Fresno, CA

Our year end list and review of our favorite restaurants in Fresno & Clovis

Mark-John Clifford

We've spent the last few months writing reviews of some of our favorite places to eat in and around Fresno & Clovis. We covered the food served, the service, and the ambiance.

So we felt it's time to give you a rundown of some of the places that stood out to us these past few months.

Granted, there are many places we haven't tried yet, but we plan to in the coming year. Also, Patti and I have made a list of all your recommendations in the comments section. So stay tuned for next year and watch for a review of your favorite place on these pages.

Let's kick things off with our list of places you should try.


I'm sure you know by now if you've been reading my food and restaurant reviews that this breakfast/lunch place has a particular spot in our hearts.

It's not just the food or service but the entire dining experience. When I go in there, I feel like I'm enjoying a leisurely breakfast or lunch with Patti in New Orleans. 

Okay, so it isn't exactly New Orleans, but it's close as Patti, and I will get now, and it's the same for you.

The decor, the food, and the hospitality remind me of past dining in New Orleans. 

Between the beignets, fried green tomatoes, and andouille sausage, it just takes me back to some fantastic dining in New Orleans, but in Clovis.

Just about everything on the menu is good. Although I am not fond of fish with a more fishy taste than I prefer, I stay away from the catfish, but from what our daughter-in-law says, they are great!

Breakfast is our favorite meal when we dine there, although once in a while, we'll stop in after 12 and go with lunch; that's rare.

The service is better than great, and everyone goes out of their way to make you feel at home, especially the owner Ray. Tell him Mark & Patti sent you next time there.

Next time you're in need of some down-home southern cooking and feeling, stop in at Huckleberry,s in Clovis.
Tahoe Joe'

Tahoe Joe's

Want a steak tonight? Then go to Tahoe Joe's and order the T-bone or Ribeye. Either way, you can't go wrong.

I know you can go to Flemmings or Ruth Chris's steak house for most likely a better cut steak or longer aged, but it doesn't come with everything.

When you order a meal at Tahoe Joe's, it comes with everything you could want with your meal. Potatoes, they got you covered. How about veggies? Do you like green beans done right? They have you covered again. All of this comes with your steak.

Of course, they have more than steak. They have chicken that's juicy and just downright delicious. Not only do they have chicken but pork chops, numerous other cuts of steak, and main course meals to entice your taste buds.

Then there's always the seafood. Try the railroad shrimp for a wonderful treat for your tastebuds. Or maybe the catch of the day, which is always fresh and cooked to perfection.

Service has always been above ar when we have gone, but there have been a few times we were unhappy and surprised. However, the manager took care of the issue, and things were fine.


Talk about tough decisions. We love Fridays now, but to be honest, years ago, like five or six to be exact, the service and the food wasn't anything to write home about, so we stopped going.

Then we heard some rumblings from friends about the food and how great it was, so we decided to give it another shot, which I don't usually do. This is something I don't normally do. If I get a bad meal or service and it isn't corrected, I am a stickler for not going back. 

Since we don't get paid to dine at the places, we review I have that option. Although I do bow to pressure from Patti on occasion when she feels we need to try one more time.

Fridays is another place I feel at home. The atmosphere is fun and calming at the same time. Between TV's going, talk from other tables, loudness at the bar, and the crew boat hanging from the ceiling, it all makes for a different dining experience.

Service here is one of the best on this list. We've come to know many of the servers very well since we go there so much, and even some of the managers have come to know us.

As far as food goes, my favorites are ribs and hamburgers, which have become Patti's favorites as of late. Although their fish, even though frozen, is fantastic. It's a beer-battered cod served with fries and coleslaw. Speaking of coleslaw, the coleslaw is excellent for a chain restaurant in my eyes.

The steaks are good, not as good as Tahoe Joe's, but they are seasoned well and have some great toppings and sides that go along with them.

The drinks are to die for. They make one of the best Long Island Ice Teas I've ever had, and when I lived in New York, I was always at Fridays there to enjoy the same drink. I can tell you it's only gotten better over time.

Let's talk appetizers. They are known for their potato skins, and if you have ever had them, you know why. They are tasty, crispy, and just downright perfect for enjoying with a drink. Don't forget the pretzel bites or the mozzarella sticks.

Take the time to enjoy a night at Fridays, on a Friday, or any other night.
Dog House GrillThe Collegian-Fresno State

Dog House Grill

Are you in the mood for a tri-tip sandwich? Before moving to California, I had never heard of tri-tip, and I worked in the restaurant industry for a while. 

