As someone who has called this place home for years, I've had the pleasure of exploring and indulging in some of the most amazing restaurants this town has to offer.
The diverse culinary scene here is a true reflection of the vibrant community that makes Castro Valley so special.
So, sit back, relax, and let me guide you through a delicious journey in my beloved town.
Ever since I discovered Pampas Café, it has become my go-to spot whenever I crave delicious empanadas.
Their fantastic empanadas never disappoint, and their coffee drinks are amazing too.
I always find myself coming back for the chicken empanada with that zesty sofrito sauce - it's simply irresistible!
What's even better is that they offer alfajores cookies from the Wooden Table, which I absolutely love.
Not only do they cater to meat lovers, but they also have vegan empanadas that my vegan friends can't stop raving about.
Pampas Café ensures everyone has options by offering oat and soy milk for coffee, so it's perfect for all dietary preferences!
The employees are incredibly nice, and I love how they're now located right next door to Trader Joe's in a much bigger location.
Lucas Italian Delicatessen
There's this little gem in my neighborhood that I absolutely have to rave about.
Luccas Italian Delicatessen is an old-school market and deli that specializes in sandwiches, pasta, desserts, and other Italian specialty foods.
I make it a point to support local businesses, and Lucas has never let me down.
The quality of their food is just top-notch.
My favorite sandwich from Luccas is the prosciutto, but my family and I have tried others like the pastrami, corned beef, and more - they're all delicious!
If you're looking for a quick, tasty, and affordable meal in the area, this is the place for you.
Recently, I tried their lasagne beef and it was absolutely delicious!
It had the perfect balance of flavors, and the pasta was cooked just right.
They offer single meals as well as whole lasagnas, a variety of meats and cheeses, and, of course, the best pasta.
El Rancho Supermercado
As a resident, I can't tell you how many times I've passed by El Rancho Supermercado and seen cars lining up in the parking lot towards the end of the day.
It wasn't until recently that I decided to give it a shot, and boy, am I glad I did!
The moment I walked in, I was greeted with warm hospitality that made me feel like I was back in Mexico.
The market itself has an impressive selection of traditional Mexican goods and ingredients, including fresh produce, meats, and spices that are difficult to find elsewhere.
I was also impressed with the cleanliness and organization of the market, making it easy to navigate and find what I was looking for.
But let me tell you about the food - it's absolutely amazing!
The counter-serve restaurant offers a great market-style assembly line of tacos, burritos, and other authentic Mexican dishes.
I ordered a carnitas burrito with everything, and it was mouthwateringly delicious.
The various different salsas and agua frescas were also fantastic.
I couldn't believe how quickly and professionally they were able to serve me and 20 other patrons - we all had food in our hands within 15 minutes!
However, what sets El Rancho Supermercado apart is the exceptional service.
Kasper's Hot Dogs
One of the reasons I love living in this neighborhood is Kasper's Hot Dogs.
I still remember my first time walking into Kasper's, and I was immediately greeted with such warmth and friendliness.
It genuinely felt like everyone who walked through the door was family, and the other customers kept telling me I would be hooked for life.
Turns out, they were right!
The food at Kasper's is not only delicious, but it's also unbelievably inexpensive.
I adore their hot dogs and tamales - they've quickly become my go-to comfort food.
And while the atmosphere is very much about the people, the space itself adds to the charm.
What really makes Kasper's special, though, are the people who work there.
They never fail to make me feel warm and welcome, and I am always grateful for their kindness and exceptional service.
I've always been a fan of Mexican food, so when I heard about Portales Taqueria, I knew I had to give it a try.
I went there last week with a couple of friends, and we decided to order a variety of dishes to share.
We started with the complimentary chips and salsa, which were absolutely delicious.
When it came to ordering, I got the wet burrito, while my friends opted for the grilled chicken burritos.
I have to say, the presentation of the food was amazing, and the taste was even better.
My wet burrito was packed with flavorful ingredients, and the sauce drizzled on top was just perfect.
In general, the atmosphere at Portales Taqueria was clean and simple, which is perfect for a casual dining experience.
The prices were reasonable, and the portion sizes were just right.
Compared to other Mexican food options in Castro Valley, this place definitely stands out.
I'm looking forward to my next visit to Portales Taqueria and trying more of their delicious dishes.
Southern Comfort Kitchen
I often find myself craving some authentic Southern cuisine.
Luckily, I discovered Southern Comfort Kitchen, a straightforward restaurant offering delicious New Orleans recipes like crawfish, po'boys, and fried chicken.
Having visited New Orleans several times, I can vouch for the authenticity of the flavors at this eatery.
My family and I have ordered various dishes from Southern Comfort Kitchen, and we've always been impressed by their quality.
The food is spicy, salty, and peppery – perfect for those who love bold flavors!
My kids enjoy watching the cooks prepare the dishes through the front window.
The prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is bustling – reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Lake Chabot Marina & Café
One of my favorite spots in the area is Lake Chabot Marina & Café!
