About the Restaurant
A pride of the Hayward area culinary scene, Buon Appetito Restaurant is expanding, and for a good reason—the place is a perennial favorite of East Bay residents.
Located just minutes away from Castro Valley, this contemporary Italian restaurant used to occupy a rather modest space, constantly packed for lunch and dinner. Now it has three dining areas—a Venetian-style hall with mirrored walls, wrought iron chandeliers and copper-tile ceiling; a cozy corner by the bar; and the original dining room by the open kitchen. Plus, an outdoor veranda will nicely accommodate summer crowds. What remains unchanged is the restaurant’s freshly made pasta with various tasty sauces, enticing meat and seafood choices, and well-executed desserts.
On the Menu
Involtini de Melanzane al Forno, or grilled eggplant slices rolled over mozzarella and basil, then baked and served with tomato sauce, is a must-try appetizer. Mild melted cheese, tangy, chewy eggplant, and rich nuanced sauce with fresh tomatoes form a wonderful bouquet of flavors, aided by a briny black olive on top of each roll.
Another not to be missed starter is Polenta con Funghi, formerly known as the food of the Italian poor, now a staple at any upscale eatery. Soft cornmeal mush mixed with fontina cheese is smothered with fragrant mushroom sauce made with generous chunks of porcini mushrooms and drizzled with truffle oil. The appetizer list includes such staples as Bruschetta di Pomodoro, Mozzarella alla Caprese, Calamari Fritti, and Torta di Granchio (crab cakes on a bed of baby greens).
The pasta menu is extensive and creative and can satisfy any taste and preference. Capellini, spaghetti, fettuccini, linguini, penne, conchiglie, and ravioli come with a variety of toppings and sauces, each one better than another. If Linguine ai Frutti di Mare with fresh clams, scallops, prawns, calamari and garlic in a delicate tomato/lobster sauce doesn’t strike your fancy, vote for Turtei di Zucca—homemade ravioli filled with roasted butternut squash and ricotta cheese, and topped with browned butter, leaves of sage, and parmesan cheese.
Chicken, veal and pork plates are always good, as well as tender lamb chops and filet mignon, grilled to order, and perfectly juicy in medium rare.
On the Dessert Menu
The restaurant is famed for its Tiramisu Originale made of rum-soaked lady fingers, mascarpone cheese, espresso, and zabaglione cream sauce with cocoa powder. Other desserts to choose from are Valentino Vestito di Nuovo, a three-layered terrine of chocolate; vanilla creme brulee; apple tart; ricotta cheesecake; warm bread pudding with raisins and rum; an array of gelato and sorbetto, and of course almond biscotti served with Vin Santo (sweet wine). Buon Appetito has a full bar, and offers classic Italian coffee.
Visit Buon Appetito Restaurant at 917 A St., Hayward. Call 510-247-0120 or check out www.buonappetitorestaurant.net. All photos by Yuri Krasov.