Coastal Italia: Chris Pastena's eagerly awaited Lungomare will add a dash of Ligurian coastal appeal to Oakland's Jack London Square when it opens its doors this Thursday. Pastena, the man behind Oakland's popular Chop Bar and upcoming Tribune Tavern, has teamed up with Tom Henderson and Temoor Noor from Grand Tavern and exec chef Craig DiFonzo on this waterfront promenade project, which includes a cafe, cocktail lounge and patio dining, as well as the main 120-seat dining room.
The seafood-centric menu showcases rustic Italian cuisine with Bay Area ingredients, and offers wood-fired pizza and handcrafted pasta as well as dishes such as Monterey squid, borlotti beans and preserved lemon ($11), Corzetti pasta with arugula, basil and hazelnut pesto ($14) and Berkshire porchetta with farro and chard ($26). Cozy up in the bar and lounge with wines from Liguria, Portugal and Argentina, custom craft beers made for Lungomare by the Linden Street Brewery and cocktails designed by bar manager Paul Christensen, who hails from nearby Haven.
Lungomare will be open for dinner this weekend, with lunch, weekend brunch and cafe breakfast service coming on board next week. Details: 1 Broadway, Oakland; www.lungomareoakland.com.
Dessert first: Why should tasting menus be restricted to swanky savory offerings? It's a valid question, especially when you're Yigit Pura, the chef and owner of San Francisco's Tout Sweet Patisserie and winner of Season 1 of "Top Chef: Just Desserts." Pura's sweetly elegant answer launches Feb. 14 with a three-course seasonal dessert menu ($55), with wine and beer pairings, dubbed Tastings@Tout Sweet. Already booked that night? Encores are slated for March 14 and April 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Details: Tout Sweet, Macy's Union Square, 170 O'Farrell St., third floor; www.toutsweetsf.com.
Send your Bay Area restaurant tips to food editor Jackie Burrell, email@example.com.