Monkey Cat: Foothill palapa dining

FOR NEARLY THREE DECADES, JIM BRIL helped run the word-famous Fior d’Italia restaurant in San Francisco. His regulars included Mayor Joe Alioto, Tommy Lasorda and Lance Armstrong.

Now Jim owns Monkey Cat restaurant in Auburn. He jokes that Lance will be visiting again—this time as he rides past the upscale bistro in the Amgen Tour of California bike race in May.

Monkey Cat has become a popular spot since Jim bought it nearly six years ago. The restaurant is named after an exotic and elusive creature, with piercing green eyes.

“With a name like Monkey Cat, we can serve a wide range of entrees, from exotic to comfort food,” says Jim, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Trish.

The menu has a continental flair, with some exotic items. Examples include rack of lamb, chicken picatta, an blackened mahi-mahi. Other items include build-your-own pasta (we like the mushroom alfredo sauce) and vegetable risotto.

“Yin Yang” spring rolls are a favorite appetizer: bok choy, carrot, red bell pepper, cucumber and bean sprouts with Thai peanut sauce. The pan-seared scallops topped with a blackened corn salsa is a classic appetizer.

Monkey Cat’s Palapa bar is one of the foothills’ best outdoor patios. The cocktail menu includes classic Martinis, Rum Runners and fresh-fruit Margaritas. The restaurant’s terrace room, which seats 26 people, is ideal for banquets. Its French door open onto the patio.

Monkey Cat
805 Lincoln Way, Auburn

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