The East Bay's 101 Most Delicious Things To Eat
Hope you’re hungry. Diablo unleashed a team of experts to separate the extraordinary from the merely great in the East Bay’s world of food. These 101 scrumptious selections will enhance your next romantic dinner, power lunch, or weekend stroll through the farmers market. So dig in. And keep this list handy; you have a whole year to work your way through it, bite by delicious bite.
1. Tuna Tartare
Amber Vibrant flavors of glowingly fresh ahi, red onion, tobiko, and at-their-peak avocado and cilantro do a wild but perfectly balanced mambo in a martini glass. 500 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 552-5238.
2. Meze Platter
The hummus, roasted eggplant dip, dolmas, tabbouleh, marinated olives, and grilled pita are a spicy, savory ticket to the Middle East. 2416 San Ramon Valley Blvd., #140, San Ramon, (925) 314-0974.
3. Marcona Almonds
The Spanish Table Salty, sexy, rich, and crunchy, these gems fried in olive oil are the crack cocaine of the snack world. 1814 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 548-1383.
Max’s Big, beautifully balanced, and guaranteed to make your head swim. 2015 Crow Canyon Pl., San Ramon, (925) 277-9300.
Miraku It’s the broth—the sweet, deeply umami flavored, nourishing, curative broth—that will make you a Miraku udon addict. 2131 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 932-1112
6. Chopped Salad
Eccolo Sweet and bitter greens, pomegranate seeds in fall, pine nuts, currants, celery, and a suave blue cheese vinaigrette. 1820 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 644-0444.
7. Buffalo Wings
Primo’s Stacked high, these wings arrive hot and spicy with their cooling side of ranch dressing. 298 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 838-8214.
8. Caramel Pecan Pie
Southern Oven Foods Chef Patricia Griffith nails this classic southern pie. Sticky, heavenly caramel custard with pecans. And the crust? One word: butter. Available at Lunardi’s, 1600 Palos Verdes Mall, Walnut Creek, direct orders: (925) 706-7037.
9. Crepinette Sausages
Fatted Calf Charcuterie Patties of Niman Ranch pork laced with red wine–soaked figs and hazelnuts are truly sensational. Center Street Berkeley Farmers Market, Saturdays, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, (510) 653-4327.
10. Reggae Sun Splash Cocktail
Calypso Bar and Grill Appleton rum, peach schnapps, and pineapple and cranberry juices blend in perfect four-part harmony. 2 Theatre Sq., Ste. 153, Orinda, (925) 258-9686.
11. Pimientos De Padrón
César Aromatic dark green peppers blistered in olive oil and sprinkled with crunchy salt. 1515 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 883-0222.
Alamo Creek Restaurant These dolmas have the perfect mix of tang from grape leaves and lemon and savoriness from rice and spices. 3206 Danville Blvd., Alamo, (925) 838-1158.
13. Domaine De Fontsainte Gris De Gris Rosé, 2004
Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant From the strawberry and peach aroma to the watermelon color to the pleasing mineral finish, this is rosé reborn. 1605 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 524-1524.
14. Cinnamon Buns
Sweet Adeline Bakeshop You could plan an entire brunch menu around these fluffy, yeasty, crusty, subtly sweet cinnamon buns. 3350 Adeline St., Berkeley, (510) 985-7381.
15. Persimmon And Prawn Salad
Faz Faz Poursohi capitalizes on ingredients from his native Iran, such as fall persimmons, in salads like this one. Sweet, juicy persimmon combines perfectly with crisp prawns. 600 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 838-1320.
16. Pumpkin Pie
Fat Apples Light filling with just the right hint of spice and the flakiest crust in town. 1346 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, (510) 526-2260.
17. Sesame Rice Balls
Tin’s Tea House Lounge Crispy golden sesame seeds encase the chewy rice ball with its sweet bean paste center. Salty and sweet, these rice balls tickle your palate with their unique texture. 1829 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 287-8288.
18. Peking Duck Rolls
Three Seasons Take Vietnamese-style fresh rolls and stuff them with a scrumptious Chinese ingredient. The roll’s fresh herbs temper rich caramelized duck. 1525 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 934-4831.
