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Ottavio in Walnut Creek: "Oakland-Worthy"

j
jmarek Aug 2, 2010 12:24 PM

Since we moved over the hills a few years ago, my wife and I keep trying Lamorinda and Walnut Creek places, hoping some of them will be in the same league as the west side of the tunnel. Sadly, few are: Lily's House, Hanazen, Artisan Bistro. I would now add Ottavio, a new Italian place just north of Prima on Main St in WC, to the list.

Focus seems to be on the pastas, and we got a tagliatelli with goat ragu. The pasta itself was great, just the right amount of chew. The ragu had a good deep mildly goaty flavor, though it was a bit dry and not as complex as the best ragus I've had. Still good though. The grilled squid salad was outstanding, with the squid nicely charred and tender.

To do the O-town comparison, we thought it was better than Bellanico (which is probably the closer comparison in terms of menu) but not as good as Pizzaiolo or Dopo. Still, that's pretty darn good for WC.

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Pizzaiolo
5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Dopo
4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

Lily's House
3555 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

Hanazen
87 Orinda Way, Orinda, CA 94563

Bellanico
4238 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

Artisan Bistro
1005 Brown Avenue, Lafayette, CA 94549

Ottavio
1606 N Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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  1. mzscahlett RE: jmarek Dec 12, 2010 06:39 PM

    I'd do Bellanico over Pizzaiolo or Dopo. Pizzaiolo & Dopo have sinfully delicious pizza, but neither has really got anything like the breadth of menu at Bellanico. Their goat cheese cheesecake is out of this world, and their saltimbocca is the best I've had anywhere.

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    Pizzaiolo
    5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    Dopo
    4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

    Bellanico
    4238 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

    2 Replies
    1. re: mzscahlett
      j
      jmarek RE: mzscahlett Dec 13, 2010 10:02 AM

      Yes, I agree that the menus aren't comparable -- Bellanico's menu is broader (as is Ottavio). For us though, we don't get the chance to go through the tunnel that often. We would prefer perfection in the narrower concept, if you know what I mean.

      Back to the topic of Ottavio, we were there again last week. The housemade bigoli with braised pork cheeks were fantastic. Tons of rich, sinful pork cheek meat in tomato-based sauce -- and how wonderful to see cheeks in the burbs!

      The grilled octopus prep wasn't quite as good as the squid on our first visit, but still had a nice smoky flavor. The smoked then roasted prok chop with mostarda had incredible depth of flavor. My wife's comment was "like southern BBQ by way of Italy". The goat milk panna cotta had the perfect texture, nice citrus notes, and wasn't too goaty (a plus for me).

      Again, best restaurant we've been to in WC. Yes, that's not the highest bar... but this place really is quite good!

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      Bellanico
      4238 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

      Ottavio
      1606 N Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

      1. re: jmarek
        mzscahlett RE: jmarek Feb 9, 2011 09:36 PM

        Gotta say whatever the preference, the fact that we can even have this conversation about minutia in restaurant perfection without crossing "that" bridge is glorious indeed. How lucky we are becoming to have great dining come to us.

    2. j
      j mather RE: jmarek Dec 11, 2011 09:53 PM

      I tried it last night and I have to agree that it's very good. The house made pastas were fantastic. We had the special wild boar sugo with pappardelle, and the tagliatelle with pioppini mushrooms and artichoke. The wild boar was delciously lean and porky, and the mushrooms were incredibly flavorful. Also had the antipasto, which included speck, prosciutto, and a pate that went really well with the mostarda. I was happy with their by-the-glass selection too, with a good prosecco and a Bardolino that was a great accompaniment to the boar.

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      Ottavio
      1606 N Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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