|130 G Street at the south end of the building|
|<prumendez AT gmail DOT com>|
Their menus and recipes are driven by these world-class ingredients: real food without too much fuss or pretense, but with lots of pride and creativity, and a goal of delivering flavors and textures that make it an event. Their retail market allows you to take these products home and recreate these experiences for yourself.
In 2006 (?), they served renowned lecturer Michael Pollan after his sold-out lecture at The Mondavi Center as well as having served lunch to the visiting culinary students from Slow Food's University of Gastronomic Sciences and the Culinary Institute of America.
A note about the name: though many are tempted to add an apostrophe and call the place "Tuco's" as if it were a restaurant owned by Tuco, the name does not have an apostrophe (and the owner's name is Pru). The name "Tucos" comes from Pru's daughter, who mispronounced the Portuguese word for juice, "suco," as "tucos" when she was young.
Tucos used to offer a wine club membership called ClubTucos. It appears to no longer exist.
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Yelp.com online reviews (for "Tucos Wine Bar and Cafe")
Yelp online reviews (for "Tucos Wine Market & Cafe")
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2008-01-14 23:48:39 I love Tucos. At my last visit Celvin provided prompt and professional service. While dining, we enjoyed the polenta with stewed bison which was to die for. The suggested wines paired perfectly with the creaminess of the polenta and the texture of the bison. A little bit pricey but well worth it. Can't wait until my next visit. Thanks Tucos, you guys rock!!!! —dunaneer
2008-01-20 22:55:48 I really enjoy this place. They have great food, and really nice staff. I ordered a glass of champagne that seemed to be a bit flat, but the waiter quickly opened a new bottle and poured me a new glass with a smile. This restaurant is a touch of Napa in our own little town! —Dr.Lindsay
2008-03-31 16:05:12 Probably my favorite place in Davis! Not inexpensive but it always delivers. We often get an appetizer to split with a shot of soup and a small course. Plenty to enjoy....with a glass of wine of course. The service is always on spot and the food delicious. —LokiAbbi
2008-04-14 15:23:19 Hands down, best restaurant in Davis. If you're into great local, fresh cuisine... this is your place. Great service and atmosphere... pricy, as expected, but it's worth every cent. It could easily be mistaken for a great restaurant you would find in San Francisco or a comparable food capital. —SRB
2008-05-07 15:01:14 Scott Lay, you are awesome. —qt123
Whoops, must have had too much wine and left a good tip. Thanks! —ScottLay
2008-05-12 09:11:54 After reading these reviews and seeing the prices we expected a lot. First the good: great tucked away atmosphere, the seafood was incredibly fresh (especially for Davis) excellent oysters, crab appetizer was very good (with lots of real and fresh crab), the higher priced wines are quite good. The not so good: way too much butter (on two out of five dishes), boring cocktail sauce (come on do better than ketchup and lemon), lower price wines were hardly palatable (there are lots of pretty good wines that sell for $25-35 in other restaurants, why not serve some of them). We will definitely go back, with lower expectations and probably our own bottle of wine. —ACA
Comment about the wines: the selection changes often, so if there wasn't a huge selection of lower priced wines when you went, chances are, if you give it a few weeks, there will be a better selection next time. —ElleWeber
2008-06-06 15:40:25 Took my mom here for lunch one afternoon, service was very friendly and food was fresh and delicious! We sat outside because we had our german shepherd with us and true to their word, they do welcome well behaved dogs, and even brought him a bowl of water! Love the atmosphere, will definitely go back, and the interesting/changing menu is refreshing! —Lia
2008-06-16 08:13:10 Went here for my graduation dinner and thought the food was absolutely fantastic, the best in Davis even. All the chicken and beef are free range, and the produce is very fresh. I split the bison tenderloin and the the tuna Nicoise with my brother and both dishes were very good. I also had a taste of my aunts fish and chips, where the fish came wrapped in a delicious puff pastry. For drinks I had the cashew slushy which was quite tasty (comes from the fruit of the cashew and not the nut). But perhaps the best part was the cherry tart for desert, flaky, tart, sweet and hot topped with cold vanilla ice cream. There was a bit of an incident at the beginning where we made a reservation for 6 people, and they only had 5 chairs available for our table when we arrived. However, it appeared that the owner drove some place and picked up a chair from perhaps his home. Now thats resolving a situation. The service was great, attentive, but not overbearing. Granted, with the smaller portions, you would find it difficult to leave here full without spending at least 35 dollars a person. Yet, for special occasions, this is a little Davis gem. —MattHh
2008-06-28 21:17:16 Tucos was a fun experience, and one of the better places to eat in Davis. I began with a serving of the Cowgirl Creamery cheese "Red Hawk". This cheese, from a creamery in Point Reyes, is truly excellent. It's a hard find in Davis - even the Nugget doesn't carry it. It was served with spiced dried fruit and nuts, a subtle but good olive oil, and some Acme breads from the famous Bay Area bakery that began the California renaissance of artisan breads. Even with my bias aside for the excellent Pt. Reyes cheese, this starter was excellent.
