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.
Fugazzis brings sophisticated ambience and casual fine dining to its clients with menus melded from fresh, local ingredients. Fugazzis California Bistro, the collective's flagship restaurant, parachutes palates into a metropolitan atmosphere matched with modern appetite appeasers. Delve into its menu with an order of sweet-potato fries ($6.75) or coconut prawns ($8.95) before opting for the Fugazzis Pizza, boasting barbecue sauce, chicken, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes ($13). Sandwichy sustenance includes the halibut wrap ($11.50), and more elaborate entrees range from spinach-striped raviolis ($12.75) to a grilled rack of lamb ($24.95). Fugazzis California Grill serves up lunch and dinner for both midday marauders and moonlit mischief makers. Dinner highlights include a pear and walnut salad tiara’d in tangy honey-mustard dressing and blackened grilled chicken ($10.75), as well as fire-flicked flare such as a 10 oz. filet mignon ($24.95) and an Atlantic salmon filet ($19.95).
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.
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.
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.
At Zagat-rated Seagrass, chef Robért Perez prepares coastal cuisine with seafood sustainably fished from the Pacific Ocean. Top-shelf ingredients get a creative twist in entrees such as jumbo diver scallops with apple-smoked bacon, wilted rainbow chard, and a vanilla-and-cardamom-infused sauce. At times, Perez creates a fresh culinary experience by fusing cooking methods. The Muscovy duck breast, for example, is both seared and smoked, and the black cod is sautéed before being poached in butter. An abundant wine list, representative of Santa Barbara's diverse wine country, keeps pairing from becoming a tiresome chore like washing the dishes or organizing all the kids’ sweaters by mouthfeel. Inside the dining room, the eponymous seagrass covers the walls, and vaulted ceilings soften conversational sounds.