Walnut Creek might be known for its open spaces, lush greenery and Mediterranean summer climate, but it has also earned a place in many foodie hearts. While it’s within driving distance of some of the larger cities on the California coast, it’s not necessary to travel outside of Walnut Creek in search of an excellent restaurant. From Italian to Thai to ‘Asian confusion’, here are 10 of the city’s best.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Va de Vi
Bistro, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$
Va de Vi means ‘It’s all about wine’ in Catalan, and it’s a perfect name for this excellent bistro, with its expansive and international wine list, which also comes with tasting notes for would-be-sommeliers. But head chef Andy Phillips has made sure it’s not only about the wine at Va de Vi, with his exciting menu featuring dishes such as potato and beer soup, tempura fried squash blossoms, and rock shrimp avocado lumpia. The outside seating area is the ideal location for an early evening glass of wine, or a sunny lunchtime break tasting some of the restaurant’s variety of small plates.
Walnut Creek Yacht Club
Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, $$
The Yacht Club was designed to bring the fresh and nautical atmosphere of a beachside restaurant to Walnut Creek. The oyster bar, with its six different varieties of oyster to try, is a must visit, especially as the Yacht Club serves only the finest fresh seafood, supplied exclusively by Osprey Seafood of San Francisco. The Yacht Club is also committed to serving local and organic food where possible. Add to this the fact that it has won Wine Spectator Awards every year since 2004, and there’s really no excuse for missing it.
Kacha Thai Bistro
Bistro, Restaurant, Thai, $
One of the most inventive Thai restaurants we’ve ever seen, the Kacha Thai Bistro’s MSG-free food is beautiful, colourful and, most importantly, delicious. With a menu that can only be described as huge, there’s sure to be something to suit everyone’s tastes, and it’s not hard to see why it was named Best of the East Bay by Diablo magazine. As well as more traditional Thai soups, noodle dishes, and salads, the menu includes dishes with mysterious names like The Typhoon and The Lover. While you’re there, be sure to try one of their signature cocktails.
The Sunrise Bistro is often hailed as the best breakfast in Walnut Creek, perfect for everything from a business meeting to a long brunch with friends or family. It serves up big portions of breakfast dishes from pancakes to huevos rancheros, and their catering services are also very well regarded. Owner and chef Cindy Gershen is a favourite with locals, and can often be found chatting to her regular customers. The only downside is the notoriously tricky parking, but seeing as that’s unlikely to be a problem for tourists, we can’t see what would stop you paying Cindy and her team a visit.
The first Il Fornaio baking school was established in 1972 in Italy, and the chain now has 21 restaurants in different locations all over America. Their signature recipes are developed by Maurizio Mazzon, who regularly travels to Italy to gain inspiration for his dishes. Il Fornaio has won numerous awards, including the Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence at every branch of its restaurants. The Walnut Creek branch is large and accommodating, and consistently serves up the finest Italian food and wine.
San Francisco Creamery Co.
The San Francisco Creamery Co. has a long heritage of producing quality homemade ice cream, and a taste of its sundaes will assure you that standards have not slipped since the 1950s. They make all of their own ice cream, hot fudge, syrups, and butterscotch in store with traditional methods, and the Victorian décor of the shop adds to the sense of stepping back in time when you eat at the San Francisco Creamery Co. Their huge sundaes are ideal if you’re looking to treat yourself, or take along some friends and try their Kitchen Sink, which serves up to six people. If you’re feeling brave, try and tackle it alone; the current record is 20 minutes and 37 seconds.
Restaurant, Market, $
The Kinder’s family have turned a 1946 meat market in San Pablo into a 15-strong franchise of restaurants across northern California and Nevada. The family run company serves simple, high quality steaks and sandwiches, as well as excellent ribs and a number of different daily specials. Their catering services are growing more and more popular, and they are now selling their own range of sauces and marinades, so you can even take a taste of Kinder’s home with you.
Salvatore Ristorante has a truly family run vibe, and recipes for many of the dishes on their menu have been passed down from generation to generation of Salvatore’s family. The restaurant has tables for large groups, as well as more intimate booths for special occasions or a romantic evening for two. It’s a great place to hold a party as staff are very accommodating for large groups, and locals often comment on the welcoming atmosphere cultivated by Salvatore and Angela. They also serve some of the best takeaway pizzas Walnut Creek has to offer.
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