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The spread at La Fritanguera
La Fritanguera

17 Destination-Worthy Restaurants in Concord and Pleasant Hill

Where to go for cheese zombies, quesabirria, and pollo a la brasa

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The spread at La Fritanguera
| La Fritanguera

At this point, it’s no secret that the East Bay is home to some of the Bay Area’s greatest restaurants. Most of the time, however, restaurants in Oakland and Berkeley (and their immediate surroundings) are the ones that get all of the praise and food media limelight. But what about the cities further inland? Though they tend to be overlooked by out-of-towners, these outer East Bay suburbs are often hubs of great deliciousness. The Concord area in northern Contra County is a great case in point: It’s chock full of excellent, affordable restaurants that reflect the region’s various immigrant communities.

All of our worlds are a little smaller nowadays because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but for those who love food, the outer East Bay is well worth exploring. Here are 17 local favorites in Concord and Pleasant Hill — all well-suited for tasty takeout, with several options for those who are comfortable with outdoor dining as well.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated, outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities, but the level of risk involved with outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Starbread Bakery

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706 Contra Costa Blvd
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 446-4416
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The star of Starbread Bakery is their famous señorita bread. Since 1988, this family-owned Filipino bakery with multiple locations (Vallejo, Newark, San Pablo, and Pleasant Hill among them) has been serving these sweet treats made of rolled enriched dough, lightly filled with butter and sugar, and served piping hot. At the Pleasant Hill shop, the bakery case also features dazzlingly-colored purple ube loaf (choose from square slice or wedge shaped), rainbow-sprinkled donuts, and brownies. For those with a savory tooth, try the habit-forming garlic peanuts, which have large nubbins of fried garlic cloves scattered throughout.

2. Gotta Eatta Pita

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35 Crescent Dr F
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 526-4826
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Two protein choices — falafel and chicken shawarma (or a combination of both) — are on the menu at this local mini-chain. The made-to-order falafel drop from the falafel machine (think Play-Doh extruder) into the fryer, emerging browned and crisp 90 seconds later. In the meantime, the friendly counter staff assembles each bowl or pita sandwich with your choice of toppings like Israeli couscous, hot sauce, mixed greens, hummus, tomato cucumber salad, cabbage salad, pickles, and Gotta Eatta Pita’s famous eggplant. The finished falafel balls are arranged on top and drizzled with tahini herb dressing — perfection. For a sweet treat after your meal, try the baklava. The Pleasant Hill shop is small, so only one customer is allowed in at a time to allow for social distancing.

Falafel plate drizzled with tahini dressing Rebecca Shea

3. Aung MayLiKa

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1050 Contra Costa Blvd
Concord, CA 94523
(925) 822-3230
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The Bay Area is home to a large Burmese population, with some of the best Burmese restaurants in the country — including several located in the outer East Bay suburbs. Aung MayLiKa, a family-operated restaurant with locations in Benicia and Concord, is a great place to sample a variety of traditional Burmese dishes, including an exceptional pureed catfish chowder (mohinga), coconut chicken noodle soup, and chicken biryani. In addition to takeout and delivery, Aung MayLika now also offers outdoor patio dining.

4. Yaedam Korean BBQ

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1428 Contra Costa Blvd
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 677-5000
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Standouts on the extensive menu at Yaedam include marinated LA style beef short ribs. Not only do you receive a generous serving of crispy edged, caramelized, deeply flavored short ribs (no flaccid ribs allowed here) with the lunch combo, you also get your choice of kimchi soup, soft tofu stew, soybean paste stew, or cold noodle as an accompaniment. From the meat section of the menu, try the thinly sliced brisket. Served on a bed of raw onion, the brisket is tender and tasty. Enjoy it unadorned, or dipped into the sesame oil and salt condiment to enhance the flavor. Yaedam receives high marks for its banchan takeout game. The juicier banchan are packed into small containers, nestled next to their less juicy banchan neighbors, so that flavors don’t mingle until you are ready for them to. For those that don’t prefer takeout, Yaedam has an outdoor patio dining area with several tables.

