Yes, really!!! Bakersfield is now one of my favorite work destinations, thanks to The Padre Hotel and its Belvedere Room restaurant. I never expected this level of quality of food or service when I started working in Bakersfield. No knock to the Bakersfield local flair in any way, but frankly, this is the quality of restaurant one would experience in New York City, New Orleans, or other geographical mecca of fine dining...typically under the supervision of a renown chef. How fortunate to have such a nice, trendy spot in Bakersfield! Speaking of New Orleans, the Belvedere Room serves in the manner of fine restaurants in N.O., where everyone at the table is served simultaneously. I was eating alone, but watched as other groups were consistently served in this manner - very classy. The waiters were attentive and professional. Each time I dined, they made the dining experience relaxing, delightful, and special. Now the food...in addition to being delicious, it was prepared artfully, and by that I mean it was beautifully plated and thoughtfully constructed both visually and from a taste perspective. Even the little build-your-own salad was plated in a lovely manner. In regard to the mains, I've had the filet with blue cheese, the steamed manilla clams (with plenty of spicey broth and bread for dipping - YUM!), the salmon with artichokes and favas, and the wild boar bolognese. Each meal was an absolute treat - I loved them all. That said, the clams, in particular, were my favorite. They are actually an appetizer, but plenty big for an entire meal. The meals are more on the upper end of the price range, at about $30-$35 a dish, but worth every cent based on the quality. The clams were an amazing value at $12. I would encourage even the most discerning foodie to try the Belvedere Room. It's a little gem, and I can't wait to go back and try the halibut with squash blossoms. Thanks Belvedere chef and staff for making my Bakersfield visits so enjoyable! CJ
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