19. Chai Latte
Peet’s It’s not too sweet, a touch of spice lingers on your palate, and they get the foam just right, too.
20. Mango Crème Brûlée
Masala Indian Fusion The tropical fruit gives the brûlée’s sugary crust and rich cream interior a tangy finish. 499 San Ramon Valley Rd., Danville, (925) 362-4900.
21. Moules Frites
Luka’s Taproom and Lounge Fly to Belgium, or eat fries this crisp and mussels this plump at Luka’s. 2221 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 451-4677.
22. Pot Roast
Lark Creek Walnut Creek A lovely fall dish that Lark Creek gets just right: tender, flavorful, and served with fluffy garlic mashed potatoes and woodsy roasted root veggies. 1360 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 256-1234.
23. 2002 Bodegas Aguirre Petite Syrah Reserva
Bodegas Aguirre Winery This wine, from one of the Livermore Valley’s newer wineries, is a hearty red, but its violet and boysenberry bouquet is downright ladylike. 8580 Tesla Rd., Livermore, (925) 251-9419.
24. Black Bottom Banana Cream Tart
Café Esin Who can resist buttery pastry glazed with bittersweet chocolate, blanketed with creamy white chocolate custard, covered with ripe slices of banana, and finished with swirls of bittersweet chocolate curls? 2416 San Ramon Valley Blvd., #140, San Ramon, (925) 314-0974.
25. Burnt Caramel Ice Cream
Sketch Both sharp and soft in flavor, and 100 percent creamy in texture. 1809-A Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 665-5650.
26. Bread Pudding
Cherubini This could be breakfast, if you allow yourself to start the day with a creamy, custardy pudding made with thoroughly moist brioche-style bread, almond slivers, and a chewey top layor with cinnaomon. 37 Alamo Sq., Alamo, (925) 743-0824.
27. Bread Pudding
The Crown A bread pudding like your favorite British auntie used to make. A generous wedge made with cinnamon bread is surrounded by raisins and a pool of rum sauce that perfectly complements this warm, creamy dessert. 331 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 855-2185.
28. Lacquered Quail
Va de Vi Chef Kelly Degala removes the small bones of these flavorful little birds, grills them to perfection, and tops them with a thick, zesty Korean barbecue sauce. 1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 979-0100.
29. Potato Latkes
Saul’s Talk about a religious experience. Served with a side dish of sour cream and applesauce (slather at your discretion), these crisp yet delicate saucers take comfort food to a higher level. 1475 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 848-3354.
30. House Pizza
Dopo Pizza at Dopo is pristine: It’s always made from scratch using delicious tomatoes, Italian peppers, and the purest flour. The results are light, spicy, and perfect. 4293 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, (510) 652-3676.
31.Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Bette’s Oceanview Diner More crepes than flapjacks, these are a standout even at this ultimate pancake diner. Dusted with powdered sugar and served with sliced fruit, this regular special is dessert-for-breakfast delectable. Call to check availability.1807 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 644-3230.
32. Fresh Buffalo sirloin
Whole Foods A taste treat that’s as healthy as it is succulent, this is the perfect red meat fix for those who are looking for the best-tasting low-fat, low-cholesterol substitute for steak. 100 Sunset Dr., San Ramon, (925) 355-9000; 1333 E. Newell Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 274-9700.
33. Butterscotch Pudding
Lark Creek This spectacular hold-up-your-spoon pudding arrives in a tall, chilled glass with a cloud of whipped cream on top. The flavors of real scotch whiskey and whole vanilla beans burst on your tongue. 1360 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 256-1234.
34. Fried Potatoes
César Best fries anywhere. César’s papas fritas are perfectly crisp and tender. Paper-thin slivers of potato are fried alongside leaves of sage and sprigs of rosemary, piled into a gorgeous, hot haystack, and served with silky, rich aioli. 1515 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 883-0222.
35. White Truffles
Oliveto The truffles aren’t from the East Bay, but owner Bob Klein spends the end of October collecting these gems in the Italian countryside, then brings them home for a not-to-be-missed dinner in November. 5565 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 547-5356.
