By Ken Martin

As I wander about in Castro Valley, from time to time I see and hear things that pique my curiosity. I’m sure that, if my curiosity is piqued, so is that of others. In order to satisfy our collective curiosities, I thought some occasional columns about these interest-getting items might be of some…well… interest.

One of these unusual items is a comment that continually came out of the recent incorporation issue. On more than several occasions I heard residents say, “If we were incorporated, maybe we could get some good restaurants in Castro Valley”.

Now, I’ve only lived in Castro Valley for just over four years and I know of several good to excellent restaurants here. In fact, I knew of them before I even thought of moving to Castro Valley. But when I mention the names of these places, I invariably get, “Where is that? I’ve never been there”.

One of my personal favorite places is “Sazio” on Lake Chabot Road. This is a North Beach restaurant that serves (in my opinion) the best Italian food anywhere. Yet it seems that something less than 20% of CV citizens know about it. Maybe it will get up to 21% if anybody reads this column!

Running a very close second is “Dolci Amore” on the boulevard. A slightly different style of Italian cooking is featured here but it is excellent. Again, it’s very high on the “Where is that?” scale..

For continental, slightly gourmet, food with some nice atmosphere and service, drop in at “La Maison”, also on the boulevard. For some reason, this place seems to be slightly better known than the aforementioned restaurants, but only slightly.

Since the old “Crow’s Tavern” became “Palomares Café”, the food and service have greatly improved. A meal here is worth the time. It’s a family-run place and the family is very attentive to the customers needs. The “Where is that?” is in the 580 Shopping Center.

OK, OK! So I haven’t mentioned your favorite Castro Valley food palace! That is most likely because it doesn’t trigger the “Where is that?” response. I’m not trying to write a comprehensive “Dining Out Guide”. I’m only trying to point out some worthwhile eating places to people who complain that we don’t have any such places here. Establishments like “

Fong’s Dang How”, “Ghengis Kahn”, “Dino’s”, “Don Jose’s”, “Willow Park”, “Jenny’s” and even the new “El Rancho Steak House” seem to be more well known and much lower on the “W I T?” scale than the others I’ve listed. Maybe it is because most of them are right on the boulevard in the “downtown” area.

For some reason, Castro Valleyans seem to be more well-versed in breakfast purveyors than dinner suppliers. A much higher percentage of our neighbors seem to immediately recognize the names of “Caper’s”, “Doug’s”, “JD’s”, and “The Dell Café”. Maybe we like to start the day off well but don’t care how it ends.

All this comes from conversations with people around the Castro Valley. It is not an in-depth study and is not intended to be a recommendation for these restaurants. I’m just attempting to show some features of Castro Valley of which a fairly large number of residents seem not to be aware. I hope they will try some of these and that it will make their day a little brighter. It will make the day brighter for the owner, too.

Along that same line, we in Castro Valley are so fortunate as to be geographically situated for easy access to some excellent restaurants in neighboring communities like Pleasanton and Hayward. Sometimes it’s nice to take a little ride for a good dining experience.

In future columns, if there is any, I would like to take verbal side trips to any point of interest in Castro Valley. Perhaps you know of an unusual club, group, collection, activity, etc., that might be worth a word or two. If you do, let me know and I’ll try to track it down. I can be contacted at (510) 727-9296 or