Walnut Creek Magazine Dining Guide
BREAKFAST JOINTS / BURGERS / SALADS / BARBECUE
BUTTERCUP: At this family-run restaurant, it’s all about savory homemade meals. Besides big breakfasts, Buttercup dishes up lunch and dinner. And on Fridays, they serve Matzo Ball soup. 660 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 932-2763, buttercupgrillandbar.com
DENICA’S: There’s a lot to love at this north Walnut Creek restaurant starting with the mouthwatering pastries lining the bakery’s shelves. Other show stoppers include Benedict four ways and big salads. 2280 Oak Grove Rd., 945-6200, denicascafe.com.
GEORGE'S GIANT HAMBURGER: A Walnut Creek tradition for 30 years, meat is ground fresh daily at this comfortable diner. Save room for a chocolate milkshake. 1491 Newell Avenue, 939-4888, georgesgianthamburger.com
LETTUCE: A salad emporium that loads farm-fresh produce into generously sized classics and creative new inventions. 1632 Locust St., 933-5600, lettuce1.net.
MOOYAH: It’s a franchise with a load of personality. Take your kids to this colorful burger joint and let them build their own burger and eat it with a side of fries. 1815 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 280-5555, mooyah.com.
RUTH’S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE: New Yorks, rib eyes and filets are served on sizzling 500-degree plates cooked to perfection. Round out the meal with spinach au gratin and potatoes Lyonnaise at this swanky steakhouse. 1553 Olympic Blvd., 977-3477, ruthschris.com.
STADIUM PUB: Around for decades, the place is covered in sports memorabilia and wall to wall TVs. The menu is stuffed with BLTs, hot dogs, burgers and fish tacos. 1420 Lincoln Ave., 256-7302, stadiumpub.com.
SUNRISE BISTRO: The emphasis here is on fresh, healthy food. For breakfast try the sweet potato hash or yogurt pancakes. At lunch, you can’t go wrong with a chicken salad sandwich or a big salad. 1559 Botelho Dr., 930-0122, sunrisebistrocatering.com.
THE COUNTER: Upscale burger joint where they make it the way you want it, from exotic to classic, and top it with your favorites. Plump patties range from beef, bison, turkey and ahi tuna. 1699 N. California Blvd., 935-3795, thecounterburger.com.
THE ORIGINAL HICK’RY PIT: This diner is known for its honest American food served all day with a heaping side of hospitality. House specialties are barbecue ribs and homemade pies. 1495 S. Main St., 935-7450, hickrypit.com
CHINESE / VIETNAMESE / JAPANESE / THAI
DRAGON POND: Executive Chef Xiao creates Hunan and Mandarin delicacies. House favorites include Mango Chicken, Honey Walnut Prawns, Salt & Pepper Calamari. 1353 Locust St., 926-0278, dragonpond.com.
KACHA THAI BISTRO: An extensive Thai menu goes beyond the basics with dishes like coconut-milk-roasted duck served in a half-pineapple. A chic setting glamorizes the satay, plar, and larb. 1665 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 988-9877, kachathai.com.
MIXED GRAIN: Authentic Korean comfort food. Try the bibimbap, a big bowl of fluffy rice, colorful vegetables and creamy egg. Nine condiments accompany every meal, including spicy cucumber and seaweed salad. 1546 Bonanza St., 938-5959, mixedgrain.com.
NAMA SUSHI: This casual sushi spot in a north WC strip mall is always packed with raw fish fanatics craving the chef’s mastery. Creative rolls, ocean-fresh fish and Japanese fare. 1502 Sunnyvale Avenue, 932-9540.
PF CHANG’S CHINA BISTRO: This large Chinese restaurant manages to feel intimate with an interesting menu that draws on multiple Asian cooking styles. Try the lettuce wraps and Dan Dan noodles. 1205 Broadway Plaza, 979-9070, pfchangs.com.
RAMEN HIROSHI: Flavorful broth bowls are filled with Japanese noodles then topped with pork belly, soft-cooked egg, black mushrooms, and lotus root. The restaurant is tiny, so plan to wait for a table.1633 Bonanza St., 942-0664, ramenhiroshi.com.
SASA: Upscale Japanese izakaya with dazzling décor and decadently fresh fish. Melt-in-your-mouth sashimi is served with an array of sake.1432 N. Main St., 210-0188, sasawc.com.
VANESSA'S BISTRO: During happy hour, prices at this popular Vietnamese spot drop to $6 for most small plates and cocktails including green papaya prawn salad, petrale sole fish tacos and crispy Saigon rolls. 1512 Locust St., 891-4790, vanessasbistro2.com.
