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Metropolitan meal in Modesto
If its unique that youre looking for, Concettas is it. A new daily menu offers something different for the hardcore patrons, and an outdoor veranda only adds to the quaint charms of this popular eatery. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

MODESTO – You don’t have to be Abe Froman to get a table at Concetta. 

But even “The Sausage King of Chicago” would abide by the quaint and comfortable tapas-style restaurant in downtown Modesto – a chic gem that offers a metropolitan dining experience without having to deal without any of the metropolitan hassle. 

With a menu that changes daily, this popular haunt – which garners 4.5 stars out of 5 on Yelp and boasts rave reviews from people residing in both San Francisco and Los Angeles – is perfect for those with the piquant palate.

And dining alfresco is part of the experience. 

A moderate-sized patio outside provides an opportunity to enjoy the variety that the restaurant is known for while enjoying the relative bustle of a downtown district has seen a culinary resurgence in recent years. 

Even on warm nights customers will enjoy a bottle of wine while socializing along J Street – just up the street from Modesto’s iconic State Theater and near where some of its oldest buildings have been converted to popular eateries and libation destinations. 

If the weather is cooperative and it’s an evening of outdoor downtown dining that you’re looking for, these are a few places worth checking out:

• Galletto Ristorante – Located in a 1930’s era art deco building that used to be a Wells Fargo branch, this unique and unapologetically posh addition has been bringing the tastes of Northern Italy to local residents for more than a decade. The décor is unmistakable – the sign on the corner of the building is bright in the Modesto night and the vine-covered outdoor serves as a glimpse to the intricate interior that eventually leads out to the restaurants back patio. That’s where you’ll find foodies sampling chef Michael Goularte’s wares and sampling from the restaurant’s extensive wine list. It’s easily one of the city’s most attractive buildings and it was renovated extensively to attract a crowd. 1101 J Street, 523.4500.

• Tresetti’s World Caffe – You can spot it by the globe on the corner of the building. You can spot it by the crowd that floods in at night. And you can probably spot it by the throngs that gather on cool summer nights to enjoy the “San Francisco-style Italian food” at the restaurant responsible for bringing fine-dining back to Downtown Modesto. When Mitch Maisetti and Paul Tremayne started Tresetti’s in the early 1990’s the surrounding landscape is much different than it is today. But it’s still just as popular on a mundane Tuesday night as it is with the weekend crowds that flock to the bars and clubs that have sprung up and helped pump new life into the historic area. The kitchen is run by Chef Romito Gonzales who was at one time the Chef de Cuisine for Wolfgang Puck, and the reputation is unparalleled. It’s one of the new originals. 927 11th Street, 572-2990.

To get to Downtown Modesto take Highway 99 South to the Central Modesto exit. Turn left. The street will then follow a grid pattern by letter and number. Parking is available in a garage near the Doubletree Hotel and across from the Fat Cat on Modesto and behind and in front of several of the restaurants.