5. Tacos El Patron

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2290 Monument Blvd
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 822-3993
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Located next to a lingerie store and a car wash, the Pleasant Hill location is the original Tacos El Patron, followed by the more recently opened one in the Mission. The delicious birria tacos accompanied by a small tub of sip-or-dip consommé are the best. If you order two or more tacos, complimentary sides of radishes, nopales, refried beans, and onions grilled in a foil packet are available upon request. Vegetarians have choices too, including tacos filled with griddled red and green bell peppers, and onions, then topped with cheese and guacamole. Call ahead to order because there’s often a line.

Exterior of Tacos El Patron Rebecca Shea

6. Mercado Del Sol

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1450 Monument Blvd
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 676-8837

Flanked by a Korean market and a late-night Mexican restaurant/club in a busy plaza, Mercado del Sol serves up butterflied pollo rostizado (roast chicken), costillas de puerco (baby back ribs), and papas picosas (spicy potatoes) by the pound. Staff expertly chop your choice of meats and pack them to go in foil-lined hot bags or aluminum trays. The expansive menu also features menudo, tacos, chilaquiles, and more. In addition to takeout, the restaurant is now seating diners both inside and outside.

Assorted meats in the hot food display at Mercado del Sol Rebecca Shea

7. Casa Del Alfajor - Rico Pan Bakery

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1665 Willow Pass Rd
Concord, CA 94520
(510) 376-7157

With the goal of providing a variety of bread and pastries from different Latin American countries, Casa de Alfajor hits the mark with both sweet and savory offerings. The namesake alfajores — tender shortbread sandwich cookies filled with creamy dulce de leche — come in flavors such as coconut, chocolate, and white chocolate. The barbacoa torta ahogada is another must-try: Drenched in spicy tomato and chile de arbol sauce, and laden with tender barbacoa, the crusty bread holds up well but softens to the perfect bite.

Assorted cookies at Casa Del Alfajor Rebecca Shea

8. Tortilleria El Molino

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1500 Monument Blvd # F-1
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 687-7066
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Tortilleria el Molino has been a Concord staple for more than a decade, and it’s easy to see why. Socially-distanced fans continue to line up for Tortilleria el Molino’s homemade tortillas, meats by the pound (al pastor is a favorite) and signature dishes. The al pastor super taco is a meal in itself. The handmade tortilla supports an obscene amount of meat protein and beans. The revuelta pupusa stuffed with chicharron, beans, and cheese is thrillingly larger than most, and satisfyingly crispy, meaty, and creamy. The accompaniment of curtido (cabbage salad) is packed into a small bag, which is then thoughtfully placed inside the bag of plastic utensils and paper napkins so that it won’t get lost. Speaking of packaging, is there anything more suited to takeout than a tamale? At Tortilleria el Molino, triple protective layers of foil, parchment paper, and banana leaf insulate the tamale for the ride home. Carefully unwrapping this piping hot, savory package is its own thrill, and the wait is worth it—chunks of chicken in moist, flavorful masa. If the ride home is too long, the restaurant has a couple of picnic-style tables for outdoor dining.

9. Anarkali

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1823 Broadway St
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 349-6666
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Anarkali is a Pakistani/Indian/halal restaurant serving up affordable (many entrees are $10 or less) grilled meats, curries, and daily specials like lamb shank and goat biryani. Highlights include the tandoori fish, chicken, or lamb seekh kebab, garnished with thinly sliced onions and lime wedges. The menu also features vegetarian-friendly dishes like palak paneer, aloo gobi, and daal — all available to be enjoyed as takeout, of course, or at Anarkali’s handful of outdoor tables.

