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Diablo Dish: January

Stelle Bistro opened, La Rose Bistro moved and has a new name, Plum has a new executive chef and more!


La Sen Bistro

Photo by Kasey K. // Yelp.com

Old Oakland is still hot. On the heels of several new high-profile openings comes news of a new oyster bar headed for the Swan marketplace, also home to Cosecha and recently opened Miss Ollie’s and Rosamunde Sausage Grill. The Cook and Her Farmer is a “café, oyster, and wine bar,” according to co-owner Romney Steele (the cook, who founded Cafe Kevah in Big Sur 20 years ago), who hopes to debut the restaurant this spring with her partner, Steven D. Day (the farmer, as well as an educator). They’re planning “simple but bountiful” food, featuring local ingredients (think big shared salads) and coastal specialties, with a slight Southern twist: Day is from Memphis, so expect to see fried chicken, black-eyed peas with ham hock, and crawdads. The centerpiece, however, will be oysters, served raw and cooked, which they’ll source from Tomales Bay.

Speaking of seafood, Berkeley’s Sea Salt is changing hands and concepts. East Bay restaurateurs Haig and Cindy Krikorian sold their popular eatery, which will have less of a fish focus and more emphasis on shareable plates when it reopens in early January. The restaurant will be called Eat, and once the side dining room is converted into a cocktail lounge in a few months, Eat and Lounge. Meanwhile, another ex-Krikorian restaurant, T-Rex, debuted a new, less BBQ–centric menu along with a spiffed-up downstairs dining area featuring more TVs for sports fans.

A few openings in the 925. Ex-Incontro man Gianni Bartoletti returned to his former restaurant’s original home in San Ramon, opening up Gianni’s Italian Bistro, featuring a more modern, affordable take on his regional Italian fare. Former Caffe delle Stelle owner Hugo Boye debuted his Stelle Bistro, featuring “Continental fusion” fare, reflecting his Italian and Chilean background in downtown Walnut Creek. Havana Restaurant‘s new café and catering arm, featuring Cuban breakfast, sandwiches, and coffee, opened on North Main Street. Buffalo Wild Wings opened its newest East Bay location in San Ramon, near the newish Firehouse No. 37.

But wait, there’s more: Berkeley’s La Rose Bistro moved to downtown Concord with a new name, La Sen, but same California-French menu. In Todos Santos Plaza, Ravioli’s was set to replace Toscana, with made-from-scratch Italian for delivery, to go, and dine in, plus a marketplace with house-made pastas, sauces, and breads. Sarah Kirnon‘s Afro-Caribbean Miss Ollie’s premiered in Oakland while Bar Tatami is a new Asian concept replacing Kitchen 580 in Livermore’s Casino 580.

And coming soon … SoCal–based, dog-friendly Lazy Dog Cafe is headed for the Willows Shopping Center this spring, right around the same time Corner Bakery Cafe is planning to debut in downtown Pleasant Hill (replacing Yan Can). Also, Paul Canales’ Spanish tapas–inspired Duende was set to debut in December.

New deets on James Syhabout‘s new Rockridge project: The name will be Box and Bells, and the food experimental gastro pub–type fare such as country-style pork terrine with grilled soda bread and fried chicken with a raw oyster mayonnaise. Plum has a new executive chef, Manfred Wrembel, who comes from Incanto. He’s tweaked the menu to make it more accessible, switching to a traditional appetizer/entrée/dessert format. Expect a March debut for Jules Thin Crust in Rockridge (the Danville location will remain open), while Roman-style pizzeria A90 is set for a spring launch above the former Shattuck Down Low in downtown Berkeley.

Got Dish? E-mail us at dish@maildiablo.com. Follow us online at diablomag.com/dish.


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