|This entry refers to a departed business that has closed or left town. All information here is for historical reference only.
|808 2nd Street
|1800 L Street, Sacramento
|Lunch Monday to Friday: 11:30 AM to 2:30pm
|Dinner Sunday to Wednesday: 5:00 PM to 10:00pm
|Thursday to Saturday: 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM
|$6-$8/$15-$20 depending on what part of the menu is appealing
|American Express, Diner's Club, MasterCard, Visa
Aioli Bodega Española was a restaurant that served Spanish cuisine (including Tapas) in an upscale setting. They offered a full selection of Spanish tapas, meals, wines, and desserts for lunch or dinner.
Their Sacramento location is still open.
They replaced Cafe California in this location. They were replaced by Our House. According to The Davis Enterprise: Bellarbi’s son, Aziz Bellarbi-Salah, said the Davis Aioli was "doing pretty well." His dad didn’t want to leave, but the lease was not renewed. He said Davis City Councilwoman Sue Greenwald has contacted them, suggesting other Davis sites for Aioli. He said his dad is "waiting for a location that speaks to him."
- Read a story and see more photos in Davis Life Magazine.
- Read a review with beautiful photos in Davis Life Magazine.
- Upscale Spanish Cuisine Comes to Downtown Davis — California Aggie article (2006-02-27)
More Current Reviews
2008-01-20 23:06:11 I went to this place with my boyfriend when they first opened, and had a horrible experience. It took an hour and a half to get our food, and the chicken tappa dish was very overcooked. I told the waiter about it, and he said that I should come in any day but saturday for the chicken because the chef tends to overcook the chicken on the weekends. I thought he was joking, but he wasn't. No offer to replace the chicken, and no offer to take it off our bill. We went there a second time because we were given a gift certificate, and there was a huge improvement. The waiter (different one this time) even gave us a complimentary tappa so that we can give the chef our opinion on it! I think they just had to work out the kinks. —Dr.Lindsay
2008-01-31 12:09:50 very nice date restaurant. My wife and I went here and the bartender was very friendly and kind. The food was awesome, really good. very rich and savory dishes, we had a shrimp bisque that was so, so good. The drinks use fresh squeezed juice not any cheap mixers. —DagonJones
2008-02-19 22:26:52 Yummy spanish tomato soup! The specialty dishes are very reasonably priced for the amount of high quality food. The tapas, while tasty, are a little pricey for the quantity. Many of the tapas should be a dollar less. The service was attentive when we've been with small groups (2-6 people), but somewhat slow for a larger group. Nice atmosphere except if you get stuck in the nook off to the left side of the main sitting area. The table (or is it two tables?) seem to have been added for additional seating, but are not as nice and cozy as the other tables. The veggie options could be improved a little, but overall one of the top places to go in town for a more upscale yet laid back dinner. —mj
2008-04-15 18:54:51 I absolutely loved the food here, I would definetly say that this was the best and most high end fare I've had in Davis. Service was friendly but the waitress definetly talked down to my boyfriend and I, be it our age or my piercings I would just like to note that those things don't necessarily meen we are ignorant so please don't be judgemental of your patrons it's very infuriating. But like I said excellent food so we'll be back very soon. —sdlexie
2008-05-03 10:48:38 I recently ate here, and what I was most impressed with was the fresh squeezed juice (they have a press right there attached to the bar) they use in their cocktails. Very delicious touch! —Catan
2008-05-03 12:27:17 We visited here last summer/late spring, and honestly, all I can remember is how freezing it was. It was pretty warm outside, but inside I shivered the entire meal. It wasn't fun. —ElleWeber
2008-07-06 08:21:00 This is a weird question, but for someone just starting to explore Spanish food and culture for the first time, what's good a dish to try for a newbie to Spanish food? —thelonepiper555
- Not a weird question at all... seems to me that trying some of the tapas (small plates) might be a good way to start — that way you could try a number of different things that sound good, and see what you like. Hmm, maybe I didn't answer your question. But I haven't really had a bad dish here. —CovertProfessor
2008-11-18 20:16:53 yesterday i came with a friend of mine for a lunch. I like the restaurant, especially the interior decoration and the paintings on the walls. The food was new to me since I hadn't tried spanish food. By the way, I really enjoyed the best service and the food provided! I urge you to come as many times as possible! —davisangel
2009-01-09 20:46:57 just got from dinner where the food was okay but overpriced for small portions and very slow service. it was probably because of our age and dress attire(college students in casual clothes). Everyone else who had grey hair or collared shirts were attended to often. we however, were ignored for most of the time. the good parts were the paintings on the wall and the baskets and baskets of bread that the girl kept bringing to us. but yea our guy waiter didn't even stop by again after he delivered our dinner to us. —skinnyfatgirl
2009-02-07 23:50:07 If you are here for food, you should order the full plates (forgot how they are called on the menu, but you get the idea) and not the tapas. Their regular meals are actually plentiful, well prepared, and not that expensive. —Xenophon
2009-02-15 11:47:27 The worst! I made reservations on Valentine's Day for me and my girlfriend. while we were waiting, four people were seated ahead of us without reservations! which pissed me and my girlfriend off which was a great way to start out our dinner.The food was awful and overpriced.the service was horrible i can not believe they get away with their prices. as we were leaving one of the servers bumped into my girlfriend and didn't even say anything. I DO NOT THINK THEY LIKE YOUNGER PEOPLE AT ALL(18-21). I'm going to call the manager and will post his reply to what i have to say. —AdamcityofDavis
