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Rainbird, Merced, CA

Rainbird

4.6
4.6
57 Reviews
$50 and over
Californian

Located in the heart of one of the most productive agricultural regions globally, chefs at El Capitan prepare artisanal fare and spirits that pay homage to the ranchers, farmers, cheesemakers, bakers, brewers, and winemakers that have re-fashioned Merced into one of California’s best kept epicurean secrets.

Make a reservation

2 people

May 2022
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7:00 PM


Booked 5 times today

Additional information

Menu

At present, we do not have menu information for this restaurant. Please see their website or wait to visit the restaurant to learn more.

What 57 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.6
4.6 based on recent ratings
  • 4.5Food
  • 4.8Service
  • 4.7Ambience
  • 4.2Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Best Service

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Best Ambiance

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Fit for Foodies

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Neighborhood Gem

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Notable Wine List

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Romantic

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Special Occasion

  • Fresno / San Joaquin Valley

    Most Booked

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  1. AR

    AndreaR

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Had a wonderful experience at Rainbird this weekend celebrating my birthday. The staff is very professional, friendly and knowledgeable of the menu. Our brunch was delicious and we enjoyed every bite. My family is excited to come back for dinner next time.

  2. CA

    ChristinaA

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 3 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Everything from the ambience, plating, food, and staff was amazing! I highly recommend this restaurant

  3. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on May 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Food and service were excellent! So glad to have a quality restaurant like this in Merced.

  4. M

    Mell

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 15, 2022

    overall3food3service5ambience3

    Service was great. Ambiance, nothing special. The food was lacking flavor. When the bread was the star of the meal, that is pretty sad.

  5. DG

    DanaG

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience5

    The spring brunch was delicious, the atmosphere was beautiful, and the staff was very attentive. A "special occasion " place for us due to the price, but we look forward to coming back to try their seasonal menu. I highly recommend their Spring Thyme cocktail.

  6. J

    Juliet

    San Francisco

    10 reviews

    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall5food4service4ambience5

    We had a wonderful mother's day brunch. Our server Rachel was kind and knowledgable of the menu.

  7. HW

    HerbW

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    The Rainbird was a pleasant surprise. Even in large cities, it is uncommon to find a restaurant that explores food to this level. The portions look small, but after all the courses it is plenty. I was full, and I can eat quite a bit. The flavors were great! Many of them explored new twists and combinations of flavors I would not have thought of. It was great!

  8. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 8, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Great food and ambiance. Definitely recommend trying at least once.

  9. M

    Mari

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 7, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    If you love trying new foods and flavors, this is the place to go! Waiters were helpful in recommendations and were great guides. The portions are small but at the end of dinner you will be full. Presentation is amazing. Service is excellent.

  10. RS

    RickS

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 7, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience3

    Unique food, smaller portions, excellent service. Do the wine pairing with the food. Chairs were uncomfortable and not compatible with the dinning experience.

  11. ND

    NorbertD

    San Joaquin

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on May 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    We had brunch here for our anniversary and it didn’t disappoint. When you dine here, be prepared to have an adventurous palet, no large portions, and not bargain prices. The quality is definitely there and is certainly a treat to have a true culinary experience in Merced!

  12. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on May 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    The Sunday Brunch food was excellent, everything we had was top notch. It's a little pricey but worth it.

  13. C

    Christine

    Exclusive

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Want a change ? This is it!! Everything about it was a great experience !

  14. K

    Khan

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on May 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    This was an amazing experience. I went with my wife and two kids and we had the best time. Their service, food, presentation, the cocktails were all fantastic. Highly recommend it. Stay in the hotel El Capitan and dine there. Both are amazing.

  15. SD

    SandraD

    San Joaquin

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on May 1, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4

    Dishes were delicious and creative, and presentation lovely. Although not huge portions, there was plenty for the two of us to share bites of each course. At the end of the evening I was full and my husband satisfied. I chose the smoked cauliflower first course and the duck entree. My husband had the mushroom risotto and the poached cod. We both had the chocolate dessert. We enjoyed all of the courses very much. The service was excellent. Unfortunately there was a loud party near our table so it was not easy to hear our server. She was knowledgeable about the day’s menu and very pleasant. All the staff members were friendly and polite. The wine list seemed a bit over priced so we went with the suggested wine pairings. At $35 each this in our opinion was reasonable. The pours were the right size for us. If you want a dining experience a couple steps up from the usual fare I recommend Rainbird. We will return for our next special occasion.

