4 East Bay Restaurants to Try in 2017


Kimchee Croquette served at Gan Restaurant in Pleasanton. Photo via GanRestaurant.com.

The new year is a great time to try out different things, including stepping outside the realm of your favorite go-to restaurants to experiment with cuisines from around the world.


PLEASANTON – If barbecue is all that comes to mind when you think of Korean food, you’re missing out. Pleasanton’s Gan presents modern Korean cuisine made with seasonal and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant is sleek and sophisticated, but maintains a welcoming atmosphere for those craving a slower paced dinner.

Start with an order of savory crispy croquettes made with kimchi and mung beans. Dip in either cucumber yogurt or buttery melted leeks.

Smoked brisket meatloaf is a good choice. The angus beef is ground in-house. Flavored with sesame, it’s not as dense as the meatloaf I grew up with, so go ahead and indulge.

Their chocolate ribbon, consisting of burnt caramel and coconut sorbet, was notably good.

Entrées start at $21. Full bar. Open Tues. – Sat. 5-9pm, weekend brunch 10am-1:30pm. 221 Division St., Pleasanton. GanRestaurant.com. Editor’s Note: Gan will be closed for the New Year holiday Jan. 1-5, 2017.


Enjoy delicious flavors from Asia at Le Cheval. Photo via Le Cheval

Le Chevel

WALNUT CREEK – Melding the flavors from French, Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines, the family behind Walnut Creek’s Le Chevel believes that the food you eat is just as important as who you eat it with, so they strive to maintain a welcoming venue where everyone can enjoy a meal with family or friends.

If winter and soup go hand-in-hand for you as it does me, start with a cup of the creamy carrot chowder soup. Le Chevel’s kabobs are great as either an appetizer to share or as an entrée. I shared the beef kabobs, which was three kabobs filled with thin slices of fork-tender beef prepared in a sweet and savory marinade.

We completed our evening with an order of lemongrass chicken stir fried with onion, lemongrass curry then topped with peanuts.

Entrées start at $14. Full bar. Open Tues. – Fri. from 11:30am and Sat. – Sun. from noon. Closing times vary by day. 1375 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek. LeCheval.com.



Cakes, tarts, pies and more at Basque Boulangerie. Photo via Basque Boulangerie.

Basque Boulangerie

DANVILLE – Reminiscent of Paris cafés I visited this fall, Basque Boulangerie is making a splash in Danville. The renovated space is bright and airy with cases filled with mouth-watering baked goods. Breakfast and lunch are good, but the café won me over with their dinner menu, best enjoyed with friends during a leisurely evening.

Start with a cheese and charcuterie board paired with a bottle of wine.  Add in a cup of soup (I enjoyed a savory roasted tomato) or salad to make it a meal. Both small and large plates are available. The beef and brie puff pastry could be shared – although its flaky pastry and spicy with just a hint of sweet filling may make you think twice about that! The tart fromage, filled with seasonal vegetables, is also a good choice.

Entrées start at $13. Open at 8am daily. Closing times vary. Beer and wine only. 411 Hartz Ave., Ste. A-1, Danville. BasqueBoulangerie.com.


Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza at Chicago Pizza with a Twist in Livermore. Photo: Janet Fazio.

Chicago Pizza with a Twist

LIVERMORE – Do you like pizza? How about Indian food? If you answered yes to both, you’re in luck. Livermore’s Chicago Pizza with a Twist takes  some of the most popular Indian dishes and transforms them into delicious pizzas.

I was skeptical, but after trying their chicken tikka masala pizza, I’m sold. The toppings (tikka sauce, tikka chicken, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onion, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro and ginger) were fresh, and the chicken tasted just like I would expect. The thick crust held up well under all the toppings.

For those that prefer, traditional toppings are also available.

Personal pizzas start at $7.99. Beer and wine only. Limited seating, but perfect for takeout. Open daily 11am-10pm. 922 Larkspur Dr.,
Ste. D, Livermore. ChicagosPizzaTwist.com.