Catching Up with 4 Must-Try Restaurants in the East Bay
So many restaurants, but such limited time. For April, I checked out some spots that I’ve always been meaning to get to. Do you have a spot you think we should try? Be sure to let us know!
LAFAYETTE – If you’re looking for a spot for a team party, family night out or a casual evening with friends, Lafayette’s Mangia Ristorante and Pizzeria is a great option.
Pasta lovers have dozens of noodles to choose from. Select your favorite, then add one of their homemade sauces. If you are so inclined, finish your creation with chicken, meatballs or sausage. If you would rather, opt for a stuffed pasta, or try one of the classic specials, like puttanesca.
When it comes to pizza, there is a pie for everyone. Paired with the house salad, the personal size pizza is plenty enough for two, but priced at only $9 for three toppings (I had mushrooms, red onion and linguica on mine), it may be fun to try a couple of different options. Pizzas are built on what I’d describe as a traditional crust.
Entrées start at $10.75. Beer and wine only. Open daily, 11am-10pm. 975 Moraga Road, Lafayette. Mangia-Lafayette.com.
SAN RAMON – I have to thank a friend for telling me about San Ramon’s best-kept secret, Cafe Attila, a charming restaurant in San Ramon Square.
If you like fritters, be sure to try Cafe Attila’s version made with cauliflower. Although they are crispy on the outside, the cauliflower remains al dente, just how you want it. The fritters came with a serving of pickled brussels sprouts. The beet salad is also a good choice.
Although the pork chop was outstanding, the chicken and dumplings was a home run. The chicken is stuffed with a savory filling of pistachio, onion and watercress and served on a bed of spaetzle. It’s the most unusual and delicious version of an old favorite I’ve tasted.
Entrées start at $18. Beer and wine only. Open Tuesday-Friday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check the website for meal service hours. 2211-B San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon. CafeAttila.com.
PLEASANTON – If a girls night out is on the calendar, head to Pairings Cellars. Wines are available by the glass, but why limit your selection when you could have a flight instead? With old world, new world, Chardonnay, Spanish flights and ones from various regions in Italy, there is a flight for every palate.
Pair your wine with a flatbread or a few shareable small plates. I suggest starting with the crostini trio, then moving into bacon wrapped dates. For a heartier meal, enjoy the firecracker chicken or the trio of gouda-stuffed lamb and turkey sliders with cranberry caramelized onion jam and feta aioli. Lean and tasty, they are like having Thanksgiving and Easter dinners rolled into one.
Small plates start at $9. Beer and wine only. Open daily at noon. 310 Main Street, Suite B Pleasanton. PairingsCellars.com.
Cravings Stone Fired Pizza & Pasta
LIVERMORE – Cravings Stone Fired Pizza and Pasta in downtown Livermore earns my nostalgia award as it reminds me of an old Italian restaurant in Oakland where you could order family-style.
Pizzas are sized from mini to large. Build your own, or venture outside the box and try a gourmet offering, like pear and prosciutto.
I opted for pasta, selecting sausage and roasted garlic linguini. Much lighter (thankfully) than I was expecting, the sausage, chunks of garlic, pine nuts and onions were sautéed in butter, olive oil and white wine, then tossed with the pasta.
If you have the opportunity, go before 5 to try a piadine — a pizza, salad, sandwich mash-up from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Entrées start at $11.75. Beer and wine only. Open daily. Hours vary by day. 2062 First Street, Livermore. CravingsPizzaAndPasta.com.
Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in the April 2017 editions.
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