  16. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 29, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    So fun trying Chef's creations with local products. The atmosphere is so light and relaxing and I like that the music is only subtly audible. I feel the pricing is very fair for the energy that gets put on the beautiful serving dishes. And every dish is excitingly something I've never had before. Brunch was wonderful a couple weeks back and this dining experience was as well. I already have another reservation booked for my brother's birthday in a few weeks. Can't wait to see how the menu shifts with the seasons. Also, I’m a lightweight so went in over my head but the cocktails were so lovely — light and refreshing, balanced and so 👌. The wine pairings were perfect. Thank you

  17. TS

    TravisS

    San Joaquin

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Wonderful and fun experience. Loved the ambiance and the food was amazing

  18. TK

    TonyaK

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    We enjoyed the brunch tasting menu and atmosphere of Rainbird. The French press coffee service feels decadent and the selections are varied. In our party, we tried the pancake, grits, salmon eggs benedict, steak, stroopwaffle, beignets, fresh fruit with lavender syrup, bacon and crispy fried potatoes with fondue. One thing to note is that the house-made bacon isn't bacon in the traditional sense. It's a slab of glazed pork belly. Deliciously different.

  19. B

    Brad

    San Francisco

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 24, 2022

    overall1food1service1ambience3

    The portions were to small for The price and the food has too many conflicting flavors to the food. They are trying to cram a bunch of flavors into each bite and it is not a good experience. The food was served at a snails pace and the waitress was just as slow. We were there for two hours and most Of the time was spent waiting for the next tiny course. Both desserts were inedible with one being made out of a potatoe and the other one being too salty with the ganache and no flavor with the cake. They served me old bitter and cold coffee. I asked for fresh coffee but it tasted like Folgers coffee and was only slightly better when they made a fresh pot. Not worth the trip and not worth returning. I cooked for a living for over ten years and cannot believe what a terrible experience it was and believe they should make drastic changes to be able to have repeat customers.

  20. AR

    AndrewR

    San Francisco

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on April 24, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Absolutely amazing ! A must try !

  21. DW

    DWilson

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 16, 2022

    overall2food2service5ambience5

    Food presentation was outstanding. Services were outstanding. Food provided out priced. Wine way out priced for what you receive. Should have researched what the community palate acquired taste reveals.

  22. E

    Erinleigh47

    San Francisco

    22 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    22 reviews

    Dined on April 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Our experience at Rainbird was such a treat. First of all, it has been a minute since we have visited downtown Merced and the improvements are impressive. We pulled up for valet parking which was so nice. We stopped by the bar for a drink and looked around the lobby of the hotel. Not a fault of Rainbird, but the hotel desk attendants could have been more welcoming. The restaurant, though. One of the most beautiful restaurants in the Central Valley. Such thoughtful textures…linen, wood, sea grass, leather. The lighting was perfect. All the touches that make you feel so good when you walk in. The only thing that could be improved upon was there was a significant change in temperature from the hotel to the restaurant. We were a little chilly when we first sat down, and going to the restroom and back to the restaurant, the temperature drop was noticeable. We sat at the Chef’s table made from a local carpenter. It felt so good to be at the back of the restaurant next to the bar. The servers were so conscientious about their voices. It was so refreshing to be in a serene space where you could tell they took such care for every detail. Even the noise. Our group ordered cocktails and asked for the wine pairing. The smoked acorn old fashion smelled like heaven. The amuse bouche was lovely and for starters we ordered one of everything around the table so we could try it all. Our favorite was the amber jack - hamachi with avocado and citrus. The flavors were perfection. The cauliflower custard and risotto were also standouts as our second course. As everyone has said, the bread course is delicious! Our favorite entrees were the lamb and cod, and our favorite dessert was the black walnut cake. What a gift to have this restaurant in our area! So many compliments to the chef, the servers, and the owners for creating such a remarkable dining experience. We can’t wait to go back!

  23. PP

    PatriciaP

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    The rainbird is the perfect reason to dress up and look cute for brunch

  24. M

    Mike

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 10, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4

    If your looking for a unique dinning experience this is the place. The presentation and taste of the dishes were all amazing,

  25. JS

    JinSF

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on April 10, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5

    Nice atmosphere and well thought decoration. The 5- meal cuisine is nicely presented, but has room for improvement in taste.

  26. KK

    KellyK

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 9, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Beyond wonderful! The tasted just as amazing as it was presented!!

  27. BR

    BobbieRico

    San Joaquin

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 3, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Service was outstanding! The courses were.made for fine dining and prices were very affordable. Would definitely recommend

  28. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on April 2, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Wonderful experience, beautiful food. Amazing creativity created in every bite.

  29. EC

    EllenC

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 2, 2022

    overall2food2service3ambience4

    I really wanted to love the food - Merced needs a fine dining experience. I feel it could have been an excellent meal, however SALT was used very heavily. Everything was too salty except dessert. The gorgeous bread was ruined by the overuse of salt. The ribeye steak was too smokey in flavor - overpowered the actual flavor of the delicious meat. The sweet potato in the pistachio ice cream was burnt & not a pistachio was found. The very best part of our dinner was the Panna Cotta dessert that was brought to us by mistake, so besides being free - we wanted to lick the bowl. The staff was new but very friendly, the ambience and decor was beautiful. Please improve, Merced needs you! We did have a lot of FUN!