Next, I had a dungeness crab crostini, with a melted cheese over it. This was good - I'm a crab lover - but not as good as it could be. I didn't catch the name of the cheese on the crostini but it was too overpowering. Good crab has a delicate flavor that is all too often crushed in dishes, leaving only a taste indistinguishable from lesser quality.
My entree was the bison stroganoff. The pasta was clearly fresh, likely made at Tucos. The bison itself was excellent - tender, flavorful, not overpowered by too creamy of a sauce. The dish highlighted the bison and fresh pasta, to good effect. However, for a $25 entree (and accounting for how expensive Bison could be) I would expect a little better presentation. The colors were monotonous; even the slightest bit of green from some fresh parsley (or, something more creative) would liven it up a bit.
What made this experience excellent were the wines. I recommended the wine flights - I went for the Old World flight. Two Italian wines, one French, and one Portuguese. All were good, the Portuguese my favorite - long, lingering finish, well-balanced, very viscous. I also has a 2007 Malbec from Mendoza (also recommended).
Overall: The wine and cheese experience was excellent, but the entrees lacked a certain 'pop' I would expect from the prices. That said, much of the prices go towards excellent ingredients in dishes that spotlight their brilliance (minus the crab). 7.9/10. I'll definitely be back. —VinceBuffalo
We at Tucos agree; we have reduced the cheese on the crab bruschetta and added color to the bison stroganoff. We really appreciate the feedback and hope you come back again. —qt123
2008-08-25 17:35:51 Great, period! We have never had a bad meal at Tucos! No one else in Davis is more committed to the support of our local farmer's and incorporates fresh, organic and sustainable local ingredients in such creative and deliciously consistent ways. Simply unique and always mouth-watering! I can't wait to wrap my lips around those rich and tender Cachapas again!—JacquelineClemens
2008-09-08 10:33:10 Tuco's catered a party for me and I couldn't be happier with the whole event. Pru, Tuco's owner, was very easy to work with. The pricing and amounts were just right. Most importantly, the food was amazingly good. All my guests raved about it. As a plus, the table set-up was beautiful. I also felt good about working with a locally-owned restaurant that buys from local farmers and supports Slow Food principles. If I cater a party again, I'll call Tuco's. —SuzanneM
2008-09-28 00:47:30 Food was great, service was TERRIBLE, and the wine selection was only OK. Extremely overpriced for the portion size. We definitely left still feeling hungry after spending almost $100 for 2 people. —amryan1
2008-10-24 14:51:37 Hands down my favorite place in Davis in terms of the food quality. I have enjoyed pretty much all the dishes I have had there and have taken many outside visitors there to showcase good food in Davis. —JonathanEisen
2008-11-06 15:00:33 Tucos is a good little place that could be made a lot better with some consistency. It's so nice to find a new place to like, and sad when you end up disappointed.
Our first visit was for lunch, and we were pleasantly surprised. After a vacation of mostly "corporate" (read flavorless) food, it was very nice to have something that had a taste to it. The crab melt sandwich and the pulled pork sandwich were tasty. The salad greens on the side could have used a little more dressing, but we didn't ask so I can't complain. And, the coffee was fantastic.
A week or two later, we decided to try dinner. The crab & cheese bruschetta had a nice flavor, and bison burger was interesting, but the "bacon" on top had no taste at all. Apparently we were spoiled with the service at lunch because this time, even though there were only two other occupied tables, the server spent more time chatting with his buddies and ignoring us (whatever happened to "how is everything"?). Overall disappointing.
OK, lunch was good, so we went back for lunch the next day. We noticed plantains on the menu the last time, so we thought we'd try that. Sorry, the plantains are not ripe. OK, well that crab sandwich was good, let's have that. Sorry, we just sold the last one. On a Wednesday afternoon. At 1pm. The table next to us was equally disappointed at the lack of crab that day. We were starting to feel like we were in the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch.
