Best/most interesting food in San Ramon/Danville/Dublin for a visitor from LA?
We are staying with family near San Ramon and wonder what we should eat locally that might be better than what we find in Los Angeles. So far the Indian restaurants around San Ramon/Dublin are way better than we have in Los Angeles. Any other specific recommendations? Prefer casual/take-out. Open to all cuisines. Thanks!
The lunch buffet at India Gardens/Pleasanton is the only one of its ilk we have approved of. It is a very small, cramped little place (converted house with tiny rooms) but the buffet food is very good quality, unlike the others we've tried in Contra Costa/Alameda Counties.
The Turkish food at Lokanta/Pleasanton was excellent at a dinner we went to. The yoghurt with honey dessert was the finest version of this dish (and big enough for two) we've ever encountered. Our Turkish friends call this one of the only three Turkish restaurants in Northern CA they like (they try every single Turkish restaurant that opens).
We had lunch at Peasant & Pear/Danville last week, not dinner. Lunch was pretty good, not really outstanding. The brie & pear quesadilla was nicely balanced and very pleasing. The prickly pear creme brulee was remarkable. But the sandwiches were big but too bready, the filet tips in the Black & Blue salad were tasty but gristle-y. Dinner menu is bigger, and sounds more interesting, so we plan to return.
There are pros/cons to Koi Palace/Dublin in our opinion. Certain dim sum they do very well; others, like the chicken wings and spicy scallop dumplings, are misconceived and frankly were awful. The ordering system was clumsy and time-consuming; the crowds are heavy.
We did not like Kee Wah at all. We bought numerous items; all of which were the Chinese equivalent of Debbie Cakes and Twinkies. If you are looking for cheap pastries and don't care about what you're putting into your body, this is where to go.
We personally prefer Lee Garden/Pleasanton: less crowded, better/faster service, and we like the dim sum items they do well (which are different than the ones Koi Palace does well).
If you have anyone in your group who is fond of old-style Cal-Italian, De La Torres/Pleasanton does three things very well: chicken liver spaghetti (massive serving, livers aren't overcooked); the fruit cobbler changes regularly but is always wonderful to this one-time Midwesterner; and the service is excellent while the prices are modest. It's an old-fashioned "value" restaurant, the kind your parents will love while also pleasing younger generations.
HTH, have a great time!
How would you compare those to what's available and/or the quality in Los Angeles?
If you look at the ingredient labels on Kee Wah pastries, you'll see that they are considerably different than the long litany of artificial components on Twinkies ingredient lists. I've never looked at nor eaten Debbie Cakes so can't speak to that from personal experience.
Edited to add: For example, the lotus paste moon cake ingredients are "Lotus Seed Paste, Sugar, Peanut Oil, Flour, Egg-Wash, Yolk".
Thought of another casual/take-out, Sahara Market has afghani food and bakes afghan flatbread onsite. Here's my old post from 2008 (haven't been in the area lately), so not current, but might be worth a sniff.
There's also Pamir for Afghan food.
re: Melanie Wong
Thanks, good to hear. When you have a chance to return, please do update us with some details. I'd forgotten about the place.
I suggested Afghani food because the East Bay is home to the largest Afghan-American population, centered in Fremont, Concord, Newark, Union City, and Alameda.
The Peasant and the Pear in Danville might be a tad bit more on the upscale side, but is still casual. I have not tried the Happy Hour:
Another more casual option is CHOW. I have had some good lunches there:
If you're not including Sri Lankan in the Indian overview, then try Kadupul.
Your LA colleague, Chandavkl, believes Koi Palace in Daly City trumps LA Chinese restaurants. It has an offshoot in Dublin, the bigger restaurant and the more casual cafe.
In the same shopping center as Koi Palace is Kee Wah. While they're in the southland too, if you haven't tried their baked goods yet, you should while it's convenient.
Estate-raised beef burger at Wente in Livermore,