Update: Va de Vi

With its assertive global small plates, playful wine list, sleek design, and alfresco dining, Va de Vi’s "hot spot" status hasn’t dimmed in a dozen years. In fact, the only hint of age—excluding the two-century-old oak tree on the patio—is the tiny exhibition kitchen’s dinged-up sauté pans. Lively dishes include roasted asparagus with pickled beets, hot-and-sour shrimp noodles, and a sesame-kissed ahi tartare that was fresh enough to wow our guest from Honolulu. We liked everything on recently appointed executive chef Brad Zeller’s mostly rich menu, including buttery black cod and hearty pork adobo ribs—favorites at Va de Vi from the get-go. For the full experience, start with one of the 17 creative wine flights. 1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 979-0100, vadevi.com. Lunch and dinner daily. Full Bar, Outdoor Dining.