Breakfast/Lunch in the Martinez Area?
- Cyrus J. Farivar
Anyone know anything about chow in this area?
i grew up in nearby pleasant hill, moved to berkeley, and now live in martinez, but don't know much about the eats there.
i remember hearing about pegg's and checked it out when i was in high school. huge, blue-collar, greasy spoon kind of breakfasts, kind of like chef burger in pleasant hill. cheap and filling. saturated fat and cholesterol are their specialties. however, the location is awful though. right on shell avenue, across the street from the mad max beyond thunderdome shell refinery. i think i scarfed down my skillet breakfast and hightailed out of there before any petroleum explosions turned me into a burned up piece of bacon.
i don't think there is anything like momma's royal cafe, la note, cafe fanny, fat apple's, etc. in martinez though. if there is, please let me know!
The pickin's are slim in Martinez. We've been here 2 years, have tried a number of the local restaurants, and have been disappointed in most of them. It doesn't help that the downtown is dead at night, especially on weekends, which means there's little incentive for restaurants to give it a go or raise the bar there. But that's a rant for another board....
Anyway, Pegg's, mentioned by the other poster, is the only breakfast place we've tried. Yes, it's in a lousy spot, but it's clean, the breakfast dishes (omlettes and such) are fine, and the hash browns are very good. They taste like they've been cooked in lard or bacon fat, ane I'm sure they're terrible for you, but they are oh-so-tasty. Get your coffee fix elsewhere; their's is undrinkable, IMHO.
For lunch, I like Haute Stuff on Main Street. Very fresh ingredients, homemade breads, good salads, sandwiches, and specials. It's pricey, but worth it. Like most places downtown, it's only open weekdays.
You can also make a breakfast or lunch out of the excellent pastries from The Gateau Elegant bakery, also on Main Street. They're open Tuesday-Saturday, I think. They serve very good espresso drinks, too.
One place we've enjoyed for dinner, which is also open for lunch with a similar menu, is Mangia Bene, in a strip mall at the intersection of Morello & Highway 4. Both the food and service are very good. Link to their web site is below.
Good luck, and if you find any good spots, please share them with us.
My Wife and I will second that on Mangia Bene. Visiting someone in Martinez which seems notably sparse on offerings and happily stumbled upon this wonderful little 'authentic' Italian restaurant. (Am not traveled enough to know if it's authentic, seems like it is to me, but I can say this is not your run of the mill Italian.) Very happily suprised that such excellence could be found in a strip mall in what seems like the middle of nowhere in particular.
Not that I like my food drenched in salt, but the much of the food was so low in salt content that it detracted from the flavor, but with just a dash, this was remedied. Otherwise the ingredients and the flavors were extremely satisfying.
We didn't eat a full meal, we had just flown in and were starving and on our way somewhere so took a sampling to go. We had the Mozzarella alla Caprese (tomato, basil, mozzarella, olive oil), Polenta con Funghi (polenta with fontina cheese and mushrooms), Insalata di Pera (frisee aka Belgian endive, arugula, radicchio & pears in a honey champagne vinagrette with roasted walnuts and dried ricotta) and the Gambere al Limone (shrimp, garlic, lemon, white wine & butter). I suspect their deserts (a solid list of Italian items) are good as well but cannot say. They also have a decent wine and beer selection (including a good German non-alcoholic beer, Clausthaler).
If you are near this area, I highly reccommend Mangia Bene, even for those who aren't normally inclined towards Italian food.