101 Best Bites
The 101 best things to eat and drink in the East Bay.
(page 2 of 4)
Good eats abound in the cities just east of the Caldecott
26 | Lobster Roll
Yankee Pier Californians can say such disparaging things about lobster rolls. What’s with the soft bread? Is this mayo? What’s the difference between lobster and Dungeness crab? Puh-leaze. Fresh Maine lobster is a national treasure. Gussied up with stuffing and baked, or taken out of the shell, curried, and served with mango chutney are great ways to do it. But for a really good time, dial up a simple lobster roll like they serve at Yankee Pier. The meat is so pristinely white and sweet, plump, and succulent, it’d be a shame to do anything to distract you from it. Lafayette, yankeepier.com.
27 | Fritto Misto
Postino It must be the arborio rice crust that makes the calamari, red onion, and fennel fry so light and airy. Lafayette, postinorestaurant.com.
28 | Basil Eggplant With Organic Tofu
Chef Chao It’s not complicated, but the cheerful neighborhood mainstay’s fresh ingredients and honest preparation make this a standout dish. Moraga, chefchaorestaurant.com.
29 | Doughnuts
Johnny’s Donuts Not your fluffy, touchy-feely variety, this old-school shop’s doughnuts have got substance and soul. Lafayette, (925) 283-9352.
30 | Sukiyaki
Serika This steaming hot soup of vegetables, beef, and noodles, with sweet, soothing broth looks too beautiful to eat when it arrives at your table. Orinda, (925) 254-7088.
31 | Scallop Risotto
Artisan Bistro Buoyant, seared day boat scallops float above a decadently rich, buttery risotto, with peas, Pecorino, and hunks of house-made pancetta. Lafayette, artisanlafayette.com.
32 | Yam Fries
Table 24 Sweet and savory balance just right with these addictive fried treats. Orinda, table24orinda.com.
33 | Veal Cannelloni
Ristorante Amoroma An old-world classic with roasted veal and ricotta baked inside paper-thin crepes, served bubbling hot in béchamel sauce. Moraga, amoroma1.com.
34 | Brownie Bites
Teacake Bake Shop These deliciously rich cupcake-shaped chocolate brownies make for the perfect party treat. Lafayette and Emeryville, teacakebakeshop.com.
35 | Kebab Sandwich
Turquoise mediterranean Grill Seasoned ground beef and lamb are grilled to perfection, then ensconced in a pita wrap of fresh salad and tangy yogurt sauce. Orinda, turqgrill.com.
36 | Florentine
Clarine’s florentines Lafayette resident Clarine Hardesty’s bittersweet chocolate–covered almond brittle treats are the perfect combination of crunchy, buttery sweetness. At Diablo Foods and clarinesflorentines.com.
37 | Fried Chicken
Casa Orinda The Casa has been cranking out this comfort classic for three-quarters of a century. It’s easy to taste why. Orinda, casaorinda.net.
38 | Japanese Eggplant
Hanazen A summer special served with your sushi order, these slender, light purple eggplants are deep-fried, then peeled and sliced into silky quarters. Orinda, myhanazen.com.
39 | Thin-Crust Pizza
Pizza Antica “The thin-crust with sliced potatoes and white truffle oil is killer. My son has gotten it for his birthday for the last three years.” Lafayette, pizzaantica.com.
—Rodney Worth, the Peasant and the Pear
40 | Scones
French Bakery The scones are baked fresh daily, but it’s the sweet housemade lemon curd that makes this a perfect afternoon treat. Lafayette, thefrenchbakery.biz.
41 | Pork Ribs
Bo’s Barbecue Niman Ranch meat shines on these oh-so-tender ribs served with a sweet ’n’ tangy barbecue sauce and delish potato salad. Lafayette, bosbarbecue-catering.com.
42 | Maki Rolls
Oyama Sushi With artistic streaks of sauce and colorful presentations, these rolls are almost as much fun to look at as they are to eat. Lafayette, oyama-sushi.com.
43 | Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Chevalier Chef Philippe Chevalier’s crisp-on-the-outside puff of warm goat cheese elevates greens, pear, and roasted almonds to the sensory equivalent of hang gliding. Lafayette, chevalierrestaurant.com.
44 | Banana Cream Pie
Chow Dive into this billowy bed of sweet cream, fresh bananas, and house-made caramel on a tender-as-first-love crust. Lafayette and Danville, chowfoodbar.com.
45 | Spicy Sauteed Chicken
Amarin Thai “Served with green beans in a sweet curry sauce—a great combination of fresh ingredients and flavors, presented nicely with brown rice, makes it a favorite dish.” Lafayette, amarinlafayette.com.
—Karyn Chun, San Leandro
46 | Stuffed Pizza
Patxi’s Deep-dish for sauce lovers who love the excitement of a fresh and zesty tomato sauce that can stand up to crust, cheese, and fresh toppings. Lafayette, patxispizza.com.
47 | Fruit and Yogurt Granola
La Boulange An oversized bowl loaded with crunchy, nutty house-made granola, tangy Greek yogurt, tons of fruit, and drizzled honey. Lafayette and Danville, laboulangebakery.com.
48 | Peach Bruschetta
Metro Lafayette This bruschetta of goat cheese, red onions, hazelnuts, and plump grilled peaches is a local summer fruit experience you’ll be dreaming about in February. Lafayette, metrolafayette.com.
49 | Chocolate Cupcake
Republic of Cake Sam’s Very Messy Chocolate Cupcake is not only rich, with chocolate buttercream and a fudgey center, but sales support kids’ charities. Orinda, republicofcake.com.
50 | Zinfandel
Happy Valley Cellars This made-in-Lafayette Zin is as silky smooth a version as you’ll find anywhere. Look for the 2008 release this month. Lafayette, happyvalleycellars.com.