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10:00 a.m. Weekdays: Best Place to Join the Mob Clamoring for Pastrami on Rye 

Genova Deli

Mmmmm, those peppers. Green bell peppers, stuffed with prosciutto, cheese, and spice, dripping with extra-virgin olive oil. Just a buck a pop, and those things make heartbreak feel like heaven. Judging by the lines, you've all heard of North Oakland's Genova Deli. But perhaps you haven't checked out its sister deli in Walnut Creek. Although the two establishments have no formal relationship, the same family founded both, and both display the same attention to ingredients, preparation, and just plain love that have made them the toast of the East Bay. But Walnut Creek's Genova also happens to boast an Italian cafe to boot; now you can not only stuff your face, you can wire yourself up. After all, we hear it's good for the digestion. As the Walnut Creek store's lines are almost as forbidding, hit it up in the morning and beat the rush.

Readers' Pick for Best Deli: Saul's

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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