Auburn, the quaint Gold Rush town just a 30-minute jaunt from downtown Sacramento, is one of the region’s hottest restaurant destinations. Morning, noon and night, this walkable city center offers a little something for everyone. Top-notch artisan coffee? Check. Gourmet sandwiches for your day hike? Yep. Date-night-worthy fine dining? You bet. Time to gas up the car and get off the grid.
At THE BAKER & THE CAKEMAKER, a much-loved bakerycafe, husband-and-wife team Nathan Shreve and Alice Enochs Shreve turn out artisanal loaves, homey layer cakes and light lunch fare. 1102 Lincoln Way; (530) 537-2056; thebakerandthecakemaker.com
Jordan and Melinda Minyard’s coffee bar and tap room, THE POUR CHOICE, boasts a charming interior, an inviting patio and a short but satisfying food menu that includes a hearty biscuit breakfast sandwich and bountiful charcuterie boards. 177 Sacramento St.; (530) 820-3451; thepourchoice.com
AUBURN BODEGA, a compact but well-stocked neighborhood market owned by Molly Raney and Travis Ward, carries scads of local produce and other goods, including chai, coffee and bread. There’s also a fantastic veggie-forward deli where they make a swoony tuna melt inspired by Raney’s grandmother. 937 Lincoln Way; (530) 820-3210; theauburnbodega.com
A favorite stop for folks heading up or down the mountain, Patrick Grant’s small NORTH FORK DELI specializes in hot and cold made-to-order sandwiches stacked with fresh ingredients. Don’t miss the Reuben Pastrami. 886 Lincoln Way; (530) 537-2182; northforkdeliauburn.com
Opened in 2007 by brewmaster Brian Ford, AUBURN ALEHOUSE is a mainstay for award winning craft beers and hearty eats, including inventive pub grub like butternut squash mole nachos. 289 Washington St.; (530) 885-2537; auburnalehouse.com
RESTAURANT JOSEPHINE owners (and Carpe Vino alums) Eric Alexander and Courtney McDonald have brought big-city sophistication to their attractive small-town bistro, which has a decidedly European sensibility. 1226 Lincoln Way; (530) 820-3523; josephineauburn.com
San Diego transplants Addison and Kaitlyn Brown tapped chef Darren Thompson to helm the kitchen at their two eateries: TAP & VINE, a crowd pleaser of a restaurant with a focus on wines and handmade cocktails, and CRUDO, which has a raw-bar menu and eclectic dishes influenced by flavors from Korea, Japan and Vietnam. 130 Maple St.; (530) 889 8463; tapandvineauburn.com; 210 Washington St.; (530) 745-4311; crudoauburn.com