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Seasons Kitchen and Bar

The city of Davis has a rich agricultural legacy, so it’s no wonder that local produce takes center stage at one of its signature restaurants: Seasons Kitchen and Bar.

a vegetable dish from Seasons Kitchen and Bar at Davis

Photo Credits: Instagram @seasonsindavis

Originally opened in 2003, Seasons has had several iterations over the years. But the latest focuses on California cuisine with a Middle Eastern twist, as led by Chef Katerina Balagian, who took over last summer.

Born in Armenia and raised in Rhode Island, Balagian has a decidedly California approach to her cooking. At the heart of every dish are seasonal ingredients sourced from nearby farms. Some of it is even sourced from U.C. Davis.

produce from Seasons Kitchen and Bar at Davis

Photo Credits: Instagram @seasonsindavis

“Produce is one of the most important things and is the core of the restaurant,” she says. “There’s nothing more important than that when it comes to menu development. Having good relationships with farms is incredibly important.”

Balagian says her cuisine can best be described as California modern. She says it reflects the diversity found in California and the entire country.

“We have so many different cultures living here and it embodies what the United States is like,” she says. “My food is approachable while giving people dishes that are inspired by tradition.”

Dishes at Seasons take inspiration from cuisine across the Middle East and beyond. They include a short rib mujaddara with beluga lentil, wood-fired branzino with house-made harissa and ancient grains, and chicken musakhan stewed in pomegranate walnut broth.

lamb dish from Seasons Kitchen and Bar at Davis

Photo Credits: Instagram @seasonsindavis

Balagian said one of her favorite dishes is the lamb muhammara because it embodies multiple flavor elements: sweet, spicy, tart, and salty. The muhammara is made of roasted red peppers, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, garlic and breadcrumbs, resulting in a chunky dip for bread and vegetables. She serves it with a crispy fried braised lamb on top.

“It’s the dish that is the most balanced in my opinion, and the most traditional dish that we serve,” she says.

flaming oven from Seasons Kitchen and Bar at Davis

Photo Credits: Instagram @seasonsindavis

One thing that makes Seasons unique is its commitment to reduce food waste. Balagian said food waste is an unfortunate byproduct of the restaurant industry, but she tries to curb it. For example, rather than throwing away apple cores, she cooks them down, dries them, and uses them as a garnish. She has also taken to packing them in sugar and letting them ferment to make apple cider vinegar. She also dehydrates apple skins with sugar and cinnamon, blends them into a powder, and sprinkles the apple dust on desserts.

Balagian said food is supposed to be fun. She encourages others to go out and try new dishes, not only because they can experience new culinary influences, but also because it’s also a way for people to support small businesses.

“I like to have fun with my food,” she added. “I like to enjoy my food. I like to have all these different flavors and I like to go out to eat try things I wouldn’t make at home. It’s also a great way to support local farmers, the local university and the community in general.”

group of happy employees from Seasons Kitchen and Bar at Davis

Photo Credits: Instagram @seasonsindavis

Seasons Kitchen and Bar is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5–9 p.m. and

for lunch Wednesday and Thursday from 1–3 p.m. They are closed Sunday and Monday.


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