New East Bay Places for Summer Celebrations

Chicken Schnitzel with whipped potatoes served at The Lot in San Ramon. Photo: The Lot/Facebook

If you’re looking for someplace out of the ordinary to celebrate with your dad or grad or just have a fun time out with family or friends, check out these newish spots in the neighborhood.

The Lot

SAN RAMON – You don’t have to be a movie buff to enjoy a meal at The Lot. Situated in San Ramon’s City Center, the restaurant is a great gathering spot for friends or family.

To start, my date and I shared an order of truffle fries sprinkled with shaved Parmesan cheese. White truffle oil gave the crispy fries amazing flavor.

I opted to try the loaded Lot Burger. It’s topped with a choice of cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. I selected a small green salad to go with mine. If you prefer something light, the seasonal halibut is an excellent alternative. Ours came with fresh asparagus puree and snap peas.

The Lot gets my kudos for featuring a handful of highly-rated Napa Valley wines that I rarely see offered by the glass on their menu.

Entrées start at $18. Full bar. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 2300.

Bounty Hunter’s BBQ Platter. Photo: Bounty Hunter/Facebook

Bounty Hunter

WALNUT CREEK – Barbecue goes upscale at Walnut Creek’s Bounty Hunter. It’s the perfect place for a date night or celebration with your dad or recent grad. Wood and brick provide a sophisticated look for the new eatery that took over the space that was Tommy Bahama.

My date and I couldn’t pass up the Southern-style pimento cheese dip served with a platter of chips. It paired perfectly with our flight of bourbon.

For those like me who don’t want to limit their options, order the Bounty Hunter Smokin’ BBQ Platter. It features a pile of pulled pork, fork-tender beef brisket, a half rack of ribs and a heaping serving of coleslaw. Select from a trio of regional dipping sauces. The platter will easily satisfy two or three guests. Save room for the seasonal cobbler!

Entrées start at $18. Full bar. Open daily 11:30am-10pm (11pm Friday and Saturday). 1521 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Walnut Creek.

Photo: Kimono/Facebook


PLEASANTON – Dinner becomes the show at Pleasanton’s Kimono Restaurant when your teppanyaki chef arrives at the grill to prepare your meal. Watch in awe as they chop, dice, flip and flambé shrimp, eggs, onions and more at this family-friendly spot that’s perfect for any celebration.

Kimono’s specialties begin with a bowl of savory onion soup and a small salad. In addition, each features a grilled shrimp appetizer, mushrooms and either steamed or fried rice as well as your main entrée choice.

My filet mignon was grilled medium rare, just how I like it. Seafood lovers will delight over the options, which include lobster tails cooked in butter and lemon, jumbo shrimp, scallops and seared tuna.

Sushi and an array of appetizers round out the menu.

Teppanyaki dinners start at $22.95. Full bar. Open daily, 11:30am-9pm, (10pm Friday and Saturday). 6770 Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton.

Photo: Monica’s Livermore/Facebook


LIVERMORE – When a leisurely brunch is in order, head to Monica’s in Livermore where you can enjoy anything from pancakes and Benedicts to burgers and gourmet salads.

My date and I enjoyed a round of Bloody Marys on the covered patio while we perused the menu, deciding on a Cali omelet, a Cali Benedict and a side order of flaky biscuits and spicy pork gravy.

While my omelet filled with spinach, mushrooms and bacon and topped with avocado was good, I was a little envious of the Benedict version with cage-free eggs sporting brilliantly orange yolks.

Omelets start at $11.50. Beer, wine and Bloody Marys available. Open daily 8am-3pm. Evening hours from 6-10pm on Fridays. 2074 Second Street, 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 the June 2019 East Bay editions.

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