Tandoori chicken at Anarkali Rebecca Shea

10. Spicy Joi’s Banh Mi x Lao Street Food

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1847 Willow Pass Rd
Concord, CA 94520
650-387-1806 
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With detailed instructions on their website for how to find them inside the Rockin’ Crawfish location in Concord, Spicy Joi’s leads you straight to the Lao street food of your dreams. Plump, juicy, handmade Lao sausages—filled with pork, aromatics, and herbs—are grilled and served with  purple sticky rice. The sausages come with a choice of dipping sauces—jeo som (sweet and sour) or the signature spicy jeo makphet (roasted pepper). Do yourself a favor and get both. The nam khao (crispy rice salad with handmade cured pork) is fresh and herbaceous, with tons of texture from the rice, peanuts, shallots, lettuce, and morsels of handmade cured pork and pork skin. Though the menu is meat-centric (with dishes like Ultimate Bomb Platter for Meat Lovers), vegetarians will find plenty here. The grill lemongrass tofu banh mi is a must-order of crispy, savory, bronzed rectangles of tofu, tucked inside toasted-to-order bread, garnished with a generous portion of pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, and jalapeno. Spicy Joi’s shares a small outdoor dining area with Rockin’ Crawfish, with a few tables available.

11. DJ's Bistro

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1825 Sutter St #C
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 825-3277
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This unassuming restaurant, tucked away in a Concord mini-mall, has been a local fave for its hearty central European menu and large selection of German and Czech beer. This is your spot for Hungarian goulash, wiener schnitzel, and sauerbraten — all available to go, or to be enjoyed in the restaurant’s recently added canopy-covered outdoor dining area.

12. Brothers' Chicken Peruvian Rotisserie

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1825 Sutter St suite D
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 822-3145
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Longtime fans of Brothers’ Peruvian rotisserie chicken rejoiced when the restaurant moved to its new, larger location from its original takeout window spot in the back of an international market. No longer was it necessary to call an hour ahead to place an order for Brothers’ pollo a la brasa — a deeply flavored, juicy, mahogany-skinned bird. The simple menu hasn’t changed much since the move, and all of it is perfect for takeout. Try the whole, half, or quarter rotisserie chicken, served with French fries, green salad, and Brothers’ delicious aji sauce on the side. Brothers serves other Peruvian favorites too, including empanadas, tamales, salchipapa (sausage and french fries), and yuca frita.

Peruvian rotisserie chicken in a takeout container Rebecca Shea

13. Vons Chicken

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1930 Salvio St
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 334-5323
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Originally hailing from Korea, the Vons Chicken chain has recently expanded from its U.S. roots in Sunnyvale to new East Bay locations in Oakland, Fremont, and Concord. Get your napkins ready as you take on a variety of finger-licking sauces, slathered over your choice of Korean fried or oven-roasted chicken. The former is available in three styles: crispy, saucy “yangyum,” or dusted with honey butter or cheddar seasoning. The latter comes in flavors like garlic, wine, and green onion, or soy sauce and black vinegar. Complimentary pink pickled radish cubes and lightly dressed cabbage slaw are refreshing accompaniments to the spicy chicken. Want something more substantial on the side? There are also French fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings, or Korean faves such as kimchi fried rice, mandoo (pot stickers), and rice cakes.

14. Lima

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2151 Salvio St suite i
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 309-7774
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Located in the heart of downtown Concord, Lima offers traditional Peruvian cuisine and cocktails, along with some surprises (beef wellington, anyone?). The ceviches — assorted fish or shellfish in a spicy citrus marinade, garnished with sweet potato, thinly sliced red onions, and corn — are a must-order. Main courses like the tallerin verde con bistec (ribeye with pesto noodles), lomo saltado (beef tenderloin with onion, tomato, and French fries in a soy demi-glace), and aji de gallina (shredded chicken stew) are bound to satisfy. Lima also has a children’s menu with chicken strips, sausage and fries, andpesto noodles. In addition to takeout, the restaurant’s spacious outdoor patio is open for dining.

Ceviche toped with red onions, sweet potato, and corn Rebecca Shea

15. Chopan Kabob

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2699 Monument Blvd
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 689-5488
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Chopan Kabob has locations in Concord and San Ramon, and serves traditional Afghan/halal dishes. The beef chaplee kabob—a large ground beef patty flecked with cracked coriander, garlic, and red pepper flakes—is smashed extra flat on the griddle for maximum browning, craggy edges, and flavor. Entrees are served with rice, side green salad, a huge half moon of Afghan flatbread, and the spicy cilantro-based, vinegary hot sauce that you will want to drizzle over everything. Vegetarian-friendly dishes include daal, aushak (steamed, leek-filled dumplings), or sabzi chalow (spinach cooked in a housemade masala sauce). Appetizers include bolani, the baby blanket-sized fried flatbread filled with a choice of leek/herbs, potato, or pumpkin. For its takeout journey, bolani comes in a pizza box for easy access snacking on the car ride home. Or have a seat at Chopan Kabob’s small outdoor dining area and enjoy it there.

