Olivia Garcia

Monday, May 13 2013 07:30 AM

OLIVIA GARCIA: Readers pick top food and drink spots in town

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Padre Hotel, 18th and H Streets.

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By Olivia Garcia

Some of the most important moments of our lives are celebrated at the dinner table or local restaurants, whether it's an anniversary, birthday or first date.

Many restaurants will be busy this month as they play host to tons of graduating students and their families out celebrating educational milestones.

If you fit that category this month, then I encourage you to consider some of the local restaurants ranked high on the list by local readers as part of BakersfieldLife Best Of reader contest.

Although planning for the Best of readers contest began last year, the voting took place this year with results pouring in for just about any category you can think of -- we gave readers more than 100 categories to choose from to pick the top winner and favorites.

The complete results are listed online at Bakersfieldlife.com. Most of the top picks are shared in the June edition of BakersfieldLife.

For the purpose of this column, I want to highlight 10 food- and drink-related Best of winners and favorites that will be featured in the July edition of BakersfieldLife magazine. They were mistakenly left out of the June issue, but nonetheless deserve all the love and attention. Readers should get to know these restaurants, if they haven't already.

* Best Restaurant for Kids/Family

This section picks places that are perfect for family outings. As a mom with two teenagers and two fidgety four- and six-year-olds, I can say the winner hits the spot. We love John's Incredible Pizza, and we often run into family and friends there. The favorites, Moo Creamery and BJ's, are also fun places. One of our favorite BJ's memory was hanging with pals, the Masseys, as we watched a Chargers-Raiders game.

Winner: John's Incredible Pizza Co., 3709 Rosedale Highway; 859-1111; johnspizza.com.

Favorites: Moo Creamery and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse.

* Best Happy Hour

Sometimes after a long busy day at work or after wrapping up a tough gym workout, it's nice to cool down with a drink and what better place than Tahoe Joe's voted No. 1 by ours readers. Voters chose runner-ups as Lengthwise Brewing Company and Elephant. I couldn't agree more.

Winner: Tahoe Joe's Famous Steakhouse, 9000 Ming Ave.; 664-8723; tahoejoes.com.

Favorites: Lengthwise Brewing Company and Elephant Bar.

* Best Steak Restaurant

Tahoe Joe's hits the jackpot again with this category, and that is a well deserving award given their menu selection and their commitment to support local youth programs and activities. Congrats to the favorites, which also happen to be locally owned restaurants.

Winner: Tahoe Joe's Famous Steakhouse.

Favorites: KC Steak House and Steak & Grape Restaurant.

* Best Barbecue Restaurant

Bakersfield loves barbecue and so it shouldn't be a surprise that local voters picked Famous Dave's for the best barbecue spot in town. The favorites are also some finger-tasting places worth visiting.

Winner: Famous Dave's, 7777 Rosedale Highway; 829-2128; famousdaves.com/bakersfield.

Favorites: Champs BBQ & Catering and Jake's Original Tex-Mex Cafe.

* Best Catering Service

Reader favorite Jake's also became the No. 1 winner in this category. Picking the right caterer is one of the most critical pieces on ensuring your event is a hit. Everyone should jot these restaurants down when planning special events.

Winner: Jake's Original Tex-Mex Cafe, 1710 Oak St.; 322-6380; jakestexmex.com

Favorites: Famous Dave's and Hodel's Country Dining.

* Best Bar

Now this category had to be a tough one for voters. They were faced with picking among some popular bars in town. Padre Hotel took the lead, and it's hard to argue why. I have visited the Padre to catch up with friends, attend an event organized by The Bakersfield Californian or Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and reunite with two of my successful female college buddies, Christine and Maria. What a memory. Kudos to the favorites as I have spent some special moments there, too, including a birthday celebration.

Winner: The Padre Hotel, 1702 18th St.; 427-4900; thepadrehotel.com.

Favorites: Mexicali and Lengthwise Brewing Company.

* Best Wing Place

If you are in the search for the perfect wing destination, then look no further. Here Buffalo Wild Wings takes the cake. Congrats to the favorites.

Winner: Buffalo Wild Wings, 5677 Gosford Road; 664-4550; buffalowildwings.com.

Favorites: Wingstop and Hooter's.

* Best Italian Food Restaurant

The top vote-getter as well as the favorites in this category certainly top my list as well. Uricchio's serves some of the best pasta in town, whether it's lunch or dinner. The favorites are just as pleasing.

Winner: Uricchio's Trattoria, 1400 17th St.; 326-8870; uricchios-trattoria.com.

Favorites: Frugatti's and Luigi's Restaurant & Delicatessen.

* Best Lunch Spot

Another tough category here but voters pick Luigi's hands-down as the best lunch spot. If you have not explored Luigi's, you are missing out. Just walking into the restaurants gives you a feeling of nostalgia and local athletics memories. Congrats to the favorites as well.

Winner: Luigi's Restaurant & Delicatessen, 725 E. 19th St.; 322-0926; shopluigis.com.

Favorites: Jake's Original Tex-Mex Cafe and Sequoia Sandwich Company.

* Best Thai Food

Some of my co-workers know that if they need to find me during lunch in downtown Bakersfield, all they need to do is go to Chef's Choice. One of my college girlfriends into me to the world of Thai food 20 years ago, and I've been forever hooked. Chef's Choice does not disappoint. My praise also goes to the favorites, two other popular Thai spots in town.

Winner: Chef's Choice Noodle Bar, 1534 19th St.; 325-1234; chefschoicenoodlebar.wordpress.com.

Favorites: The Orchid Thai Fusion Cuisine and Blue Elephant.

Olivia Garcia is editor of Bakersfield Life and BWell magazines and a columnist of The Bakersfield Californian. These are her opinions, not necessarily those of The Bakersfield Californian. Send her tips at ogarcia@bakersfield.com

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