Matt's Restaurant Rankings


Matt's Restaurant Guide to eating well at Davis

Disclaimer: I no longer live in Davis and hence no longer maintain this list. All the opinions below were formed during the periods of fall of 2004 - summer of 2008. That being said, I assume this page will be relevant for a while.

Here I rate the restaurants in davis on a numerical scale of 1-10. The number generally reflects the taste of the food and not its price or quantity or the atmosphere of the place or the service of the workers. However, if food is especially pricey that may make me in a more judgmental mood while eating, so these places (unintentionally may be held to a slightly higher standard) the reverse is obviously true for cheap food. The restaurants are ranked in order of best food to worse food within a given category.

(i did not rate fast food chains because most people know what their food tastes like anyway)

dollar signs do not take into account lunch specials.
$ = most entrees under 7
$$ = entrees in the 7-10 range
$$$ = entrees in the 10-13 range
$$$$ = entrees in the 13-18 range
$$$$$ = most entrees 18+


California eclectic







Mexican/Southwestern (see woodland restaurants for better Mexican food)

Middle eastern/Mediterranean



Sac Restaurants

Woodland/Winters/Dixon Restaurants


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2006-08-20 13:21:53   Dear Matt: I was reading some of your restaurant reviews, and wanted to thank you for your review of Huon lan- I didn't know it existed! Thanks. But as for the mustard seed: I must warn you that I've spoken/worked with 2-3 people who've cooked there, and the kitchen is bar none, one of the filthiest in Davis. In addition to that: there is a commonly used sysco-distributed frozen pesto (that obviously needs to be stored in the freezer or refrigerator) which the owner/kitchen manager of the mustard seed insisted needed only to be stored at room temp....weird. I would strongly recommend against eating there-for food safety reasons. —DianaChristofersen

2007-02-22 09:40:51   This is the coolest page I have ever seen. —JoshFernandez

2007-03-21 11:19:22   I like your coice of Noodle Express. People of Davis keep trying other chinese. They should just stay where it's good. Nice reviews! —KipMeade

2007-04-06 22:08:34   Wow. I'm very impressed with your list. I'm going to use it as a guide to checking out new places. Thanks so much! —ThuHo

2007-11-16 22:43:10   I've noticed that when you adjust your ratings, they almost always get lower. I know that I tend to "burn out" on restaurants after awhile — a hazard in a place like Davis where there are not tons of restaurant. (Although it does have a lot of restaurants for its size). Although it could be that your tastes have changed or that the restaurants have gone down in quality, you might also want to consider the burn-out factor. —CovertProfessor

2007-11-25 16:14:02   As a fellow foodie I just wanted to make some comments and suggestions: (1) I noticed Tucos is not up there, it took me forever to try it since my other favorite "Californian" cuisine was Seasons, but I find Tucos a bit more consistent (I've always had good food at Seasons, but my friends have had some ho-hum dishes — we all take bites of each other's plates), (2) Give Symposium's pizza a try, Village Bakery is good, but I think this place has the best pizza, (3) There's a Sacramento mexican restaurant/drive-thru that I've recently been introduced to called Aldaberto's you might want to take a look at (since you're overall Mexican food scores seem lower than other ethnic cuisines), (4) The duck I had Biba's in Sacramento two years ago was the best dish I've had in my life — though I haven't tried their new menu this season, (5) try the turkey burger and Sam's with Tahini and "Spicy Sauce", (6) I remembered Tapas the World desserts being ho-hum too, but recently I had the Chocolate Strawberry addiction and we all loved it, (7) finally I'm on a mission for you to bump Zen Toro up to an 8 or better (Yes, I work at Zen Toro, but I was a weekly regular for over a year before I started there), the macaroni side got upgraded to a cold noodle side (since that seemed to be a chief complaint), and while the fish is the freshest in town (though before ZT I did enjoy Moshi Moshi), you have to try the Japanese entrees which is where a restaurant run by Japanese people differs then the other restaurants in Davis...I suggest the Miso Yaki Butter fish (has a very strong asian, salty taste to it though), the Sesame Chicken, Saba Yakizakana (if you want something simpler), Pan Fried Thai Fish, Crab and Salmon fish cake appetizer, the Poke Salad, the Lobster roll (before I worked there the price kept me from trying it, but it's worth it), and if you're looking for a combo I think the Mini Don combo is the best deal. —AlvinTsao

2007-11-25 19:21:52   Ah, ok, I understand your [WWW]relative ranking system. Glad to know that things aren't getting worse. :)

2007-12-28 21:30:55   In my experience, Asian restaurants in Northern California almost always charge extra for rice, although once you've ordered it, asking for more doesn't tend to generate a new charge (sort of like the bottomless cup of coffee). And, you have to make sure to ask for rice, or you may not get it. —CovertProfessor

2008-03-21 23:57:34   Hey Matt, I recommend trying Tuco's, they have a nice menu that changes a lot and all my experiences there have been great. They have a good wine selection/knowledge too. Nice reviews. —davistudent

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