Best Lunch and Dinner in a Weird Location, With Freebies

Wally's Cafe

Tucked away behind the Bank Club (which used to be a card joint like the Oaks but is now just a bar, sometimes a very loud one) is a horseshoe counter with stool seating. Sit down and either Wally or one of his friendly employees will greet you with a bowl of hot, spicy lentil soup. No, you didn't order it, nor did you order the baklava that will arrive with your bill. Tuck in, you're in good hands with this crew. Wally bills the fare as "Mediterranean & More," and that's an understatement. What other restaurant offers ham/turkey/salami panini sandwiches, ground sirloin burgers, onion rings, chicken kebabs, and Greek salad on a short laminated list? The chicken kebab, marinated in olive oil, oregano, garlic, pepper, and more, is $11.99, the lamb $13.99 (both come with a half-plate of Greek salad, rice pilaf studded with carrots, and twin dollops of a very strong garlic spread and yogurt/cucumber salad). Stick to veggie-land with a falafel or Greek salad for $5.99 — such a deal considering that delicious soup you didn't order, packed with rice, lentils, carrots, garlic, onion, dried chiles, and other spices. During the summer, you can sit out on the side patio under an umbrella. You're gazing not at the blue of the Mediterranean but at cars zipping up and down San Pablo, but who cares? Cashew baklava, hand-made by Wally, is in your immediate future, ready or not.

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