Best Antipasti

Oliveto Cafe

The Italian version of mezes, zakuski, and other
“before-the-meal” appetizers usually ends up being nothing more than a
platter of pickled vegetables and cold cuts, but at Oliveto’s casually
chic downstairs cafe, the concept is taken a tad more seriously. Each
tapas-size dish reflects a respect for seasonal ingredients, a sense of
balance, and a hearty, rustic approach to fresh produce. Selections
change frequently but might include crisp, verdant broccoli in a spiky
anchovy-cayenne dressing; roasted yellow carrots and Tokyo turnips
jazzed with Saracena olives; chunks of baby cauliflower and bell pepper
ribboned with pine nuts and plump sultana raisins; a simple salad of
sweet, tender corn kernels, and slender, perfectly al dente French
string beans; nutty little ceci beans with bits of crunchy celery and a
spicy anchovy-infused vinaigrette; or yellow wax beans with sweet basil
and tomatoes, a delicious distillation of summer. The upstairs dining
room is the East Bay’s top destination for elegant Italian cuisine and
offers a more refined antipasti experience: yellowfin confit with
avocado and candied lemon peel, say, or rabbit bruschetta with sour
cherries and walnuts. Upstairs or downstairs, you’re sure to get your
meal off on the right foot.

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