It's a casual place with a stunning view of the lake.
They serve classic breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers, and salads, making it a perfect spot to grab a bite after a day out on the lake.
I love spending my weekends here, taking in the natural beauty and enjoying some outdoor activities.
The boats available to rent are clean, and the lake is perfect for exploring - no unpleasant smell and lots of wild birds to admire.
Not to mention, the hiking trail around the lake provides a great opportunity for a scenic workout.
They have a lovely cafeteria-style selection of food, which is great if you need some snacks but haven't packed any.
The gift shop at the marina also has a wide selection of items, and there's plenty of space for people to sit and enjoy their meals indoors.
The variety of activities available, such as paddle boats, canoes, and fishing, also ensures that there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Knudsen's Restaurant-Ice Creamery
Whenever I crave some delicious ice cream and comfort food, Knudsen's Restaurant-Ice Creamery is my go-to spot in Castro Valley.
This warm and welcoming joint has a nostalgic feel reminiscent of the '50s, making it a delightful experience every time I visit.
I absolutely love their customizable sundaes, especially the blueberry cheesecake ice cream with Knudsen's toffee, caramel, hot fudge, nuts, and cherry topping.
The combination is simply out of this world! It's also worth trying their beef chili, which is always fresh and not from a can.
One of the things that make Knudsen's stand out is its family-friendly environment.
My kids adore the coin-operated cars at the front and the sweet shop in the back.
There's also a variety of toys lining the walls that can be purchased for the little ones.
The place is spacious and never feels crowded, which is a rarity in most restaurants.
One of my go-to spots in the neighborhood is Café Rumi - a cheerful counter-serve cafe with a delightful Mediterranean flair.
I often visit this place to catch up with friends or to grab a quick bite.
Though it can get a bit busy inside, the outdoor seating area is a great alternative if you're looking for a quieter space.
I must say, the pink chai at Café Rumi is something you have to try – it has a unique taste that reminds me of a salted cheese drink.
The saffron chicken is another favorite of mine, tender and spicy, served with rice and salad.
It's also worth mentioning that their breakfast sandwiches and gyro sandwiches are simply delicious.
Café Rumi is not just about great food and drinks – it's also a perfect spot for co-working with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
I've been to 88 BaoBao a couple of times.
Their dumplings are good, and I appreciate that the wrapping tends don't harden as they cool down.
Their dipping sauce is also fantastic, with ginger slices.
I also recommend their pork buns - I found them flavorful and very appetizing.
One quiet afternoon, I decided to step out and treat myself to a lovely meal at Pokeatery.
It's a laid-back cafe situated in a quaint market, perfect for when you just want to unwind.
They were more than happy to provide excellent recommendations upon request.
The generous portions of Hawaiian poke, side salads, and desserts were absolutely delightful.
Pho Auntie 7
One evening, I went out for dinner with a group of friends to Pho Auntie 7.
Surprisingly, the restaurant was quite full for a Monday night, but we were seated immediately at a table for four.
The service was impressively friendly and prompt - our food arrived in under 10 minutes!
We ordered the Woven Noodles appetizer to share - the meatballs and sugarcane shrimp were delicious and easy to split among ourselves.
I also tried the build-your-own combination vermicelli plate with pork, grilled meatballs, and a spring roll, which turned out to be a tasty choice.
Feeling adventurous, I also sampled the Egg Soda.
It was a pleasant surprise with a nice fizz, and the condensed milk provided a delightful sweetness.
My experience at Pho Auntie 7 was enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to trying more unique items on the menu the next time I visit.
Genghix Asian Fusion
One of my go-to spots for a delicious meal in the Castro Valley area is Genghix Asian Fusion.
This restaurant offers a contemporary and spacious interior, which I find perfect for a relaxed dining experience.
For me, the must-try dish is their coconut shrimp, along with the 49 roll – it's simply the freshest sushi I've ever had!
Their other offerings, like spinach garlic noodles, crispy salmon skin maki, Kumamoto oysters, and ahi tuna tartare, are also quite tasty.
Plus, their drinks are equally delicious.
Other Restaurants Nearby
I must say that Aama Kitchen has become one of my go-to spots for a great meal.
The food is consistently amazing, tasty, and freshly made.
What I love most about this place is the warm and welcoming atmosphere.
One time, I tried their Aloo Gobi, which became my instant favorite.
All the other dishes that I've had there were also absolutely delightful.
In fact, I would confidently say that they serve the best Indian food in the area.
Sector 19/Craft Eatery
One of my favorite spots in town is Sector 19/Craft Eatery.
Whenever I'm in the mood for delicious food, great service, and some fun gaming, this is where I go.
I can't get enough of the Hayward hot wings - they have this incredibly tasty rub that I haven't found anywhere else.
Even the burgers are massive, and I often share one with a friend without worrying about finishing it all.
What sets Sector 19 apart from other eateries is the fact that it's located within an arcade, complete with VR games.
It feels like a fantastic blast from the past with a modern twist.
