway, out in the northeast part of Sacramento where the main thoroughfares are named after famous inventors. But peppered among the car dealers and businesses along Fulton Avenue—a route with perhaps less trees than your average Las Vegas boulevard—are some of the better ethnic dining options in town.

I never gave it much of a thought until we moved nearby almost two years ago. We already knew about Kaveri Madras Cuisine (1148 Fulton Ave.), a south Indian restaurant some friends from Nevada City and L.A. pronounced as the best Indian food in the area, where you can watch Bollywood movies while you eat. Now they live here, and they go at least once a week.

Kaveri is toward Fulton’s southern end, near Chinese Cuisine and Shogun Teriyaki (both at 1120), Arabian Nights (1361, Middle Eastern and Greek) and Famous Kabob (1290, Middle Eastern). For xenophobic eaters, there’s Tiny’s Drive-In (1401) and Texas West Bar-B-Que (1600) and Eggie’s (1650), along with the Vagabond Lounge (1415), whose marquee reads: “Open 6 a.m.—where the fun never stops.” Nearby is Trino’s (1443), perhaps better known for its swinging bar than its food.

Cross Arden going north, and there’s Kabob House (1726, Greek) on the right, where Caballo Blanco used to be located, and Marrakech (1833, Moroccan) on the left. At Alta Arden, on the corner, is Katana (2598 Alta Arden), a Japanese teppan joint a la Benihana, where a chef cooks your food at the table. Next to it is Addis Ababa (2598 Alta Arden), a new Ethiopian place that’s quite good, and behind that is Mana (2580 Alta Arden), another Japanese restaurant.

Going north on Fulton, on the right is Times Square (1976), which may not be exotic, but it puts out an excellent sandwich. North of Cottage, on the left, is Waffle Square (2107). And just shy of El Camino is Dos Mundos (2440), a good, cheap Mexican place, and Classic Burgers (2440), which serves excellent American food cooked by Koreans.

Beyond the sprawling Lexus of Sacramento lot north of El Camino is Thai Cottage (2632), a surprisingly romantic dining spot with huge glass windows that face a lush bamboo garden on an urban creek. For the less intrepid, there’s the Buggy Whip (2737) and Sam’s Sub Shop (2766). And just before Marconi, on the right, is Nagato Sukiyaki (2874), one of the better Japanese restaurants I’ve found in town. Across the street is Sampan (2813, Chinese) and Taste of India (2851).

North of Marconi is Town & Country Village, an old-style shopping center that’s been modernized in recent years. On the center’s edge, facing Fulton, is Gourmet Wraps (2912, Mexican) and the Bobo Café (2932, Vietnamese); inside can be found Paree’s Thai Garden (2673 El Paseo Ln.) and Aida’s (2916 Pasatiempo Ln., Continental). North of the center there isn’t much dining among the used car lots, although Mandarin House (3212) is quite good; it’s the first Szechuan and Hunan joint I found in Sacramento, over 20 years ago. Fulton Avenue may not contain award-winning scenery, but it doesn’t have many fast-food chain places, either. What it does offer, I’ve discovered, is an eating experience that can’t be duplicated anywhere else in town.