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The dictionary definition for sensational could start with a single word: Shakewell. Recently opened by a pair of Top Chef alums, the Spanish-Mediterranean restaurant is by all measures a sensation. The bright mosaic-backed bar, spice-filled air, and humming dining room provide a rich greeting. The dramatic menu surprises and stimulates the gustatory senses—think blasts of basil on a persimmon and Serrano ham small plate, and grilled flatbread served with aromatic toasted spice. Sweets such as the chocolate torta are presented in stunning fashion. Even the service leaves a lasting impression: The host makes you feel exceptional while the servers demonstrate intimate familiarity with the dishes’ myriad ingredients. (Make sure to order one of the easy-to-share, paella-like bombas.) It’s a delicious and novel mash-up of cuisines, and a perfect concept for the East Bay’s culinary explorers. Dinner Tues.–Sun., brunch Sat.–Sun.
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