I thought after my most recent meal there, it was worthy of a review. I have eaten there maybe a total of 10 times, max.
First of all, they finally painted the interior, and it looks a lot brighter. Overall, I have tried a number of things, and they range from good to very good, with the exception of the ceviche, which is excellent (both versions). I haven't tried any of the italian dishes.
After having eaten at Fresca, et al, I would rather eat in a homey place, eating food made with love, in a place without an attitude, parking problems, waiting for a table twice as long as projected, or prices that aren't worthy of the food (not that, i.e., Fresca doesn't have good food).
The last visit consisted of Lomo Saltado. I'd give it a B. I've also had it with fish. The roast chicken is also very good - not great, but good. Their ají is delicious, with enough spice to give a good kick, but not have "Ruen Pair" tears. Again, never a bad meal, but never a "meal of a lifetime." For the first time, I tried the alfajores (I took 2 to go.) I thought they were ok, but really, not the style of cookie I like. (I prefer the chileno version).
Back to the ceviche - the best ceviches I have ever had have been in Chile (in different styles, including peruano style in the north) - and the El Chalan ceviche is as good as I've had in the US. No, it may not be fancy, but it is just great.
All that is missing is a pisco sour to start the meal, but a full liquor license for a place like that is prohibitive.
A service note - if it gets crowded, which it rarely does, but can from time to time, be prepared to wait. But I always leave feeling satiated, and feeling good I've supported a local small business.
3748 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante
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