Delicious Dining in the East Bay for May

Scallops Carlitos served at Barranco Kitchen in Lafayette, California. Photo: Barranco Kitchen.

Looking for a new spot to enjoy a meal with a special someone? Or maybe just the kids? Here are some options that will satisfy everyone’s appetite.

Barranco Kitchen 

LAFAYETTE, California – The latest concept from the award-winning Altamirano Restaurant Group, Lafayette’s Barranco features a menu that showcases fish.

Barranco’s small plates are perfect to share. I started with palta rellena, which is half an avocado stuffed with a generous portion of cold chicken chicharrón (breaded and fried) mixed with a lime-oregano mayo. If you’re not sharing, this could easily double as an entrée. I loved the juxtaposition of the crunchy chicken and smooth avocado.

The Scallops Carlitos, pan seared day boat scallops with risotto and Peruvian spices, were unlike any other that I’ve had.

Octopus, Mexican white shrimp and wild-caught fish prepared a handful of ways are all on the menu. If you imbibe, try a pisco sour made with the national spirit of Peru.

Small plates start at $12. Open Tuesday-Sunday. Full bar. 3596 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.

The modern bar now at Forli in Alamo, California. Photo: Forli Restaurant & Bar

Forli Restaurant & Bar

ALAMO, California – I’m not sure exactly what transpired, but the former Forli owners have returned to bring their style of classic Italian cuisine back to Alamo. Whether you prefer to dine in the restaurant, or have an appetizer and cocktail in the now modern bar, you won’t be disappointed.

My table started with the fritto di calamari and gamberi appetizer consisting of lightly fried calamari and shrimp with a few bonus vegetables included.

Dining family style, we opted to share a pasta and an entrée. The house-made papardelle in bolognese sauce was cooked al dente and paired perfectly with a thick, juicy pork medallion served with sautéed veggies and fingerling potatoes.

Plan ahead so you can enjoy a slice of tangy lemon cake and a selection of digestifs.

Entrées start at $18. Open daily from 4pm. Full bar. 3160 Danville Blvd. in Alamo.

Tea leaf salad served at Burma Burma in Dublin, California. Photo: Samantha M. / Yelp

Burma Burma 

DUBLIN, California – With the opening of Dublin’s Burma Burma, it seems like there is a new trend in the Tri-Valley. While I’m still learning the ins and outs of the cuisine that melds together Chinese, Indian and Thai seasonings, I’m savoring what each new Burmese restaurant brings to the area.

Start light with a tea leaf salad to share. It’s a mix of Burmese tea leaves, fried garlic, beans, peanuts and more on romaine lettuce. The flavors and textures are palate pleasing.

If you like spicy, the minted jalapeño chicken comprised of sambal chili sauce, mint leaves, garlic and ginger, is for you. Dishes are made-to-order mild, medium, hot or very hot. The cheesy shrimp prepared with fresh curry leaves, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, milk, condensed milk and butter was a standout.

Dishes start at $10. Beer and wine only. Open daily. Check website for hours. 7294 San Ramon Road in Dublin.

Classic Melburger served at The Original Mel’s Diner, now open in Livermore, California. Photo: The Original Mel’s

Mel’s Diner 

LIVERMORE, California – If it’s 4pm and you have a hankering for eggs, head to Mel’s, the Original Diner, where breakfast is served all day. Now open in Livermore, their breakfast menu is extensive. Skillets are great, as are the breakfast burritos. Just bring a hearty appetite or share with a friend.

While salads and blue plate dinner entrées are prominent menu features, if I’m going to a diner, I want a burger and fries. The San Francisco Melburger with cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, grilled onion and thousand island dressing on toasted sourdough hit the spot. It was flavorful and juicy without being messy.

Burgers start at $11. Open daily 6am-10pm with plans to go 24/7. Beer and wine only. 1116 East Stanley Blvd. in Livermore.

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 May 2018 editions.

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