Limon: 4, Lokanta: 2

Finally had a chance to visit the two new kids on the block: Limon Rotisserie and Lokanta – situated side-by-side on “becoming trendy” Locust Street in downtown Walnut Creek. Obviously designed to mirror each other, both have roomy outdoor seating and welcoming bar areas, with a slight twist on decor.

First, we shared dinner with friends at Limon Rotisserie on a Sunday night, and although bustling with activity and fairly loud, the food and service was top notch. The Peruvian menu boasts several interesting dishes, with a Prix Fixe menu option served family style.

We started out with 4 different cocktails. While the Pisco Sour was our fave, the Limon Margarita, Sangria and Don Carlitos were each well crafted and delicious. They definitely whet our appetites for what was to come!

On our waiter’s recommendation, we tried several things on the menu, including the signature Rotisserie chicken with sides of Tacu Tacu and Chifa Green Beans, combo of 3 fresh ceviches (all OUTSTANDING – the Red Snapper was our fave!), Ensalada Russa (Peruvian beet and potato salad) and “Jalea” – a lightly battered combination of sole, shrimp and calamari accompanied by Yuca fries and tantalizing Peruvian-style salsa and tartar sauce. I think we all chimed in at once: “YUM.” I would go back just for the green beans and Ceviches, but everything was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented. Tasty to the very last drop. We all agreed we would definitely be back – and it didn’t hurt that the prices were fair and reasonable for the quality and quantity of what was served. 4 Stars. (Side note: our guests were bonafide foodies and world travelers, and their praise is highly regarded.)

Fast forward to lunch at Lokanta on a sleepy Friday, when we walked in on the early side of lunchtime to find only one other table occupied. Though it did get busier as the lunch hour progressed, I couldn’t help but turn a critical eye on the mediocre serving staff who seemed in a big hurry to get our order and to be bustling around with nowhere to go. As we nibbled on the fresh bread and kalamata olive oil dip, we decided to order a starter of the Meze Sampler – platter of Dolmas, Hummus, Tzatziki, Zucchini cakes, giant beans, mixed olives and pita. Everything was tasty, but felt a little sparse for a price tag of $19. I had my eye on the Greek Salad with a grilled lamb tenderloin skewer. The lamb was cooked perfectly and thank goodness!  Because the “salad” was quite literally chopped cucumber, tomato, parsley, peppers and onions – with some olives and feta (a pretty high price to pay since half of it was onions and peppers which was left on my plate). I guess I should have taken the menu description literally – because I did expect some greens to “saladify” it.  The Musakka was piping hot and good “comfort food,” but not as flavorful as we would have expected.  Lots of cheese and very rich! The winner of the day was the chicken special, which was stuffed with artichokes, cheese and spinach, served with fries and green beans. Very tasty, but for the quantity served, pretty pricey at $24 – for lunch!

All in all, felt the food quantity and depth of flavor did not justify the hefty price tag – could have gotten a much better value and tastier food at Pomegranate just down the street. Though I’m open to giving it another try, Lokanta was just a “meh” for me. 2 Stars.

-> [Both restaurants open for lunch and dinner; cocktails, wine & beer available.] 
-> [Outdoor seating available]

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