16. La Fritanguera

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1819 Colfax St
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 446-6141
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Newbies to La Fritanguera would do well to try El Nica, the ultimate Nicaraguan sampler for an introduction to Nicaraguan dishes. Loaded with achiote-marinated braised pork and chicken, flavorful grilled carne asada, a crispy taco, and cubes of crispy fried pork belly, there is a meat for every appetite. Cubes of salty fried cheese, boiled yuca, ribbons of crisp plantains, sweet plantains, gallo pinto (red bean and rice mix), and cabbage salad round out this eating experience. Vegetarians can order a veggie sampler of these non-meat items for a satisfying meal as well. A signature Nicaraguan drink is cacao, made from rice, milk, and chocolate that is served iced—a refreshing beverage for Concord’s warm (and cold) temperatures. The restaurant features a popular brunch menu, and diners can choose takeout or La Fritanguera’s large side patio for outdoor dining.

17. Patty's Original Cheese Zombies

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4115 Concord Blvd
Concord, CA 94519
(925) 446-6377
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Nothing warms the heart quite like nostalgia and melty cheese at Patty’s Original Cheese Zombies. The brainchild of two lunch ladies who worked for the Mt. Diablo School District in the 1960s, these cheesy buns made for a delicious hot lunch, and former students have clamored for that deliciousness ever since. The zombies were brought back to life years later by a local baker named Patty, who mastered the challenge of containing the cheese and other fillings so that they don’t leak out like zombie innards. Daily zombies include original cheese, ham and cheese, and breakfast (egg, bacon, sausage, and cheese). On select days, Patty’s also serves such specials as pastrami, chicken bacon ranch, pizza, and taco zombies — all great takeout items for a portable and hot lunch.

Cheese zombie with its oozy center exposed Rebecca Shea

1. Starbread Bakery

706 Contra Costa Blvd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

The star of Starbread Bakery is their famous señorita bread. Since 1988, this family-owned Filipino bakery with multiple locations (Vallejo, Newark, San Pablo, and Pleasant Hill among them) has been serving these sweet treats made of rolled enriched dough, lightly filled with butter and sugar, and served piping hot. At the Pleasant Hill shop, the bakery case also features dazzlingly-colored purple ube loaf (choose from square slice or wedge shaped), rainbow-sprinkled donuts, and brownies. For those with a savory tooth, try the habit-forming garlic peanuts, which have large nubbins of fried garlic cloves scattered throughout.

706 Contra Costa Blvd
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

2. Gotta Eatta Pita

35 Crescent Dr F, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Falafel plate drizzled with tahini dressing Rebecca Shea

Two protein choices — falafel and chicken shawarma (or a combination of both) — are on the menu at this local mini-chain. The made-to-order falafel drop from the falafel machine (think Play-Doh extruder) into the fryer, emerging browned and crisp 90 seconds later. In the meantime, the friendly counter staff assembles each bowl or pita sandwich with your choice of toppings like Israeli couscous, hot sauce, mixed greens, hummus, tomato cucumber salad, cabbage salad, pickles, and Gotta Eatta Pita’s famous eggplant. The finished falafel balls are arranged on top and drizzled with tahini herb dressing — perfection. For a sweet treat after your meal, try the baklava. The Pleasant Hill shop is small, so only one customer is allowed in at a time to allow for social distancing.

35 Crescent Dr F
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

3. Aung MayLiKa

1050 Contra Costa Blvd, Concord, CA 94523

The Bay Area is home to a large Burmese population, with some of the best Burmese restaurants in the country — including several located in the outer East Bay suburbs. Aung MayLiKa, a family-operated restaurant with locations in Benicia and Concord, is a great place to sample a variety of traditional Burmese dishes, including an exceptional pureed catfish chowder (mohinga), coconut chicken noodle soup, and chicken biryani. In addition to takeout and delivery, Aung MayLika now also offers outdoor patio dining.

