New restaurants are popping up in the East Bay, with scores of hot grillables at a new organic Greek eatery that also rocks a full bar—think of this as a cool way to start or end that date night. Further afield in Livermore, the cocktail scene has a new source for bourbon and gin drinks with a side of charcuterie or chicken and waffle sliders, an on-trend item that goes well with pretty much any drink. Over in Danville, the chance to update that spice cabinet (you do that every six months, right?) in a space under new ownership comes with a side of freshly prepared kabob and spicy hummus.
Grilled octopus and lamb are among the reported menu musts from the Greek dining scene at Pathos, which opened recently in downtown Berkeley. The place is billed as organic—a natural fit given the location. Philosophical types surely have noted that the restaurant concept is inspired by the concepts of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher; the word pathos is one of the methods of persuasion to capture an audience’s attention. Fire-watchers will definitely turn their attentions to the pretty oak wood oven, which gets as hot as 800 degrees and turns out dishes like kotopoulo sto fourno—otherwise known as roasted half chicken. Saganiki is a deep fried cheese that is as special as it is tasty, and there is also lamb keftedes, lentil soup, salad-y items, spanakopita, dolmadas, and moussaka. Save room for rose water tinged baklava or drink your dessert via a pretty cocktail since there is that full bar here. 2430 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 981-8339.
The bar is central to having The Last Word in Livermore, which rocks both craft drinks and eats—there’s bourbon, gin (Leopold’s, St. George Spirits) and more here. The kitchen’s chicken and waffles slider with Sriracha definitely excites, but steady as she goes; there are other farm fresh small plates to behold including roasted beet salad or antipasti (a dish that wisely soaks up the booze and seems like a standard offering for cocktail bars these days). The house drink is gin based and has citrusy hints of lime—other drink standouts include blood and sand, sidecar, Fitzgerald, and the oh-so-apropos spaghetti Western. Don’t believe what you read on Yelp: there is no password or formal attire required for this chill spot. Closed Mondays. 2470 First St., Livermore, (925) 209-7234.
There’s a newly revamped go-to and to-go option for Persian fare when you hit up the ethnic mom-and-pop grocer Danville International Market in the Crossroads Shopping Center, which is now under new ownership. Spices, sangak bread, tea, produce and related Middle Eastern staples fill up the front of the store, and in the back you can order things like falafel, a meaty hot kabob (chicken, lamb or beef), rich and tangy yogurt with shallots (Abali Lebni Dip), Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian stew), and Fard Sowhan brittle. The service is courteous and quick, but do take time to browse and stock up on fruit, pastries and more. 508 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville, (925) 820-2319.