Here is a shout out to all of you bivalve babes and mussel men – you will definitely want to check out these Sacramento restaurants for exceptional dishes starring the tasty little mollusk. Popular all over the world, mussels are practically the national food of Belgium, as ubiquitous as hamburgers are in the U.S. The typically elongated shape of the shell makes it a useful tool for spooning up buttery broth once the mussels themselves have already been eaten. Having a chef who has plenty of mussel experience is key to experiencing a satisfying meal. If cooked for even a moment too long, mussels can go from rich and savory to flat and rubbery.
Plan B Restaurant
555 La Sierra Dr.
Sacramento, CA 95864
(916) 483-3000

Plan B may be the best spot for mussel lovers, as both locations offer the mollusk in a number of different recipes. The café has a lower priced deal on mussels and frites – French fries – during happy hour, but the dish is served any time at both eateries. Fans of spicy food will appreciate the bivalves cooked in a broth of coconut milk, garlic, cilantro and Thai chilies, as well as the mussels épicé, made with hot piments oiseaux chilies, garlic, tomato and Pastis, an anise aperitif from France. The savory delight that is mussel poulette is created with pancetta, cream, celery and thyme; for another creamy sensation, try the crème fraiche, shallot and butter-rich nantaise mussels. Provençale is made with basil, garlic, tomato and other herbs, but many Plan B patrons love to stay with the classic marinière preparation. Possibly the most popular recipe around the world, marinière is simply made with white wine, parsley and plenty of garlic.

Palermo Ristorante Italiano
9632 Emerald Oak Dr.
Elk Grove, CA 95624
(916) 686-1582

When the craving for antipasti hits, head to Elk Grove for mussels mostarda at Palermo. Mustard, shallots, wine and cream offer distinctive flavoring to perfectly steamed black mussels. The family owned and operated eatery also serves a combination of fresh tomatoes, mussels, swordfish and clams in wine and garlic over linguini.

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Crab City Restaurant & Desserts
7837 Stockton Blvd., Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 647-3172

Crab City offers a fusion of Asian and Cajun dishes, with a menu that relies heavily on seafood. Items like crawfish, crab, shrimp, snow crab, king crab or mussels are available by the pound, with your choice of flavors and spiciness. Flavor options include classic Cajun, a sweeter Asian-Cajun, coconut and lemongrass Thai-jun, and buttery lemon pepper, and the level of spiciness runs from mild to “off the roof.” If your appetite allows, consider the Big City Combo, made with lobster, snow crab, mussels, corn, shrimp, sausage and clams. There are occasional special deals, such as one free pound when you order four pounds of mussels, crawfish or crabs.

De Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 231-9947

De Vere’s in Davis and Sacramento offers an appetizer platter full of pub-friendly fare for diners to share. The beer mussel plate includes fresh red onion, mussels, fennel, Italian sausage and toasted ciabatta bread. It’s absolutely delicious and a great platter to share.

Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery
1015 9th St.
Sacramento, California
(916) 498-9224

All hands will be on deck for a bowl or cup of Captain’s Chowder at Blackbird. The satisfying, protein-packed soup includes mussels, squid, potatoes, Pollock, grilled bread and clams that are smoked in-house. Enjoy this as an appetizer and then pick from one of the many delicious main dishes on the menu for a fully satisfying meal.

Lucca Restaurant & Bar
1615 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 669-5300

No gastronomic tour of mussel dishes would be complete without classic cioppino, and Lucca will make sure you leave satisfied. Clams, prawns, mussels, fresh fish and fennel swim in a spicy tomato broth. Slurp up the tasty soup Belgian-style, using a mussel shell and grilled bread to savor every last morsel.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
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