Basque-inspired tapas spot broadens Bay Area footprint with East and South locations.
There’s a buzz when you reach the second floor of the three-story building that houses Telefèric Barcelona in Walnut Creek, approximately 25 miles east of San Francisco. On your left, you’ll find an outdoor space that overlooks the area’s retail hot spot. To the right, the main dining area, where toy gondolas overhead glide back and forth from cables spanning the width of the room. Adding to the bustling vibe are carts circulating dim-sum style, carrying an array of pintxos—small, savory snacks, typical of the northern region of Spain. That’s where the adventure begins.
With colorful dishes of truffled deviled eggs and Iberian ham, it’s easy to get carried away. But pace yourself. There are plenty of other dishes worth saving room for, most notably the Pulpo Telefèric, a Galician grilled octopus with truffle oil and paprika potato puree; and the Paella Negra, a squid-ink paella with Gulf shrimp, clams and cuttlefish.
Telefèric’s cocktail menu features daring drinks, such as the Wild Mary, an amped-up version of the traditional bloody mary that includes jalapeno puree, Tabasco and chile powder. Not in the mood to break a sweat? Brighter, more refreshing choices are the Sangria Telefèric or the Sangria Barceloneta. For dessert, the Churros Con Chocolate remains a popular item, but the Torrijas is a textural revelation (think bread pudding, but creamier).
With locations in Barcelona and Sant Cugat, Telefèric’s first foray into the United States’ culinary scene was at this Walnut Creek location in 2015, under the leadership of Xavi Padrosa, who runs the restaurants with his sister, Maria. A new location is slated to open this year in Palo Alto and will include a gourmet Spanish market with cured meats, cheeses, olive oil and wine. But don’t look for an exact replica. Each Telefèric has its own character. Walnut Creek could well be the fun, spicy complement to its sophisticated sibling restaurant. 1500 Mount Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, 925.300.3826