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Bumpin'est Caribbean Restaurant 

Calypso Bar and Grill

It may not be the Bahamas, but the little village of Orinda does seem to take the rough edges off life. Around the corner from the beautifully restored Art Deco movie theater, in a restaurant with plenty of palm fronds, your trip begins. Calypso has a full bar and mixes a number of rum-based cocktails: The Reggae Sun Splash is lovely blend of Appleton rum, peach schnapps, and pineapple and cranberry juices; the Bahama Mama gets busy with Whalers Dark, Bacardi Light, and Parrot Bay Coconut rums with a bit of banana liqueur and juice thrown in, while the relatively austere Mt. Zion is a refreshing drink of Mount Gay rum, the juice of a half lemon, and a dash of sugar. The drinks complement appetizers such as the outstanding coconut shrimp with a touch of curry flavor, fried plantains with Cuban black-bean dip, and crispy calamari. The high flavors don't quit in entrées like dry-rub spareribs with sweet-potato fries and Red Stripe beer-battered fried halibut. The bumpin'est hours are 4:30 to 6:30 weekday evenings, when all of the appetizers are half price when you buy drinks. Ya man.

Readers' Pick:
3814 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-653-2444

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


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