It's not every day that you pass walls of lockers and students toting backpacks to enter a white-tablecloth restaurant for a three-course lunch.
Then again, Sacramento's Oak Café, which reopens this month after its summer hiatus, isn't your average place. At this student-run cafe of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management program at American River College, the food hardly tastes like a school project.
Students offer a prix fixe menu, which changes weekly, for just $12; last spring's themes included a Japanese tasting menu featuring salmon with yuzu (a citrus) and a French menu with boeuf bourguignon. Reservations book up fast for the whole semester, so call now. ―Kate Washington
INFO: The Oak Café ($$; lunch Wed-Fri Sep-Dec and Feb-May; 4700 College Oak Dr., Room 506, Sacramento; www.arc.losrios.edu/chef or 916/484-8526)