Best California Cuisine 

Rivoli

Well, since we invented California cuisine here in the East Bay back in the 1970s, it stands to reason that we're still doing it right. Chef Wendy Brucker of Rivoli has mastered its tenets of freshness, simplicity, and regionalism. But while so many "California cuisine" restaurants have opted for a reductionist aesthetic these days, rarely departing from a clutch of standard dishes or from safe flavor combinations, Brucker is still not afraid to play with her food. Co-owner and husband Roscoe Shipper runs a crew of servers who make you feel like you should be paying far more than $18 for an entrée. If you're lucky, you'll arrive in time for the night's entertainment: watching the local raccoons and skunks have their own dinner in the garden out back.

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