Date Night Dining in the East Bay
Jumping on the hearts and flowers bandwagon that is Valentine’s Day, this month we’re featuring some staff picks for date night with your special someone.
Bridges Restaurant & Bar
DANVILLE – Starting with the freshest ingredients possible, Executive Chef and partner Kevin Gin has assembled an imaginative menu featuring California cuisine with a touch of European and Asian influences at Danville’s Bridges Restaurant and Bar.
If you prefer a more casual evening, head to the bar (or the patio when open) for a host of small bites and shareable plates. My favorites are the shaking beef served with lettuce cups and the Rolls Royce burger.
The dinner menu showcases Gin’s creativity, like the stir-fried Mexican prawns bathed in a spicy Thai red curry sauce served on wedges of crispy noodle cakes.
Seasonal risottos, New York steak with candied shallots and many seafood options are on the menu.
Entrées start at $22. Open daily for lunch and dinner with weekend brunch. Full bar. 44 Church Street, Danville. BridgesDanville.com
LAFAYETTE – Since 2010, Executive Chef Stewart Beatty has delighted patrons with his Cal-Ital seasonal menu at Lafayette’s Postino. Set inside a historic Carr Jones storybook building, all you have to do is walk through the doors to know you’re in for a special night.
Start your evening with the apple salad. It’s packed with heirloom apples, chicories and celery, tossed with blue cheese vinaigrette and topped with candied pecans—the perfect blend of textures and flavors.
Add a bowl of the daily soup (ours was a luxurious cream of mushroom), or dive right into the entrées. The pastas are all good choices or stay on the lighter side with the grilled filet of salmon served with stir-fried broccoli and Meyer lemon butter sauce. Steaks and chops are also available.
Entrées start at $18. Open for dinner daily from 5:30pm and Monday through Friday for lunch. Full Bar. 3565 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette. PostinoRestaurant.com
PLEASANTON – Perhaps Pleasanton’s first date night spot, Hap’s Original is a classic New York-style steakhouse serving dry-aged cuts of Midwestern Angus prime beef, chops and fresh seafood.
Meals come with a complimentary crudité basket filled with carrot and celery sticks as well as a bread basket.
Staying on the classic side, I opted for the iceberg wedge topped with chopped bacon and Point Reyes blue cheese, followed by the center cut filet which comes in two sizes. The 7 oz option was perfect for me. Order with a sauce on the side—bordelaise, béarnaise, Roquefort fromage or brandy peppercorn—but I think the steak has excellent flavor on its own. Steaks are served with seasonal veggies. Potatoes, fries and other sides are an additional charge.
If you prefer seafood, you can’t go wrong with the garlic scampi prawns.
Entrées start at $27. Open daily from 5pm. Full bar. 122 West Neal Street, Pleasanton. HapsOriginal.com
The Restaurant at Wente
LIVERMORE – Using sustainable, locally sourced ingredients and featuring produce from the restaurant’s organic garden, The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermore features an exquisite seasonal menu.
If you’re a fan, order the sweet baby beets served on a bed of whipped goat cheese with pomegranate, grapes, frisée and chopped pistachios.
A smoked pork chop finished with mustard glaze was wonderfully tender and moist. It was served with a hash of cauliflower, cabbage and hazelnut.
The fresh sea scallops served with chorizo, potatoes, peppers and onions were notably good.
Entrées start at $29. Open daily from 5pm and weekends for lunch. Full bar. 5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore. WenteVineyards.com
Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature on East Bay dining in the print editions of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in February 2018 editions.
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