I rarely get to Oakland, or to the East Bay at all for that matter (hate going over the bridge, what can I say), and when I do, it is mainly to go to a vegan - or at least vegetarian - establishment. However, I happen to have a good vegan friend who lives "over there", so on a recent visit, I trusted her to lead me in the right food direction in her 'hood. This, dear readers, is how I ended up at Bellanico. On an adorable stretch of Park Street, it looks like any other Italian restaurant/wine bar, but it is so much more! You can already tell the food is good by the fact that the place is packed, but what you wouldn't know by looking is just how vegan friendly they are... and just plain friendly in general. The knowledgeable staff, the accommodating chef, the amazing wine list... the place is just great. And look, risotto!
They almost always have a vegan risotto (or one easily made so) on the menu and this version had brussel sprouts, almond milk, sliced almonds, and a very zingy and delightful lemon flavor running throughout. It was mmmmmmmm-inducing. The salad I had was also delicious, and there were soup and pasta options available to boot. Here's to finding more omni restaurants with tons of vegan options in 2013, y'all!