YAN’S CHINA BISTRO: This spicy-food haven makes its pot stickers to order and vegetables crisp. Bestsellers include Singapore noodles, salt & pepper pork chops and Mongolian beef. yanschinabistro.com.
PASTA / FISH / ORGANIC PRODUCE
1515 RESTAURANT LOUNGE: Always bustling for cocktails, flavorful pastas, and fresh fish, the heated outdoor patio is a good place to people watch. 1515 N. Main Street, 939-1515, 1515wc.com.
MAIN STREET KITCHEN: Farm-fresh ingredients grace the menu here. Standouts include fish and chips with house cabbage slaw. Burgers are made from grass-fed beef and fried green pickles come with lemon aioli. 1358 N. Main St., 933-1001, mainstkitchen.com.
METRO: In a seriously chic space with a huge outdoor patio, the kitchen turns out international fare from diverse organic ingredients. 3524 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, metrolafayette.com.
THE PEASANT'S COURTYARD: A casual spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner served in a charming outdoor courtyard. Pancakes, ribs, burgers, and calamari. 3195 Danville Blvd, Alamo, 362-0088, thepeasantscourtyard.com.
VA DE VI BISTRO: With its sophisticated vibe and al fresco dining under an old oak tree, the restaurant's sips are accompanied by a sampling of small plates--bite-size burgers, pasta, risotto, and seafood. 1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 979-0100, vadevi.com.
SALADS / SOUPS/ SANDWICHES
CREPES OOH LA LA: Thin pancakes made the Parisian way, poured on a hot griddle and spread to thinness. Range of toppings for sweet and savory palates. 1548 Locust St., 944-5790.
GENOVA: Italian meats, fresh ravioli and sauces. Take a number; fans line-up for the fresh sandwiches at lunch. Two WC locations: 1105 S. California Blvd., 939-3838 and 2064 Treat Blvd., 938-2888. genovadeli.net.
KINDER'S: Specialties at this family-run favorite include marinated ball tip, tequila-lime ribs, and barbecue chicken doused in signature sauce. 1831 Ygnacio Valley Road and 1293 Parkside Drive, kindersmeats.com.
MORUCCI'S: Fans travel from several towns away for these savory sandwiches. Try the 6 3/4: turkey, tomato and fresh mozzarella on ciabatta, pastrami or the popular chicken Caesar sandwich. 1218 Boulevard Way, 939-2426.
MR. PICKLES: This little sandwich shop serves up flavor-packed sandwiches at great prices. Big enough to split, bread is baked fresh and packed with your favorite fillings. 1991 N. Broadway, 280-5510, mrpicklesinc.com.
54 MINT: Italian bakery features pizza, focaccia, and pastries created from authentic Roman recipes. A flaky croissant filled with rich pastry cream is intoxicating.1686 Locust St., 476-5844, 54mint.com.
CREAM: The winning combination of ice cream sandwiched between two warm cookies can't be beaten. Neither can its super-friendly price of $3 or creative combos like a double chocolate chip with peanut butter. 1372 N Main St., 891-4041, creamnation.com.
LOVE & CHOCOLATE: Pick up a handful or a pound at this Belgian chocolate emporium. Sample your sweets with an espresso on the sidewalk patio. 1397 N. Main St., 932-6666, cafeleonidas.com.
LOTTIE'S CREAMERY: Scoops are packed with fresh ingredients at this ice cream parlor, where everything, including the cones, is made in-house. 1414 Main Street, 472-0723, lottiescreamery.com.
NOAH'S BAGELS: Neighborhood deli serves fresh-baked bagels, sandwiches, and home-style soups. Two Walnut Creek locations: 1930 Mt. Diablo Boulevard and 730 Bancroft Road, noahs.com.
SAN FRANCISCO CREAMERY: Perfect for birthdays and celebrations, serving up ice cream and toppings the old fashioned way. 1370 Locust St., 926-0228, sanfranciscocreameryco.com.
SWEET AFFAIR BAKERY: Sandwiches are legendary here, so are the morning buns, cream cheese croissants and an array of muffins, cakes, and cookies that make this a mainstay for over 30 years. 1815 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 944-1910, asweetaffairbakery.com.
ITALIAN / PIZZA / PASTA
IL FORNAIO: Italian food so innovative, you’ll forget it’s a chain. Lovely dining room with outdoor seating in the heart of downtown shopping. 1430 Mount Diablo Blvd., 296-0100, ilfornaio.com.
