The city of Vallejo, California, was named after General Vallejo, and the city of Benicia, which is located nearby, was named after the general’s wife. Both Benicia and Vallejo have fascinating histories, from the notorious law-breaking bare-knuckle fights that took place on river barges in the 1800s in Benicia to the production of nuclear submarines at Mare Island in Vallejo.
Vallejo served as the capital of California on two separate occasions. In 1853, the Mare Island Naval Shipyard became the first naval installation on the west coast of the United States. After the United States military base closures in the 1990s, including the Naval Air Station in Alameda as well as Mare Island, the town was hit hard, but Vallejo held on, and today it is growing steadily and on the precipice of change, with Vallejo restaurants being a great indicator of this change. [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed
Commuters in San Francisco enjoy a stress-free travel experience on San Francisco Bay as a result of the city’s robust ferry service.
Vallejo is considered to be the entry point to wine country due to its proximity to Napa Valley and Sonoma, both of which are only 25 minutes away by car.
Vallejo’s waterfront park is filled with community festivals celebrating all kinds of fun things, from the Filipino Heritage Festival to the Pirate Festival, which is traditionally held on Father’s Day. During the summer months when there is no pandemic, the park is filled nearly every weekend. A bustling Farmers Market takes place every Saturday morning in the heart of the downtown area.
Vallejo is proud of its labor roots as well as its music luminaries such as rapper E-40 and pop star H.E.R. Visitors and locals alike find that the changing and growing food scene offers a terrific variety of high-quality, delicious Vallejo restaurants and eateries at prices that are affordable. Vallejo is also proud of its music luminaries such as rapper E-40 and pop star H.E.R.
We were unable to visit every establishment that merited our attention; however, we will try Michael Warring, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic but (at the time this article was written) is producing inventive meal kits for take-out, along with instructional videos.
In this article, we introduce you to restaurants that serve excellent donuts, soul food prepared in the traditional manner, Filipino-Hawaiian cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine, and an excellent Italian restaurant on the water that serves food in the traditional manner of a 1970s Brooklyn eatery.
The following is a tour of eleven restaurants in Vallejo that you absolutely must visit, broken down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
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Eleven Must-Try Vallejo Restaurants
Vallejo Great Donuts and Cafe
630 Tennessee Street // +1-707-553-9786
Do not pass up the opportunity to dine at Vallejo Great Donuts and Cafe if you are in the mood for some good, unapologetic American breakfast food at an affordable price. This unassuming spot, which is favored by locals, bakes all of their pastries fresh on the premises every morning. They serve up donuts that are light and fluffy, which is a sure sign that the oil used in the cooking process is changed on a regular basis. These donuts will make you want to buy a dozen or so on your way out.
You can tell that the berries in their Danishes are very fresh, and the apple turnover looks extremely enticing with its full and juicy appearance.
The fact that the homemade donuts aren’t perfectly round and have some minor flaws in their structure is illustrative, and boy, are those donuts delicious!
The Vallejo Great Donuts and Cafe has been in business for the past 22 years and has been run by multiple generations of the same family.
In addition to that, it serves the only genuine Australian meat pies, veggie pasties, and sausage rolls that can be found anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. When Mary Chan immigrated to the United States from Australia, she brought the recipes with her. Mary is the baker at the business. Because her pies are so well-known, she receives orders from all over the Bay Area on a regular basis, including for Australia Day and for the local rugby matches.
I couldn’t resist buying one. Ok, maybe two. The crust of the mushroom meat pie is flaky, and the filling is savory, consisting of minced steak, mushrooms, onions, and gravy, and finishing with a hint of Vegemite, which is imported all the way from Australia. Not too salty. I turned my attention to the sausage roll, which was wrapped in flaky pastry and had a hint of saltiness to it, just as it ought to be.
One of the best places to eat in Vallejo, with a wide range of options from donuts to pasties and sausage rolls, this establishment has it all.
Good Day Cafe
314 Georgia Street // +1-707-557-4745
A visit to the Good Day Cafe in downtown Vallejo is guaranteed to get your day off to a fantastic start. As you make your way up, you’ll come across a cozy parklet equipped with outdoor seating sheltered by umbrellas. It is very well-liked in the area, and it is an outstanding option for a laid-back breakfast or lunch.