36. Crab Enchilada
The Dead Fish This is a made-in-heaven combo of succulent crustacean meat in a rich sauce wrapped in a fresh tortilla. Best enjoyed at sunset with a glass of Chardonnay and the restaurant’s view of the Carquinez Strait. 20050 San Pablo Ave., Crockett, (510) 787-3323.
37. Vanilla Prawns
Mahalo Grille These are burst-in-your-mouth prawns. They’re crisp, plump, and thickly coated in a sweet dressing full of real vanilla beans. 425 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 462-2800.
38. Cooper’s Best Extra Stout
Warehouse Café Of the more than 450 beers at this brew lover’s paradise, the one to try is Cooper’s Best Extra Stout, a chocolaty brew from down under. 5 Canyon Lakes Dr., Port Costa, (510) 787-1827.
39. Rosewater and Vanilla Ice Cream
Oasis Creamy vanilla ice cream, a dessert mainstay, is transformed into an exotic, sophisticated adventure by the addition of fragrant, sweet rosewater and ground pistachios. 780 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 417-8438.
Caffe Della Stella Meet a masterpiece: Tasty, tiny pasta ears mixed with fontina cheese, potatoes, finely chopped onions, and sage sautéed in truffle oil. 1532 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-2393.
Walnut Creek Yacht Club Cornmeal dusted, tossed in parmesan, and served with a creole rémoulade, this is appetizer perfection. In the spirit of freshness, served only in season. 1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474.
42. Chicken Cutlet
Casa Orinda A juicy chicken cutlet in a breaded coating, served with mashed potatoes. 20 Bryant Way, Orinda, (925) 254-2981.
43. Shark Tacos
Walnut Creek Yacht Club Sink your jaws into the tasty pieces of grilled shark garnished with shaved red cabbage, cilantro-cumin cream, and avacodo salsa wrapped in corn tortillas. 1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474.
44. Fish Tacos
Baja Tacqueria Flaky, lightly fried white fish wrapped in super-fresh corn tortillas make these classic Baja-style tacos little bites of heaven. Finely shredded green cabbage, fresh tomato osalsa loaded with chopped cilantro, a drizzle of the house crema, and a wedge of lime are the mouthwatering toppings. 4070 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, (510) 547-2252.
45. Crispy Tacos
Los Panchos At first glance, they seem like a blue-collar chow. But the first bite of a Los Panchos crispy taco, packed with steaming ground beef, shredded lettuce, and cheese, proves that cheap eats can transcend. 5872 Pacheco Blvd., Martinez, (925) 689-4430, (925) 275-1300.
Cake Chow Topped with caramel sauce and pumpkin gelato, this classic American dessert will have you chasing the crumbs on your plate. 53 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette, (925) 962-2469.
47. Vanilla Cone Dipped In Chocolate
Tucker’s Ice Cream Hands down the best cone in the East Bay. Homemade vanilla ice cream is packed into a sugar cone and then dipped in chocolate sauce. 1349 Park St., Alameda, (510) 522-4960,
48. Caesar Salad
Bull Valley Restaurant This traditional two-person Caesar uses the crispest romaine and the most flavorful anchovies. And blast from the past: It’s prepared tableside. 14 Canyon Lakes Dr., Port Costa, (510) 787-1135.
49. Chocolate-dipped Ginger
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker It’s 2 p.m., and your head’s way too heavy for your neck. Break out the Scharffen Berger dark chocolate–dipped crystallized ginger. It adds a whole new dimension to the world of adult entertainment. 914 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, (510) 981-4050.
50. Sourdough Baguette
Arizmendi Bakery and The Cheese Board Collective A crispy, crunchy crust encases a delicious, fresh, soft, chewy, slightly sour bread.
Arizmendi Bakeries: 3265 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, (510) 268-8849; 4301 San Pablo Ave., Emeryville, (510) 547-0550.
The Cheese Board: 1504 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 549-3183.
51. Macaroni and Cheese
Hap's Original This is one of the tastiest—and prettiest—versions of the classic around. A shapely ceramic dish holds cheesy al dente noodles that almost make a meal. 122 W. Neal St., Pleasanton, (925) 363-4365.
