We were wine tasting in Livermore, on a Wednesday in April 2004, and decided to have lunch in downtown Pleasanton. It was a very nice day, perfect to have lunch outside, so we were looking for a restaurant with sidewalk or patio dining (not difficult to find in Pleasanton). We chose Baci at random; it looked nice and we could find a place to park close by.
The Italian restaurant (what is it with Pleasanton? Every other restaurant in the city seems to be Italian!) has a very inviting interior. It's a medium-size neo-classical room with large windows which make it look larger than it is. There is a row of tables outside separated form the rest of the sidewalk by an iron fence and that's where we chose to eat.
Baci's lunch menu is mainly a collection of soups, salads and pastas with a few sandwiches thrown in. Most dishes and combinations are about $10. Both Mike and I decided to go for pasta; he got the linguini carbonara and I got the ravioli bolognese. His linguini was very good; I found the sauce a little too subtle in flavor but the tastiness of the bacon made up for it. He was quite satisfied with the dish.
Both of us were disappointed with the ravioli. There were many competing flavors in the dish (ravioli, meat, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.) and yet the whole dish tasted flatly of tomato sauce. It was helped a little bit by copious quantities of parmesan cheese, but not enough. I would not order the dish again.
Service was very good, though our waiter had to come back from the inside, he seemed happy to do it. We both liked the warm bread dipped in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar available on the table. And while Mike objected to the water - it was served from a pitcher that contained slices of lemon, apple, radishes, mint and other "goodies" and tasted mostly of lemon - I thought it was very nice looking.
In all, and despite my ravioli, lunch at Baci was good. We really enjoyed the al fresco dining (despite the expected traffic noises) and the restaurant made us feel quite comfortable. Still, I think at $30 before tip (we ordered two sodas in addition to the pasta) lunch was a bit overpriced.
500 Main St