Located in the small Sierra foothill town of El Dorado, Cafe El Dorado is a hidden gem of a restaurant, and a treat for an amazing breakfast or lunch! Included with any meal is unlimited cups of coffee, amazingly friendly service, and lots of country charm.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's a little after 10 in the morning, Friday, May 08, 2020, and despite the COVID-19 scare, I've arrived at the reopened Cafe El Dorado to enjoy a much-needed breakfast.
It came as a pleasant surprise to me this Monday morning, as I was watching Good Day Sacramento, my favorite morning news/magazine television show that the show featured a reporter at Cafe El Dorado, doing an interview with the owner of the restaurant, Cherie, saying that she was defying the governor's orders, and re-opening, despite the current COVID-19 scare. On television, she stated that they'd be doing "business as usual," with no restrictions, and the dining room would be open, as usual. This was the best news that I've heard for WEEKS, as I haven't dined in a restaurant for well over a month. I made a pledge to myself to pay Cafe El Dorado a visit, as soon as possible.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, a white board welcomes you, and let's you know the restaurant is back in business. Despite the current Coronavirus scare, along with the governor's orders banning in-house dining, Cafe El Dorado is in business and thriving. Consider that the restaurant is located in rural El Dorado County, which doesn't share the same core values as the major metropolitan areas of California.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll note the dining room, with the small bar to the rear. The bar is used mostly for coffee and mimosa mixing, and features a counter with four stools. On today's visit, I sat at the table at the immediate left of the photo.
Photo: In the small dining room, you cook over a low partition into the main dining room. In keeping with the foothill town of El Dorado, the dining room features knotty pine and is very rural and rustic. On this Friday morning, five days after the restaurant re-opened, the dining room, and the staff are BUSY!
Cafe El Dorado is a "hang-out" for locals, some of who meet for breakfast practically every day, but my friendly server, Cindy, introduced me to some diners that, like me, had ventured from out of El Dorado Country in order to enjoy a delicious breakfast in a friendly dining room, free of restrictions.
Photo: One section of the breakfast menu, which features nearly everything a breakfast lover could hope for. If you're a lover of gravy with your breakfast, you'll love this menu.
Photo: Since it was a little after 10 in the morning, I debated between breakfast, or a burger. Cafe El Dorado is open for breakfast and lunch, and anything from either menu is available any time the restaurant is open. After spending five minutes pondering my options, breakfast won out, and I went with a "New York Steak and Eggs" breakfast.
Photo: Meet Bobbie, an amazingly friendly member of the serving staff, who treated me like family. She wasn't my server, but she stopped by to chit-chat, as she, the owner Cherie, and my server Cindy actually remembered my from my previous visit, a little over a year ago. Great people make an amazing restaurant!
Photo: Hello Cindy, it's SO great to enjoy your pleasant company again, and I'm glad you're back to work! My friendly server Cindy, who remembered me from my visit last year, although I'm not in the company of my friend Linda, who unfortunately passed away last year. Like Cherie and Bobbie, Cindy treated me like family.
Photo: Cindy snapped my photo, as I get ready to enjoy one of the best breakfasts you can find in California's "gold country." All breakfasts include coffee, but I was "coffee'd out," so I simply enjoyed a glass of ice water, which is my beverage of choice. Such a great breakfast!
Photo: From the "Eggs -N- Such" section of the breakfast menu, I ordered "New York Steak and Eggs," which made for an amazing breakfast. I hadn't had the pleasure to enjoy breakfast in a restaurant in nearly two months, so I decided to treat myself, and splurge just a little bit. Despite the fact the restaurant was very busy, my breakfast arrived in only about 15 minutes after placing my order. If you look closely, you'll see diced pepper, onion and garlic in my hash brown potatoes, which is a "milestone" and a "first" for me.
Naturally the star of the meal is the steak, and you get your choice of hash browns or country potatoes, and you can add diced pepper, onion and garlic to either your hash browns, or your country potatoes. You get your eggs cooked to your liking, and a choice between various types of toast, or biscuit and gravy. I added an optional bowl of gravy as a side dish, and when I got my check, it came to me as a pleasant surprise that I wasn't charged for the bowl of gravy. Thanks!
Cafe El Dorado is here to please, as not only did my server ask my preference as to how I wanted my steak cooked, but the chef actually emerged from the kitchen and double-checked with me. Man, that's customer service!
I'm guessing the New York steak was about 6-oz or so, which in my case, was the perfect size. The meat was cooked to perfection - medium in my case - and the steak was so tender it practically melted in my mouth. The supplied steak knife was simply "window dressing" as the steak was "fork tender," and easily cut with the fork. The meat was tender, juicy and was one of the best breakfast steaks that I've had the pleasure to enjoy for a LONG time.
I was amazed when Cindy asked if I wanted diced pepper, onion and garlic with my hash browns. What? Alright, it's common with country potatoes, but with hash browns? Yes, it's true, and my amazing hash browns arrived with diced bell pepper, onion and garlic, which made for a true taste sensation. I'm thinking these are most likely the best hash brown potatoes that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.
I went with biscuits and gravy - which is my de facto standard - rather than toast. The biscuits and gravy come in a small bowl on the side, with the biscuits split open, covered with delicious, creamy sausage gravy. The talented chef at Cafe El Dorado certainly knows how to make biscuits and gravy! The gravy is rich and creamy, perfectly spiced, and includes lots of tasty sausage chunks. I ordered a side of gravy - I am a HUGE fan of breakfast gravy - and I was pleasantly surprised that there was no extra charge for the side of gravy.
I ordered my eggs cooked over easy - another de facto standard of mine - and the eggs arrived perfectly cooked, over easy, just as I ordered them. Perfectly cooked eggs is another benchmark of chef who has talent.