52. Macaroni and Cheese
Rick and Ann's So refined you almost don't feel guilty eating it. It's made from scratch with real, good cheddar and Gruyere, and cooked until it's bubbly and crisp on top. Plus, it comes with a side of sauteed spinach. What could be healthier? 2922 Domingo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 649-8538.
Top Dog A cook toasts your bun and grills your wiener to perfection. Then cherish your moment, and bask in the all-beef afterglow. Original location at 2534 Durant Ave., Berkeley, (510) 843-5967.
54. Insalata Mista
Postino How can a house salad be so darn good? The mixed greens with shaved radishes, cucumbers, and a spunky herb vinaigrette make a simple starter a destination dish. 3565 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-8700.
55. Kobe Beef Kebabs
Ephesus Kebab Lounge Ephesus skewers buttery, tender Kobe beef and screamin’-fresh veggies. 1321 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 945-8082.
Walnut Creek Baking Company Not too sweet, these flavor bombs are spiked with fresh ginger, which makes for a pretty exciting cookie. 1686 Locust St., (925) 988-9222.
57. Mushroom Risotto
Prima Ristorante That needs-to-be perfect dish, risotto, is just that at Prima. Chef Peter Chastain’s mushroom risotto is insanely luscious. 1522 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-7780.
58. Spinach And Mushroom Deep Dish Pizza
Zachary’s Thin-crust purists may scoff, but this pizza has more flavor than they could handle—in the tangy, fresh-tasting tomato sauce alone. 5801 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 655-6385; 1853 Solano Ave., Berkeley, (510) 525-5950.
59. Pinot Noir
Lost Canyon Winery Fruit, body, and softness make this urban winery’s Dutton Ranch/Morelli Lane Russian River 2003 Pinot Noir a delight. 1017 22nd Ave., #300, Oakland, (510) 534-9314.
Tairwá-Knoll Farms Rick and Christie Knoll’s figs are obscenely soft and succulent. Just to compare, any other figs are runts. 12510 Byron Hwy., Brentwood, (925) 634-5959.
61. Toro Nigiri
Nama Sushi & Teriyaki How is it that Nama always has the most heavenly, lusciously fatty toro (tuna belly)? It's as delicate as a cloud, and so satisfying. 1502 Sunnyvale Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-9540.
62. Holiday Roll
Jo's Sushi Bar This Holiday Roll, named for its red and green ingredients, is jam-packed with tuna, tobiko, and seasoned seaweed. Luckily, it's always ready to roll. 2217 Morello Ave., Pleasant Hill, (925) 671-9925.
63. 007 Sushi Roll
Fujian Chef Spencer Hu's 007 inside-out roll has spicy tuna on the inside and salmon and special chili sauce on top. He finishes his creation with a kitchen torch. 1518 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-0368.
64. Vy Roll
Kaiwa Sushi Tempura shrimp and fresh crab wrapped in avocado—simple enough, but it packs a secret weapon: A slathering of spicy sauce (peppered with Vietnamese hot sauce) that was specially concocted by owner Nghia Ly's daughter, Vy. 1534 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 274-94976.
65. Shiro Maguro
Mikado Sushi Albacore is a delicacy at Mikado. Gleaming, vibrant, and cut with expert knife-work, the neat fillets need little adornment. 480-E San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville, (925) 855-1084.
66. Green Papaya Salad
Soi Four Bangkok Eatery Spicy yet refreshing, this crisp green papaya salad is the tangiest in town. Crunchy peanuts set it off. 5421 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 655-0889.
67. Garlic Noodles
Paradise 33 You wouldn’t want to order only Paradise 33’s luscious, tender, subtly garlicky noodles, because you’d miss out on so many other delicious dishes. But it is tempting. 1100 Concord Ave., Concord, (925) 671-2133
68. Shumai Tin’s
Tin's Tea House Lounge Other varieties of dim sum may offer more adventure than shumai, but it’d be flat-out wrong to miss these plump little pockets of flavor stuffed with pork and shrimp. 1829 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 287-8288.
69. 2002 Murrieta’s Well Vendimia White Meritage
Murrieta’s Well Winery Oak takes a backseat to the flavors of honeydew melon, sweet fig, and spice in this Bordeaux-style white blend, made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. 3005 Mines Rd., Livermore, (925) 456-2390.
