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Diablo Dish: Berkeley and Alameda Celebrate Restaurant Weeks

Say hello to The Halal Guys; Duchess in Oakland shutters; MidiCi Pizza heads to The Willows Shopping Center; X marks the spot at Mersea on Treasure Island; and more Dish.


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Kelly Puleio

Berkeley’s Restaurant Week Starts Thursday

Thirty-four Berkeley restaurants are gearing up for the 11-day (January 18 to 28) event, which features lunches for $20 and dinners for $25 or $35. The dining options range from Free House—a self-coined “quintessential college bar”—to the view-heavy Skates on the Bay.

Here’s one example of what to expect: La Marcha’s $25 tasting menu includes piquillo relleno, croqueta, albóndingas, brussels sprouts, and six other items. However, it’s easy to check out what’s available at places like Jupiter and Lucia’s by going to the Visit Berkeley website.

And getting reservations is always a good idea, as the bargain prices tend to attract a crowd.

 

And Don’t Forget Alameda’s Restaurant Week

Have you ever wanted to try Lithuanian food? Alameda Restaurant Week—which runs through January 21—is the perfect opportunity, as Mama Papa Lithuania on Park Street will offer two $15 prix fixe meals.

But of course, that’s not all, as Injera (Eritrean/Ethiopian), Speisekammer (German), and Habanas (Cuban) are also international-flavor options.

There’s plenty more to choose from, and just as with any restaurant week, reservations are always a good idea.

 

Two More Dining Casualties in Oakland

We all know Preeti Mistry was going to close the popular and groundbreaking Juhu Beach Club in 2018, but it happened earlier than many suspected (January 6 was the last day).

So if you were wanting one more taste of Mistry’s innovative take on Indian and American classics, too late. Still, she is cooking at Navi Kitchen in Emeryville, so there’s hope.

Nosh also reports that Duchess in Rockridge has closed—a disappointing end to a bright beginning in December 2016. The all-day concept received good reviews from customers, but apparently there just weren’t enough of them.

 

The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys Say Hello to Berkeley

The international chain that started as a New York City hot dog cart in 1990 will open its first East Bay restaurant on January 26 on Center Street (near the UC campus).

Featuring Middle Eastern-inspired dishes that qualify as halal—or food that meets Islamic dietary standards—The Halal Guys focuses on straightforward, uncomplicated menu items that are spiced up with the eatery’s iconic White and Red sauces.

The first 50 people in line for the 11 a.m. grand opening will receive free platters and swag. But freebies will be handed out all day and night, as The Halal Guys is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

 

MidiCi Pizza Is Coming to The Willows

The Veranda isn’t the only Concord shopping center adding restaurants. MidiCi–The Neopolitan Pizza Company is expected to open soon in the Willows Shopping Center, according to Beyond the Creek.

Get ready to take a bite out of chewy and crispy Neapolitan pizza made with all-natural ingredients and baked in 90 seconds.

 

Courtesy of Mersea

A New Treasure on Treasure Island?

Diablo Dish generally draws its coverage line at the eastern edge of the Bay, but since Treasure Island isn’t quite San Francisco (though it’s not quite Oakland, either), we thought we’d bend the rules a bit as the area’s long-planned renovation starts to kick in.

Mersea, a “comfort-casual restaurant” built entirely of recycled shipping containers, just opened. Along with stunning views, the restaurant will feature food from chef Parke Ulrich, who runs Waterbar and EPIC Steak on San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

As seems mandatory in 2018, the menu will focus on fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients and will reflect the Bay Area’s cultural diversity. We’re not exactly sure how the professional-grade putting green fits in with the general idea, but there’s bocce, too, so there’s plenty of fun to be had.

 

Diners Can Dream as Lafayette’s Rêve Turns Two

“Rêve” means “dream” in French, and if you’ve ever dreamt of spending a week in Provence, Rêve Bistro can make that dream come true.

Laura and Paul Magu are celebrating their second anniversary by offering guests a host of prizes—including a trip to Sablet (just north of Avignon). The promotion runs through February 28, and other prizes include a free lunch for three with chef Paul Magu and a $100 gift certificate.

If the gougères and wonderful French menu weren’t enough incentives to visit Rêve on a regular basis, now there’s even more reason.

 

The Ike’s Empire Expands to Dublin

Ike’s Place just keeps moving south—and since outposts in Walnut Creek, Danville, and San Ramon have done well—Hacienda Crossing is the next target.

Ike’s specializes in sandwiches and goes for both eponymous and clever names—such as the Natalie Coughlin, Sally Ride, and Steve Young sandwiches, as well as the Sometimes I’m a Vegetarian and Going Home for Thanksgiving.

The Dublin location should open within a few weeks—if not by the end of the month—so it won’t be long before visitors to Hacienda Crossing can have their very own Menage A Trois.

Jeni Curtice

Tarot and Tea Together at Livermore’s Luna Tea

Luna Tea Co. takes its tea seriously, so there’s no messing with its tea leaves for divination. But for those who like to peek into the future, a Tarot and Tea pop-up will emerge (we predict) Friday, January 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Nancy Curtice will do a three-card Tarot reading and daughter Jenni (the owner of Luna Tea) will add a cup of the guest’s favorite tea for $22. Here’s hoping you get The Empress, The Magician, and The Lovers.


Got Dish? Send an email to dish@maildiablo.com. Or follow me on Twitter @DiabloDish.

Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm

 

This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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