This is a good steakhouse-esque restaurant (and hotel) in the heart of the gold country. It's a little funky, making it charmingly authentic instead of faux historic. (Ask the owner about the resident ghosts!) The gorgeous antique wood bar is a great place to sample the array of foothill area wines or throw back a cold frosty after a hot day on the American River. The food is is traditional enough to please your midwest inlaws (i.e. salad included with the meal), yet well-prepared enough to keep your snobby Bay Area friends from complaining. In fact, more than one San Franciscan taking in a balmy evening on the tree-lit patio has been overheard fantasizing about cashing in and moving to the foothills .... The portions are huge, but then that means you can split stuff with friends and try more things. The place aims to make the best burger in town, and I can attest to their success in this category! But my fave is the pork chops with homemade chutney sauce, served with evil garlic mashers and always-perfect fresh veggies (around $20). The owner is a character and is known for popping by your table to stir up a good chat about the topic du jour -- local wines, the perfect method for cooking steaks, the latest in politics, or what's going on around town.
Pros: Gold country feel, traditional fare, relaxing atmosphere
Cons: If you opt for patio seating you'll want to quit your job and move to the foothills