Samba's menu spans continents, uniting dishes toasted over the leaping flames of a Brazilian grill with those cooked in the heated clay interior of a tandoor oven. Samba's signature rodizio dinners deliver skewered meats to tables, where they are carved by servers directly onto diners' plates. Picanha, a cut of beef, is a popular choice. For those who would rather not indulge in the all-you-can-eat option, the picanha burger?covered in mozzarella, grilled mushrooms, and peppers?offers a taste of the Brazilian beef.
Indian offerings include seven types of naan bread, chicken tikka masala, and biryani rice entrees. Samba serves Mediterranean as well, from hummus appetizers to shish kebab lunches and pizzas dotted with feta cheese.
Though the food comes from various regions, the venue positions diners under the same sky?or at least a ceiling charmingly painted to mimic the clouds. Samba also celebrates birthdays with exceptional fanfare: drums, tambourines, and song, instead of the traditional treat of fine-dining establishments, a lobster clutching candles in its claws. This excitement also extends to the upcoming 2014 World Cup beginning in June, during which the restaurant will air the contests with a family-friendly atmosphere.
Raul and Maria Gutierrez were raised on fajitas in their native Mexico, where many families raise their own chickens and make tortillas by hand. After honing their culinary skills in several Houston restaurants, the couple chased their dreams to Fresno, where Fajita Fiesta was born. Instead of sprouting from a pinto bean, the eatery sprang from one of the Gutierrez’s favorite dishes: tacos al carbon, a union of handcrafted tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, and charbroiled steak, chicken, or pork. Made fresh every hour, the tortillas serve as a canvas for creativity by exhibiting savories such as grilled shrimp, onions, and poblano peppers. For deep-fried fare such as chimichangas and sopapillas, Raul and Maria use canola oil to minimize saturated fat. Margaritas add a heady kick to the evening's festivities, and horchatas end meals on a sweet cinnamon note, with textures smoother than a freshly shorn saxophone. The kitchen also caters feasts for a variety of events, filling bellies with hearty chicken moles and bite-size eats such as mini taquitos.
With baskets full of hand-plucked, wild blueberries, Vincent Colombet and his cousins happily crammed into their Alsatian grandmother's tiny kitchen. In that quaint room, equipped with only a wood-burning cast-iron stove, Vincent learned over the years how to tuck berries into pies, prepare meats sourced from neighboring farms, and eventually produce elaborate meals for his entire family.
Driven by his passion for French family-style cuisine, he traveled to Paris before a longing for experiences abroad tugged him across the pond and into the arms of the Windy City in 2004. The following year he opened Cook Au Vin, where he leads three-hour BYOB cooking classes centered around classic techniques and organic ingredients. Patrons may also enlist the Cook Au Vin team to cater special events, or swing by Colombet's Logan Square bakery, La Boulangerie, for butter-infused inhalations, freshly made crepes, and crusty baguettes.
An indoor courtyard festooned with skylights, lush greenery, and a burbling stone fountain greets diners as they stream into Fresno Breakfast House. Once they cross the threshold of the central dining room, yellow and blue walls flow almost seamlessly into large landscape murals and a ceiling painted to look like a summer sky. Guests can also rent out the eatery's jungle room, which is decorated with wildlife statues, murals of gorillas and elephants, and a thatched hut. To pair with these decorative flourishes, the restaurant whips up an impressive American menu that earned a nod from Fresno Magazine as the city?s Best Breakfast.
Under the shadow of billowing palm branches and the world's tallest waiter, tables populate with three-egg omelets, traditional eggs benedict, and plates of french toast and belgian waffles. During lunch, fresh bread cushions certified Angus beef burgers and deli classics of pastrami, turkey, and smoked ham.
For Ali Saleh, the chef who owns Taqueria 2 Palmas, a great meal isn't just about sustenance. It's a performance meant to entertain and intrigue. That's why restaurants and live music make such as dynamic duo. When Ali bought his first storefront on East Tulare Street, he immediately built a stage so the restaurant could also host concerts. These days, his 24-hour eatery teems with mariachi bands that serenade guests with romantic ballads and vibrant pasodobles. The sultry sizzles of hot plates chime in as servers deliver chicken fajitas and Tampiquena-style steaks to nearby tables. In contrast, shrimp cocktails and fresh oysters are as cool as an igloo full of Elvis impersonators. To fuel morning exploits such as newspaper crosswords and WiFi surfing, the restaurant also serves huevos rancheros and other hearty Mexican breakfasts.
At Bentley’s, some dishes come and go with the seasons, but customer favorites—such as USDA Choice steaks, seafood, and ribs—remain a familiar presence on the menu. Chefs douse baby back ribs with a special house sauce before nestling them beside a baked potato or fries. They also wrap 8-ounce slabs of filet mignon in bacon before grilling them. The same care goes into lunchtime salads, sandwiches, burgers, and ribs, which speed from kitchen to plate, leaving diners with enough time left on their break to pen a love letter to their boss. Cocktails, including four alcohol-infused varieties of lemonade, balance the savory entrees with their sweet flavors.