This establishment welcomes families and provides a diverse selection of breakfast foods; even vegetarians can find something to their liking on the menu.
Pancakes, French toast, and waffles are favorites of people who have a sweet tooth. A favorite item on the menu is the Peanutty Waffle, which comes topped with peanut butter, bananas, and whipped cream.
The modernized diner menu features a variety of egg preparations, ranging from the time-honored corned beef hash and eggs to poached eggs.
Their omelets are consistently delicious, and there are a total of twelve different varieties available to choose from. I recently went there, and while I was there, I ordered the “Lola & Papa Gamulo’s Garden Omelet.” It was a delicious combination of fresh spinach, tomato, mushrooms, and zucchini, and it came with home fries.
The lunch selection at Good Day Cafe is very satisfying. There were sixteen different grilled sandwiches on the menu, and I was tempted to try each and every one of them (Noah’s Crab with jack cheese and avocado!).
The Angus burgers are served on buns that have been toasted, and they are juicy and cooked to order. The sweet potato fries are delicious, have a thick cut, and are served with a sizable container of Thai dipping sauce that is both sweet and spicy.
This restaurant in Vallejo is the place to go if you want a traditional breakfast or burger.
38 Admiral Callaghan Lane // +1-707-654-8220
Arnold Pulido, who owns and operates Kehaulani’s Cafe, is also the restaurant’s chef. He worked in the restaurant industry for thirty years before deciding to retire and open this Hawaiian-Filipino fusion restaurant in 2018. Prior to that, he worked in the restaurant business.
This hidden gem is not to be missed; it can be found on Admiral Callaghan Drive off of Tennessee Street and is tucked away on a corner. Breakfast and supper are served all day long.
The atmosphere at the Cafe is friendly and laid-back, with large booths in maroon and mustard colors and a “surf’s up” disposition. Sounds of reggae as well as Hawaiian music may be heard in the background. Everything is made with fresh, local ingredients that are sourced locally, and Chef Pulido prepares everything from scratch. Everything is delectable and presented beautifully on the plate.
To begin, Chef Pulido brought out a huge plate of Chicharrones that were made in-house and were wonderfully crisp and fluffy. They were served with their version of the ubiquitous Filipino dipping sauce called Sawsawan, which is pleasantly delicious when paired with pork.
Afterwards, there were the Steamed Baos to consider. The Kehaulani Fried Chicken, pickled papaya, and cilantro that was stuffed inside the bao bun created a fantastic contrast in texture with the spongy bao bun. The chicken was super crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The aroma of the cilantro contributed a tone of green, and a peanut sauce that was both sweet and salty offered the finishing touch.
The Sizzling Sisig was the next dish that we ordered, and it arrived in a quaint little cast-iron skillet that was sizzling. The dish consisted of pork snouts, fried eggs, green chilies, and rice, and it had a rich flavor without being overpowering. It went well with a Guava Mimosa, which was served with it.
Those who enjoy short ribs will think that the Slow Roast Sticky BBQ Pork Ribs are just about perfect. Our knives are so sharp that they slice through anything like butter. After being first simmered in adobo and then cooked over high heat, they are finished off with a coating of homemade barbeque sauce, peanuts, and scallions for garnish. The meat had a deep and rich flavor, and it fell right off the bone. It was served with flavorful rice and a side of spicy kimchi that was made at home.
Chef Pulido is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and uses traditional family recipes from northern Luzon. These recipes were learned over the course of many years spent observing his mother prepare the family’s Sunday dinner. He stated that he desires for customers to feel as though they are in a “home away from home,” and he wants them to be aware that the restaurant is there for the community. He is actively involved in the Special Education program offered by the Vallejo School District.
We got there early, and by the time we left, Kehaulani’s Cafe was bustling with a crowd that included people of many different ages. This imaginative restaurant in Vallejo features a humorous menu and a lot of heart, and it serves up delectable fusion food at prices that are generously affordable. In addition to that, they offer ready-made holiday meals for takeout. However, make sure to place your order in a timely manner!
It is imperative that you visit one of the finest restaurants in Vallejo in order to get a taste of the cuisine of the Pacific islands.