Pearl Oyster Bar and Restaurant You’d be hard-pressed to find a sexier restaurant in which to share a plate of Mother Nature’s most potent aphrodisiacs. Oh, and these are the freshest, most fabulously oceanic you’ll ever taste. 5634 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 654-5426.
71. Grapefruit And Meyer Lemon Marmalade
June Taylor Bright in citrus flavors, restrained in sugars, and absolutely scrumptious on hot buttered toast. Berkeley’s June Taylor is a one-woman revolution when it comes to marmalade and jam. Available at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and at , (510) 548-2236.
Tacubaya Chilaquiles, scrambled eggs made with tortilla chips, chilies, onions, and cheese, are the flavorful Mexican answer to matzo brei, and are hugely popular throughout the Southwest. Tacubaya makes an elegant version; the guajillo chili sauce and corn tortillas are prepared from scratch each morning. 1788 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 525-5160.
73. Lunardi’s Marble Fudge Ice Cream
Lunardi’s Häagen-Dazs? Ben and Jerry’s? Baaah. Lunardi’s marble fudge is the closest you’ll come to the rich-cream flavor of homemade. 1600 Palos Verdes Mall, Walnut Creek, (925) 939-6477.
74. Spaghetti Carbonara
BenDean This creamy dish, at once smoky, savory, and sweet, is loaded with cubes of Hobbs bacon, diced onion, and finely grated parmesan cheese. Bravo. 1647 Solano Ave., Berkeley, (510) 526-3700.
75. Morning Buns
La Farine These delectable buns first appeared here 29 years ago, and La Farine’s are still the best: crispy, buttery, and sugary, with just a hint of spice. 6323 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 654-0338; 1820 Solano Ave., Berkeley, (510) 528-2208.
76. Hot Chocolate
Bittersweet At this “chocolate café,” they make six kinds of hot chocolate. But just ask for the bittersweet. One frothy, deeply scented sip will take you back to Paris. 5427 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 654-7159.
77. Cornish Game Hen
Shiraz This Persian comfort food is a bone-in, yogurt- and cumin-marinated Cornish game hen threaded on a skewer, roasted, and served wonderfully tender alongside fluffy basmati rice. 21314 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 829-5558.
78. Coffee Blue Bottle
Coffee Co. Ever wonder why there are those long lines at the Blue Bottle coffee kiosk at the San Francisco and Berkeley farmers markets? While you wait for your coffee, look at the faces of everyone as they take their first sip: It’s the Blue Bottle smile and sigh of satisfaction. 5002-B Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 653-3394.
Bing Crosby’s Take a grilled Angus beef burger, put it on a soft French roll, top it with blue cheese and tomato ginger chutney, and serve it with a side of homemade potato chips like they do at Bing’s. Welcome to burger heaven. 1342 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, (925) 939-2464.
Fonda The Cubans know how to mix ’em, and Fonda hasn’t altered the recipe. Freshly squeezed lime juice, aromatic mint leaves, Myers’s Platinum White Rum, simple syrup, and a spritz of soda water make this cocktail both heady and refreshing. 1501 Solano Ave., Albany, (510) 559-9006.
81. Mixed Greens With Soy Vinaigrette
Shelby’s Not only are the mixed greens in this house salad delicate and vibrant, but the dressing—a sharp soy vinaigrette with a hint of sweetness—coats each piece with just the right amount of flavor. 152 Theater Sq., Ste. 2, Orinda, (925) 254-9687.
82. Indian Salsas
Namaste The best things in life are free: Namaste’s trio of freshly blended salsas (cilantro mint, coconut chickpea, and spicy tomato) come to your table automatically. They taste great with the restaurant’s paneer pakora (see box at right). 1671 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 687-7874
83. Pad Thai
Plearn Plearn’s tangy rendition of this classic bursts with the flavors of plump shrimp, scallions, tofu, and egg. Pan-crisped rice noodles make its texture addictive. 2050 University Ave., Berkeley, (510) 841-2148; 1510 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 937-7999.
84. Scoozi Bread
Barone’s Think flatbread with Gorgonzola and green onion, served with the sweetest diced tomatoes you’ve ever met. 475 St. John’s St., Pleasanton, (925) 426-0987.
