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Cielito Lindo

Cuisine: Mexican

Essential Information

3672 J St., Sacramento, CA

This small new “Mexican gastronomy” restaurant on J Street in East Sacramento may look modest, but chef-owner Ramiro Alarcón’s dreams for it are big. Alarcón, a Mexico City–trained chef formerly of downtown’s Mayahuel, has created a brightly colorful, welcoming space (accented with tiny blown-glass flowers in a vase on each table) where he serves both traditional and innovative regional Mexican cuisine, with many items rarely seen on Sacramento menus. In addition to familiar enchiladas, for instance, Alarcón offers enfrijoladas (in which stuffed tortillas are bathed in bean sauce rather than chile sauce). Moles include the green pipian (pumpkin seed) mole of Oaxaca as well as the more familiar, brick-red mole poblano from Puebla. Crunchy flautas, a steak sandwich with avocado called a “pepito,” and a wide variety of seafood dishes are other winners. Among desserts, there’s the flan spiked, unusually, with earthy-sweet ancho chile.

Additional Information

Neighborhood: East Sacramento
Average Entrée Price: $10-$20
Serving: Dinner, Lunch