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ISO "normal" but good food in Dublin/Pleasanton

I'm meeting an old high school friend in the Dublin/Pleasanton area (somewhere near Hwy. 580 for ease of transportation for both of us) for a weekday lunch next week.

I'm not sure about her food tastes (I suspect she is rather unadventurous, however), so am looking for a "safe" (and low-cost) recommendation that's comfortable for her, but good food. When making recommendations, she mentioned TGIFriday's and McDonald's. PLEASE tell me there's something else!!

She did mention she likes Mexican food, so I've looked at other postings, and noted El Balazo, Alberto's Cantina, and Casa Orozco. But their on-line menus looked pretty average to me...

I'd love to try Koi Gardens, but am not sure if she'd like dim sum, plus it might be too expensive. I'm pretty sure Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Singaporean are out!

Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance!


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  1. The Sideboard in Danville at the Danville Hotel, about 12 miles up the freeway, has gotten some kind words on Chowhound. I was worried that it wasn't there anymore because I couldn't find a link that I seen with a picture of the hotel and I thought their menu. However. there is a yelp review, very favorable, from 4 days ago.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Here's a few reviews of Sideboard

      Here's a search of what is in the Places database on Pleasanton. If there's a website and menu, most are in there.

      Stacy's Cafe (part owned by Scott Adams of Dilbert) has had positive mentions. If you look at the place record for Stacy's there's a excellent recent thread about what to eat in Pleasanton and a link to a local blogger of PLeasanton restaurants.

      I haven't been to Kinders in Pleasanton, but have been to other locations. It is just ok, the best thing being the ball tip sandwich which is their claim to fame. It is a nice roast beef sandwich but nothing to get excited about.

      I was interested in Redcoats which has British pub food, but my impression from my query is that it is ok, but not great.

      1. re: rworange

        May I record those reviews as additional kind words about Sideboard? ;-)

        1. re: rworange

          I'll check out Sideboard and Stacy's. Thanks!


      2. If you are willing to go to San Ramon, Sergio's(Bollinger Canyon Rd) is a pretty good Italian place with great lunch specials. Also Italian in San Ramon is Pasta Primavera. (Crow Canyon Rd).again good lunch specials. Izzy's Steak and Chop House in San Ramon is now serving lunch but the prices are high for lunch. Zachary's Pizza has a location in San Ramon (Crow CanyonRd) but I am not a big fan and it gets crowded.

        In Pleasanton, Eddie Papa's American restaurant (Hopyard Rd) is supposed to be reasonably good and would satisfy an unadventurous eater.

        In Dublin, Frankie, Johnny and Luigi's is a red sauce Italian place that has pretty decent pizza in addition to the pasta offerings.

        If you don't mind chains, the Elephant Bar just opened in Dublin and isn't bad. There is also Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs at Stoneridge Mall.

        1 Reply
        1. re: baseballfan

          I've never been to a PF Chang's, and have been curious for a while... that might work out, and the mall would have lots of parking (and even something to do if we want to walk around after lunch).



        2. For a nice quiet lunch with an old friend off the freeway and not ethnic, I'd try Faz. They have sandwiches, salads, pastas in a nice environment comfortable enough to hang out for awhile. Here is a link to the lunch menu:

          Faz Restaurant & Bar
          5121 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cheesy Oysters

            Oh, I know Faz! That's a good idea... I'll add it to my short list. Thanks!


          2. If she likes Mexican food, the best in the area is Blue Agave Club on Main Street in downtown Pleasanton. They have a beautiful outdoor patio in front of the restaurant that is one of the best features. For lunch, they have the basics, but done very well. Their dinner menu is where they focus on their specialties.

            Blue Agave Club
            625 Main Street, Pleasanton, CA 94556

            1. The Pleasanton Hotel is quite...uh....pleasant. Not cutting edge by any stretch, but decent soups, sandwiches, meat-loaf. Eddie Papa's would also fill that bill. Adam

              1. stacys is nice but much too noisy,too much hard surface.you cant even hold a conversation. try armidillo willy in the same shopping center much quieter. great sandwiches

                2 Replies
                1. re: mychineseauntie

                  I think that Stacey's closed - did it reopen? I like Willy's too. Good chili if you are a fan.

                  1. re: tomatoaday

                    Stacey's in the same shopping center as Willy's is indeed closed.

                    My husband and I ate at Sideboard in Danville last weekend and really enjoyed their food! The portions were on the small side and the prices are high compared to Oakland, but the food and desserts in particular were fabulous!

                    Hubby had the cheeseburger (added bacon) and fries. I had a small bit and dare I say it was probably the tastiest burger we’ve had in East Bay. I had a soft shell crab sandwich (a whiteboad special) with fries (comes with chips but you can pay $2 extra for fries). The crab was fairly large and fried well, but the taste was meh.

                    I'm not a big dessert person, but WOW, the cookies were really good and all made in house. We purchase to take home two mini gluten-free peanut butter cookies sandwiched with fudge (our favorite of the bunch), snickerdoodle, ginger and chocolate chip. We also took home a bacon and cheddar scone (I liked it warmed in the toaster oven the next day, but hubby thought it tasted too greasy) and a slice of foccacia topped with cherry tomatoes, herbs and parmesan cheese (again, I liked it but hubby did not).

                    We were still hungry after our sandwiches (we skipped breakfast so were starved), so we ordered a latte for me, mocha for him and shared a slice of chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (absolutely delicious!) Total after tax was almost $70 for our lunch, dessert and baked goods to take home.

                    They use high quality, organic products when possible (i.e., Blue Bottle coffee, Acme bread, Clover organic butter, Prather Ranch beef, Alexander Valley pickles, etc.). Order at the counter, self-serve utensils/condiments, find an empty table and they'll bring your food to your table.

                    There's a large communcal table in the middle of the restaurant which seats 8. Around 1:30pm on Saturday, those were the only seats available in the restaurant. We shared the table with a charming, friendly couple who helped us pass the time while we waited over 30 minutes for our food to arrive. We then waited almost 15 minutes for our coffee and cake to arrive after ordering at the counter after we finished eating our lunch. Definitely not the place to go if you're in a rush.

                    Sideboard neighborhood coffeehouse and kitchen
                    411 Hartz Ave, Danville, CA 94526

                2. I'd rather go to TGIFriday's than El Balazo