I live in Orinda and eat at Shelby's several times a year. I must say the food is consistently good and the staff is super friendly. It's not an adventurous theme restaurant, and I find it hard to pigeon hole their eclectic menu. Californian? Some Greek? A bit of Italian? A touch of Asia?
They offer an excellent, inventive variety of soups, sandwiches and entrees. The vegetables are very fresh and the Niman Ranch burger is excellent, large and reasonably priced. For lunch last week, I shared a delicious fried brie appetizer and had a soup and sandwich combo--yummy lentil and bacon soup, Napa Melt sandwich (chicken salad with cranberries, swiss cheese), shoestring fries. Excellent. My luncheon host had the grilled chicken and mango salad, which my wife thinks is superb. And I love their free cheese bread twists. While I usually ask for lemon to put in my water at every restaurant, Shelby's puts fresh lemon and orange in their water pitchers as standard procedure, which I appreciate.
I was particularly pleased that while the service was very attentive, we were not rushed at all as we were having a long business discussion. However, it was not that crowded at our weekday lunch. But even at dinner, the restaurant is often busy but not packed.
There is validated 3 hour parking for the Orinda Theatre garage below. And it is a very short walk from the BART station, which was convenient for my host who came in from San Francisco. It's no surprise that Shelby's has prospered for years while many of the other restaurants in Theatre Square seem to come and go.
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