Best of the East Bay - Food
Best steak house, milk shake, Thai food, farm stand, brisket sandwich...
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New Restaurant And Mexican Restaurant
→ When restaurateur Jeff Dudum partnered with Carlos Santana on a Mexican eatery, we knew everyone would be curious to experience the results. Well, Diablo readers have not only experienced, they’ve voted, and Maria Maria came out the winner in two categories. With a packed bar and live music from guitarists such as Keith Sanchez, the former Cantina restaurant became an instant hit on the nightlife scene. Lively cocktails such as the beautiful Toronja, with its grapefruit juice, rum, and Jamaica syrup, and the smooth yet crisp Cazadores Añejo margarita, with its float of Grand Marnier, didn’t hurt the restaurant’s chances. Nor did drink-friendly bar snacks such as baked cheese with a tomato-habanero-chipotle sauce, and delicate, lightly salted tortilla chips. Entrées such as succulent duck tacos and smoky braised short ribs just sealed the deal: This year, Maria Maria is our best new restaurant and our best Mexican restaurant.
1470 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1010, www.mariamariarestaurants.com. —Kathryn Jessup
→ During hot summer months, the coolest place to be is the Meadowlark Dairy. The drive-thru business off Pleasanton’s Main Street—a nostalgia-inducing building painted with a mural of cows in a pasture—is all that remains of the original Meadowlark, the first certified dairy in the state. Today, an army of local teens buzzes about in the drive-thru, serving customers in their cars grocery staples like milk, eggs, bread, and soda, and convenience items such as dish soap. The biggest draw is the frosties—cool vanilla, chocolate, or orange-flavored soft-serve ice cream in generous portions for less than $2.
57 W. Neal St., Pleasanton, (925) 846-2261. —LeeAnne Carson
→ When is a bagel really a bagel? Certainly not when it’s a pillowy mass of soft bread as big as Rhode Island and otherwise known as a roll. A bagel is compact, it’s restrained, and it’s almost crisp on its golden outside. It offers you something to chew on. It can have a lovely tang. For a real bagel, check out the diminutive but genuine House of Bagels.
1331 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-6499; 2151 Salvio St., Concord, (925) 682-8268. —Michaela Jarvis
More Reader Picks
Walnut Creek Baking Company, 1686 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 988-9222, www.walnutcreekbakingcompany.com.
Bo’s Barbecue and Catering, 3422 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-7133.
Rodney Worth, The Peasant and the Pear, 267 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 820-6611, www.thepeasantandthepear.com.
Yellow Wood Coffee and Tea, 215 Alamo Plaza, Ste. E, Alamo, (925) 837-1234, www.yellowwoodcoffeeandtea.com.
Genova Delicatessen, 1105 S. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 939-3838; 2064 Treat Blvd., Ste. C, Walnut Creek, (925) 938-2888; www.genovadeli.net.
Hubcaps Diner, 1548 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 945-6960, www.hubcapsdiner.com.
Prima Ristorante, 1522 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-7780, www.primaristorante.com.
George’s Giant Hamburger, 1491 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 939-4888.