‘Tis the Season for Holiday Dining in the East Bay
With parties, shopping, decorating, hosting out-of-town guests and more, who has time to cook? This month we highlight four spots that will help make your holidays bright.
The Park Bistro and Bar
LAFAYETTE – Award-winning Executive Chef Frank Macias creates a seasonal farm-to-table dining experience that will have foodies planning a return visit before leaving. Luckily, you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy a meal at The Park Bistro and Bar, which is located inside Lafayette Park Hotel.
The hamachi crudo with yuzu vinaigrette, avocado mousse, cucumber and seaweed chip is a great place to start if you’re wanting a light plate to share while sipping a cocktail.
Short days and crisp nights call for comfort food and The Park Bistro’s menu is teeming with selections that will satisfy, including my favorite, Mary’s organic chicken with cannelloni mornay and creamed spinach. The chicken is delish, but the cannelloni is what you’ll be raving about to your friends.
Entrées start at $15. Open daily from 11:30am. Full bar. 3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette. ParkBistroAndBar.com
DANVILLE – If the holiday craziness has you craving a cozy night out, head to Dana’s in Danville where the ambiance is set just right for a relaxing dinner. Make a meal out of starters, or pair one with an entrée. The vodka orange cured salmon was fresh and flavorful. Served on brioche, it’s topped with fennel apple slaw, cucumber and crème fraiche.
I stayed on the menu’s lighter side, ordering the pan seared day boat scallops with parsnip puree and a generous serving of sautéed broccoli, shallots, fingerling potatoes and shiitake mushrooms.
If comfort food is in order, try the Niman Ranch pork chop. Tender and flavorful, it is accompanied by a polenta cake, sautéed rainbow chard and corn purée.
Entrées start at $14. Open daily, 11:30am-9pm (10pm Friday and Saturday). Full bar. Located in the Danville Livery, 416 Sycamore Valley Road West, Danville. DanasDining.com
Baci Bistro & Bar
DANVILLE – Have a date to catch up with friends for the holidays? Head to Pleasanton’s Baci Bistro and Bar for a casual, yet elegant night out. With crab back in season (fingers crossed there are no interruptions this year), an order of crab cakes paired with a glass of wine is a great way to start your evening.
Steaks, seafood and pasta are menu staples. I enjoyed how the flavors of lemon, white wine, garlic, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes married together to form Baci’s chicken milano, which was served on a bed of linguini. Larger appetites will love the steak and chops options. Smaller appetites (or those saving room for dessert) may want to share a starter and pasta entrée and add individual small salads.
Entrées start at $19. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Brunch on weekends. Hours vary by day. Full bar. 500 Main Street, Pleasanton. Baci has a second location in Danville. BaciBistroAndBar.com
LIVERMORE – If part of your holiday tradition includes enjoying a day touring Livermore’s vineyards, make a plan to stop at Garré Cafe in Livermore for a bite to eat.
The wine country salad featuring mixed greens, gorgonzola, figs and candied pecans is a palate pleaser. Pair with a hand tossed pizza, or enjoy with one of the many entrées inspired by owner Bob Molinaro’s Nonna Rosa.
The chicken marsala, a generous serving of chicken breast served on a bed of angel hair pasta tossed with mushrooms and shallots, won’t disappoint. The dish was rich and quite filling, so I had leftovers, which were just as good for lunch the next day.
Entrées start at $15. Open Monday-Thursday, 11am-2pm and Friday-Sunday, 11am-8:30pm (6:30pm on Sunday). Full bar. 7986 Tesla Road, Livermore. GarreWinery.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 December 2017 editions.
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