Photo of City Center Bishop Ranch, San Ramon

With California re-opening in mid-June, Covid-19 restrictions will soon become a thing of the past, and the restaurant scene will become increasingly notable as we move into the summer months. There are many changes afoot, and with this column, I’ll try to keep you updated with regard to new places to eat and drink in our area.

Marugame Udon – San Ramon

Japanese food enthusiasts can look forward to this Japanese chain’s newest opening in Bishop Ranch. Specializing in udon noodle dishes, they offer 10 different preparations of Sanuki style udon noodles, all made-to-order , from the classic dashi broth to a savory beef curry broth. They also offer a range of authentic Japanese street food, including nine types of crispy tempura and katsu sandos. You can see the menu at The beef curry udon noodles sound particularly tempting.

Sultan’s Kebab – Walnut Creek

This middle eastern restaurant is opening in the space previously occupied by Bombay Indian. The owner, Abdullah Dinc has been in the business for more than 10 years and his restaurants have become known for tender lamb and chicken shawarma made daily on the spit, and lamb, beef and chicken shish kebabs that come with grilled vegetables and crisp green salad. What is particularly worth noting though, is that the restaurant also offers some interesting Turkish specialties, like beyti kebab, a dish of ground beef or lamb grilled on a skewer and served wrapped in lavash and topped with tomato sauce and yogurt, and Iskender kebab, a dish that has döner kebab prepared from thinly cut grilled lamb, topped with hot tomato sauce over pita bread which is then served with melted sheep’s milk butter or yogurt.

Brothers Public Kitchen – Orinda

In Orinda’s Theatre Square, Brothers is an individual family owned Italian restaurant in a good-sized space, with plenty of outdoor seating. In addition to a selection of pizzas and pasta dishes, the menu has additional entrees including braised short ribs and a great sounding burger. They also have a full bar, and a good choice of appetizers. Pizza bases and pasta are fresh every day.

Salt & Straw – San Ramon

Another newcomer to Bishop Ranch, although not to the Bay Area, this scoop shop offers a wide selection of interesting and unusual flavors. Examples include wildflower honey with ricotta walnut lace cookies, rhubarb crumble with toasted anise and Jasmine milk tea with chocolate almonds. There are more traditional sounding choices for those not so adventurous including double fold vanilla ice cream and Cold Brew Coffee Cashew Praline. This is an ice cream shop that definitely sounds worth a visit.

Bierhaus – Walnut Creek

This is not a new opening, but after being closed for six months, Mike Finley is reopening the German-styled bierhaus at 1360 Locust Ave., which was known before the pandemic for its European beers, bratwurst and expansive outdoor patio. There will be changes though. The menu will be smaller and simpler as Finley has come to the conclusion that people do not want to peruse a large menu, so he’s limiting large plates to the bratwurst, roast chicken, schnitzel, steak frites and a yet-to-be-determined vegetarian dish. He says the spaetzle is staying on the menu though. In addition to all that, he’s working on obtaining a full liquor license so Bierhaus can offer cocktails as well.

Do you know of any other new restaurants opening in our area? Or existing ones that are re-opening? Send an email to and I’ll do my best to feature any that you tell me about in this column.