Los Arquitos Restaurant
630 Broadway Street // +1-707- 554-9681
According to the information provided on their website, “Even if you have eaten Mexican cuisine four times this week, you should go to Los Arquitos tonight.” The food at Los Arquitos Restaurant is some of the greatest I’ve had outside of Mexico, and you won’t want to miss out on it if you’re looking for a serious meal of down-home, real Mexican cuisine.
A word of advice: If you plan on going out to dinner, don’t bother eating lunch so you can save space for dessert.
Be wary, since this no-frills eatery on Broadway Street, which was featured on the regional episode of the PBS program “Check, Please,” is a little bit out of the way and does not have parking available.
The establishment, which was opened by a Mexican family thirteen years ago, has a warm and inviting ambiance. Their delectable concoctions were inspired by both the Jalisco and Nayarit regional types of Mexican cuisine, as their daughter described how her parents combined the two traditions. Breakfast, lunch, and supper are all served here, and nothing costs more than $20.
Breakfast is served in both the American and Mexican styles at Los Arquitos, which is only one example of the restaurant’s extensive menu. Machaca is a popular dish that is created with beef that has been marinated, pounded, dried, and ultimately shredded. It is served with eggs, onions, and bell peppers. You may also treat yourself to Chilaquiles, Nopales con Huevos, or a typical Machaca. Authentic cuisine from south of the border, served right here in Vallejo!
The Appetizer Sampler is ideal for ordering takeout on game day since it includes chicken wings, quesadillas, jalapeo poppers, nachos, and flautas, along with guacamole, jalapenos, and sour cream as side dishes. You’re all set!
The burritos are of monstrous proportions. The “Regular Famoso” comes with rice, beans, pico de gallo, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, and your choice of meat, and it may be slathered in either red or green enchilada sauce and topped with cheese.
Items that are considered to be part of the seafood category include entire fish, shrimp, or fish fillets, with popular dishes including a la plancha and en salsa chipotle.
Because the portions are so large, you have the option of ordering a half portion of any of the meals, all of which come with sides of Mexican rice and beans. In addition, Los Arquitos offers a delicious Fajita and Cazuela dish, both of which may be made with the meat of your choosing.
The Mole Chicken Enchilada supper that they provide is outstanding. The sauce has a deep chocolate flavor with a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon in the background.
The best spot in Vallejo to have authentic, flavorful Mexican cuisine of the highest caliber is Los Arquitos.
House of Soul
1526 Solano Avenue // +1-707-644-3792
House of Soul is considered to be a Vallejo landmark. During the Civil Rights movement, which began in the year 1968, Mama Soul was inspired to found this restaurant serving soul food. Her goal was to provide Black students, who were being mistreated at lunch counters in downtown Vallejo, with a more favorable alternative to where they could take their business.
Still remaining true to its roots as a community restaurant, Ruben Parker and his family serve up authentic Southern cuisine in a plain setting that brings to mind Grandma and Grandpa’s house back in a small town in the South, or in my case, in a town in North Dakota. This is a place that serves real food to real people, and those people are here right now. It is only possible to pay with cash and note that the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
My accomplice in crime and photographer ordered the catfish, which was served in nice-sized filets and had a cornbread breading that kept it light and crunchy. It was served in the traditional manner with red Kool-Aid that was made in the house.
The short ribs were so tender that they literally fell apart, and the gravy had a wonderful taste and consistency. My stomach was satisfied with heaping helpings of hearty Mac ‘n Cheese as well as collard greens flavored with pork fat. It brought back memories of eating with my grandfather when I was a kid.
House of Soul offers a rotating lunch special for $13, which currently includes Chicken Fried Steak, Meatloaf, Turkey Wings, Baked Chicken, and other options, along with a choice of traditional Southern sides such as Black-Eyed Peas and Yams. Classic dishes that are cooked from scratch and served for dinner include chitterlings, crispy fried chicken with gravy, and Alabama-style barbecue beef and links. These are all excellent options.
Get yourself some Soul if you’re looking for genuine Southern cuisine in Vallejo.