2009-02-15 23:59:54 My boyfriend and I also ate there on valentines day and had a horrible experience. We arrived at 10 and the restaurant was basically empty, the waiter made us sit at the bar for 15 minutes while he "prepared" our table until my boyfriend asked another waiter if we could sit at one of the five empty set tables next to us. Our waited was the host and wore a vest while the others did not, but I thought it was ironic how he was running around telling the others what to do while blatantly ignoring us the entire night. He finally took our order after we had been sitting unattended for 30 minutes. My boyfriend and I both ordered appetizers only, and twenty minutes later he brought my boyfriends but not mine. I didn't get my food until my boyfriend had to stand up and ask another waiter for my food, which they brought promtly because it had been ready the whole time. In addition, the waiter also got my order wrong. When we were waiting for our bill we also had to listen to our waiter yell at one of the waitresses right behind us for ten minutes. Throughout the entire meal, the only person who was particularly nice to us was the bartender. It may have been because we are young (18-19), but regardless of the reason it was extremely rude and horrible service, and on valentines of all days. When it comes to service at restaurants my boyfriend and I are usually very understanding, but this experience by far was our worst and we will not be going there again. —Rwor
2009-02-17 09:33:30 Ya me and my girlfriend fit that younger group (18-22) and i think that is why. We should be able to attend these restaurants regardless of age especially for the prices. i called aioli's left a message with both of my numbers and still no call back. in fact we went over to dos coyotes after this place and they were 5 min from closing and they were still happy to serve me and my girlfriend.I told them about aioli's and they said they heard a similar experience.The great service with a smile and amazing food made up for the worst experience at aioli's. aioli's is not for younger people especially on v-day. —AdamcityofDavis
2009-02-17 18:48:52 well i called back because they do not like to return messages. I spoke to a lady and told her that i want to speak to the manager. she put me on hold then came back to ask why i needed to talk to him. i told her that i needed to speak with him. so i spoke to ludovic(the manager) and he told me to stop by the restaurant at 5pm tomorrow. i will write back and tell you how he is going to handle this situation. —AdamcityofDavis
2009-03-05 08:55:29 I just ate at Aioli last night. We were going to a show at mondovi and in kinda a rush but we let our server know we were in a rush and she quickly recommended some great tapas that were quick to make. The gambas were the best of all of the dishs. I have read reveiws about the service being bad, but our server Adrian was amazing. She took care of us very well, reminding us what time it was when it was close to the time we should be leaving. I had a great time and for all of you who are new to the resturaunt or who had a bad experience I recommend requesting her as your waitress. She was great! I will definatly be back. —AmandaSwartz
2009-03-20 21:26:52 Tonight I went there on a date. The service was dreadful. We waited for 45 minutes for two dishes. Several other groups, seated after us, were served before us. Fortunately, after the two dishes, we were full. Maybe that was because they stuffed us full of complementary bread. The owner went around to several tables with older customers, but mostly ignored tables with younger customers. While we were waiting (we were there for over an hour) maybe one other group came in. It was a Friday night. That should say something. —popofosho
2009-03-26 13:35:32 This restaurant is a very poor value. I've been there twice (each time as a guest of others). The tapas are flavorful and artfully prepared and laid out with all due care using fine ingredients. But paying $9-10 for a little plate that doesn't have enough on it to feed a chihuahua is beyond what I could take. First time the service was rude, second time it was good. If you go, get someone else to spring for it. I wasn't too surprised that the place was uncrowded even at peak dinner time. Restroom was not very clean. —grzyb
2009-05-10 15:31:49 The food and ambiance here is REALLY good and I always look forward to coming here but sometimes the slow service makes me very irritable during my meal. They recently took my favorite dish off the menu though. The price here is a little high for Davis but imo its worth the food quality. —Michelleshueh
2009-06-21 10:03:44 Great, just great!! I consider this one of my top 3 restaurants in all of Davis! Food is delicious, the quality of service is outstanding and the atmosphere is modern and upscale.
People are gonna say the meals were small but that's how Tapas are... small "samplers" to the eyes of Americans. You're suppose to order 3-4 different Tapas and share'em. That's the true Spanish culture! Expect to pay $40 for a dinner for two.—aaron.smith
2009-09-19 12:43:45 the first time i ate here i really liked the food/experience. friendly bartender, nice mojitos, good food... then i went again with a b-day party a year or so later. it was good but we had to wait 45 minutes for a table although i had called in for a reservation. the last time i went (may '09) it was the most ridiculous experience i've had in a very long time. first- the lemonade. mine was a delightful handmade concoction of fresh lemons and sugar, my date's was a lemon squeezed in water. seriously. i asked our server to sweeten it up & it came back with a layer of undissolved sugar congealing on the bottom of the glass. the food- our plate of roasted vegi's were way too greasy and were presented to us as "LEGUMES". the waitress had no clue about eggplant, carrots, peppers? can't see it getting better.