1050 Contra Costa Blvd
Concord, CA 94523

4. Yaedam Korean BBQ

1428 Contra Costa Blvd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Standouts on the extensive menu at Yaedam include marinated LA style beef short ribs. Not only do you receive a generous serving of crispy edged, caramelized, deeply flavored short ribs (no flaccid ribs allowed here) with the lunch combo, you also get your choice of kimchi soup, soft tofu stew, soybean paste stew, or cold noodle as an accompaniment. From the meat section of the menu, try the thinly sliced brisket. Served on a bed of raw onion, the brisket is tender and tasty. Enjoy it unadorned, or dipped into the sesame oil and salt condiment to enhance the flavor. Yaedam receives high marks for its banchan takeout game. The juicier banchan are packed into small containers, nestled next to their less juicy banchan neighbors, so that flavors don’t mingle until you are ready for them to. For those that don’t prefer takeout, Yaedam has an outdoor patio dining area with several tables.

1428 Contra Costa Blvd
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

5. Tacos El Patron

2290 Monument Blvd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Exterior of Tacos El Patron Rebecca Shea

Located next to a lingerie store and a car wash, the Pleasant Hill location is the original Tacos El Patron, followed by the more recently opened one in the Mission. The delicious birria tacos accompanied by a small tub of sip-or-dip consommé are the best. If you order two or more tacos, complimentary sides of radishes, nopales, refried beans, and onions grilled in a foil packet are available upon request. Vegetarians have choices too, including tacos filled with griddled red and green bell peppers, and onions, then topped with cheese and guacamole. Call ahead to order because there’s often a line.

2290 Monument Blvd
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

6. Mercado Del Sol

1450 Monument Blvd, Concord, CA 94520
Assorted meats in the hot food display at Mercado del Sol Rebecca Shea

Flanked by a Korean market and a late-night Mexican restaurant/club in a busy plaza, Mercado del Sol serves up butterflied pollo rostizado (roast chicken), costillas de puerco (baby back ribs), and papas picosas (spicy potatoes) by the pound. Staff expertly chop your choice of meats and pack them to go in foil-lined hot bags or aluminum trays. The expansive menu also features menudo, tacos, chilaquiles, and more. In addition to takeout, the restaurant is now seating diners both inside and outside.

1450 Monument Blvd
Concord, CA 94520

7. Casa Del Alfajor - Rico Pan Bakery

1665 Willow Pass Rd, Concord, CA 94520
Assorted cookies at Casa Del Alfajor Rebecca Shea

With the goal of providing a variety of bread and pastries from different Latin American countries, Casa de Alfajor hits the mark with both sweet and savory offerings. The namesake alfajores — tender shortbread sandwich cookies filled with creamy dulce de leche — come in flavors such as coconut, chocolate, and white chocolate. The barbacoa torta ahogada is another must-try: Drenched in spicy tomato and chile de arbol sauce, and laden with tender barbacoa, the crusty bread holds up well but softens to the perfect bite.

1665 Willow Pass Rd
Concord, CA 94520

8. Tortilleria El Molino

1500 Monument Blvd # F-1, Concord, CA 94520

Tortilleria el Molino has been a Concord staple for more than a decade, and it’s easy to see why. Socially-distanced fans continue to line up for Tortilleria el Molino’s homemade tortillas, meats by the pound (al pastor is a favorite) and signature dishes. The al pastor super taco is a meal in itself. The handmade tortilla supports an obscene amount of meat protein and beans. The revuelta pupusa stuffed with chicharron, beans, and cheese is thrillingly larger than most, and satisfyingly crispy, meaty, and creamy. The accompaniment of curtido (cabbage salad) is packed into a small bag, which is then thoughtfully placed inside the bag of plastic utensils and paper napkins so that it won’t get lost. Speaking of packaging, is there anything more suited to takeout than a tamale? At Tortilleria el Molino, triple protective layers of foil, parchment paper, and banana leaf insulate the tamale for the ride home. Carefully unwrapping this piping hot, savory package is its own thrill, and the wait is worth it—chunks of chicken in moist, flavorful masa. If the ride home is too long, the restaurant has a couple of picnic-style tables for outdoor dining.

