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Diablo Dish: Bienvenidos Doña

Doña drops Tomás on Piedmont; Christmas dining options; Manakish Oven and Grill open in Walnut Creek; Magpie alights in Temescal; pop-up pupusas in Uptown; and more Dish.


Doña / Kristen Loken

Dona Doesn’t Stay Down For Long: Piedmont Avenue Spot Now Open

Dona Savitsky doesn’t give the tacos time to cool off, even a little. On November 24, she closed her landmark Doña Tomás in the Temescal, and less than three weeks later, her new restaurant, simply called Doña, is open on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.

But don’t expect a Doña Tomás redux where the quickly gone Chow used to be, as the new iteration, like Tacubaya on Fourth Street in Berkeley, is fast-casual—though there is a full bar that seats 19. Though the hours might vary slightly in December, Doña’s schedule calls for it to be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. The breakfast and lunch menus will be served all day, and starting in late January, look for a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. But expect Savitsky’s flavorful take on classic Mexican food any time the doors are open.


Doña / Kristen Loken

One Up, One Down in Walnut Creek

In Walnut Creek, Freebirds World Burrito closed suddenly at the Sprouts Farmers Market shopping center, while Manakish Oven and Grill debuted its Mediterranean fare on North Main Street.


Magpie Alights This Weekend in Temescal

And a small scoop-let here, as the word on the street (well, actually on their Instagram feed) is that Magpie is launching its soft opening this weekend on 40th Street. The new spot serving gourmet pizza, tapas, 39 taps of craft beer, small-batch cider, and local wine takes over for the shuttered Hog’s Apothecary and is owned by the same folks as Oakland’s Bavarian-style waterfront gem Brotzeit Lokal. (Brotzeit chef Cesar Galindo is the mastermind behind the menu.)


Three Ways to Avoid Washing Dishes on Christmas Day

Zino and Skates on the Bay in Berkeley will both be open Christmas Day, as will Lungomare in Jack London Square.

Zino will serve a traditional $79 buffet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., while Lungomare (noon to 8 p.m.) and Skate’s on the Bay (1 p.m. to 8 p.m.) will offer a la carte menus.


Courtesy of Danville Harvest

There are Options on Christmas Eve as Well…

In Danville, Bridges will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Danville Harvest will stick to its usual 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. hours. In Concord, Lima will serve diners from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Yard House will do the same from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. And down in Dublin, Black Angus will stay open until 9 p.m. and will offer a prime rib and lobster tail dinner for $32.99.

Oakland’s Copper Spoon Cocktails and Kitchen will be serving an a la carte menu from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Since you’ve already got all the shopping done and all the presents wrapped—I know I have (well, sort of)—it makes sense to be festive on Christmas Eve.



Courtesy of Black Angus

Mr. Espresso, Local Cafés Support Guatemalan Farmers

Through Monday, December 23, three East Bay cafés—The Local in Alameda and Berkeley’s Brewed Awakening Cafe and Northside Cafe—will be accepting donations to benefit Maya I’xil, a Guatemalan co-op that serves farmers who supply Mr. Espresso with beans.

The cafés will promote and accept donations, and the Bay Area’s Mr. Espresso will match whatever amount is collected to make this an especially merry Christmas in the Guatemalan highlands.


It’s the Holidays—Why Not Go for a Wine-Paired Brunch?

At Wente Vineyards Tasting Lounge, a three-course prix fixe brunch with wine pairings can ease the inevitable tensions of too much entertaining and a little too much family time by getting those weekend days started off right.

The brunches run from noon to 4 p.m., and will be available (for $110 for two) through December 29.


Pupusas Pop Up in Uptown Beer Garden

Long-term pop-ups are the latest big thing in the local restaurant business, as chefs take over a kitchen in an existing operation and see if they can make a concept work. The latest such venture is Popoca, at Classic Cars West Beer Garden, and it’s brought to you by chef Anthony Salguero.

The menu prices won’t bust the budget, and the wood-fired pupusas and other Salvadoran specialties go especially well with the Classic Cars West full bar and beer.


De Afghanan Kabob House Gives Walnut Creek Another Try

So, 2006 wasn’t exactly yesterday, but when the news came about De Afghanan Kabob House opening on Locust Street next to Torsap Thai Kitchen, something in my brain popped up and said, “That sounds really familiar.”

So what if I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday—I remember eating at De Afghanan 15 years ago on Newell Avenue. That restaurant closed in 2006, however, though others continued to thrive in Fremont, Berkeley, and Livermore. But with the continually expanding diversity in restaurants all over the East Bay, the owners decided to return to Walnut Creek, and so now Central County diners can add Afghani food as one more on their to-try-soon list.


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