At San Joaquin Magazine, we spend months looking forward to our
biggest issue of the year. This year, we added even more categories and we can’t wait to share who our readers have voted as their top picks. We’re also giddy to share with you new winners and untapped local gems that make San Joaquin a great place to live.
Behold, the 2019 winners of
Best of San Joaquin Magazine!
BEST OF FOOD
Best American Cuisine
If there’s a cuisine San Joaquin County knows how to throw down, it’s good old-fashioned American grub. Blame it on our roots. Blame it on our need for the familiar. But we can’t get enough of these tried-and-true spots. You can head to Market Tavern for everything from wood-fired pizzas to healthy grain bowls or even fried chicken! Or check out the meat-centric Midgley’s Public House menu to satisfy your indulgences. Their steak sandwich and poutine always hits the spot. And don’t forget about America Waffles for some sweet and savory cuisine. Think fried chicken with waffles. Yum!
When you’re looking for someplace to savor small bites with friends without the commitment of a full meal, turn to a place that has something for everyone. Midgley’s Public House is one of those spots with everything from Ahi nachos to avocado fries. Market Tavern also delivers the goods with deviled eggs and savory bone marrow. West Oak Nosh is always a great place to grab an app. Chow down on their signature Nosh fries fried in beef fat and topped with all the goodies. Bistro 135 also puts out some serious starters with an over-the-top burrata paired with prosciutto, pesto, and crostini. Yes, please!
BEST Bar Food
When it comes to bar grub, our readers have their fair share of foodie havens. We love to soak up our booze with Midgley’s Public House festival fried asparagus and pork belly sliders because they are everything bar food is supposed to be. Lodi’s Porters Pub shows up to the game with knockout nachos and a to-die-for bourbon whiskey BBQ burger. Finnegan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant dishes out some tasty fish tacos to chow down while sipping your favorite beer.
Everyone’s favorite meal of the week—brunch, baby! Head to Market Tavern for the most satisfying dish of baked organic eggs to share. Made with house-made lamb sausage, chickpeas, roasted peppers, and feta, you’ll be sopping up every last drop with herbed flatbread. Or head to charming downtown Lodi for Dancing Fox Winery and Brewery and the over-the-top brunch buffet of omelets, French toast, and mimosas. If it’s something offbeat you crave, head to Bud’s Seafood Grille for a fresh dish of crab cake eggs benedict—simply delicious!
BEST Specialty Burger
When you need a burger with a little flair, there is no better stop than Manny’s California Fresh Cafe. This place is always packed, so grab a number, order an avocado burger, and savor every bite. Of course, you can also try the Painted Hills burger from Market Tavern. Take it to the next level with Fiscalini cheddar, a fried egg, and Hobbs’s bacon. And do we need to even tell you what burger to order at Midgley’s Public House? Feast on the SJ Magazine burger…because, hello!
The talent of the men and women behind the knife in our region is unbelievable. But it’s no surprise that our favorite celebrity chef takes the top chef award! With a larger-than-life personality and over-the-top grub, Chef Michael Midgley, the mastermind behind Migley’s Public House, is king of San Joaquin. Chris Isert, helm of the kitchen at Brookside Country Club, is also a culinary rock star. Isert serves up delicious dishes to hungry club members on the regular. And Chef Ian Bens of downtown Lodi’s Rosewood is a culinary genius. With mad fermentation skills and a love of all things fresh, Bens is making a name for himself in the region.
BEST Casual Dining
If you need someplace casual to take the family, you can’t go wrong with Garlic Brothers Restaurant and Bar at the marina. Waterfront dining makes everyone happy, but it’s the garlic ribeye and scampi linguine that will have your table doing the happy dance. Porters Pub also scores big for its eight television screens, year-round patio dining, and serious grub. With salads, wraps, pub specialties, and 13 beers on tap, it’s easy to see why folks flock to the pub. Market Tavern also dishes up tasty food in a relaxed atmosphere. Sit outside and sip on a cocktail while savoring the bacon and kale pizza.
BEST Fine Dining
When it comes to fancy food, Prime Table Steak House takes the title. Upon entering, the dark and sexy interior sets the mood for the best dry aged beef you’ll find anywhere. Try the 60-day dry aged bone-in Rib-Eye. You can even take it to the next level by topping it with their cognac grain mustard cream. Market Tavern also elevates the foodie scene with dishes like the salt spring mussels with pork belly and the savory four cheese lasagna. You can always get fancied up for an evening at Midgley’s Public House where you can start the evening in the bar with a Sazerac cocktail and calamari appetizer. But you’ll want to end up in the dining room for butter-poached lobster, a delightful seafood pasta, and a rack of lamb.
BEST Food Truck
We love food on the go—and we aren’t talking about fast food. We have some of the tastiest food trucks around and this year Chef Michael Midgley launched Midgley’s Public Truck to much anticipation. With signature dishes like the Lockeford sausage luau, pulled pork sandwich, and truffle fries, you might not be going back to work after lunch! We are huge fans of Lodi’s gourmet green truck, A Moveable Feast. These boys serve up epicurean delights like the Cajun shrimp sandwich served on a soft, buttered bun and beer-battered fries that are not for the faint of heart. Don’t forget to ask about the secret menu. You can also stop by Lodi’s taco truck champion La Picosita for the best tacos in town. We dig the carne asada, but you simply can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
BEST Happy Hour
When it comes to Happy Hour, all you need is a place that makes killer cocktails and good grub. Which is why we love winner Midgley’s Public House’s Happy Hour! Everyday from 3-6 PM guests in the bar or the patio bar enjoy half-off all appetizers, draft beers, and house wine by the glass. We call that winning! Garlic Brothers Restaurant and Bar also scores high for its Happy Hour. Grab your besties, sit on the outdoor deck, and sip on the Fishbowl, a shareable cocktail that tastes great and is fun to drink, too! And we can’t forget to mention Market Tavern because the bar program is legit. With master mixologist Arzou manning the bar, the cocktails are creative, beautiful, and balanced. Tell them to fire up your favorite pizza for a Happy Hour made in heaven.
BEST Outdoor Dining
Looking to enjoy the outdoors as you eat? There are plenty of patios to dine on in San Joaquin County. Catch a sunset at Garlic Brothers in Stockton where the only thing that rivals the view is the food. Second place goes to Pietro’s Trattoria, a farm-to-fork eatery offering family-style dining both indoors and out. Third place goes to Midgley’s Public House where its location in Stockton’s Lincoln Center is prime for outdoor dining, drinking, and people watching.
BEST Steak/Prime Rib
Where can you get a big hunk of delicious meat? If you ask our readers, they’ll point you to Stockton. No surprises here! Market Tavern’s sister restaurant, Prime Table Steak House was voted THE place to get a good steak or cut of prime rib in San Joaquin County. Come in for a slow-cooked, English-cut prime rib in three mouth-watering sizes, or opt for one of many other beef cuts. While in Stockton, step into El Rancho Inn Steak & Lobster, our number two winner for best cut of meat. Midgley’s Public House takes third place, serving up high-end food in a casual atmosphere. You can add a 14 oz. lobster tail to the 8 oz. Filet mignon or the 14 oz. grilled ribeye.
BEST OF 2019 DRINKS
BEST MOSCOW MULE
A Moscow mule is classified as a cocktail made with ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka. Typically, it is garnished with lime and maybe mint leaves and poured into a fun, copper mug (a telltale sign of a mule). Whether you’re jonesing for the classic, or want a twist on the original, we’ve got three places serving up quality sippers: Market Tavern, Midgley’s Public House, and West Oak Nosh.