We opted to give the bison burger another chance. Just OK, again. Question: does a tomato and onion make it a "dinner item", because last night it was there and today it's not.
Also ordered the pulled pork sandwich again, and apparently they were running out of that, too, because you could barely find the pork. The waitress offered to bring us some more, but we had to leave. She did discount our check, which I thought was nice.
After one good experience out of three, we probably won't go back again, simply because for the price I expect consistent service and food. Actually, not too much to ask at any price point. —RobW
2008-11-07 09:18:26 I am surprised about RobW comments on consistency. I probably go to Tuco's 3-4 times a month. Sometimes for dinner and mostly for lunch. I have always had great service and great food. I recently went there with a couple of co-workers who have not been there before. They both loved it. One person had the latino combo, the other had the pulled pork sandwhich and I had the crab sandwhich. I thought the crab sandwhich was very good and not lacking at all. More crab would have made it too rich.
I have to admit that I am most fond of their salads and soup. They are all good and it is great to have a shot of soup because it is always so yummy. —LokiAbbi
To clarify: the crab sandwich was WONDERFUL...the time it was available. It was the pork that was skimpy.—RobW
2008-12-11 20:31:42 I absolutely love Tucos and go there every chance I get. The food has always (consistently) been amazing. Definitely the place to go in Davis for an excellent meal with excellent atmosphere. Also, I have been reading the Tucos reviews for years now and have always been perplexed by the the posts of people leaving hungry. Who are these o'beast people? I am a 200 lbs guy that grew up on a farm in the midwest - we know how to put away the food - and I have never left hungry. Maybe this problem has more to do with the obesity epidemic in America than with Tucos's portion size...which I think is a great value. —WalleyWorld
2009-02-09 17:52:09 I visited Tucos for the first time today. The crab sandwich was delicious!! I'll definitely be back to try some of the other items on the menu. —davis.renter
2009-02-23 12:54:27 Interesting review by the Sacramento Bee this weekend...loved the food and ambience but hated the service. He specifically called out the male waiter with the pony tail. I have always had great service here, but have not had that particular waiter. —LokiAbbi
2009-06-15 18:02:44 Gossip aside, Tuco's is one of my favorite restaurants in Davis. I have been maybe a dozen times now and never once have I ordered or tried something I didn't find excellent. I'm not big on wine, but the beer selection always pleases me. Service has always been exemplary as well.
Great restaurant for a date. —JamesWaterhouse
2009-07-21 00:20:35 Just ate here for the first time and it was an excellent experience. The chef waited on our table and made great recommendations to my parents who are vegetarians. I highly recommend the market salad. This is probably the best restaurant in Davis. —GreezySweezy
2009-07-24 16:01:25 I love this place! The food and service has always been
2011-09-02 14:38:36 I think this restaurant qualifies as a hole-in-the-wall. Its a secret, a very delicious albeit expensive secret. I came here on my graduation date and we arrived just when the restaurant was closing(but the bar was still open) The staff told us we could order as long as we made it quick. While we were making the decision, not once did they rush us. When we got our food(we didn't know half the stuff we ordered), we were surprised by the presentation. The cold soup was so good and it was made with cherries. Gespacho I think. Then we had these sweet potato pancakes that were simply amazing. The seared peking breast I am sure, that no restaurant in Beijing can compete. It was crispy tender, and oddly not greasy at all. The best dish was the chicken breast with the collard green, brown sugar. The flavor was just so unique.
