For longtime Sacramento residents, Ella's Dining Room and Bar labors under the burden of its more illustrious past. When Ella's first opened it starred a master chef whose work was extraordinary, ambitious, inventive and utterly delicious. He has since moved on to the varsity of Northern California cuisine, cooking in the Napa Wine Country. His successor at Ella's put hamburgers on the lunch menu.
Ella's remains a very handsome restaurant that delivers first-rate, attentive service. Nestled within a block of the State Capitol and both of the best downtown hotels, it does a steady business with lobbyists and their visiting clients. This is expense account cooking, fancy but not memorable. It's good but you wouldn't come into town off the freeway just to eat here. It's not even one of the best restaurants in Sacramento. Cooking around the Capitol tends to be pretty bland and Ella's is no exception. I have a theory that's because bland and familiar food is easier to digest for a clientele that probably drinks more than they should. .
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