This entry refers to a departed business that has closed or left town. All information here is for historical reference only.


808 2nd Street, near Amtrak Depot
Mon-Sat 11:00AM-2:00PM, 5:00PM-9:00PM
Sun 11:00AM-2:00PM, 4:30PM-8:30PM
Web site
Price range

Cafe California closed on December 17, 2005. It is now Aioli Bodega Espanola.

The modest white doors concealed a surprisingly open and roomy dining area, decked with local artwork. Filled with fancy meals, the Cafe California's menu contained things like Cajun Style Pork Ribs, Lamb Stew, and New York Steak, with prices ranging from $8.95 to $23-ish for the main course alone. The entrees came with soup of the day or house salad, which was excellent. Most of their salads and desserts contain at least one edible flower. Their music was the "Big Band and Swing" channel from megachannel tv service. On certain Fridays the Dick Livingston Trio performed classic and original jazz, blues and beebop music. They had a full bar in the same room as the dining area.

In December 2005, Cafe California was sold to Sacramento restaurant owners Reda Bellarbi and Jennifer Sparks, who will change it to an upscale Spanish restaurant in January 2006. They currently own Aïoli Bodega Española in Midtown Sacramento.


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- The only thing fancy and upscale about this restaurant is the prices. while the atmosphere is nice, the service is terible. the waitress was cold and the waiter was rude and brash. the food was down right bad. the chicken was undercooked. the menu did not list important ingredients that changed the entire flavor of the dish. their pasta dish was bland, their assortive olives were worse than the ones I would buy at a grocery store, and the snapper tasted worse than microwaved frozen fish. also the chicken breast and the fish had little bones in them. the only thing good was the dressing to the side salad that came with the meal, and perhalps their mash patatoes. this is perhalps the worst food ive had in davis (including all the places that serve food for under 5 dollars). if you want to go to an upscale restaurant try Seasons or Mustard Seed; they are excellant. however if you want low quality food and bad service for upscale prices try california cafe. MattHh

- When I ate here, the food and service was pretty damn good. Just too expensive though. PatrickSing

- When we went there the food was indeed unimpressive, and the service was definitely lacking. I would agree that the mashed potatoes were good, though. MattJurach

- I think this place tries to be fancy but can't back it up. Atmosphere is not that nice, food is too expensive for how it tastes. I haven't been impressed. StephanieLiese

- I was asked 6 times (yes, that many) if I wanted wine, which I didn't, by service personnel who sneered when I didn't order any. Even the dishware is crappy old Corning Ware. Poseurs, all the way around! NoelBruening

- Last night was the second time that I went there and although the food tends to be pricey, I have never been let down. The baked goat cheese starter is oh so yummy but I find it weird that you only get three crostini w/ it. However, since you also get a basket of bread, it doesn't really matter. The baslamic vinegrette that comes with the salad is amazing. Last night the soup de jour was this tex mex chowder which was so complex plus a nice spicy kick in the background. The chipotle prawn salad was good (they gave you a whole HALF of a Haas avocado!!!) however I thought the dressing would be more of a creamy aioli. Its presentation was excellent. The spicy peanut chicken was pretty good too (the sauce was so good!) and it came with some couscous and greens. However the most amazing dish that I've tried there has to be the cowboy steak. The flavors were so rich and yummy that you didn't want it to end. I like the atmosphere b/c it feels very intimate and I like the kind of music they play.

**My biggest issue with Cafe California has to be the fact that their menus are on pieces of paper, the dinnerware could be improved to go w/ the atmosphere of the restaurant, and the menu is pretty much the same. KarlaFung

2005-11-23 14:59:37   Recently went here for supper because they advertized clams. We arrived, looked at the menu - no clams, and asked the waitthing if they had clams. "No", she snapped, "We're sold out." This just pisses me off that they advertize something and then don't have it. And then no apology and get treated like we are ignorant or stupid. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Despite all that the food here is quite good - no real complaint there. An aside: I'm 58 and when I go here I feel young - I wouldn't be surprised if they started carding people and refusing entry to anyone under 70. —SorryAboutThat

2005-12-03 09:54:36   A recent article in the Davis Enterprise explained that Cafe California has been sold. The new owners will be converting the space into a Spanish restaurant that will serve tapas. —SamanthaGrant

2005-12-03 10:42:00   Any relation to Hotel California? —SteveDavison

2005-12-06 00:47:45   We went there tonight. The menu we were handed was four sheets of loose paper. Dessert menu was recited without prices—a chocolate mousse, bowl of raspberries/strawberries with some sauce, or Haagen-Daaz. My lamb stew seemed to be even thirds lamb, mushrooms, and onions, in a heavy brandy-cream broth. It was tasty, though. Veggies—two green beans and 1/2 carrot, sliced lengthwise. —JudithTruman

2011-06-17 10:45:52   I hear some locals are opening a new restaurant in this location, since it's predecessor Aioli has closed. It's great to see Davis welcome a new eating establishment NOT based on Thai cuisine! I do hope the new owners create a friendly hospitable atmosphere. . .I went to Aioli once and never went back after the bartender was TOTALLY rude, and speaking of Cafe California. . .I once thought I would treat my mom to an upscale dinner and took her there at the recommendation of a friend. The waitress (who I was later told was the owner's sister) didn't even try to be polite to us, in fact she was a snide sourpuss who made no effort to even pretend she liked her job, in fact, she acted like we were a huge inconvenience and was really snide to my mom, which I think is despicable. Had to get that off my chest. Whenever I pay through the nose to eat at a restaurant where the staff puts on airs or cops attitude about simple questions, I am reminded that it's healthier, more fun, and more rewarding not to mention easier on the budget, to cook and eat home. —MT

Fair enough. Colin O'Hara, bartender at this former establishment and the new present one, Our house is great. —BruceHansen