Can anyone give me the low down on eating in Pleasanton? I'm likely taking a job there and am worried, of course, about where I will have lunch!
I live in Oakland now and work in Cupertino. Surprisingly there is quite a bit of cheap Asian strip mall food fabulousness in the sunnyvale|cupertino|mountain view area. Good Vietnames sandos., Indian food(north, south, veggie), lots of decent Chinese, good Sushi, good Greek, 1 decent taqueria, etc.
What Im interested in:
Good food, reasonably fast service, decent price-any cuisine type. I love anything spicy or asian.
What I am not interested in:
Baja Fresh, Chipotle, Mr. Chaus, Togos.
This is my town, and the focus of my food blog, Eating in Pleasanton <http://eatinginpleasanton.com> . It's become somewhat of a food mecca in the last few years. The best thing to do is to park your car at one end of Main St., and just walk the length (about half a mile) and back. There are at least a dozen non-chain eating places on Main St. A few highlights, just from Main St./downtown:
Oasis Fusion Grille: Afghan style fusion food, nice atmosphere.
Stacey's Cafe: large eclectic menu, nice patio & deck. Co-owned by Scott Adams (author of "Dilbert"
)Mahalo Grille: Hawaiian/Islander/Caribbean specialties. I love the fish tacos with pineapple salsa.
Senro Sushi (just off Main St. in the old RR station): sushi, sashimi, Japanese standards.
Tomo: another Japanese place.
Blue Agave Club: high-end Mexican; very popular; somewhat overhyped.
Strizzi's: very consistent Cal-Italian.
C&D Bistro: traditional French; haven't been since it changed owners.
Agora Bistro: Greek/Turkish, very good, lovely "greenhouse" dining room in rear.
Oak House: pan-Asian, haven't been.
Pleasanton Hotel: Sunday buffet bunch; Cal-cuisine lunches & dinners, older crowd.
Spring Rain: Korean, haven't tried yet.
Pasta's Trattoria: Italian; not very good except maybe for kids.
Pleasanton House Thai: local Thai, nothing special, reasonably consistent
Dean's: breakfast/lunch, old-school, good omelettes & sandwiches
Gay 90's Pizza: OK local pizza joint, nothing special.
There are undoubtedly a few others that slipped my mind.
Chains on Main St.:
Quizno's (not a good one as Quizno's go)
Round Table Pizza
Outside of downtown, there's the usual mix of stuff, mostly chains, but one notable exception is my favorite local restaurant of all, Delatorre's Trattoria, which is in a shopping center at Hopyward Rd., & Las Positas Blvd. (near the Lucky supermarket). The chef is a wonder, and the specials are often amazing. (The rest of the menu, Italian standards, are just fine too.) It was an unknown neighborhood chowhound find for a long time, but was recently "discovered" and they redecorated somewhat upscale & raised the prices, but the food is still great.
Being a Thai food aficianado and Pleasanton resident (Travel to southeast Asia and partner is an accomplished Thai cook) we have found that Pleasanton House Thai Cuisine is a good local place to eat occasionally. It is located at 929-c Main Street and it is open from 11:30am to 3pm for lunch. Dishes are in the $6-8 range for lunch.
I also mildly agree with the posting re: Pho in Pleasanton. It is a passable version of pho,("pho in a pinch" the place is an Asian food chain)I would recommend it (the rice plates are less than agreeable) but as someone who has eaten Asian in the Sunnyvale area, if you know pho and expect above average you will probably be disappointed.
Re: Dean's: It is a Pleasanton institution but in my opinion that is all it has going for it. The atmosphere is retro indeed: dark, unkempt, neglected roadside cafe circa 1970. There are many other places to get a decent greasy American breakfast without feeling queasy afterwards.
Having worked in the Hacienda business park for several years, I found the best overall lunch place to be Sweet & Savory, on Gibralter at Stoneridge. They have excellent fresh salads, soups, sandwiches, etc., plus lots of yummy house-baked cookies and pastries.
There are also some decent Mexican places around -- El Balazo in the Wal-Mart shopping center offers good, authentic Mexican food; Alberto's Cantina in downtown Pleasanton also has good Mexican food (and superb margaritas!) at moderate prices. A lot of people love the Blue Agave Club in downtown Pleasanton, but in my experience, the inconsistent food does not merit the restaurant's relatively high prices.
Unfortunately, I haven't found any really decent Chinese food in Pleasanton. Indian choices are better; the best I've found is Sargam, in Dublin, which offers a good, inexpensive weekday lunch buffet.
Not sure about lunch, but if you want a blast to the past 50s/60s breakfast, try Dean's in downtown Pleasanton. In contrast to the rest of Pleasanton, which is suburban malls, chain restaurants and office parks, the old downtown section of Pleasanton is nicely restored, a mix of new and old (including western wear shops!). There used to even be a small farmers' market on Saturdays. I used to get my car serviced there on Saturday at the dealer, and would use that as an excuse to stop at Dean's for omelettes and biscuits. The place hasn't changed from when it opened years ago and does a brisk business. You won't find goat cheese on this menu! They have one of those classic menus with countless permutations of omelettes (the "international" is a mix of swiss, american and jack cheese!), including omelettes with chorizo and linguica. Sure, the bread isn't Acme, the eggs probably aren't organic, but this is the real thing not someone trying to be retro. UNESCO should preserve Dean's just as it is before we lose our road food heritage.