If you're a lover of steak and eggs, you will simply love this breakfast, and you'll leave full, with a smile on your face. The breakfast is simply delicious! Despite the bottle of Chalula hot sauce on the table, this breakfast was so delicious that it didn't need any enhancement from anything!
In addition to write-ups on this web site, I am a "Yelper" and I have posted a write-up of Cafe El Dorado on Yelp, and I gave them a 5-star rating.
I'm happy that Cherie and her staff had the courage to defy the governor's orders and reopen this fine restaurant. The staff, along with my fellow diners are super friendly, the atmosphere is rustic, the price of dining is fair, and the food is absolutely delicious! Who's afraid of some crazy virus when you can enjoy an amazing breakfast at Cafe El Dorado?
Let's go back to Sunday, March 31, 2019 and enjoy a previous visit to this wonderful diner.
Photo: Cafe El Dorado, in keeping with the Sierra foothill community, is as rustic as it gets, both inside and outside. It's a little after 1:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, March 31, 2019. We've just enjoyed a two-hour train ride on the nearby El Dorado Western Railroad, and we're hungry, to now it's time for brunch.
Photo: The rustic dining room greets you as soon as you enter the restaurant. The dining room is actually divided into three sections, with each section separated by a low partition. Note the bar at the rear of the photo, where the staff mixes "Bloody Mary" and "Mimosa" for your dining enjoyment. If you prefer, you can also sit at the bar at one of the four available seats.
Photo: My friend and I sat in the main dining room, which is paneled in knotty pine, which is native to the area. All dining rooms feature tables as there are no booths in this fine restaurant. On this early Sunday afternoon, less than an hour before closing time, the restaurant is nearly full of hungry diners.
Photo: One page of the extensive breakfast menu, which features everything you could ever desire for breakfast. The lunch pages are equally extensive. Since Cafe El Dorado is open for breakfast and lunch only, any item listed on the menu is available any time the restaurant is open. A great "perk" about this fine restaurant is all meals include a bottomless cup of coffee, which is good news for a guy like me, who loves coffee.
Since it was a little past 1:00 in the afternoon, and I hadn't eaten breakfast today, I flip-flopped between breakfast or lunch, but when my dining companion announced she was going for "Chicken Fried Steak 'N Eggs," I threw the idea of lunch out the window and decided to join her for breakfast. In the end, both of us went for the chicken fried steak.
Photo: If you peek through the swinging doors from the dining room, you can get a peek into the kitchen, and watch the chef prepare your meal.
Photo: Meet Cherie, the owner of the restaurant, as she displays a "Bloody Mary" that she has just mixed. Cherie was one of two friendly servers working the restaurant on this busy Sunday afternoon, and they worked together as a great duo to keep things moving. Friendly Cherie is at the bar, and shows me a "Bloody Mary" she's just mixed for a customer. The "Bloody Mary" certainly looked good to me, and I regretted that I had to drive!
Photo: Meet our friendly server Cindy, who brought our breakfast to us with a smile. The restaurant was busy, but Cindy always made the time for small talk, and to keep our coffee cups full of delicious coffee.
Photo: My dining companion Linda and I are all smiles, as we're getting ready to enjoy a delicious breakfast at this fine restaurant. We ordered identical breakfasts, and Linda loved her breakfast as much as I loved mine.
Photo: From the "Eggs -N- Such" portion of the breakfast menu, we ordered identical breakfasts of "Chicken Fried Steak 'N Eggs," which included the signature entree of the dish, a chicken fried steak, two eggs, homestyle potatoes, and a side of biscuits and gravy, instead of toast. How can you eat a chicken fried steak without biscuits and gravy?
The chicken fried steak was tender, juicy, breaded in a flavorful batter, and perfectly cooked to a golden brown. The steak was so tender that the knife wasn't needed, as you could cut it with your fork into bite-size pieces. The chicken fried steak was placed on top of a layer of gravy, with more gravy added on top of it. Speaking of gravy, this is some of the best country gravy that I've enjoyed in a long time, as it was rich, flavorful, and definitely "southern style." After asking one of our friendly servers, Sherry, she confirmed the amazing gravy is made, in-house.
As long as we're talking gravy, a generous helping of country gravy was placed on the freshly made biscuits, which made for an outstanding addition to breakfast.
The two eggs are cooked any way you want; in our case, we both chose to have our eggs cooked over easy, and we weren't disappointed, as our eggs were cooked perfectly.
You have your choice of hash brown potatoes or homestyle potatoes. I lean toward hash brown potatoes, as I've never mastered the art of cooking them at home, so it's always a treat to enjoy them at a restaurant. Linda ordered first, and she decided to order homestyle potatoes, and our server, Cindy, asked if she'd like chopped bell pepper and onion in her potatoes. That was enough for me to switch gears and join Linda in ordering homestyle potatoes with my breakfast!
The breakfast potatoes - which happened to be firm, red potatoes - were cut to just the right size, and fried to a golden brown on the outside, with the inside chewy and tender, just the way we like it. The diced pepper and onion had just a little bit of "crunch," and added a third dimension to these wonderful potatoes.
As an aside, a bottomless cup of coffee is included with every meal at Cafe El Dorado, which is definitely a nice touch for coffee lovers like we are!
As we were enjoying our breakfast, both my friend and I concluded that Cafe El Dorado serves one of the best breakfasts to be found in the Sierra foothills, and one of the best breakfasts that we've had to pleasure to enjoy for a long time.
No matter what brings you to western El Dorado County, whether you're on the way to the slopes, Lake Tahoe, Daffodil Hill, or numerous other fun attractions, plan to stop by Cafe El Dorado for one of the best meals the area has to offer. You'll love the amazing food, the rustic decor, and the super friendly service!
Cafe El Dorado
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