295 Mare Island Way // +1-707-648-1966
Vik’s Wheelhouse is a well-known scuba diving establishment that can be found adjacent to the ferry terminal on the Napa River. They serve dinner there and breakfast on the weekends. It has the feel of a waterfront bar from decades past and is a great spot for a drink. In 2009, Vik’s took over the space that had previously been occupied by the historic Mare Island Ferry Company, which had been in operation since 1862.
Fantastic vistas can be had of both the Napa River and Mare Island from this location. You enter a room that is completely covered in windows and exudes a rustic, maritime vibe and charm. It is loaded with both kitsch and historical photographs. In the backyard, there is a pontoon float seating area where customers can relax and enjoy a cool beverage on hot summer afternoons.
The evening’s featured dish is a Seafood Boil served in a steel pot and capable of feeding two to three people. It also comes with an exquisite presentation. It’s hands down the most ordered item on the menu. Corn, potatoes, and four lobster tails are included in the Combo deal, in addition to two pounds of everything else.
When the bartenders at Vik’s are particularly busy because they are also expected to perform the duties of waitresses, it is best to grab your drinks and food from the bar rather than waiting for them to finish serving other customers. This is especially important if you are sitting on the pontoon. Keep in mind that it’s a well-known swimming hole!
Vik’s is the place to go in Vallejo for an unforgettable meal with a view of the water.
1801 Sonoma Boulevard // +1-707-552-2254
The barbecue at Gracie’s BBQ is some of the best around. It is named after the owner’s daughter, Ken Ingersoll’s daughter, and it is a popular establishment in the neighborhood. In 1999, this eatery first opened its doors in the form of a trailer. These days, families gather at this well-known destination after baptisms, funerals, and football games at their children’s schools. Both lunch and dinner are served there.
On the menu at Gracie’s, one can choose from a variety of hearty salads that are served in ample portions. The Bacon and Blues is a delectable option that features oak-smoked bacon, crumbled blue cheese, and avocadoes.
We sampled the Sampler Platter, which included baby-back ribs, smoked chicken, and a Louisiana hot link. They also kindly included a portion of pulled pork in our order to accommodate us.
The pulled pork was hands down my favorite dish. It was prepared with cushion meat and very little muscle, and the sauce had a smoky and savory flavor that I just couldn’t get enough of.
The ribs had a lovely smoke ring and were so tender that they easily pulled away from the bone. Additionally, they had a nice pinkish hue.
The Louisiana hot link had a good kick, while the chicken had a split-roast preparation, was juicy and tender, and was loaded with flavor.
In Vallejo, you can enjoy a delicious Southern BBQ meal while relaxing in the fresh air on the patio that overlooks the backyard. In the heart of downtown Vallejo, at the intersection of Virginia Street and Sonoma Boulevard, there is a Southern barbecue restaurant with an open-air backyard patio where customers can enjoy their meal while taking in the city’s beautiful weather.
Maya Thai House
3636 Sonoma Boulevard // +1-707-654-8969
Maya Thai is a hidden treasure that can be found on Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo. The restaurant is tucked in a strip mall, and its wall-sized photos convey a little piece of Bangkok to you. It is a charming small spot that serves genuine, delectable Thai cuisine that is prepared using only the most recent ingredients.
The sheer breadth and complexity of the menu are sure to attract you to return on several occasions. Note that the Golden Fried Tofu appetizer is lightly fried and velvety on the inside, and it tastes delicious when paired with peanut dipping sauce. Additionally, the crispy Crab Rangoon comes stuffed with tender bits of goodness, and it is delicious when eaten together.
One has their choice between a variety of distinctive flavors of coconut curry, including the time-honored red and green versions as well as the novel combinations of avocado, mango, pineapple, and pumpkin.
The Panang curry has a lovely and rich flavor, and its consistency is thick thanks to the use of coconut cream and red curry paste that has a kick from jalapenos. A wonderful lunch is waiting for you if you only add some ribeye steak to the mix. The basil duck is another another dish that is very popular.
The fried area of the menu now includes fan-favorite fried noodle and rice dishes, in addition to some very stunning fish preparations; this is an addition to the pot.
Maya Thai House serves both lunch and supper, and both meals are often quite crowded times at the restaurant. Once again, this is genuine Thai cuisine prepared in the traditional style, and it is offered at a very reasonable price.
