New: Wild Magnolia
Formerly Table 24, this Orinda restaurant is a standout, featuring a cozy dining room and a simple, seasonal menu with a slight Southern touch. Owner Michael Karp created the jazzy, wine-friendly restaurant as a counterpoint to his beer-focused Fourth Bore Tap Room and Grill—also located in Orinda Theatre Square—and Forge Pizza restaurants in Danville and Oakland. The moules frites, featuring a sweet shellfish broth spiked with chorizo, evoked the depth and lively charm of New Orleans—as did our crisp pear and pistachio salad with a bright sherry vinaigrette and crispy fried goat cheese. Those with heartier appetites should go for the gumbo or the lamb “lollipops.” The simple renovations include a refinished floor and a homey hanging window between the kitchen and dining room. The outside patio with fire pits is still a big draw.
2 Theatre Square, Ste. 153, (925) 254-0124, wildmagnoliaorinda.com. Lunch Mon.– Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun.