15 Best Restaurants in Modesto, CA
Located in California's Stanislaus County, Modesto offers plenty of fun activities for every kind of traveler.
Whether you’re a car enthusiast, wine connoisseur, art junkie, or history buff, you can find various things to do in Modesto.
Foodies will be happy to know that this city is home to a diverse culinary scene, letting you explore the world through its multinational restaurants.
Modesto’s restaurants are also must-try spots because most are locally owned and operated.
If you’re planning to visit this city, here are the best restaurants in Modesto, California:
Galletto Ristorante is an Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown Modesto.
Its sophisticated interiors and outdoor eating area are reminiscent of the restaurants in Italian cities and in the countryside, bringing la dolce vita to the streets of Modesto.
The restaurant offers tantalizing appetizers, salads, pizzas, pasta dishes, and main dishes using fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Have a bite of bruschetta or steak salad before moving on to heavier dishes like saffron bucatini, risotto, or ravioli.
If you’re not in the mood for pasta, you can try their braised short ribs, salmon, grilled ribeye, or pork chop.
Aside from its food menu, Galletto Ristorante boasts an impressive wine and drinks selection, including wines, signature cocktails, spirits, and traditional Italian grappa.
Head to Dewz Restaurant, located near the historic McHenry Museum.
This upscale family-owned restaurant has been around since 1997, serving classic American and Asian, French, and Italian-inspired dishes.
For starters, try their karaage chicken bites, calamari fritto, or a gluten-free caramelized pork belly.
If you want pasta, Dewz Restaurant has Italian favorites like risotto, fettuccine bolognese, and prawn bacon tagliatelle.
For the main dish, savor a Prime Tomahawk Steak, Airline chicken breast, wagyu steak, or their fish of the day.
Side dishes like hand-cut fries, seasonal vegetables, sautéed wild mushrooms, and miso-bacon mac and cheese are available to complement your main dish.
Raw Sushi Bistro
Raw Sushi Bistro is a contemporary Japanese restaurant strategically located near Modesto’s cultural and historic sites.
Customers, in particular, love the restaurant’s relaxed atmosphere, excellent service, and sushi rolls.
The restaurant features appetizers like agedashi tofu, tuna ceviche, vegetable tempura, and delicious and freshly prepared sashimi.
However, Raw Sushi Bistro's classic sushi rolls and creative house rolls are what make it a must-try restaurant.
Aside from their California roll, eel roll, and spicy salmon roll, don’t miss their house rolls like tuna steak roll, tsunami roll, and grilled salmon roll.
If you want a heavier meal, go for their chicken teriyaki, grilled salmon, shrimp teriyaki, and vegetarian teriyaki, all served with a generous amount of rice and salad.
TNK Vegan Cafe
Finding a restaurant serving healthy options can be challenging when visiting different cities.
Fortunately, TNK Vegan Cafe on Needham Street has healthy meals that are also cruelty-free and plant-based.
Despite being one of the newer vegan cafes, it has become a popular option for health-conscious eaters.
The establishment is the brainchild of a couple who has been vegan for over two decades and wanted to share this healthy and tasty lifestyle with the residents of Modesto.
At TNK Vegan Cafe, enjoy your favorite comfort food with a healthy twist, like vegan burgers, fish n’ chips, noodles, and soup.
They also offer vegan spring rolls, steam buns, cream cheese puffs, and pot stickers.
Camp 4 Wine Café
Located on 10th Street, Camp 4 Wine Café makes wine bars approachable and more affordable, with a casual industrial interior.
They offer an impressive selection of wines, with some bottles coming all the way from the Rhône Valley, Bordeaux in France, and La Rioja in Spain.
Aside from its wines, Camp 4 Wine Café takes pride in its gourmet panini that comes with various fillings like roast chicken, turkey, prosciutto, and steak.
Enjoy a cheese and charcuterie board paired with your choice of wine, or mix and match your appetizers, panini, or salad, with wine and other beverages like tea, beer, or a refreshing spritz cocktail.
If you’re in the mood for dessert, have a bite of their sweet and salty chocolate panini bites or ask about their after-dinner wines.
Not sure what to eat?
Head over to Surla’s, a resto-lounge serving multinational cuisine, perfect for fickle-minded travelers or groups who want to try different food.
The restaurant on 12th Street aims to provide a diverse range of cuisines in a casual and relaxed setting, using only the best and freshest ingredients.
Whether you’re craving Filipino, Korean, Hawaiian, Chinese, French, Italian, or Spanish food, you can find various options at Surla’s.
Start with baby lettuce wraps or a lechon musubi for a Filipino twist to a well-loved Hawaiian snack.
Then, savor a classic fish and chips, grilled chicken sandwich, grilled mahi-mahi tacos, or a Surla’s Burger made with an eight-ounce house ground beef patty.
Commonwealth has been around since 2014, offering craft beers and delicious sandwiches in a fun atmosphere.
Since then, this restaurant on 11th Street has been a favorite local stop for nightlife and evening fun and has been featured in Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
Their menu focuses on craft tacos, sandwiches, burritos, and salads made from scratch.
Commonwealth also offers brunch specials like Monte Cristo sandwiches, chicken and waffles, eggs benedict, and corned beef hash.
Order a glass of craft beer, cider, and other beers on tap to pair with your BBQ pulled pork sandwich or coconut curry taco.
Phoenix Noodle House
Noodles are almost everyone’s favorite comfort food, giving you warmth on a cold day.
In Modesto, residents and tourists can enjoy a hearty bowl of Vietnamese noodles at Phoenix Noodle House, located on H Street.
Aside from Vietnamese spring rolls and egg rolls, customers can enjoy vermicelli noodles, chicken pho, and a rare steak pho.
