Conveyor belt pizza has long been the industry standard for most pizza outlets. But at Fast Freddies Pizzeria, it's the brick oven that makes all the difference. Birthed in fire rather than atop electric coils, hot pies come out crackling with crispy crusts destined for the guillotine of excited incisors. Toppings such as pepperoni, meatball, bacon, sausage, chorizo, and chicken pounce upon mounds of cheese, marinara, or alfredo sauce, along with refreshing veggies such as spinach, cilantro, basil, and jalapenos. Pasta, salad, sandwiches, and wings also fill the menu, along with a bevy of beverages such as wine, soft drinks, and draft beer typically doled out in pitchers.
Opening a closet at a restaurant typically means finding a mop bucket, but opening A Dash of Panache’s vanity closet means entering a costume wonderland. Stocked with jewelry, boas, and pastel-hued sunglasses, the lilac-walled closet brims with costumes clients can don for tea in the French-deco tea room, named “Best Tea House” by the A-List—among many accolades. The eatery serves more than 50 flavors of tea to tables draped in black tablecloths and white doilies, complementing their brews with petite sandwiches, scones and pastries on crystal plates. The 1920’s-era building also houses a family café, where visitors can nosh on sandwiches, salads and soups, and ice cream, rather than the typical family meal—the contents of a minivan glovebox. Beyond the family cafe, the back of the building has been converted into a party room, ideal for themed kid’s birthday parties.
As Bunz & Company embarks on its second quarter century in business, owners Julie and Jim Sweet aim to uphold its position as a family-friendly establishment. "It's comfortable and familiar, like the 'Cheers' of Roseville," Jim told the Roseville Press-Tribune, which profiled the bar and its origin as the brainchild of former San Francisco 49er and Roseville native Dan Bunz. Once a postpractice hot spot for the 49ers—including football greats Joe Montana, R.C. Owens, and Bobby Boucher—the English-style pub now serves local, and very loyal, clientele. The restaurant’s more than 17 televisions broadcast popular sporting events while servers ferry trays of casual American fare and giant vats of sports drink.
In 1962, Alberto Heredia and his wife, Carmen, flung open the doors of Carmelita's Restaurant, introducing a menu of tried and true family recipes from Puebla, Mexico. Now, a fourth generation of the Heredia family helps marinate carnitas and blend avocados into guacamole at two Carmelita's locations. The dining rooms, which are bedecked in vibrant knickknacks and paintings, let diners bask in bright colors without getting yelled at by a judge for bringing a kaleidoscope to court. Against the electrically hued backdrop, mariachi bands play on special occasions, their trumpets rising in warm spirals above fiddles and guitars.
Namaste Nepal takes its name and warm ambiance from the reverent Indian greeting, "Namaste," but the piping-hot helpings on each plate transcend cultural and geographic labels. Chinese, Indian, Tibetan, and Nepalese recipes contribute to the menu, filling a flavor spectrum that runs from pleasantly tangy to sizzling hot. Each dish is prepped to order using natural ingredients and often prompts speculation as to the size of the kitchen's spice cabinet. Notes of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and saffron tantalize the nose, underlined with the scent of charcoal-roasted meat—chicken, lamb, fish, and shrimp—cooked in the tandoor and marinated in creamy yogurt sauce.
Careful combinations of these herbs and entrees lead to staples such as chicken tikka masala, as well as specialties such as boneless lamb with red chili sauce and tamarind. One of several vegetarian offerings, muttar paneer pairs housemade cheese with green peas, and four types of samosas entice diners to start meals by biting into crispy shells instead of by inconspicuously gnawing the tablecloth. Guests also can peruse well-stocked buffets at lunchtime and order group platters for catered events.