Walnut Creek’s best bites–and drinks to sip

What are your favorite things to eat and drink at Walnut Creek bars and restaurants or to pick up from  take-out restaurants and grocery stores? What are your favorite appetizers, dishes, drinks, or desserts? It can be a rare treat, or a regular standby, that one thing you crave after a hard day or that you know your whole family, including picky young eaters, will enjoy.
Here are a few of mine. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I’ll probably add as I remember more. I’m sure some readers will have strong feelings and good recommendations about certain menu items, notably burgers, pizza and burritos.

–The vegetarian burrito at Sunrise Bistro: Filled with the usual black beans and rice and cheese, as well as lots of veggies: broccoli, zucchini, and spinach. It comes with salsa and guacamole. It’s big and satisfying, but, like other Sunrise Bistro fare, it feels healthy. A vegan version is also available with tofu replacing cheese.
Le Cheval‘s shrimp rolls (steamed prawns, mint leaves, wrapped in rice paper) and vermicelli salad and grilled chicken kebabs served with lettuce, mint, cilantro, nuts, and nuoc nam.

–Strawberry smoothie and imperial rolls from Pho Saigon Noodle House

–Tamale pancake, shredded barbecue chicken, avacado salad and tortilla strips, Lark Creek Walnut Creek
–Burger with Danish blue cheese, on a honey wheat bun, at The Counter. www.thecounterburger.com
–The Napa Salad–spring greens topped with grilled rosemary chicken, toasted sugar walnuts, fresh field berries, and feta cheese. Tossed as you watch. At Lettuce on Locust Street. Eat in or take out. 925-933-5600.

–Four Cheese Margherita pizza from Rocco’s Ristorante Pizzeria. I always love just a basic cheese pizza. This one has a blend of Mozzarella, Provolone, Fontina and Gorgonzola with basil and a sauce made from the restaurant’s own marinated diced tomatoes.

–Macaroni and cheese from Whole Foods: Comfort food at the Soccer Mom home. You’ll know why if you read these ingredients: pasta slathered, tossed and baked with a buttery white sauce, heavy cream,  Jack cheddar cheese and parmesan. Whole Foods was running out when I snapped this photo. 

–UPDATE: L’Orange Pomegranate martini, Sasa. Tastes like a nice icy glass of pomegranate juice, with a splash of lime and ginger. You could just drink it down–like juice–but there is the matter of the L’Orange Grey Goose vodka that would make you lose your designated driver status.

–Chocolate crackle cookies and Gingeroos (soft ginger cookies) from the Walnut Creek Baking Company. The crackle cookies are like chewy brownies in cookie form. 

–Dark chocolate almonds sprinkled with sea salt and turbino sugar. From Trader Joe’s. Actually, Trader Joe’s is a chocolate lovers’ dream–or downfall.

18 thoughts on “Walnut Creek’s best bites–and drinks to sip

  1. I'm hungry! My husband and I need to visit Walnut Creek more often. Clayton and Concord just don't seem to have the restaurant scene going on like Walnut Creek. We waste too much money on last minute “don't know where to go” marginal restaurants.


  2. The addictive chicken schwarma at Babalou in Walnut Creek (also available at its sister restaurant, Mediterranean in Park & Shop in Concord). Spit-roasted chicken with cucumbers, grilled tomatoes, garlicky tzatziki sauce and spices wrapped in warm lavash bread . . . absolutely delicious, though difficult to eat in public without sauce dripping down your arms!


  3. two places in Concord worth going to:

    Memo's off the Square, stronger on the cumin, but well done and quiet

    La Pinata on Colfax


  4. SM,

    Totally unfair. I just finished a four-hour hike on Mt. Diablo. Now I want to go put on the feed bag at one of your best bite places!


  5. I need to get to Bablou! And, there was this beef appetizer at Huynh that was heaven for a carnivore and SE Asian food fan like me. I

    We also did takeout from Erawan recently, and I have fond memories of their green and red curries.

    What else?

    There have been wonderful things I've eaten at Va de Vi and Prima, what some might say are WC's two most notable, high-end restaurants. It's just been a while, and I couldn't remember anything specifically.

    There are plenty of places I've never been to, or would love to get back to, including George's and Hubcaps.

    I recently grabbed a quick dinner with my son at Modern China Cafe. Very generous portions of tasty stir-fry dishes. A good value.

    I have always wanted to try a burger at Bing Crosby's. And someone recently recommended the lunch bento-style boxes at OIC Bowl.

    And, I'd like to get to the Tacqueria Mexican Grill on Locust. It is the original tacqueria in Walnut Creek. My brother swears by the place and always makes a point to stop in every time he visits his native Walnut Creek when he visits from Virginia.

    So many restaurants. Not enough time, not enough $$$, and I've got to watch my girlish figure. Ha!

    By the way, these are photos I've collected over the past few months. I didn't suddenly go out on a restaurant binge.


  6. Can't argue with you SM on this list other than I'm not much of a fan of Le Cheval. Here are a few additions;

    Tuna Tartar
    Serano Wrapped Prawns
    Elderflower Gimlet

    Various Salumi


    Sakana Sushi

    Dalat Vietnamese
    Green Papaya Salad

    Shrimp Rolls

    Vanessa's Bistro 2
    Garlic Noodles


  7. The Ball Tip sandwich and tequila lime sweet potato fries @ Kinders in Ygnacio Plaza.

    The Hawaiian wings and the Tequila Lime wings at Whole Foods.

    Snickerdoodles from A Sweet Affair.

    Lemon Bars from Walnut Creek Baking Company.


  8. Walnut Creek Yacht Club has a There is a scallop salad with israli couscous…I get it everytime – yum. And their chocolate ice cream with vanilla sauce – so good!


  9. Softshell crab at OIC Bowl.

    Green curry mussels at Erawan.

    Calamari at Lark Creek (could use more pepper but the freshness and perfection of cooking more than make up for lack of spice.)

    Banana split for the whole family at SF Creamery.

    And I will say it again: Can we please get an Ethiopian restaurant in Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, or Concord!


  10. Hi-Test!
    An Ethiopian restaurant would be great fun! We visited one in north Oakland on Christmas Day a couple of years ago. Fun food and fun people. It was like going to that Chinese restaurant in the Christmas Story film except no dack had its head cut off.
    Seriously, the Ethiopian food is wonderful.


  11. Ok Soccer Mom…just got back from Trader Joe's and picked up some of the Dark chocolate almonds sprinkled with sea salt and turbino sugar…..O….M….G….I am going to regret trying these because they are sooooooooooooo yummy I can't stop eating them!! Thanks for the tip!


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