Monkey Cat

4.5
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1065 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Located in historic downtown Auburn, The Monkey Cat is a popular destination for both locals and visitors who are looking for a unique dining experience. Owned by Jim Bril, formerly from San Francisco, where he was a managing partner of the famous Fior D' Italia in North Beach. Monkey Cat offers a wide selection of dishes, with something for everyone. The lunch menu has hearty sandwiches, delicious tacos, and wonderful entree options. For dinner there is a variety of steaks, seafood and poultry dishes that will leave your mouth watering. Vegetarian and Vegan options are available on the menu, and most diets & allergies can be accommodated. Placer County is home to fantastic wineries and breweries, and Monkey Cat is a proud supporter of that. Try a local drink on your next visit. Looking to take care of a larger group? Ask about private dining. Everything from Happy Hour, to Wine Down Wednesday, to Holiday Specials, Monkey Cat has you covered.
What 1065 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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j
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We wanted to like this place - a local joint, in the heart of downtown. I rarely give a review, but am doing so in order to help the owners correct some small issues, which would greatly improve the experience. It wouldn't;t take much to make this a great experience.

- Apps
Tomato Bisque
Fried Artichoke Hearts
Flatbread (Portabella / cheese)

-Mains
Scallop Soba Dish
Asian Salad with Portabella Mushroom

The Soup came out Luke warm, but they were prompt in heating it back up. It was the tomato bisque with blue cheese, great soup, was great other than very low temp.

Artichokes were fine, although my wife passed on them, I thought they were fine, if under seasoned.

The flat bread had excellent flavor, but due to the amount of olive oil under the bread and on it, it was extremely "wet". Flavor was great, just need to tweak the preparation to keep the bread flat / non soggy.

The salad was fine, but my Soba dish had flavor of soil at the bottom. It had box ahoy in it, which is notoriously hard to clean, but I suspect they need to look at how or if the box ahoy is being rinsed before preparation. Once again flavor was great.

Taken together it may read harsh, but honestly, these were small things that are easy to fix. The food flavor was excellent, and service was attentive and friendly in a great ambience.

Please go there, and give honest feedback, as they are on the edge of being a great neighborhood gem. This was a Monday night, which is probably not anyone's best day if we are honest, and it is possible I had an unusual experience.

NJ
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We dine at Monkey Cat on an average of once a month. We have always had great service and food. In fact, we think it is the best in Auburn!

KC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food3service5ambience4

It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t especially good either. Just okay. For the price I would go somewhere else.

OT
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience5

The food was ok. The best of our three dinners was the scallop udon. The service was very slow but they were nice. The location and ambiance was cool.

JD
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always good. Been many times. Please go and enjoy with family and friends.

AA
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience5

This is our favorite restaurant & has been for years. As we understand there is new ownership. With this is mind it was great to see the same great staff that always makes the experience for us. My wife's favorite dish is the scallop udon. She orders this dish every time. So she knows it well. However this Saturday night 11/9/19 she was disappointed to see that the dish had changed. The broth was different it was much more beef based, darker in color & didn't have the same amount of ginger flavor. She also noted that instead of a few large scallops she had a larger number of small scallops. I tried the scallop udon as it is also one of my favorites. Needless to say were both disappointed in the change to one of our favorite dishes.
We also saw a sign as we entered regarding the new "kids" menu. We have children but reserve Monkey Cat for date nights or dining with other adults. Our typical dinner for the two of us with appetizers, salad, entry, desert & a bottle of wine sometimes two is well over $200 & worth every penny. We have restaurants we take our children too & will take to the Monkey Cat when they are old enough for the full menu. Until then we will continue to take them to restaurants with placemats for coloring & crayons. I surely hope to not see crayons & coloring mats reserved for lesser dining experiences than what we have come to know from Monkey Cat.

c
Sacramento
2 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great meal. The chicken cordon bleu was excellent, as were there desserts.

T
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I love Monkey Cat! I always tell friends and coworkers about Monkey Cat every chance I get. When my daughter visits from Southern California we “have to” go to Monkey Cat.

That being said, for the first time ever I was seated on the bar-side of the restaurant. The ambiance was not there. The lighting is a bit harsh in the one light fixture (we were under it) as compared to softer bulbs in all the others. There’s too big a walk thru for traffic right down that center section, the tables are laid out like any regular old place but this is Monkey Cat, seems more thought could have been put into that layout on that side and more fitting to the vibe of the restaurant. But we love the entire menu, the bar menu and the staff are wonderful and fun! I’m sorry to mention the lights/seating. It did unfortunately affect this visit and we didn’t linger for dessert and coffee. But I’ll be back. Thank you.

DE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food. Excellent drinks. Excellent service.

DG
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food

G
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience3

Very disappointed in the quality of the food
Terribly over priced for tomatoe soup with a few shell fish - special

EF
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Fantastic food and service! They just created a kids menu and it was very good and kid approved! Highly recommend their calamari appetizer. Good selection of local wines as well! Definitely check it out!

TR
Sacramento
113 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Server was very attentive and polite, but a little pushy in regards to trying to get us to by additional wine and desert.

e
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Have eaten here often. Alway good food and great service. The noise level was a little higher than usual due to a couple of large parties. We love the place and will be back soon.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Always a delightful place to eat ..

KW
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

An enjoyable evening due to good service and delicious food and drink.We all felt the staff was going out of their way to make are evening out special. Please be assured that our group will return again!

1
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very good !

The only thing I would ask of Monkey Cat (and any restaurant) is that they inform their chefs that EVERY one of the following is a member of the ONION FAMILY:
Onion, scallions, vidalias, cippolli, chives, leeks, red onion, pearl onions, shallots. Especially if used as a garnish (raw).