This restaurant in Vallejo is the place to go if you’re looking for genuine Asian cuisine in the American West.
124 Tennessee Street // +1-707-644-0981
Napoli Pizzeria and Italian Food has been serving delicious food that is made to order and made in small batches using traditional methods since it opened in 1968. We are regulars at Napoli because it consistently produces the best pizza in Vallejo and possibly the entire North Bay area thanks to the use of family recipes. It’s a real pizzeria, with the kitchen spilling out into the lobby, so you can watch them work the dough, put the toppings on the pizza, and whisk it into the hot brick deck ovens.
The pizza dough at Napoli is prepared by hand and then tossed. As we continued our conversation with Napoli’s owner and head chef Anthony Guerrera Jr., it became abundantly clear that everything about Napoli’s pizza, from the crust to the finished product, is a work of one-of-a-kind artisanship.
We began by ordering the fresh cheese bread, which came topped with incredibly melty mozzarella, savory marinara sauce, and chunks of fresh tomato. We then proceeded to dig in.
The Caesar salad was served tossed in a traditional Caesar dressing that spared no effort in the attention to detail department. Chef Anthony was adamant about locating the best possible recipe for the house-made dressing, which was designed specifically for Napoli’s.
The pasta is all made in-house, and the ravioli are formed using a mold imported from Italy in the 1950s that belonged to Anthony’s father. I couldn’t resist ordering the Meat Ravioli, which are delicious bite-sized parcels filled with ground beef and pork combined into a Bolognese-style sauce.
It was served in an intricate marinara sauce that was peppery and seasoned with a great deal of oregano. The sauce had a sofrito base, which lent a touch of sweetness to the dish. Everything is crafted with a high level of attention and purpose.
The pizza in the traditional Margherita style, which features olive oil, basil, garlic, mozzarella, tomato, and parmesan, was absolutely delicious.
Hand-tossing the crust ensures that small bubbles remain in the dough, which enables it to marry with the sauce and toppings as it cooks in their brick deck ovens, resulting in a bottom crust that is perfectly crisp. Chef Guerrera had explained this process to us earlier.
There is a justifiable explanation for why Napoli’s is always packed. Chef Guerrera keeps strong ties to his family’s heritage and travels frequently to Italy and Naples in order to immerse himself in the regional cuisine and cooking techniques.
Pizza and pasta in the traditional Italian style, prepared in small batches and with utmost care and honesty can be found at Napoli’s. They are available for lunch as well as dinner. Try out this restaurant if you’re looking for some of the city’s finest pizza and Italian fare. It’s located in Vallejo.
Pho Noodle House Vallejo
908 Admiral Callahan Lane // +1-707-557-5427
Pho Noodle House Vallejo is truly mouthwatering in every way possible. Everything on the menu, from the appetizers to the main courses, is expertly prepared and has delectable flavors as well as fresh ingredients.
Their outside patio has a live garden wall, which not only contributes to the gorgeous atmosphere but also helps to set the stage for all of the excellent food that is to follow. Both lunch and supper are served here.
The light sauces and rich, clear broths that are characteristic of Vietnamese cuisine provide a pleasant departure from the norm. When fifty percent to seventy percent of clients return on a regular basis, you know you have a winner on your hands. The service is outstanding, and it is both polite and knowledgeable.
To begin, we enjoyed the shrimp spring rolls, which were of very high quality. These rolls were an instant sensation because to their delectable transparent wrappers, which included vermicelli, shrimp, and crunchy lettuce, along with a side of peanut dipping sauce. From the very beginning, each item was meticulously made and served in an exquisite manner.
I went for the Meat Noodle Pho, which had thinly sliced steak and tripe along with rice noodles. It filled both my nose and my taste receptors with aromas and flavors that were reminiscent of full-bodied beef. In a Central Vietnamese fashion, the bones used to make this soup are given a low and slow cooking time of eight or nine (or ten!) hours every day. The broth is transparent and opulent, with a robust flavor similar to that of a high-quality tea.
Served with an accompaniment consisting of fresh basil, jalapeo, and bean sprouts, all of which provided a delicious contrast to the meat and noodles and helped to complete out the taste profile. I can’t claim that this recipe made me a lover of tripe, but if you already like it, I think you’ll really like it! Egg Noodles accompanied with Chicken and Pork Pho, both of which were delicious.