2010-05-23 22:07:18 Ate here last night, party of two. Excellent experience overall, it was the first time either of us had eaten here. I know a few things about Spanish food, so I felt comfortable with the menu and kind of knew what I would like. We had 4 tapas to start; anchovies on crisped bread with lemon and olive oil, spanish tortilla with aioli and a tart tomato sauce (their tortilla "tres colores"), olives in vinegar, and a sour octopus and potato dish.
I had a glass of the house spanish red (a tempranillo) with these. Everything except the spanish tortilla was executed wonderfully. The tortilla seemed a little soggy (perhaps refrigerated too long or not cooked long enough), but still tasted fine. We ordered the paella valenciana for the main course, which serves two. Our waitress let us know that the paella was prepared to order, and took about 35 minutes to cook. We weren't in a rush, and so about 10 minutes after we had eliminated the 4 plates of tapas and a basket of bread, we had the paella on our table.
The paella could easily serve 3 people given the tapas we ordered, and we ended up taking about a third of it home with us. It was absolutely delicious; the rice was well-seasoned with lemon being the predominant theme. There was a plentiful amount of meat as well; squid, mussels, large shrimp, moist chunks of chicken, and in the center 2 melt-in-your-mouth tender pork spare ribs. The presentation was also quite nice.
For those who've never eaten Spanish-style cuisine before, tapas aren't something you order in a sit-down restaurant with the expectation of a frugal meal. Tapas bars cater to that sort of appeal, but a tapas bar Aioli is not, even if they do both have a bar and serve tapas. I would suggest whatever the special paella of the day is for dinner, and for lunch try to get by with the bread, generous salad, and one of the heartier tapas like the spanish tortilla.
Pricewise, we paid $75 plus tip, and that was with $18 worth of wine. So for food alone, about $57, which is by no means exorbitant in my book for a restaurant of Aioli's quality. —RDRIII
2010-06-22 15:37:04 This place is very nice. I went here with my wife for a nice dinner. The Tapas are excellent, all very tasty and unique. We had prawns, seared tuna, tomato soup, and a portabella mushroom cap. Each tapa had a very interesting blend of spices, they were all very attractive as well. Their cocktail selection is limited but what they do make they make very good. I had a lemon drop and it was made with fresh squeezed lemon juice. The service was very good, our server was attentive and friendly but not bothersome. I would go here much more often if I could afford it. You get what you pay for here, a very nice gourmet dinner with excellent service. 2 cocktails, 4 tapas, tax, and tip $60. —DagonJones
2010-06-23 17:18:10 This is easily my favorite Davis restaurant. Food is universally superb, service is excellent. Their Sacramento location is equally as good in terms of food and service, but I think it lacks the ambiance of Aioli Bodega in Davis. —pschrupp
2010-08-23 19:37:15 I went here with a friend and his parents when they were visiting for Davis's Picnic Day. The food was wonderful, every tapas we ordered was delicious and leaving us wanting more, though at the end we were all satisfied. I'm just glad I didn't have to pick up the bill, as it was not cheap. Definitely worth the money though! —KurtSassenrath
2010-12-30 22:47:12 Would not recommend anything that contains seafood. The gambas tasted and smelled awful. Had to send them back. Ordered calamari. The Chef suggested we ordered something else. The service is slow, the prices are high, and all in all, the food not worth going back. Zazie N. —IsauraNakada
2011-01-12 14:26:27 in direct opposition to the previous comment best calamari I've ever had —shambler
2011-01-20 16:45:02 My girlfriend took me here for my birthday last night. The spanish onion soup and tortilla tapas were delicious. Watch out for the short rib, though very tasty it was also quite rich and comes in a huge portion. Service was good, but we were one of four couples in there. I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to have some good Spanish food for a special occasion. —GrandCru.Conroy
2011-02-15 17:35:09 I went there last night for Valentine's day and the waiter informed me they were shutting down for good today (2-15-11). Can anybody confirm this? —aroach12
2011-02-15 17:53:21 Called their Sacramento location to confirm. Sad to see them go. We really enjoyed dinners here as a family. —Aaron.Curtin
2011-02-16 15:24:19 This was one of our favorites. Paella was better than what had in Barcelona in 2010. It definitely closed 2/14/2011. Rumor is that the property owner wants to tear down everything from Tucos to Village bakery and build a multistory development like across the street. High rents will follow. —Craighton
2011-08-14 18:01:32 This was my favorite restaurant in Davis, and I was really sad to see them go. On the upside, their departure forced us to check out their downtown Sac location, which definitely has better ambiance and a cute outdoor patio with flamenco music! It was definitely worth the trip to Sac. —DrX