  30. e

    erinh1

    San Francisco

    31 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    31 reviews

    Dined on March 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    Adjacent to the El Capitan Hotel, our lodging on a Saturday night. The restaurant showed no availability a week in advance; on an impulse I checked again the day of arrival and was surprised to find every time slot now available. Glad I thought to look because we planned to find another restaurant. It was my daughter's birthday which they mentioned several times. The starters were delicious and beautifully plated and described by our server. The bread was the best bread I've ever eaten--grilled, homemade sourdough with three accompanying spreads. The fish was different than what was indicated online--it was a cod with spring peas instead of halibut (new item evidently). Delicious. I wish I had ordered the fish instead of the ribeye. Shocked to find the medium rare steak a bit tough, because everything up to that point had been flawless. A few small slices but I did not finish it. For dessert we chose the walnut cake. It was actually slices of dark bittersweet chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and meringue flourishes. We are chocolate lovers but agreed a dash of citrus/tang was needed to cut so much chocolate and sweetness. We were expecting walnut cake. Service was very attentive and each course was served in a timely manner. Portions are petite but, with the five (rich) courses and generous slice of divine bread, just the right amount of food. Would definitely return if in Merced again.

  31. AR

    AmyR

    Sacramento

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on March 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Delicious dining adventure using seasonal CA ingredients! Highly recommend.

  32. ES

    ESaldi

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Fun and fancy five course experience not like any other restaurant in Merced. Nicely decorated dining room and staff was very attentive.

  33. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Joaquin

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Heard about the opening for several months, and celebrated the end of a professional journey with my boys. Also was excited to experience the passion and labor of the head chef and the staff to elevate Merced and highlight food of the Central Valley. Environment/Ambience Truly looks and feels like a fine dining multi course venue. Was impressed, almost felt like we left Merced! Service The staff went out of their way to be accommodating. A small accident occurred and they gave us our first drinks on the house. Very gracious of them. They carefully served our food, explained each course, and replaced our silverware each time. Food Presentation and food were amazing. Impressed with the wide variety of ingredients, and some highlights of sourcing ingredients and wood. The bread was unbelievable. Overall a truly great experience. Looking forward to the next time!

  34. NS

    NSP1

    Las Vegas

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 26, 2022

    overall5food3service5ambience5

    We had a very enjoyable experience. The service was excellent. The food selections for us were a hit or a miss, but the server recommendations were good.

  35. d

    dfox

    San Francisco

    12 reviews

    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on March 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    We’ll worth the hour drive to get there. Lovely presentation, wonderful wine pairings, and creative cooking.

  36. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Tahoe

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Our experience at Rainbird was exceptional. Every detail from greeting us by name when we arrived, to thoughtfully placed elements on our table, to the purposeful service and relaxing ambiance. Our meal was flavorful and the presentation unforgettable. This is a special occasion experience and a real treasure to have here in Merced. An elevated dining experience you would expect in New York or San Francisco. We look forward to returning!

  37. c

    carolem

    Tahoe

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on March 18, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience5

    We were celebrating a special event and choosing this restaurant was the best choice because every detail made us feel special. Loved the unique presentations of each course, the beautiful dinnerware, music, food everything. The price was high, but you get what you pay for.

  38. JE

    JESSICAO

    Central Coast

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    My husband and I came here and were blown away! The food was phenomenal and you can tell the chef has passion, love and respect for the ingredients; you can not only see it in the presentation but taste it as well. I have been blessed to have eaten some amazing food in my life and this has to be one of the best meals I have had. I can't wait to go back for my next experience!! The staff was absolutely wonderful as well. Ih and if you are a bread fan, you are in for a TREAT!! Best sourdough I've had in my life!!!!

  39. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Joaquin

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 12, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Date night at @elcapitanmerced @rainbirdrestaurant 👫🏻 💕We had an absolute lovely evening spending quality time and enjoying every bite of the #5coursemeal. We didn’t even realize we were dining for 3 hours because of how great of a time we were having. Everything was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS and we had the best experience thanks to the whole #Rainbird staff especially to our server Dylan! (Knowledgeable about each dish. Ingredients and how it was prepped and cooked)… and of course, thank you my love for always making me feel special and important everyday.🥰

  40. K

    Kate

    San Francisco

    4 reviews

    2.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on March 11, 2022

    overall2food2service5ambience3

    Pleasant, comfortable decor, limited to tasting menu, food is one note and understated. Very hotel. Way too expensive.

FAQs

Rainbird is rated 4.6 stars by 57 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

May 2022
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7:00 PM


Booked 5 times today
Google Map for Rainbird

609 W Main St Merced, CA 95340

Additional information

  • Neighborhood

    Merced

  • Hours of operation

    Dinner Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    Californian

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Business Casual

  • Parking details

    None

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