Real Restaurants of The East Bay – Part 5

Massimo, Walnut Creek

Continuing my observations regarding the shortage of real restaurants in the East Bay – my definition being places where you can  enjoy a relaxing, even entertaining, sit-down meal, that will take more than 30 minutes or so.

This month we’ll take another look at Walnut Creek, there really are a lot of contenders here. Many self-described restaurants are really not far removed from fast-food places of course, but that still leaves some good possibilities.


Any restaurant with 40 years in Walnut Creek must be something right. And in my experience, Massimo rarely puts a foot wrong. A personal favorite, this is a traditional North Italian inspired restaurant with great service, a relaxing ambiance and a varied menu. Visit just for the veal cannelloni—possibly the best I have tasted—and enjoy a relaxing hour or two here. I would certainly recommend it for an intimate dinner for two.

Walnut Creek Yacht Club

Seafood restaurants are few and far between these days and the Walnut Creek Yacht Club has helped to fill the void admirably. Judging from the fact that it always seems pretty busy, the Yacht Club has many loyal fans, and though the noise level may be high for some, it doesn’t seem to hurt their business. Provided you like fish or seafood, you should find something to please on their extensive menu.

La Sen Bistro

Another favorite of mine, La Sen advertises itself as French-Vietnamese  but to my mind the menu is far more redolent of that in many French bistros I have enjoyed both in America and Europe. The food is authentic. The setting is intimate and the service is pleasant and attentive. The duck, in particular, is always excellent, whether you have the breast or the confit. With such a shortage of French restaurants in our area, La Sen Bistro is a real stand-out. 


Moving on to one of Walnut Creek’s newer venues, Rooftop, as implied by the name, is situated on the top floor of a new restaurant building at Mount Diablo Boulevard and North Main Street. Serving “New American” food, the space can truly be describes as stunning, with an open air rooftop patio offering views of Mount Diablo and around Walnut Creek. The patio is open year-round and has retractable roof that can be brought into play when the weather demands. This is an impressive restaurant with a large menu and an even larger cocktail menu, wine and beer list. Unsurprisingly perhaps, it has a busy bar scene. Not so much “fine dining” as “fun dining” as they say on their website, Rooftop caters to a wide range of age groups but it’s far from the traditional fine dining experience that many of us prefer.

Even now, we have only just about scratched the surface of the Walnut Creek dining scene. There are plenty more restaurants to consider, even some that I might class as “fine dining”. Check back next month for some more observations and in the meantime, you may want to investigate some of those I’ve mentioned above..

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