by Allen Pierleoni, Sacramento Bee

The surprise of the year was finding a serious restaurant with an international menu inside a casino, though it turned out that Stones Gambling Hall is a class act. Among our favorites: lobster bisque, Thai grilled chicken salad, pork dumplings, duck tacos, wood-fired New York-style mushroom-sausage-pesto pizza and braised lamb shank.

Inside Stones Gambling Hall, 6508 Antelope Road, Citrus Heights; 916-735-8440, www.stonesgamblinghall.com