For foodies in the 209 looking for a unique menu, make time for a stop at The Elegant Bull Restaurant in Delhi. While for some, it may be a bit of a journey along Highway 99, but it is worth the trip. Frank and Karen Machado opened the Elegant Bull in 1989 and although there have been many changes, the menu, quality and European and American-style cuisine has remained the same.
“Frank tells people don’t judge us by the outside, come see the little gem that is on the inside,” said Karen. “We have customers who have come back over three generations. Your customers are what make you happy. We have met some really special people.”
The fine dining dinner house may look unassuming, but don’t let the outside fool you as the large menu has a variety of offerings that are homemade family recipes and new inventions from the Machados that cannot be found anywhere else.
“We have Italian, Portuguese, a pork dish from Switzerland,” stated Karen. “We have a variety. Frank comes up with his own dishes and all the soups are made from scratch. I designed the garlic ranch dressing.”
The only thing on the menu that will change is the fresh fish. They are very selective of the items that are offered to their guests on their menu. The wild caught offerings from the ocean have seasonal availability. A guest favorite is the ‘Extravaganza’ with lobster, gulf prawns, sea scallops sautéed together in herbed clam butter with white wine served with either pasta or rice. The large gulf prawns wrapped in bacon or grilled, Mussels North Beach, and Oysters on the Half Shell with the house garlic butter or Oysters Rockefeller are also popular items served up at the Elegant Bull. The halibut is fresh from Alaska and used to make the fish and chips.
Something that may not be found on too many menus in the area is escargot in butter sauce or with mushroom caps or the ‘Frog Legs Classic’ deep fried with a special batter. All the entrees come with soup, salad, Portuguese beans, bread and butter and choice of potato.
Other customer favorites at the restaurant are the ribs, filet mignon, chicken Marsala, Portuguese sopas, and the rack of lamb. They have their own Machado brand linguica served with beans.
“We cut all our own meat which no other restaurants around here do,” noted Karen. “We cut it to any size you want. We cut all our own fish too. We are the only restaurant around here that sells lobster and we sell the heck out of lobster.”
Since opening in 1989 they have seen some rough times over the years like Castle Air Force Base closing, the wall built on the highway and now with COVID-19. They have survived in a very challenging industry during challenging times and hope to outlast the COVID pandemic’s negative effects.
“When it first started, they shut us down and we started doing deliveries,” remarked Karen. “We had never done deliveries before. During those first couple of months our customers kept us alive. Then they started the outside dining and then partial inside. It has been rough over the years but we have survived.”
With the possibility of another closure looming this winter the Machados are hopeful that their regulars will continue to dine out even if it is deliveries or to go orders. They have a full bar and offer to go cocktails and wine.
The Machados have been in the restaurant industry for many years as they owned several restaurants in the Bay Area in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s and for the past 30 years they have been in Delhi. After retiring they wanted to move back to the 209 as Frank is from Hilmar and wanted to be close to his family. They spent some time in Canada and noticed every Portuguese restaurant there had something to do with a bull and Frank’s birthday is May 6 so his zodiac symbol is a bull, which led them to the name of the restaurant. Karen added – with a smile and mischievous twinkle in her eye – that she was the elegant and Frank was the bull.
With advance notice, Executive Chef Dan expressed that they are able to accommodate people with food allergies and special food needs. Reservations are recommended as this is the holiday season. They serve dinner Tuesday through Sunday and are closed on Mondays.
THE ELEGANT BULL
9666 Stephens St
Delhi, CA 95315
Tuesday – Saturday 4:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.