With destination-worthy restaurants claiming territory in our corner of the Bay Area, Lafayette residents no longer feel the need to venture through the tunnel in search of quality cuisine. Lafayette has itself become the destination. From the west end of Mt. Diablo Blvd. to the east, one can find restaurant variety and caliber such as that in San Francisco, or in Alice’s Berkeley wonderland. Our town’s passionate restaurateurs and talented chefs might have touched down anywhere, but they chose Lafayette. How lucky are we? Let us count the ways:
- Our own gourmet ghetto: Berkeley might take claim for the term ‘gourmet ghetto’ – the Chez Panisse-anchored area of Shattuck and Vine – but Lafayette has its own version, fueled by skilled chefs and hospitable hosts. Lafayette Circle has become the go-to spot for a quick meal, a happy hour cocktail, or an indulgent celebration. With American Kitchen and The Cooperage American Grill flanking cornerstone Chow, and with each spot offering appealing al fresco dining, warm Lafayette evenings take on the appearance of a large, spirited block party.
- We’ve conquered SF. Now…to Lafayette! With two extremely successful locations in San Francisco, Roam Artisan co-owners Joshua Spiegelman and Lynn Gorfinkle considered a number of Bay Area sites for their third gourmet burger location. Lafayette, with its concentration of families and professionals who care about quality food and ingredients, was an easy choice for them. And when their friend Robyn Sue Fisher was seeking a fourth site for her nitrogen-made ice cream, Spiegelman and Gorfinkle suggested she and Smitten become their neighbor.
- Try them all! Can’t decide where to make your dinner reservation? Try small bites from a multitude of eateries during the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Lafayette restaurant walk. Held each spring, this community event allows guests to meander Mt. Diablo Blvd. and side streets while sampling delectable offerings.
- Accountability: Many of Lafayette’s restaurateurs live here in addition to working here and thus have greater accountability to their friends and neighbors. When not overseeing their celebrated Metro Lafayette, Jack Moore and Erica Pringsheim Moore can be spotted at their son’s track meets. Seventh generation Californian and Lafayette resident Julie Mitchell and her partner Erik Peterson are found most nights at their popular Rancho Cantina (try their margarita!) And at Rustic Tavern, locals Gary and Tressa Rust are a partnership made in heaven – he works the kitchen and she handles front-of-house.
- Variety: In the mood for pizza? What kind? Thin crust, Chicago-style, or flatbread? Find them all in Lafayette. How about Chinese? Uncle Yu’s has manned its Oak Hill Rd. location for decades. Sushi? The tiny and popular Blue Gingko serves some of the best, as does Oyama Sushi at the other end of Mt. Diablo. If it’s a burrito you desire, Lafayette has you covered. From Casa Gourmet Burritos, to El Charro and El Jarro (and several in between) it will take you weeks to discover them all. But now that you’ve chosen Lafayette as your new home, you’ve got the time. Lucky you.