MASSIMO: Upscale atmosphere with a piano bar and food from Northern Italy. A good spot to grab a bite before a performance at the Lesher Center for the Arts.1604 Locust St., 932-1474, massimoristorante.com.
MONTECATINI RISTORANTE: An Italian restaurant with staying power; it opened the day of the big earthquake in 1989. The traditional menu features excellent seafood, pastas and veal. 1528 Civic Drive, 943-6608, montecatiniristorante.com.
POSTINO: In a romantic, fireplace-studded, brick building, executive chef Stewart Beatty and his team create elegant dishes from fresh seasonal ingredients. 3565 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 299-8700, postinorestaurant.com.
PRIMA: Everything’s made fresh on the premises at Chef Peter Chastain’s acclaimed contemporary Italian restaurant. His flavorful risottos and light gnocchi will have you coming back for more. 1522 N. Main St., 935-7780, primaristorante.com.
ROCCO’S: This is the place for pizza aficionados. The meaty Dominator and vegetarian Dante’s Inferno are house specialties, along with heaping pastas and salads. 2909 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 947-6105, roccospizzeria.com.
SKIPOLINI’S: Fans flock here for the family vibe and can't- miss pies. The Martinelli, white sauce topped with red peppers, cayenne chicken and fresh spinach, is a house favorite. Legend has it the Prego pizza brings on labor quicker than you can say "more pepperoni, please." 1535 Giammona Dr., 280-1100, skipolinispizza.com.
PINKY’S: Perfect for birthday parties and post-game feasts, Pinky’s is a Walnut Creek tradition. Simple, affordable and comfortable, the pizzeria has remained true to its vision since opening in the 1960’s. 2085 N. Broadway, 939-5000, pinkyspizzawc.com.
EL CHARRO: A Lafayette favorite, the margaritas are magic accompanied with chips, salsa and “cheese dip.” From fish tacos to burritos, this restaurant has served generations of locals. 3339 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 283-2345, elcharro1947.com.
MARIA MARIA: This beautiful Mexican restaurant is known for its creative dishes like creamy duck tacos, mole short ribs, and spicy sweet chile rellenos. Start your meal with guacamole and margaritas. 1470 N. Broadway, 946-1010, mariamariarestaurants.com.
Gyros / Greek Salads / Kabobs
BABALOU'S: Great food at great prices. The Middle Eastern menu is seductive for vegetarians and carnivores alike—with aromatic meats and a tempting display of salads served in a brightly muraled room. 1645 Bonanza St., 930-8000, babalous.com.
JACK’S: This restaurant has a warm vibe and big bar. Souvlaki and spanakopita honor the owners' Greek heritage; an eclectic international menu featuring pasta, steak and breakfasts. 60 Crescent Dr., Pleasant Hill, 849-6195, jacksrestaurants.com.
SILK ROAD: Good food served in a sunny patio setting. House favorites are kabobs, gyros and falafels, but save room, you can make a meal from the appetizer plate served with piping hot pita bread. 1440 N. Main St., 932-9090, silkroadwalnutcreek.com.
SCOTT'S: Elegant surroundings, attentive service, and good food. They also do a lavish Sunday brunch, catering, and social events. 1333 N California Blvd., 934-1300, scottsrestaurants.com.
WALNUT CREEK YACHT CLUB: For almost two decades, WCYC has been cultivating customers with its lobster and crab feasts, and oyster bar. The restaurant’s specialties — killer cocktails and phenomenal fish —attract barflies and foodies alike. walnutcreekyachtclub.com.
Peru / Chile / Spain
PARADA: While the menu offers a diverse selection, the ceviche is a must. Fresh fish is marinated in lemon juice and chilies and served with toasted corn nuts and spiced sweet potato. Rotisserie chickens are also a big seller, along with mac n cheese and Korean-style ribs. 7001 Sunne Lane, 448-8118, paradakitchen.com.
SABORES DEL SUR: Chilean cuisine reigns at this north Walnut Creek eatery. You can't go wrong the robust empanadas stuffed with meat or vegetarian fillings inside fresh, flaky pastry dough. 3003 Oak Rd., 954-8300, saboresdelsursf.com.
TELEFERIC BARCELONA: This Spanish hot spot serves tasty bites known as pintxos, ahi tuna swabbed in wasabi sauce, along with fresh paella in a stunning atmosphere. 1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 451-9576, telefericbarcelona.com.