Frog Hollow Farm Frog Hollow happens to grow the most beautiful, sweet, juicy peaches on the planet, but you’ll have to wait until next summer to get some. P.O. Box 2110, Brentwood, (888) 779-4511.
86. Bellwether Famers Ricotta Gnocci
Piatti Locali These light-as-a-could gnocchi get their texture from Bellwether Farms' exquisite ricotta, an organic cheese made in Sonoma County that rivals Italy's best. Piatti serves teh gnocchi with the brightest ingredients of the season, like Italian sausage and fennel in fall. 100 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 838-2082.
87. Gnocchi with Piemontese Meat Sauce
La Veranda These potato dumplings are both delicate and hearty, exactly as gnocchi should be. You can top them with teh sauce of yoru choice, but our favorite is the Piemontese meat sauce, made with lean ground beef, spicy pork sausage, and a drizzle of cream. 6201 Center St., Clayton, (925) 524-0011.
88. “Grandfather” Margarita
Blue Agave Club Mi Viejo Añejo tequila and Cointreau give this margarita its zing. 625 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 417-1224.
89. Short Ribs
Xenia! These short ribs are sweet, rich, and falling off the bones. Add red onion confit and spaetzle, and there’s just no need to fly to Northern Europe. 115 Alamo Plaza, Alamo, (925) 855-9000.
90. Ginger Salad
Siam Orchid Shredded ginger, sliced romaine, roasted coconut, cashews, dried peas, peanuts, and sliced yellow onion all explode in unison. 23-F Orinda Way, Orinda, (925) 253-1975.
91. Grilled prawns
Nibblers Eatery and Wine Bar Fat tiger prawns served with aioli and slivers of preserved Moroccan lemon. 1922 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, (925) 944-0402.
92. Lobster Salad
The Duck Club Irresistible pieces of tender lobster served with mizuna greens, juicy mango, and creamy avocado. 3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-7108.
93. Pumpkin Muffin
Denica’s Pastry Café It’s a good thing these muffins—with their sinful combination of sweet and spice—are sold only in the fall. Otherwise, how could you not eat one every single morning? 6058 Dougherty Rd., Dublin, (925) 829-6200.
Oasis Delicate, steamed dumplings stuffed with seasoned ground beef, bathed in tomato-vegetable sauce, and drizzled with yogurt. 780 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 417-8438.
95. Basque Meatballs
Vino Three quaintly sized beef meatballs in a rich olive oil–tomato sauce—we love them by themselves or sandwiched between slices of the restaurant’s crusty bread. 3531 Plaza Way, Lafayette, (925) 284-1330.
96. Paneer Pakora
Namaste It'd be difficult to find a tastier version of this cherished Indian appetizer. The thin rectangles of lightly fried, fresh cheese are ethereal, especially when dipped in Namaste's salsas. 1671 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 687-7874.
97. Vegetable Pakora
Khana Peena Resistance is futile. Fresh out of the fryer, Khana Peena's golden brown, onion-studded, perfectly seasoned pakora will cast its spell upon you. Give in. 1889 Solano Ave., Berkeley, (510) 528-2519; 5316 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 658-2300.
98. Flowering Tea
Numi A blend of nine varieties that comes in a gift set with its own glass brewing pot, Numi’s flowering tea has a luxurious bouquet. Visit for store locations or to order online, (510) 534-6864.
99. Sticky Date Pudding
Bakesale Betty This moist Australian date cake is served warm and topped with caramel sauce. Bakesale Betty lovingly creates a version so good it’ll bring tears to your eyes. 5098 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, (510) 985-1213; Danville Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Walnut Creek Farmers Market, Sundays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
100. Wheat Beer
E. J. Phair Brewing Company Not sweet, not fruity, this Concord-brewed beer is clean and creammmmy. 2151 Salvio St., Concord, (925) 691-4253.
101. Tri-tip Sandwich
Trio at Stony Ridge It’s really a shame this is available only at lunch, because you’ll want to eat the succulent sandwich morning, noon, and night. Served with a bowl of steak jus for dipping. 4952 Tesla Rd., Livermore, (925) 449-0660.