Another dish that was a hit was the BBQ Chicken served with a fried shrimp cake, an egg cooked sunny side up, and steamed rice. The chicken was served on the bone, and it was both soft and juicy. It was marinated in a fish sauce that was both sweet and salty. And who doesn’t like an egg cooked in butter served over rice?
The delicate batter perfectly complements the juicy shrimp flesh that’s hidden within the fried shrimp cakes, which leave your mouth wanting. This meal, which was served with fresh cucumbers and transparent Vietnamese dipping sauces, was one of my favorites.
Items on the menu that are not soup are served with bowls of chicken or vegetable broth (made with a mushroom base). The fresh flavors of cilantro, lime, and jalapeo provide a contrast to the warm broth’s flavor; what can I say other than that your mouth will be extremely grateful to you for including them?
We had a wonderful experience at Pho Noodle House Vallejo, which is undoubtedly one of the most recommended restaurants in Vallejo. On nearby Sonoma Boulevard is the Pho#1 Noodle House, which is the establishment’s sister restaurant.
23 Harbor Way // +1-707-642-8984
Visit Zio Fraedo’s on the Water, a restaurant that is owned and run by a family and that is located on the Vallejo Marina, for a delightful Italian dining experience.
You may have a laid-back evening while enjoying some of the most delicious cuisine in Vallejo thanks to the restaurant’s attractive deck patio, sports bar, daily happy hour specials, major dining rooms, and function space with a view of the Napa River.
Tony LaForte Jr. and Sherry LaForte, the restaurant’s owners, informed us that they modeled the Zio Fraedo’s menu after the one that Tony’s father had created for the first Zio Fraedo’s location in Pleasant Hill. It’s a traditional Italian dinner from 1970s Brooklyn that his father took with him when he relocated to the west coast, and it’s just delectable.
In addition to that, it is cheap. The majority of the items on the menu cost less than $20, and seafood is priced at less than $30. The service is both kind and knowledgeable, and the tavern is decorated with Sherry’s collection of vintage photographs of Mare Island, which may be seen on the walls.
They provide an appetizingly diverse selection of salads, classic Italian pasta dishes, and meat dishes as well as other foods.
Coconut Shrimp, Calamari Fritti, and Bleu Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms are three delicious appetizers that you may want to consider making.
Do not pass up the opportunity to try Lumpia Shanghai, a dish that pays homage to Sherry’s Filipina roots. They are excellent and are prepared in a manner similar to that of the Arancini de Riso (deep-fried Sicilian rice balls). The flavorful New England Clam Chowder is another delicacy that deserves mention.
The extensive salad menu at Zio features American classics such as the Cranberry Spinach Salad, the Cobb Salad, and the Shrimp Louie. I asked for a Caesar salad, and it arrived with dressing that had been created in-house. The sauce was creamy, and it had just the proper amount of anchovies, croutons, and parmesan.
My co-conspirator went with the Citrus Scallops Linguini for his entree, and it turned out to be a delicious choice. It turns out that peach schnapps was the secret ingredient that made the soft scallops and noodles taste so good along with the rich tastes of the cream sauce.
I ordered the Beef Tournedos, which were cooked to a medium-rare temperature and were juicy and delicious. They came with mashed potatoes and veggies that had been sautéed until they were al dente. The Bearnaise sauce was exquisite; it was smooth and creamy, with just a hint of herb flavor, and it was artistically poured over the tournedos onto the dish in the most intricate manner. This meal was mouthwateringly luxurious and indulgent in every possible way.
A piece of smooth New York cheesecake was served as dessert. This was the perfect amount of sweetness to bring a pleasant close to a wonderful lunch. Both the white chocolate and the chocolate sauces that were used to coat it were delicious in a wicked way.
A great selection of cocktails, wine, and after-dinner beverages can be found on the menu at Zio Fraedo’s. They provide a variety of wines from Europe, Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia in addition to wines from highly respected vineyards located across the state of California. Don’t pass up the opportunity to dine at the lovely Zio Fraedo’s on the Water if you’re looking for an authentic Italian supper in Vallejo.