If you want something with rice, try their BBQ rice plate, Mongolian beer, or grilled pork chop with rice and vegetables.
With its location near the Gallo Center for the Arts, State Theatre of Modesto, and McHenry Museum, Phoenix Noodle House is perfect for a post-tour meal.
Harvest Moon Restaurant
For a casual yet intimate dining experience, visit Harvest Moon Restaurant in downtown Modesto.
The family-friendly restaurant serves home-style American favorites like burgers, grilled sandwiches, salads, and more.
Its light and vibrant-colored walls, dark furniture, and assortment of memorabilia will make you feel as if you’re eating at a relative’s place.
At Harvest Moon Restaurant, feast on different feel-good food like a crab toss salad, Ahi tuna sandwich, cajun shrimp tacos, crab cakes, and more.
For dessert, try their bread pudding-French toast combination with a generous topping of fresh strawberries.
On select nights, the restaurant offers live music featuring local artists.
The Sandwich Shop
At The Sandwich Shop on Kansas Avenue, you can make your ideal hot or cold sandwich, featuring your choice of bread, cheese, dressing, and filling.
You can also combine two or three kinds of meat and cheese.
The establishment also offers specialty sandwiches, including the Modesto Special: a hot roast beef or pastrami sandwich with jack cheese, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, onions, and dressing on a wheat or white roll.
If you’re traveling with children, their kids' menu includes mini corn dogs, small chicken strips, and PB&J sandwiches served with chips and soda.
Aside from their sandwiches, The Sandwich Shop also offers salads, nachos, and soup.
Skewers Kabob House
If you’re up for trying a new cuisine, Skewers Kabob House is the perfect dining option for you.
This family-owned and operated restaurant on L Street has been in Modesto’s dining scene since 2003, offering authentic Persian dishes in a posh and fine dining setting.
The dishes served have been handed down from generations as family recipes, proving their quality and authenticity.
At Skewers Kabob House, start your meal with light appetizers like Greek salad, pita sandwiches, or a skew sampler to try different options.
For the main dish, choose between different kabobs served with Basmati rice and vegetables, a roasted lamb shank, or a rack of lamb, the restaurant’s specialty.
They also have red wine, white wine, and draft beers to pair with your meal.
Located on J Street, Concetta is a small yet charming tapas bar perfect for early evening snacks or a post-dinner drinking session with friends.
The establishment has a cozy indoor dining space with vibrant walls and an outdoor eating area where you can enjoy Modesto’s streetside views.
As for its food, Concetta uses the best ingredients in season, creating a unique menu that changes every now and then.
Even if the menu changes depending on the season, some dishes you can enjoy include butternut squash ravioli, beet salad, baked eggs, polenta, and lamb meatballs.
As for its drinks, sip on a glass of wine, beer, or cocktail as you savor your tapas and light dishes.
Fuzio Universal Bistro
Fuzio Universal Bistro takes pride in its East-meets-West menu, letting its customers explore the world one bite at a time.
The upscale restaurant and bar on 10th Street is your all-around choice for delicious food, fun cocktails, and a welcoming atmosphere.
As for its food, Fuzio Universal Bistro has appetizers like Bavarian-style pretzels, thyme potato fries, bacon-wrapped dates, calamari, firecracker lettuce wraps, and more.
Meanwhile, choose between classic Italian pasta dishes, handmade burgers, or fire-grilled sandwiches or pizzas for lunch, and grilled ribeye steak, Tuscan grilled chicken, king salmon fillet, or a bacon bourbon pork chop for dinner.
Complete your lunch or dinner with a slice of sweet brown butter pecan cake, crème brûlée, or cheesecake.
Aside from its handcrafted cocktail, pair your food with a bottle of craft beer or any wine from their extensive wine list.
Enjoy your American favorites at Mike’s Grillhouse, located on Pelandale Avenue.
With its strategic location, this is a popular spot for tourists, families, and shoppers looking for a satisfying meal after a busy day out.
Mike’s Grillhouse combines home-style family recipes and a fine dining setting, letting you enjoy the best of both worlds.
The restaurant takes pride in making their food from scratch, including their mouth-watering burgers, specialty wraps, sandwiches, seafood, and grilled favorites.
House specialties include sautéed scallops, clam chowder, chicken marsala, fish and chips, southwestern steak wrap, and a tuna mushroom melt sandwich.
End your meal with a sweet treat and have a bite of their home-style chocolate cake, fruit cobbler, fried cheesecake, brown butter cake, or churro bread pudding bites.
Papapavlo's Mediterranean Bistro & Bar
Mediterranean food is a welcome change if you’re looking for fresh and protein-rich food that perfectly balances grains and meat.
At Papapavlo's Mediterranean Bistro & Bar on Standiford Avenue, taste the finest Mediterranean classics using traditional cooking techniques, providing you with an authentic dining experience.
From Greek salads, shrimp cocktails, and crab cakes, you can find them all here, along with staples like shrimp and avocado, gyros, and moussaka.
Not sure what to get?
The Papapavlos Combination has generous portions of spanakopita, pastitsio, and moussaka served with rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables.
Papapavlo's Mediterranean Bistro & Bar also serves vegetarian options like hummus, mushroom pitas, grilled vegetable pasta, and more for customers with special dietary needs.
Aside from housing a variety of activities and sights for all kinds of travelers, Modesto offers restaurants that take you around the world.
From a contemporary Japanese restaurant, home-style Vietnamese noodle joint, and posh Italian restaurant to Persian and Mediterranean establishments, you can find the perfect dining spot here.
Best of all, these family or locally-owned and operated restaurants give you personalized service that will make your trip to the city memorable.
That said, visit these best restaurants in Modesto, California, and enjoy their diverse culinary offerings!