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Best of the East Bay - Food & Drink

Here are your top picks of everything sweet and savory in the East Bay


Sarah Remington

Free Food

Eat @ the Bar



Service Staff


Wine Shop


Reader Picks


▼ Free Food

Editor Pick

Cody Pickens

Two words are all you need to describe Adesso’s happy hour food: delicious and free. Following the tradition of Italian aperitivo bars, Adesso’s staff puts out free appetizers 5–6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and again 10–11:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10:30–11:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, no strings attached. This isn’t reheated frozen food, but rather items from the regular menu, including samples of mouthwatering salads, salumi, and panini. Did we mention it’s free?
4395 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, (510) 601-0305, dopoadesso.com.  —Ethan Fletcher

▼ Restaurant to Sit at the Bar and Eat

Reader Pick

Walnut Creek Yacht Club is famous for its cocktail creations. Who hasn’t tried the zentini? The drinks are so well-regarded, you could overlook the restaurant’s must-try dishes. But don’t: The bar menu offers tangy seafood cocktails (such as Oregon Bay shrimp with citrus-jerk dressing) and truly indulgent lobster mac and cheese gratin, plus fresh oysters and clams at the raw bar. There’s also a remarkable wine list, hand-picked by sommelier and co-owner Ellen McCarty. So take a seat, and join the club.
1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474, wcyc.net.  —Jennifer Dawson

Julie Mikos▼ Catering and Event Planning

Reader Pick

Vibrant, positive, and totally unflappable, Barbara Llewellyn is known for planning stress-free events. Diablo readers call on her full-service catering and event planning company for gatherings ranging from small dinner parties to weddings to large corporate events. In the summer, Llewellyn opens her kitchen in Oakland and sells lunch items during the week, using Twitter to update the daily menu. If you want to learn how Llewellyn does it, check out the Prep School, a series of fun group cooking classes she teaches.
434 25th St., Oakland, (510) 832-1967, barbarallewellyn.com.  —Jennifer Dawson

▼ Coffeehouse

Reader Pick

Ever step into a coffeehouse only to be greeted by a sea of laptops? That’s fine for a workday, but if you want to giggle with friends over a latte, head to Yellow Wood Coffee & Tea. Named for the opening line of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” the café has a comfortable, familiar vibe—like a friend’s house. The adjacent gift shop, Sage Terrace, sells unique housewares, stationery, bath products, and accessories. For an extra treat, enjoy a glass of wine on the patio, or grab some Yellow Wood–label coffee or tea to bring the ambience home.
215 Alamo Plaza, Ste. E, Alamo, (925) 837-1234, yellowwoodcoffeeandtea.com.  —J.D.

▼ Service Staff

Voter's Voice

“At Esin Restaurant & Bar, the servers are true food connoisseurs. They explain the intricacies of the daily specials and share their own experience and feedback. [And,] their knowledge doesn’t stop at the food items on the menu. They are able to make excellent wine pairing suggestions or cocktail choices based on their own dining experiences and tastings.” -Brandon Carmo, Pleasanton

▼ Cupcake

Reader Pick

Temptation comes in many forms, but a cupcake may be the hardest to resist. One visit to Teacake Bake Shop, and you’ll find yourself unable to steer clear of pink velvet cake with cream cheese frosting or Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. As if ready-made treats aren’t enough, customers can also sign up for baking classes, buy dessert adornments, and even hit up happy hour. Resistance is futile.
5615 Bay St., Emeryville, (510) 655-0865; 35 Lafayette Cir., Lafayette, (925) 283-9900, teacakebakeshop.com.  —J.D.

▼ Wine Shop

Voter's Voice

“I love Wine Thieves because its friendly, personal service often leads me to smaller-production wines that taste way more expensive than they are.” -Laurie Dunn, Orinda

▼ Burger-meistersCedric Glasier

Editor Pick

When Jason Low first applied for a cooking job, the chef spent 20 minutes trying to talk him out of leaving his career in finance. The Walnut Creek native ultimately became executive chef at Metro Lafayette, and along the way, he met Greg Eng, a Danville native who initially pursued hotel management but was drawn to the “fire and knives and energy” of the kitchen.

While working together at BayWolf, Low and Eng found they shared a craving for a simple, classic burger. They seemed to come across only frozen burgers on preservative-laden buns, or high-priced burgers with unusual toppings such as raspberry mustard.

"So, we produced a burger that paid homage to the classics of the past, a time when the meat was ground fresh and the soft buns baked daily,” says Low.

Eng and Low opened Trueburger in January, with a focus on high-quality fare at a good price, including house-ground patties, chili-cheese fries, and hand-spun milk shakes.
146 Grand Ave., Oakland, (510) 208-5678, trueburgeroakland.com. —Jennifer Dawson

▼ More Reader Picks

Walnut Creek Baking Company, 1686 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 988-9222, walnutcreekbakingcompany.com.

Bo’s Barbecue & Catering, 3422 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-7133, bosbarbecue-catering.com.

►Breakfast Joint
Katy’s Korner, 2550 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 831-2145.

►Cheap Eats
Chow, 445 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 838-4510; 53 Lafayette Cir., Lafayette, (925) 962-2469, chowfoodbar.com.

Cyrus Irudistan, at Havana, 1516 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 939-4555, havanarestaurant.net.

Uncle Yu’s, locations in Lafayette, Livermore, and San Ramon, uncleyu.com.

Genova Delicatessen, 2064 Treat Blvd., (925) 938-2888 and 1105 S. California Blvd., (925) 939-3838, Walnut Creek, genovadeli.net.

Mel’s Diner, 1394 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-6457, originalmelsdiner.com.

►Fine Dining
Prima Ristorante, 1522 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-7780, primaristorante.com.

►Frozen Yogurt
Yogurt Shack, locations in Concord, Danville, and Lafayette, yogurtshack.com.

George’s Giant Hamburger, 1491 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 939-4888.

(tie) Sargam, 140 N. Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 937-2700; Breads of India, in Berkeley, Oakland, and Walnut Creek, breadsofindia.com.

Prima Ristorante, 1522 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-7780, primaristorante.com.

Miraku, 2131 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 932-1112, mirakuwalnutcreek.com.

Maria Maria, 710 Camino Ramon, Danville, (925) 820-2366; 1470 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 946-1010, mariamariarestaurants.com.

►New Restaurant
Mangia Mi, 406 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 831-3276, mangia-mi.com.

►Pizza Place
Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Ramon, zacharys.com.

►Place for Dessert
Esin Restaurant & Bar, 750 Camino Ramon, Danville, (925) 314-0974, esinrestaurant.com.

Walnut Creek Yacht Club, 1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474, wcyc.net.

►Service Staff
Esin Restaurant & Bar, 750 Camino Ramon, Danville, (925) 314-0974, esinrestaurant.com.

Forbes Mill Steakhouse, 200 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 552-0505, forbesmillsteakhouse.com.

►Sushi Bar
Kane Sushi, 125 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 362-8686; 3474 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-9709.

►Tea shop
The English Rose Tea Room & Gifts, 163 W. Neal St., Pleasanton, (925) 462-6233, theenglishrose-pleasanton.com.

Plearn Thai Palace, 1510 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 937-7999, plearnthaipalace.com.

Le Cheval, in Berkeley, Oakland, and Walnut Creek, lecheval.com.

►Well-Priced Wine List
Mangia Mi, 406 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 831-3276, mangia-mi.com.

►Wine Shop
Wine Thieves, 5443 Clayton Rd., Clayton, (925) 672-4003; 3401 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-9070, winethieves.com.

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