Favorite Food Joints In Hayward

Restaurant iconOnce again, it's been way too long since I've written anything here; I think my travel schedule has gotten in the way of being regular about blogging.  (side note: I have learned a lot about how to deal with travel in my new job, almost a year into it, but I still have quite a bit to learn)   Too bad; I've got lots to talk about.  There are more great TED talks I've listened to in the last couple of months, I have some travel notes and tips from over 100,000 miles' worth of travel in the first 8 months of 2012, and there's plenty of solar energy news from our house (the solar energy production just rocks).  For a start, I'll talk about a few places in Hayward that we enjoy visiting over and over; these places help us feel like we're part of an actual community.

First on our list: Buon Appetito, a nice Italian restaurant in the downtown section of Hayward.  We are regulars at the restaurant for good reason: the food is always tasty and I can't think of a time when the food was messed up or anything but delicious.  The service is always great; the owner has hired a really good, friendly and efficient staff and it seems like there's hardly any turnover.  And since we go so often, we recognize the staff and they recognize us; whenever we go to the bar for a drink, they almost always ask my wife if she wants her usual Negroni, which is nice.  Also, the prices are completely reasonable for a nice dinner: entree prices are not expensive, and the drinks are almost crazily low for what you get: a nicely done drink that's not watered-down for usually between $6 and $7.  (we're not sure why it's so cheap but our speculation is that it's the restaurant's way of dealing with the City of Hayward ordinance against happy hour.  That's right, until just recently, restaurants were not allowed to offer happy hour, so Buon Appetito's prices are just set low all the time.  Fortunately in my opinion, that ordinance changed and happy hour can now be offered.  Yay!)  We love coming to Buon Appetito.  Oh, and in the last year, they expanded the restaurant by adding a second indoor room, and an outdoor patio.

Next: Wakamatsu. It's a sushi place on the outer part of Hayward's downtown, and it's easy to drive by and miss it if you're not looking carefully.  Joey is the main guy you see...he's the sushi chef, and a friendly guy, originally from Japan (now that I think about it, I don't recall why everybody calls him "Joey").  The sushi is good, and the restaurant is small and doesn't get too loud.  If you want a place with really good sushi and where you can hear your partner in conversation, this is a great place to go.  They'll always make you feel welcome here.

Next: China Best, a small, informal Chinese food place in the little strip mall just uphill from Cal State East Bay (Hayward).  Cheap prices but freshly made food, and I go there a lot for lunch so they know me there and treat me really well.  I suspect most of their business is take-out business.  I'll say it again: they do freshly made food and it's surprisingly good-quality cooking considering how quick and inexpensive it is.  The place is a sleeper; definitely check it out if you like Chinese food and are in Hayward.

Finally: the Hayward Peet's Coffee and Tea.  We've frequented Peet's since we moved to Hayward in 2008, and although we've seen a fair amount of turnover in staff in the past 4 years, that's to be expected of a place like this, no?  The staff has always been good, though, and we go often enough that they recognize me by name, most of them know my drink preferences, and they almost always ask how my wife is (and where she is) when I come in alone.  Plus, I'm no coffee aficionado but I do find that the quality of their drinks is better than Starbucks, simply because their coffee is better stuff.  (I have nothing against Starbucks; I like that place, too, I just like Peet's better)

There are other places in Hayward we enjoy going to, but just haven't gone as often.  For example, if you want a nice, more expensive dinner, try Neumanali.  It's another place that could easily be missed, as it's a restored Victorian-style house that uses the ground floor as the restaurant.  It's across the street from Hayward City Hall, and looks beautiful inside and serves really nice food.  We've only been a couple of times, though, so I don't have a ton to say about it other than we enjoyed it very much.

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