Uncovered: Best Bread of the Bay

Uncovered: Best Bread of the Bay

Katie Hoskins

Bread from Il Fornaio brings crunchy joy to its eaters. Additions of olive oil, butter, and ever so delicious garlic dip enhance the flavor to the max.

Katie Hoskins, Editor-In-Chief

1. Pasta Pomodoro
Location: Emeryville &
Pleasant Hill

There are two sides to every breadbasket. There’s the actual bread and then there’s whatever the waiter or waitress gives you to put on it. Pasta Pomodoro’s bread excels in both of these areas, winning it the rightful name of champion of breadbaskets. As a hungry customer in the depths of pre-dinner hunger pangs, the perfectly warm focaccia herb loaves are like a godsend from heaven. The perfect aroma and combination of herbs and just plain Italian sweet bread really brings this dish to the top of the charts. As if that wasn’t good enough, Pasta Pomodoro also pairs their succulent, mouth-watering pieces with an olive oil pesto sauce that will ignite a fury of elation and excitement on the weary customer’s taste buds. Beware: this stuff is addicting like no other, but Pasta Pomodoro’s pasta is worth saving room for.

2. Fillipos
Location: Berkeley

As far as breadbaskets go, Filippos’ isn’t really anything to salivate about. While the loaf slices may have started their lives with a crunchy and satisfying crust, they’ve lost this feature by the time they reach the table. The thing that really brings this restaurant to the top of the pack is the dipping sauce they give you. While some restaurants merely provide a drum slab of butter, Filippos has the best of both worlds, giving both smooth butter and an absolutely delicious, mouthwatering, addicting garlic and olive oil dip. A hint of onion and chili flakes really gives this salubrious concoction an unbeatable kick. However, garlic is clearly the star ingredient, so better plan on bringing a few breath mints if you plan on smooching a date later.

3. Il Fornaio
Location: Walnut Creek

This place clearly has an understanding of what the customer wants in a breadbasket. Not only do they include warm, sweet Italian slices with butter, but also an herb focaccia-like option. Both variations ring true of Italian roots, and the consistency of the bread is absolutely ideal: a somewhat cruchy outside with a golden brown hue, but a soft and comforting inside. Biting into one of these babies is like  taking a stroll through the garden of Eden. As if the heavenly loaves of sweet bread and focaccia weren’t enough to satiate the weary customer, Il Fornaio really raises the stakes with another, succulent option with olives, and just enough of them to make you exclaim with delight “delizioso!” No matter which version you choose to enjoy, your pallet will be delighted by the warm, perfectly crunchy crust and soft, heavenly center. This place will definitely have you begging the waiter for more. Don’t be a bread binger.

4. La Piazza
Location: Orinda

A favorite family dinner spot for Orindians, La Piazza is a delicious, Italian restaurant a lot closer to home than other options. While the Semifreddi’s sourdough bread that comes cold to the table is nothing to brag about, it’s the homemade focaccia that really catches the diner’s eye. Taller than most focaccias, La Piazza’s version is full of herbs and hints of rosemary that perfectly blend with a classic olive oil and vinegar emulsion. It’s an unbeatable classic Italian bread with an Orinda twist, and it’s absolutely delicious. Indulge yourself and take a journey down focaccia bread meadow while taking a dip in the tangy vinegar and olive oil stream. Though it’s served cold, the slightly cheesy crust still brings a smile to the hungry customer and is a great appetizer to any main dish.