Do These East Bay Restaurants Sound Familiar?

East Bay restaurants

Baby back ribs served at Sauced BBQ & Spirits, with East Bay locations in Livermore and now in Walnut Creek. Photo via Sauced.

Second locations of popular East Bay restaurants are nothing new, but they seem to be popping up like crazy lately. This month, I tried a couple of new ones and a couple that are tried and true.

Sauced BBQ & Spirits

WALNUT CREEK – Fans of the Livermore restaurant can now get Sauced in Walnut Creek.  Although it can be a bit noisy, it’s a great spot to meet up with friends for appetizers or dinner.

Start with an order of nachos with black beans, smoked corn and jalapeno. They are loaded with your choice of meat and plenty big enough for a table to share.

For dinner, I generally get a barbecue plate, but this time decided to go a different route and selected the pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw. It’s a bit messy (I resorted to a fork), but the pork was tender and nicely complemented by the tangy slaw. Sandwiches come with one side. I opted for fries tossed in the house rub. They were slightly sweet, perfectly salted, and crispy on the outside, just how I like them.

Entrées start at $15. Full bar. Open from 11am Monday – Saturday and 9:30am Sunday. 1410 Locust Street, Walnut Creek.

Danville’s newest pizza joint, Pizza Antica offers a sophisticated atmosphere to enjoy a pie. Photo via Pizza Antica.

Pizza Antica

DANVILLE – I will admit to rolling my eyes when I heard that Danville was getting yet another pizza place. However, Pizza Antica oozes with ambiance, providing a sophisticated spot for a fun evening out and a different kind of pizza experience altogether.

Fried calamari with chili and aioli, is a good starting point. Or share a warm brussels sprout salad with bacon and hard-cooked egg.

If you’re not a fan of Neapolitan style pizza (thin crust charred from the oven) with unusual toppings – like butternut squash with sausage – skip the pizza in favor of a pasta dish. The Rigatoni with duck ragu was a standout and easily big enough to satisfy two diners.

Fried chicken, steak and pork chops round out the menu.

Pizzas start at $11.50. Full bar. Open from 11:30am Monday – Friday and 11am Saturday – Sunday. 111 West Prospect Avenue, Danville. Also in Lafayette.

Plain and simple, The Hop Yard is the go-to neighborhood pub for many in Pleasanton and San Ramon. Photo via The Hop Yard.

The Hop Yard

PLEASANTON and SAN RAMON – Pleasanton is home to the original Hop Yard, built on what once was the largest hop farm in the world.  Designed to be a throwback to simpler times, the restaurant is a great spot for friends to catch up, watch at game and feast on pub grub.

Every Tuesday is brewery night. It’s the perfect time to stop in, taste selections from guest breweries and enjoy an appetizer or two. I’m partial to the crispy zucchini slices that are battered, deep-fried and served with a side of ranch dressing for dipping. Chicken satay and quesadillas filled with smoked chicken or pork are also top notch choices.

Fish and chips, burgers, sandwiches, salads and soft tacos – I enjoyed mine with chopped chicken breast – are on the menu.

Entrées start at $11. Beer and wine only. Open from 11am Monday-Saturday and 10am Sunday. 3015 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton. Also in San Ramon.

With a new location now open in Fremont, Campo Di Bocce has been entertaining and feeding Livermore guests for years. Photo via Campo Di Bocce.

Campo Di Bocce

LIVERMORE – It’s always fun to eat like you’re in Italy when dining at an Italian restaurant, so that’s what the plan was when heading to Livermore’s Campo di Bocce. To me, that means starting with an antipasto platter. Ours was filled with a selection of cured meats, cheeses, marinated artichokes and olives.

Keeping with tradition, next up is the pasta course. We cheated a bit, and shared a decadent mac and cheese with crispy prosciutto instead of a more typical pasta.

Chicken marsala was a great entrée option. The fork-tender chicken was full of flavor. Garlic mashed potatoes and an ample helping of crispy veggies rounded out the plate.   

Entrées start $13.50. Full bar. Open from 11am Monday-Saturday and 10am Sunday. Bocce court reservations are recommended. 175 E. Vineyard Ave., Livermore. Also in Fremont and Los Gatos.