Now, I know that Castro Valley isn't known for its good eats, but there is one gem in town--Sazio's Ristorante Italiano. This restaurant, located in a typical CV strip mall, pairs god-awful decor with outstanding meals.
The owner and maitre de, Antonio, greets you when you enter. You can start off your meal with a chilled martini, always my first choice. I'm not a huge calamari fan, but Sazio's appetizer is very lightly breaded, gently seasoned and really whets your appetite for the main deal.
The wine list is short and, let's remember that this is, after all, Castro Valley, not very interesting. I usually order a glass of the Chianti, and call it good.
The salads are just ok, but the minestrone is decent. With the entres you get a choice of salad or soup.
And its the entrees that are the draw of this restaurant. They can be just fantastic: the fish of the day usually served very plain with just a hint of lemon (Petrale Sole can not be passed up when its on the special's list), a veal marsala (almost paper thin cuts, covered in mushrooms and served with al dente fresh vegetables -- usually string beans -- and a potato), or housemade pasta (my husband is Italian and he thinks the house gnocchi are almost as good as his family makes).
When the cook is in the mood, he breaks into song from the kitchen and one of the regular customers, Rene, plays the accordian and sings after his meal.
If you haven't been there, give Sazio's a whirl. Better wander in soon, though, as Eden Hospital owns the property and has decided to build a multi-storied parking garage on poor Sazio's space. Wouldn't you know it, the one and only superior restaurnt in CV, and we're going to lose it to a parking lot.
Sazio Ristorante Italiano
20400 Lake Chabot Rd.
Castro Valley , CA 94546