Yes, if you are leaving the city behind you’re leaving behind lots of great grubbing! The downfall of the suburbs are fewer choices in international fare - but, all is not lost. As an anonymous foodie, I’ve taken my fair share of excursions to find my favorite spots to fulfill a craving. For me, it’s mostly spicy and Asian - but, everything from Nigerian to Cambodian to hot dogs have been explored! Read on:
Sushi Restaurant in the East Bay
Sushi: hands down, best ‘go to’ in the East Bay is Jo’s in Pleasant Hill. Kids and families grow up here, many, many regulars and just great fish at decent prices, always well-prepared. Chef sometimes has things ‘off-menu’ so be sure to ask. Remember the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld? Well, Orinda has a Sushi Nazi. Check out Hanazen and book far in advance! The restaurant only seats a handful of people, you don’t get to pick the menu and it turns over twice a night.
Mexican Restaurants in the East Bay
Mexican: many sites will direct you to El Charro, right in Lafayette but I prefer to sneak of to La Mordida in Pleasant Hill or Los Panchos (Danville or Pacheco). For ‘higher end’ Mexican fare - Rancho Cantina is a lively restaurant with a lively crew running it. Great time but harder on the pocketbook. Definitely more of a treat to shake things up a bit than your ‘go to place’. Oh, and the nachos at Chow, Lafayette are….really unique and wonderful.
Middle Eastern & Mediterranean Restaurants in the Eat Bay
Middle Eastern & Mediterranean: Don’t let the orange awning next to Trader Joe’s in downtown Lafayette go unnoticed. With a name like “Kebab Burger” it took me almost a year after moving here to stop in. Big mistake! Some of the best mediterranean food I’ve EVER HAD. Everything fresh, lovingly prepared and homemade...including the pita. Don’t let anyone talk you into going to Yalla. Anyone! Another gem is Alborz in Walnut Creek for Persian. Run by a local, hard-working chef named David, the atmosphere is comfortable, parking is easy and food is prepared with love.
Pizza Restaurants in the East Bay
Pizza: it’s everywhere but I feel obligated to tell you that Tandoori Pizza in Dublin is worth the drive (especially if you are hitting up the outlets to refresh the kid’s wardrobe every time they grown an inch or if you are down there for the fall pumpkin patch, or after a day of trying out Livermore Valley wineries).
Chinese Restaurants in the East Bay
Chinese: Sichuan Fortune House (Pleasant Hill) and Sichuan House (Walnut Creek) don’t cater to the American taste bud with their Chinese dishes. Add Lulu’s Kitchen (Concord) to your list of ‘must explore’. Dim Sum is a quick drive away in Pleasanton at Koi Palace. And if you’re just not feeling Contra Costa County and want to take a quick trip to Berkeley instead, the place to have on your list is Mayflower Restuarant. Chinese taste bud approved. Foodie approved. From savory to spicy - you’ll get your cravings filled here for sure!
Cuban, Caribbean and African Restaurants in the East Bay
Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean and African: Ruth’s Baka for Nigerian (Oakland), Chop Plentii (Oakland) and Suya African Caribbean Grill (Oakland). Done.
Jewish & Kosher-Style Restaurants in the East Bay
Jewish & Kosher-style: lots of bakeries and Berkeley’s got Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen and Augie’s Montreal Deli & Tap Room. Oakland boasts Grand Bakery with a kosher butcher shop two doors down (Oakland Kosher Food). Finally there’s Beauty’s Bagels - which is a must for EVERYONE who explores the East Bay.
Korean Restaurant in the East Bay
Korean: hands down Hancook and/or Seoul Gomtang (Oakland).
Cambodian Restaurant in the East Bay
Cambodian: Nyum Bai - where you will find yourself taking new perspective on Fruitvale BART area. Not only worth the drive but one of the best meals you may have in a long time if you love cuisine from the East.
So, before you despair...just know. You’re leaving the land of plenty (if you’re moving here from the city) but you will not go hungry when a specific craving drives you out of your house for food!