At Tommy’s, candlelight casts dark wood wainscoting, burnt-orange walls, and stone floors in a warm glow. The elegant eatery—which has been hailed by Frommer’s as “the most creative restaurant in Visalia"—complements its environs with equally haute cuisine. Chefs serve succulent steaks on cedar planks and drizzle them with southwestern flourishes such as tequila-roasted green chilis, poblano cream sauce, and a single cactus tear. Additionally, Tommy’s stocks its wine cellar with an ample wine selection.
To craft their signature dish—The New York Sizzle— the chefs of Steak & Grape Restaurant hand carve a choice cut of Angus steak. They sizzle up the meat in an infrared broiler until it's juicy and tender, and then serve it on a 600-degree plate with a decadent garlic butter. Servers bear the premium cuts out into the airy, rustic dining room, along with plates of handmade specialty burgers, fine pastas, and fresh seafood. Bartenders bustle about behind the sleek wood bar, uncorking bottles of fine wines beneath the glow of flat-screen TVs.
Helmed by Executive Chef Paul Hurd, Hourglass serves up diverse interpretations of classic American fare from a menu bursting with the flavors of fresh produce, premium chops, and seafood. Start your meal by ordering a round of cocktails or wine from the extensive list and a plate or two of twice-baked-potato eggrolls ($7). The Chinese chicken salad comes laden with romaine, cabbage, carrots, snow peas, wonton strips, and red-chili peanut vinaigrette ($12) for a light but satisfying lunch or dinner. For the main course, an irresistible combination of braised-beef short rib with Yukon mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, and crispy onion straws ($21) fills you up like a cartoon cat hooked up to a bike pump. If you're not too stuffed, order up a slice of cheesecake or a waffle sundae ($7) for dessert.
Cafe 225’s seasonally changing menu is a tour of California. Fresh seafood evokes the state’s scenic coastline, and chicken breasts hot from the oak-charcoal grill come with drizzles of cream sauce and slices of avocado that call to mind the state’s lush avocado groves. Crowned in fire-roasted chilies and chipotle aioli, the eatery’s burgers mimic the spiciness of the Mexican food just across the border; with bacon and locally sourced cheddar, meanwhile, they become a tastier American classic than a baseball on a pie tin. An array of personal pizzas and pastas rounds out the menu, and the wooden bar’s selection of 70 wines and artisanal beers complements meals.
The restaurant’s proprietor got his start in the industry at the age of 12, when he helped make sandwiches during the lunchtime rush at his father’s San Francisco eatery. In the ensuing decades, he has cultivated the know-how and taste to construct Cafe 225’s menu, along with its exposed kitchen and rotisserie grill. Today, he even makes a point of sourcing as many ingredients as possible from environmentally sustainable companies.
Ethel Reds Chop House is named for a red-haired woman hallowed in family legend and yarns: the indomitable Ethel. Her ninety-some years of life were apparently filled with daring adventures, from jumping off waterfalls to riding a bull. The Chop House still serves her famed chili, and massive cuts of steak and chops challenge patrons. The eatery brims with bone-in ribeye and pork ribs like a ballad written by a hungry cowboy, and bacon celebrates an affinity for beef by embracing cuts of filet mignon and piling on top of cheeseburgers.
Diners bond over live country music, chicken wings, and copious use of napkins in the Western-style dining room, which is decorated by saddles, horseshoes, and other riding accessories. On balmy days, visitors toting drinks from the full bar wander to the patio garden to take in the fresh air.
Plates full of barbecue-glazed salmon, grilled sirloin, and country-fried steak emerge from the kitchen at Spike ‘n’ Rail Steakhouse, where chefs assemble hearty sandwiches and carefully spread sauces over meats. In the morning, patrons can sample breakfast dishes such as country-fried streak and eggs and breakfast burritos. Those who prefer a quieter meal can dig into their smoked prime rib on the outdoor patio, which overlooks a pond with burbling fountains and constantly gurgling fish.