It can be easy for us SFers to get a little, shall we say, San Fran-centric when it comes to dining out. So we definitely sit up and take notice when an East Bay hotspot starts drawing crowds from across the bay to its doorstep (or, in this case, outdoor patio). Lungomare, long famous for its live music, local wine dinners, and prime waterfront location, is turning heads with the announcement of seriously revamped summer menus and the addition of a new front of the house team made up of some well-loved Bay Area personalities.
Headed by Michael Iglesias (formerly of Coqueta and Jose Andres' Mexican restaurant, Oyamel) and Jessica Sackler, the team will update the already-contemporary Lungomare with a newly developed wine list and revamped cocktail menu. The new cocktails—designed to reflect more of an Italian influence and complement chef Craig DiFonzo’s cuisine—include the Tuscan Sun, made with Germain Robin Brandy, Cocchi Torino, house-made pineapple gum, and Orange-Cocchi Granita, and the herbaceous Basil Berry, which features blackberry- and basil-infused 360 vodka, Nolette gin, basil, and lime. Iglesias and Sackler are also partnering with Lungomare owner Chris Pastena on a new restaurant, Calavera, which will open in Oakland in early 2015.
Along with the update to the cocktail menu, chef DiFonzo is rolling out some timely summer dishes highlighting best of our local, seasonal ingredients. The Heirloom Tomato Salad with watermelon, cucumber, red onion, and ricotta salata is DiFonzo’s take on a refreshing classic. A seasonal risotto with sweet corn, beet greens, and mascarpone cheese balances earthy and delicately sweet flavors, while a Berkshire Pork Chop gets a summer update with fava bean and prosciutto baked into bread pudding with rapini and sour cherries. DiFonzo takes advantage of the availability of local King Salmon by pairing it with fresh chickpeas, roasted baby beets, and agrodolce, a traditional Italian sweet-and-sour sauce. Already known for his handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and whole-animal cooking, DiFonzo has expanded his well-loved house-made charcuterie on the menu.
So step away from the fog this summer and head to Lungomare in Oakland for sunny outdoor dining, locally-grown Italian flavor, delicious craft cocktails—and a breath of fresh air.