I have been to upscale restaurants in San Francisco where we paid 300 dollars for four people. I was with five people here and we paid maybe around 120$ (We also ordered Pot roast and some more). I am sad to say, the Bay Area cannot compete with Davis. Tucos, kudos to you. —chand3123k
2011-10-10 20:10:57 My last visit to Tucos left me disappointed. It had been quite a while since I had been there and my impression was that through success and expansion the food and service have suffered and the menu is grossly overpriced compared to portion sizes. We sat outside, where we were eaten alive by mosquitos and the service was terrible to put it kindly. We only ordered wine and appetizers and yet the wait for our food was as though we had ordered a ten course meal. I miss the quaintness of the smaller restaurant, personal service and the more specialized menu, but it isn't the first time I've seen a restaurant find great success in Davis only to sacrifice quality. Sadly, it's not likely that I will go back or recommend Tucos to anyone unless they are just interested in a glass of wine. —johkir
2011-12-10 10:09:51 My girlfriend and I have been to Tuco's a few times and have spent around $100 every time, but yesterday's dining experience or lack thereof has prompted us to never eat at this restaurant again. There were no tables available, so they were nice enough to seat us at the bar. We ordered appetizers and a main course. The appetizers came around when we would have expected them and we thought we were going to have a half decent experience. We began to talk while waiting for dinner and before we knew it, an hour had passed by and we had no main course! We then asked a waitress, who had been standing around doing nothing along with the other waitresses during the whole hour we were waiting for food, if the chefs had started our food. She asked the chefs and it was apparent no one had any idea what the status on our main courses were. They let us leave without paying for the over priced appetizers, which makes me suspect that they completely forgot our food. I overheard one of the waitresses saying the owner was not coming in that night, which apparently gives them free reign to perform their jobs terribly, with no regard for customers. In fact, we went here a couple months ago and the owner had to seat us, because no waiters or waitresses were paying attention. The only employee there that even acknowledged us last night was the bartender and he only wanted us to buy drinks. The kitchen is right next to the bar and he could have checked on our food. If I'm going to drop 50 dollars a person for a meal, I expect service that is not worse than every other restaurant in Davis. This restaurant assumes because they are one of the only fancy places in Davis, they can treat their customers like dirt. It really is a shame, because the food is amazing, but the service was so terrible and nonfunctional that I can't see us ever going back here. —Pesocrates
2012-01-17 12:41:30 Went here for lunch - DEEEEELICIOUS! However, the best part of my meal happened to be my ice tea! I know, weird, but it was so damn good that they ended up just bringing a pitcher for me b/c I kept asking for more and more refills. It's an iced MATE tea from Brazil. I am definitely coming back for lunch, but mainly just so I can drink that iced tea again! —j0liefllle
2012-02-06 19:19:07 Tucos is one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Davis. I had the Spaghetti & Meatballs with Garlic Bread today for lunch which was excellent. Last week I tried the Sweet Potato Nachos and can recommend them as well. (I also like the Sweet Potato Pie for dessert.) They offer an impressive list of red wines. I prefer the D'Arenberg Stump Jump GSM 2009 and Miquel Syrah 2006. The servers have been knowledgeable and cordial. Whether your server is Pru, Dari or Meg, you'll get good service. Today when I asked for extra garlic bread and to hold the pork sausage, the server said, "We'll make it just the way you like it." They did. —nowhereman
2012-03-01 14:10:23 I had lunch yesterday and it was incredibly delicious. Despite living in Davis for years I've never had the pleasure of dining at Tucos. I ordered the bison burger with cheddar and bacon and sweet potato fries and they were both really yummy with very unique flavors! The decor is very welcoming and our server was very sweet and attentive. I will definitely come back. —Trena
2013-02-27 16:06:16 The wine and beer selection at Tuco's is really nice. Both times I've come this year, my girlfriend really enjoyed her meat entrees with any sides she chose (she chose a different 2 each time, so she's tried 4 different sides and liked them all). I really disliked my food both times, though. The sweet potato nachos were dry, mushy and bland. The second time, I ordered a greek salad and a white bean soup. The salad was really REALLY vinegary and otherwise unexciting, and the soup was mushy and bland, with the exception of a POOL of oil they poured into the bowl before serving it to me (which didn't add any flavor, just grease). So, overall a mixed experience, especially for the price. A really nice atmosphere, though. —GennaY
2013-03-12 22:16:11 So I went to this restaurant with 3 others tonight. We went without a reservation, but they really weren't that busy so we got a table right away. The waitress was super friendly and nice, but the food took over an hour to get from order to in front of us. I would understand if it was busy, but I saw one couple and one table of 7 or so, besides us four. The appetizers were quick, but the food just took forever. Now on to the food. I got the shrimp gumbo, which was decent, but definitely not $17 worth. Maybe $10. Maybe. But the other food was great. The beef Strogonoff was a pleasant surprise and if I go back, I'll definitely get that. The mac 'n cheese was really good, and the spinach ravioli was good, although we were expecting the spinach to be in the ravioli, not underneath it. Overall, the people were nice, but slow, and the food was overpriced, unless you picked the good dishes. I might go back. —KyleTos