By Juliet Farmer

My husband and I patronized Cafe Bernardo Midtown for years back when we were dating, so we were thrilled when they opened up a second Sacramento location on the R Street corridor a few years ago in a location closer to where we lived, with decent parking (after work hours, anyway), an adjacent bar (R15), and a larger dining and patio area affording a less crowded feeling, even at full capacity.

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(credit: Juliet Farmer)

Cafe Bernardo R15 boasts tables with chairs, booth seating and plenty of leg room, as well as a large outdoor patio on one side and a mini patio out front. The décor is harlequin-hip, with multiple chandelier lighting surrounded by a huge picture frame on the ceiling. Cafe Bernardo’s order-at-the-counter service is efficient, and, even when the line is long, you won’t be waiting long.

The seasonal menu offers vegetarian and vegan options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With a focus on/use of local and seasonal ingredients, trans-fat free oils, cage-free VEGA eggs, locally-produced cheeses, organic lettuces, free-range chicken, pure maple syrup, dairy products free of growth hormones, and beef free of hormones and antibiotics and humanely raised on sustainable farms, Cafe Bernardo thrills the eco-friendly food lover in me. (Insider tip: If you’ve got kiddos in tow, be sure to ask for the special kids’ menu for children 10 and under.)

Cafe Bernardo is, in fact, one of only two spots in Sacramento that I trust with my breakfast, which is, after all, the most important meal of the day! Breakfast options include a vegetarian Tofu Scramble, a savory Black Forest Ham Omelet, and if you want something sweet, Amaretto French Toast. Health nuts are sure to love the Housemade Oatmeal (if I could make oatmeal like this at home, I’d be a happy girl). If you’re looking for grab-and-go, there are fresh-baked muffins and scones to nibble on. In keeping with the European café ambiance, they serve lattes and mochas in large saucers. (Note: Breakfast is served 7a.m. to 11 a.m. Mon to Fri, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sat, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sun.)

(credit: Juliet Farmer)

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The lunch/dinner menu features unique salads, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, main dishes, pizzas and lots of sides. Salad standouts include the Mushroom Salad (with only a handful of ingredients—Jarlsberg, mushrooms, parsley, lemon juice, salt & pepper–it is still one of the tastiest salads I’ve ever had!), the Chopped Salad, and the Grilled Salmon Salad. Top sandwiches include the Griddled Ham & Cheese, Roasted Turkey Breast, and Grilled Chicken, and burger options include beef, turkey and Portobello Mushroom. Fries are extra, but order them anyway (and thank me later). My favorite main dish is the Stir Fry Noodles, featuring plump pieces of seared chicken, loads of fresh veggies, and an addictive spicy bean sauce. I’ve also never gone wrong when ordering a pizetta or calzone. (Note: Lunch/dinner items are only available after 11 a.m. Mon to Fri, after 1 p.m. on Sat, and after 2 p.m. on Sun.) (Insider tip: If you’re headed to Cafe Bernardo for a weekday lunch, take advantage of the valet parking available Tue to Fri for a nominal fee—otherwise, you’re bound to waste your entire lunch hour looking for parking.)

Be sure to cap off your meal with a Black Bottom Cupcake (the best in town), or a slice of Carrot Cake or Triple Layer Chocolate Cake. As with any of the meals, desserts can be ordered to go.

In addition to sodas, tea and coffee (hot or cold), beverage options include a handful of taps (Newcastle, Sierra Nevada and Widmer Hefeweizen among them), and bottles of the usual suspects, plus Lagunitas IPA (which makes my husband very happy), Tangerine Wheat, and even Wyder’s Cider.

Cafe Bernardo R15’s scrumptious food, local and seasonal ingredients, use of hormone-free products, and friendly and fast staff makes every meal a treat.

Café Bernardo
1431 R Street (additional locations Midtown & Davis)
Sacramento, CA
Hours: Mon, Tu, Wed 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., Thur – Fri 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sat 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun 8
a.m. – 9 p.m.
(916) 930-9191
Directory Listing

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Juliet Farmer was born and raised in Sacramento, where she resides with her husband, two cats, and rescued greyhound. She is a freelance writer who regularly writes about food, pets, health and wellness, entertainment, and more.