Sometimes, I do run into a bit of a snag with some of the two-player games not working, but that doesn't dampen my night.
I'm always eager for my next visit to enjoy more delectable dishes, superb service, and a chance to immerse myself in the VR games.
Acqua e Farina
One of my favorite spots to enjoy a delicious Italian meal is Acqua e Farina.
This family-owned gem offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it the perfect choice for a casual dinner with friends or a romantic date night.
One thing I love about Acqua e Farina is their extensive wine selection, which perfectly complements their mouthwatering traditional Italian entrees and desserts.
I remember celebrating my anniversary there not too long ago, and we decided to try their lamb special.
It was cooked and charred just right, easily becoming our favorite dish of the night.
Another dish worth mentioning is their pesto chicken pasta.
We asked to add some Alfredo sauce to make it creamy, and it didn't disappoint!
The scallop and shrimp pasta special with a wine sauce was also impressive.
Val's Burgers' classic diner atmosphere and old-fashioned American eats like burgers and shakes have always kept me coming back.
However, the last couple of years have been tough on small businesses, and Val's was closed for some time.
I was so happy to see their open sign while passing by recently that I just had to make a detour and visit.
Although they're not back to full operation yet, only open 11 to 5 on Fridays and Saturdays, and only offering burgers, fries, and shakes - to go, it's still worth the visit.
It's always been an old-school experience at Val's, and it still is.
The quality of Val's burgers is unmatched, and it's worth the extra effort to support this local gem.
Vons Chicken Hayward
I recently visited Vons Chicken Hayward for a quick bite, and I must say, their chicken is definitely worth a try!
The place was cozy and welcoming.
I decided to try out their lunch specials, and I was pleasantly surprised at the value for money I got.
The crispy honey butter chicken was my absolute favorite, and the pot stickers were delicious too.
I'll definitely be back for more of that crispy honey-butter chicken!
One of my favorite go-to spots in town is definitely Rosy's Cafe.
I can't tell you how many times I've come here for a delicious breakfast or a quick bite.
The food is always made to order, so you know you're getting fresh and tasty meals every time.
I've tried almost everything on the breakfast menu, and I'm never disappointed.
The eggs are always cooked just the way I like them, and the avocado is always perfectly ripe.
The chicken-fried steak is something you definitely need to try – it's legitimately amazing.
And the best part?
The friendly service, of course.
My coffee cup never stays empty for long, and I've never had a mistake in my order in the past five years.
Rosy's Cafe may have an old-school vibe, but that's part of its charm.
The atmosphere is cozy, and the folks running the place are genuinely kind and attentive.
Katalina's Island Grill
I recently visited Katalina's Island Grill for the first time the other day, and I must say, I had quite an interesting experience.
The place has a unique selection of Polynesian dishes on the menu, and I decided to try their kale moa, which was quite delicious.
I also took a bite of my friend's sapasui, which was pretty good too.
The restaurant does have great menu selections but the best one for me is the otai.
I recently decided to celebrate my partner's birthday at Neumanali, and it turned out to be an unforgettable experience.
This upscale restaurant, located in a beautifully restored Victorian house, offers a delightful mix of New American cuisine and a robust wine list.
The romantic ambiance at Neumanali instantly set the mood for our special occasion.
We were pleased with their menu, which boasted an array of flavorful dishes.
I opted for the grilled salmon, while my partner couldn't resist their succulent rack of lamb.
The food was not only delicious but also reasonably priced, making the dining experience even more enjoyable.
What truly stood out, however, was the extensive wine menu.
Sapporo Japanese Restaurant
I have to share my love for Sapporo Japanese Restaurant in Hayward – it has become my go-to spot for delicious sushi and a welcoming atmosphere.
Their menu offers an incredible variety of both traditional and unique sushi rolls, as well as hot entrees like udon and teriyaki.
I am always satisfied with their options and flavors.
They have a great selection of craft sakes and beers, too; you can't go wrong with trying one of their fruit-infused sakes.
One of the best things about Sapporo is its laid-back vibe, making it the perfect place for a casual night out with friends or a date night.
Parking is easy to find in the lot behind the restaurant, and it's just a quick minute's walk to the entrance.
If you're curious, you can take a look at their website here before you go.
Yuki Hana Sushi
The moment I entered the restaurant, I was greeted with a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
I decided to order the bento box with chicken teriyaki, spider roll, and Alaska roll. The food arrived quite quickly, and it was absolutely delicious.
The chicken teriyaki was tender and flavorful, and both the spider roll and Alaska roll were incredibly fresh and tasty.
I could easily see why this place was so popular among the locals.
Castro Valley offers a diverse and mouth-watering array of dining options for every palate.
From the savory Italian dishes at Luccas Italian Delicatessen to the finger-licking goodness of Val's Burgers, or the unforgettable sushi experience at Yuki Hana Sushi, there's something for everyone in this vibrant culinary scene.
So next time you find yourself in Castro Valley, make sure to give some of these amazing spots a try - I guarantee you won't be disappointed!