But not necessarily garlic

Ask.

TZ
Charleston
5 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

One of our favorites in Auburn.

OT
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Heard about it and went

JP
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Great food and service!! Best cooked scallops I have ever had . Totally recommend it.

LD
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A bit pricey, but the food was excellent as well as the service. I had the salmon and it was superb. The rice was not so great, but the veggies and the spinach salad, yum. The wine was a great value.

h
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall2food2service5ambience2

The food and wine overall were just lacking. The red wine felt on the warm side as well. The service was great, attentive and friendly. The host and server were just awesome. Coming from Sonoma County, a food and wine mecca, maybe my standards aren't realistic for this area. The prices were comparable to Sonoma County restaurants so I would hope the flavor would hold up to that but not so much. There is an Italian restaurant in downtown Auburn that is similarly priced and far better in flavor and presentation (I won't name names here to be fair). Our appetizer, an apple brie crostini, and the bread on the table were the highlight but unfortunately not enough for me to want to come back.

D
Austin
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service was excellent, the Chilean Sea Bass was phenomenal and we loved the ambiance and artwork! Also, the bread...literally unreal...couldn't get enough : ) Would absolutely recommend for a date or fun night out...thanks y'all! We'll be back!

OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We have been to Monkey Cat several times and this was the first time we reserved using OpenTable. We arrived 10 min early
and were seated promptly at first service was slow but after the server made it to us and took the order things picked up. One comment I would make is when booking the reservation one of the options was “special occasion” I marked anniversary(it was our 5 year wedding anniversary) but the the “special occasion” was not acknowledged by staff. I’m fine with that but others might not be. So why ask the question if it’s irrelevant? All in all dinner was good our bill came out to around 130 for two of us plus a 26 dollar tip.

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The food was very good.

LH
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Exceptional. I have never written a restaurant review if that tells you something. I wish I remembered our server's name. She was just outstanding. There were 4 of us; all foodies and great cooks. We know good food and good service. We ordered the fried artichoke appetizer and wedge salads. Delicious. We each had a different entree. Chicken Cordon Bleu, a really nice filet and an Asian flavored pork tenderloin. We ordered the more common and even unimaginative entree and salad choices, but they elevated those dishes so well. They offered some creative fish and pasta specials that we will try next time. Everything perfectly seasoned and cooked. It was our anniversary, so we splurged and ordered dessert. A raspberry lemon layered cake. Very nice. Overall, one of those rare and magical great food and service experiences.

PW
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience4

We've been to Monkey Cat several times, and in the past, both the food and service were top-notch. This time, though, the service was really slow (I hear there was a very large party having a meal, so that explains that).

We brought an out-of-town friend, and we were kind of embarrassed, since we'd told him how good the food would be. He and I ordered the special dish that's like cioppino, but the server came back to tell us that the large party had ordered this too, so I ordered the rib eye, which turned out more well done than how I'd ordered it (rare). I did enjoy the dry rub seasoning, though, but it wasn't melt-in-your-mouth tender, like I always expect when I order a good steak. In the center where it should have been more tender, it was still pretty tough...not a high quality cut of meat, although it cost $32. Yikes.

I'm sure we will return, and maybe it was a bad day for Monkey Cat. Let's hope for the best.

BK
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We frequent Monkey Cat and always have a great experience. Our server Tony was professional, very personable and knowledgeable. We will be back very soon.

OT
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, and the food was excellent. top notch servers.

RF
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

We had heard that this restaurant was the best in town and decided to try it out. The three of us had a hamburger, lamb dish, and duck dish. The hamburger was the best item and it was huge. The duck tasted a little like ham and the lamb was just okay. Our tab came to $140 with food and tip. Oh, we got there for happy hour when they had $5 wine so my sister and I each got two glasses before the happy hour time was gone. The wine was delicious. All in all, this was a moderately expensive meh dinner. So, not bad...just not $140.

d
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience4

Food was great service slow waited twenty minutes for server to show up and then lt slowed down

SK
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this restaurant, have been visiting it for quite a few years. The food and service have always been excellent. On my last visit there, my friend and I had an excellent, but we also had the pleasure of having Gabrielle as our server. She was outstanding and so delightful, made you want to get to know her better. I look forward to seeing her again.

SB
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience3

The special halibut was tasteless. If it wasn't for the salsa it would have had no flavor at all. Although, the restaurant was not busy and we had reservations it seemed like we had to wait awhile for the food - then when we requested more bread while we continued to wait for the food we were charged $2.00. The bread was really good. Then after we were done with our meal it took awhile to get our check. When she finally showed back up to our table she is pushing the deserts....didn't have time for that asked for the check and giddy-up outta there. Not sure I would recommend the restaurant to anyone just passing thru. If you have the time....probably would give it another shot.

GC
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent dining experience! This is the best restaurant in Auburn.

TZ
Charleston
5 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very nice dinner, they use local produce and everything was fresh. Bottles of wine were reasonably priced. We will return!

OT
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

So very helpful and so very nice and friendly
Found some of our dishes to be a bit too salty
Price point was fair
We will come back!

BH
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Cozy atmosphere paired with delicious food and excellent service at a good value.

G
Sacramento
4 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

We have been going there for +-10 years and have always been pleased, but Thursday's short ribs were out of this world, and the tomato salad was lovely. It was a yummy night with a very pleasant server.

MS
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Tony, our waiter was excellent. The food was very good. My only gripe was a $12 margarita that was quite tasteless and not very large for that price.

k
Central Coast
85 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Sweet patio outside for you and your pup! They are very accommodating and friendly. Water bowls included! Food was super!

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