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Back Bistro at Palladio

Featured Article

Al Fresco Summer

Dining out in Folsom

Article by Lisa Wolf

Photography by Douglas Barrett / Jacob Cantu

Originally published in Folsom City Lifestyle

Summers in Folsom can be HOT, but, hot summer days make way for warm summer nights and those can be magical in Folsom.  As temperatures drop slightly in the evening, it’s time to go outside and enjoy dining al fresco style.  A post-Covid silver lining is that there are now many more options to choose from.

Al fresco is an Italian saying meaning, “in the fresh air”, or, a more literal translation, “in the cool/fresh”.  Al fresco is more commonly known to us as eating outside.  It’s usually casual and often comes with a party-like atmosphere.  If you’re heading to Italy, be warned that they don’t use the term al fresco the same way we do.  If you say, "I’d love to eat al fresco", the waiter may think you are asking to eat in the cold or in prison.  Next time you go to Italy, try saying this instead, “Vorrei mangiare fuori" or, "I’d like to eat outside".

Folsom offers amazing options for outdoor dining.  Sutter Street in the Historic District has more outdoor dining options than ever before with dining parklets lining the streets.  Plank Craft Kitchen and Bar (608 Sutter Street) has a classy and quaint patio with umbrellas and a large fire pit.  Their Bits and Bites menu is addicting and their craft beverages and cocktails are creative and delicious.  On the next block, Hacienda Real (702 Sutter Street) is a great place for outdoor dining, a fiesta with family, or a pitcher of margaritas with friends.  Michael Sanson, the owner of both Plank and Hacienda Real, has worked with other recognizable brands such as Buca-di-Beppo and Bobby McGee’s.  He has also worked with Celebrity Chef, Guy Fieri.  On the next block, overlooking Sutter Street and the crowds below, Q’Bole! and Gaslight Company (718 Sutter Street) are excellent options for outdoor seating and people watching.  For special occasions, Scotts Seafood Roundhouse (824 Sutter Street) and Sutter Street Grill (604 Sutter Street.) have amazing views from their patios and are the best places for enjoying steak and seafood with a glass of wine while watching the sunset on a warm summer night.

Palladio has great al fresco options too.  With an upbeat atmosphere, Back Bistro and Buckhorn Grill (Palladio Parkway) flank the busy theater in the center of the outdoor mall.  They have ample seating and varied choices for a good meal taken on the patio.  From small plates to a full-service menu, Back Bistro is an elegant restaurant and bar with a large wine collection and signature cocktails.  Their outdoor patio has tables, booths, and fire pits, making it a quaint oasis in a lively area.  If you’re craving some good BBQ, head across the walkway to Buckhorn BBQ and Grill.  There you will find a large, welcoming patio with outdoor music.  Buckhorn boasts a wide variety of barbeque meats, burgers, salads and sandwiches.

There are numerous outdoor lunch and dinner options at Palladio, so try them all!  If you’re not quite ready for a full meal but are looking for a treat or experience to do with someone special, pull up a chair outside The Chocolate Architect (250 Palladio Parkway) and enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing.  Their silky-smooth chocolates in a variety of tantalizing flavors are accentuated with a lovely glass of wine.

For fun with friends or an outdoor party for a group, try Out of Bounds Craft Kitchen and Biergarten (13407 Folsom Blvd).  Known for their Northern California award winning handcrafted beers, the drinks and food combined with the party-like biergarten, games and live music, make this Folsom’s place to go for a good meal and a good time.  A must try is the Pretzilla, with cheddar, beer, and bacon Jalapeño dips. 

Hot summers in Folsom are best spent getting things done early in the morning, saving your energy in the blistering afternoons, and coming out again at dusk to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets and amazing warm nights while dining al fresco at one of Folsom’s many delicious eateries.

"Their (Back Bistro) outdoor patio has tables, booths, and fire pits, making it a quaint oasis in a lively area."

  • Back Bistro at Palladio
  • Back Bistro at Palladio
  • Hacienda Real
  • Historic Folsom
  • Scott's Seafood Roundhouse
  • Sutter Street Parklet
  • Sutter Street Parklet