When I first moved here and met Patti, she introduced me to tri-tip and the tri-tip sandwich. She also introduced me and taught me how to cook tri-tip on the grill and in the oven. 

Not that I didn't know how to cook steak, I did it enough working at the family restaurant, but tri-tip is in a steak world of its own. At least for me, it was. I hadn't seen a steak shaped like that.

Well, I found out quickly why so many people in Fresno and around the area flocked to Dog House Grill. The tri-tip sandwich. Dog House has it down to a science when talking about cooking tri-tip. I'm glad Patti introduced me to this place.

Dog House is known for its tri-tip, hamburgers, ribs, and salads; it's also known for its service and ambiance/decor.

It can get crazy in there most nights when sports teams are playing, which most nights, but the line to get in and the wait to find seating can be daunting. Just don't let it scare you away. It's worth the wait.

Try the full chicken meal or full rack of ribs for a mouth-watering experience. Then again, the pulled pork sandwich gives both some competition.

But when it comes to tri-tip, Dog House is tough to beat.
Jus Joe'sZomato

Jus Joe's

Our second favorite breakfast spot is Jus Joe's. I know some will disagree with picking Jus Joe's behind Huckleberry's or another breakfast place around town, but that's where it sits right now. Of course, things change in the food world daily.

What I look forward to at Jus JOe's is the oatmeal. I know it doesn't sound as mouth-watering as steak and eggs or an omelet, but there is something about oatmeal, especially during the cold months, that drives me wild. Oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and a little cream goes a long way in my breakfast menu craving, and Jus Joe's meets that craving whenever I order oatmeal.

There are a ton more great dishes on their menu, like loaded tater tots, one of Patti's favorites, or the ham steak which is my other favorite dish you have when dining there with a couple of eggs, breakfast potatoes, and toast.

The steaks at Jos Joe's are excellent quality, tasting, aged and cooked to perfection when they have them. No complaints from me on that one.

I'll be honest I haven't had many of the luncheon features besides a hamburger or two, but my son and daughter rave about their other feature sandwichs on the menu, so you can count on their review of the food. They love Jus Joe's and beg to go there all the time.

The atmosphere is homey, and the service is above excellent with the staff interacting with diners all the time. It's a place you can feel at home, no matter if you're having coffee or something more substantial. As I mentioned, I would go for the more substantial if you're there.
Sakura Chaya-ClovisBusinessYab

Skura Chaya

Off the beaten path, but not far from our hearts, is Sakura Chaya, the lone Japanese place that made our list.

Whether you go to the Fresno or Clovis location, you won't be disappointed. Patti and I have never had a bad meal at either location. Both locations consider my allergy to peanuts and sesame seeds with substitutions for salad dressing and rice.

We always order a combination plate served with steak and chicken. The great thing about Sakura is that everything is included in your meal price when you order the dinner selection except for drinks, of course.

Patti and I usually order the NY Steak option instead of the filet. I'm not sure why, but the NY Steak tends to be better tasting and more tender. I know that may not make sense, but that's how we feel.

Patti has ordered seafood in the past and has never been disappointed in what she ordered. Seafood is one of those things that can be tough for a chek to prepare. Every dinner has a different way they want their seafood prepared, and many times the chef is cooking for more than one, so it goes without saying everything is cooked the same. It isn't like that with the meat, only the seafood. Although Patti has asked to cook scallops a little more in the past, they obliged. Great service.

Speaking of service, it's excellent, especially at the Clovis location, which is the newer spot. Not that the Fresno location has bad service, we have just found the service at Clovis to be a bit better overall.

The manager in Clovis was accommodating recently when we dined there, and our server didn't know how to substitute what I needed due to my allergies. After speaking to the manager, she took care of it, and everything turned out perfect. 

Restaurants, chefs, managers, servers, and staff are sometimes annoyed when a diner has special requests. They don't get too worked up over it, but they have things set a certain way, and minor changes can affect their work. So when a restaurant and its staff go out of their way for any customer with special requests, I always give them a higher tip and an A+++ for service.


As I said at the top, these are the only restaurants around, and we are planning more trips in the New Year, but this is the first list to get you going. There's more coming in the next few weeks and a lot more in the New Year.

Till Then,

Buon Appetito

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Patti, my wife, and I write about life here in Fresno, California, and the Central Valley. We especially enjoy writing reviews about restaurants we've dined at, along with the food that is served. From time to time, we also write about and share recipes that we are fond of and hope you'll try them and let us know your thoughts. We are not traditional food critics. We don't have to worry about restaurants making unique dishes for us. We're just the average customer going in to dine, and then we write reviews.

Fresno, CA

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