If you like Abruzzo cuisine, Chef Giuseppe Naccarelli offers a few dishes that are less CA-like, at Trabocco/Alameda. We’re very fond of his Baccala e Peperoni: roasted salt-cod marinated with roasted bell peppers over a coin of crispy polenta. Unlike almost all other restaurants serving bacalhao, here the salt cod is left in pieces. It’s really spoiled us for the ubiquitous fritters, LOL.
And whether this dish is authentic or not, I have no idea; but it’s amazing and so far as I know he’s the only one who makes it: risotto with pork and pureed beets. He rotates it on and off the menu (I believe currently it’s off; you can call to check), but it is a fabulous dish. The beets turn it a neon fuchsia that takes you aback at first sight, but the earthy, slight sweetness of the puree combines with the creamy rice to make the best risotto I’ve ever had.
I don’t like everything at Riva Cucina/Berkeley, but the chef does make an outstanding breadcrumb pasta and has kept it on the menu as a regular item ever since opening day: Passatelli Alla Salsiccia. So far as I know, RC is the only restaurant who always has it available at dinner.
Located in: Alameda South Shore Center
Address: 2213 S Shore Center, Alameda, CA 94501
Address: 800 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710
(both are on OpenTable)