I’ve lived in the sunny Walnut Creek area for almost two and a half years. To be honest, coming from San Francisco, the idea of exchanging city life for a life in the East Bay suburbs was not appealing. It took awhile, but now I couldn’t imagine a life without warmer weather (hello real summer), not having to fight for parking everywhere I go, and a quieter, slower pace of life.
My biggest worry though was that Walnut Creek would be a desert when it comes to good food, but it turns out there are some decent places out here in the ‘burbs. Here are a few of my favorites.
Sabores Del Sur
I’m not too familiar with South American cuisine, but this restaurant is making me realize that I’ve been missing out. Their veggie empanadas stuffed with mushroom, spinach and onion has made me a regular.
Mixed Grain (Korean)
This casual family-owned restaurant was one of my most memorable discoveries when I first moved here. It’s in the heart of downtown and you feel like you are a guest at someone’s home. Order one of their bibimbop or dolsot bowls and watch as your table fills with complementary banchan dishes arriving in slick modern dishes that look almost too pretty to eat. Make sure to order the purple rice, which is a delicious blend of several grains.
Le Cheval (Vietnamese)
I love everything about this place: the spacious dining room, the extensive menu and the attentive waiters. There is the usual pho and rice noodle dishes, along with a wide variety of meat and seafood entrees.
I have to admit that finding a decent sushi restaurant took a bit of an effort. Most of the sushi in Walnut Creek that we tried turned out to be mediocre and often deep-fried and drenched in heavy sauces. This restaurant is hidden in a Pleasant Hill strip mall, where the interior is cozy and the rolls are fresh and good.
Tender Greens (American)
For a healthy meal, this California chain is a reliable favorite. The specialty salads are filling and delicious with many different types. If salad is not your thing there’s always big plate options with your choice of a protein and in various forms like a sandwich or with mashed potatoes. My personal favorite is the Tuna Nicoise with grilled rare albacore.
Gotta Eatta Pitta
For a no-fuss kebab option in the area, this is a great place for inexpensive and generous portions. There is chicken swarma or falafel as the main protein choices and plenty of options for toppings like sautéed eggplant and kalamata olives. We always opt to get it to go since there’s only limited outdoor seating.
This tiny restaurant is tucked into a strip mall on Newell Ave, and serves consistently delicious food. My go-to order is pad see ew and their fresh shrimp spring rolls that always hit the spot. I always swear that I will try something new, but you all know how that goes…
A Sweet Affair (Bakery)
A spacious cafe that makes a wide variety of delicious baked goods and sandwiches that are always on point. I cannot resist ordering the salami sandwich on wheat and chasing it down with a Lucky Charms cupcake (how they made the marshmallow frosting is beyond me) while tucked into one of their cozy booths.
A classic Italian deli that has been a Walnut Creek staple for a long time and clearly knows what it’s doing. They have an extensive menu with over 20 specialty sandwiches and you cannot go wrong with any of them.
La Scalla (Italian)
My go-to dessert place when I’m feeling a bit fancy. They always have a great selection and make a mean Napoleon cake.
Have you ever been to Walnut Creek? What are your favorite restaurants in the area? I’m always looking for new recs…