On our visit, Locanda Positano’s host greeted us with unexpected intimacy—his warmth matched by the bracing shot of house-made limoncello presented later with our check. The meal in between was hardly extraordinary, but the openhearted Italian hospitality suffused the experience with friendliness. Conceived by the owners of the equally welcoming Locanda Ravello in Danville, this Amalfi-inspired locanda (Italian for "inn") was once the soulful Kaffee Barbara, a beloved café ideally suited to the cottagelike space. Positano rekindles that spirit with its homey decor and comfort food. Mamma Carmella’s meatballs—as juicy as they are mild—arrive in a crock of rich tomato ragout. Twisty strozzapreti pasta in a snow-white cream sauce is flecked with tiny spring peas and fortified with porcini mushrooms and Italian sausage. Equally good is the branzino—delicate bass simmered in buttery white wine. Bonuses: crispy thin pizzas, solid Italian wine selections, a delightful private table for eight, and a chocoholic’s dessert menu. 1005 Brown Ave., (925) 310-4337, locanda-positano.com. Dinner Mon.–Sun., brunch Sun. $$$
Food + Drink Guide
- The East Bay is home to an award-winning food scene full or restaurants thriving with character.