1500 Monument Blvd # F-1
Concord, CA 94520

9. Anarkali

1823 Broadway St, Concord, CA 94520
Tandoori chicken at Anarkali Rebecca Shea

Anarkali is a Pakistani/Indian/halal restaurant serving up affordable (many entrees are $10 or less) grilled meats, curries, and daily specials like lamb shank and goat biryani. Highlights include the tandoori fish, chicken, or lamb seekh kebab, garnished with thinly sliced onions and lime wedges. The menu also features vegetarian-friendly dishes like palak paneer, aloo gobi, and daal — all available to be enjoyed as takeout, of course, or at Anarkali’s handful of outdoor tables.

1823 Broadway St
Concord, CA 94520

10. Spicy Joi’s Banh Mi x Lao Street Food

1847 Willow Pass Rd, Concord, CA 94520

With detailed instructions on their website for how to find them inside the Rockin’ Crawfish location in Concord, Spicy Joi’s leads you straight to the Lao street food of your dreams. Plump, juicy, handmade Lao sausages—filled with pork, aromatics, and herbs—are grilled and served with  purple sticky rice. The sausages come with a choice of dipping sauces—jeo som (sweet and sour) or the signature spicy jeo makphet (roasted pepper). Do yourself a favor and get both. The nam khao (crispy rice salad with handmade cured pork) is fresh and herbaceous, with tons of texture from the rice, peanuts, shallots, lettuce, and morsels of handmade cured pork and pork skin. Though the menu is meat-centric (with dishes like Ultimate Bomb Platter for Meat Lovers), vegetarians will find plenty here. The grill lemongrass tofu banh mi is a must-order of crispy, savory, bronzed rectangles of tofu, tucked inside toasted-to-order bread, garnished with a generous portion of pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, and jalapeno. Spicy Joi’s shares a small outdoor dining area with Rockin’ Crawfish, with a few tables available.

1847 Willow Pass Rd
Concord, CA 94520

11. DJ's Bistro

1825 Sutter St #C, Concord, CA 94520

This unassuming restaurant, tucked away in a Concord mini-mall, has been a local fave for its hearty central European menu and large selection of German and Czech beer. This is your spot for Hungarian goulash, wiener schnitzel, and sauerbraten — all available to go, or to be enjoyed in the restaurant’s recently added canopy-covered outdoor dining area.

1825 Sutter St #C
Concord, CA 94520

12. Brothers' Chicken Peruvian Rotisserie

1825 Sutter St suite D, Concord, CA 94520
Peruvian rotisserie chicken in a takeout container Rebecca Shea

Longtime fans of Brothers’ Peruvian rotisserie chicken rejoiced when the restaurant moved to its new, larger location from its original takeout window spot in the back of an international market. No longer was it necessary to call an hour ahead to place an order for Brothers’ pollo a la brasa — a deeply flavored, juicy, mahogany-skinned bird. The simple menu hasn’t changed much since the move, and all of it is perfect for takeout. Try the whole, half, or quarter rotisserie chicken, served with French fries, green salad, and Brothers’ delicious aji sauce on the side. Brothers serves other Peruvian favorites too, including empanadas, tamales, salchipapa (sausage and french fries), and yuca frita.

1825 Sutter St suite D
Concord, CA 94520

13. Vons Chicken

1930 Salvio St, Concord, CA 94520

Originally hailing from Korea, the Vons Chicken chain has recently expanded from its U.S. roots in Sunnyvale to new East Bay locations in Oakland, Fremont, and Concord. Get your napkins ready as you take on a variety of finger-licking sauces, slathered over your choice of Korean fried or oven-roasted chicken. The former is available in three styles: crispy, saucy “yangyum,” or dusted with honey butter or cheddar seasoning. The latter comes in flavors like garlic, wine, and green onion, or soy sauce and black vinegar. Complimentary pink pickled radish cubes and lightly dressed cabbage slaw are refreshing accompaniments to the spicy chicken. Want something more substantial on the side? There are also French fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings, or Korean faves such as kimchi fried rice, mandoo (pot stickers), and rice cakes.

