I have dined at the Pasta Pelican (formerly the Rusty Pelican) for more years than I care to remember.

The late Alameda County Supervisor Don Excell of Livermore introduced me to the Pelican back in the 1980s. It was a short drive through the Webster tube from the county office building in downtown Oakland and was quiet for a business lunch apart from the bustle of other county folks across the Estuary.

We got re-acquainted with the Pasta Pelican a few years back and have used Groupons to dine there occasionally. It has been family owned since 1998. We had a wine pick-up party for Cass Winery of Paso Robles on the USS Hornet in Alameda on Friday when the Blue Angels were flying so we stayed for an early dinner to avoid the heavy commute-hour traffic.

It was the best meal we have had there. We started with the calamari fritti, golden fried calamari served with a lemon Caesar dressing. The light breading was spiced nicely with fresh herbs and complimented the lemon dressing. It was a great way to start.

Gorgonzola chicken salad

Gorgonzola chicken salad

I followed with the specialty of the house, Veal Pelicano, which included a generous serving of veal topped with artichoke hearts, mushrooms and capers in a creamy port wine sauce. It was spiced nicely and complimented the Cass Rockin Red that we had picked up a few minutes earlier.

My wife enjoyed the Gorgonzola chicken salad.

The menu is eclectic ranging from meat loaf to ribs to steaks to veal and four fish offerings. There’s a full bar and an ample wine list plus all of the seating looks out on the Estuary across to Jack London Square. The prices are reasonable ranging from $12 for entrée salads to $30 for the New York strip steak.


—By Tim Hunt