1930 Salvio St
Concord, CA 94520

14. Lima

2151 Salvio St suite i, Concord, CA 94520
Ceviche toped with red onions, sweet potato, and corn Rebecca Shea

Located in the heart of downtown Concord, Lima offers traditional Peruvian cuisine and cocktails, along with some surprises (beef wellington, anyone?). The ceviches — assorted fish or shellfish in a spicy citrus marinade, garnished with sweet potato, thinly sliced red onions, and corn — are a must-order. Main courses like the tallerin verde con bistec (ribeye with pesto noodles), lomo saltado (beef tenderloin with onion, tomato, and French fries in a soy demi-glace), and aji de gallina (shredded chicken stew) are bound to satisfy. Lima also has a children’s menu with chicken strips, sausage and fries, andpesto noodles. In addition to takeout, the restaurant’s spacious outdoor patio is open for dining.

2151 Salvio St suite i
Concord, CA 94520

15. Chopan Kabob

2699 Monument Blvd, Concord, CA 94520

Chopan Kabob has locations in Concord and San Ramon, and serves traditional Afghan/halal dishes. The beef chaplee kabob—a large ground beef patty flecked with cracked coriander, garlic, and red pepper flakes—is smashed extra flat on the griddle for maximum browning, craggy edges, and flavor. Entrees are served with rice, side green salad, a huge half moon of Afghan flatbread, and the spicy cilantro-based, vinegary hot sauce that you will want to drizzle over everything. Vegetarian-friendly dishes include daal, aushak (steamed, leek-filled dumplings), or sabzi chalow (spinach cooked in a housemade masala sauce). Appetizers include bolani, the baby blanket-sized fried flatbread filled with a choice of leek/herbs, potato, or pumpkin. For its takeout journey, bolani comes in a pizza box for easy access snacking on the car ride home. Or have a seat at Chopan Kabob’s small outdoor dining area and enjoy it there.

2699 Monument Blvd
Concord, CA 94520

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16. La Fritanguera

1819 Colfax St, Concord, CA 94520

Newbies to La Fritanguera would do well to try El Nica, the ultimate Nicaraguan sampler for an introduction to Nicaraguan dishes. Loaded with achiote-marinated braised pork and chicken, flavorful grilled carne asada, a crispy taco, and cubes of crispy fried pork belly, there is a meat for every appetite. Cubes of salty fried cheese, boiled yuca, ribbons of crisp plantains, sweet plantains, gallo pinto (red bean and rice mix), and cabbage salad round out this eating experience. Vegetarians can order a veggie sampler of these non-meat items for a satisfying meal as well. A signature Nicaraguan drink is cacao, made from rice, milk, and chocolate that is served iced—a refreshing beverage for Concord’s warm (and cold) temperatures. The restaurant features a popular brunch menu, and diners can choose takeout or La Fritanguera’s large side patio for outdoor dining.

1819 Colfax St
Concord, CA 94520

17. Patty's Original Cheese Zombies

4115 Concord Blvd, Concord, CA 94519
Cheese zombie with its oozy center exposed Rebecca Shea

Nothing warms the heart quite like nostalgia and melty cheese at Patty’s Original Cheese Zombies. The brainchild of two lunch ladies who worked for the Mt. Diablo School District in the 1960s, these cheesy buns made for a delicious hot lunch, and former students have clamored for that deliciousness ever since. The zombies were brought back to life years later by a local baker named Patty, who mastered the challenge of containing the cheese and other fillings so that they don’t leak out like zombie innards. Daily zombies include original cheese, ham and cheese, and breakfast (egg, bacon, sausage, and cheese). On select days, Patty’s also serves such specials as pastrami, chicken bacon ranch, pizza, and taco zombies — all great takeout items for a portable and hot lunch.

4115 Concord Blvd
Concord, CA 94519

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