Italian Food Done Right
Al Mancini has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, owning close to 20 establishments all across the Bay Area that range from pizza to fine dining.
That meant that his son Shayan grew up surrounded by food. “Often times I would go to my dad’s restaurants to spend time with him because it’s such a time-consuming business,” said Shayan. “I was constantly in and out of the restaurants.” Even when he wasn’t visiting his father, food was still a central focus at home. “My mom’s Persian, and my dad has Italian roots, so cooking was always important.”
Seven years ago, Shayan saw an opportunity to move to the Brentwood area and purchase a home. He put his roots down in Discovery Bay and began working at the Bank of America in downtown Brentwood; however, it was only a matter of time before he joined his father in the restaurant business. Al had already established a popular and thriving restaurant in Pleasanton named Chianti’s Ristorante. When a friend mentioned a vacant building for sale in Brentwood, Shayan drove by to take a look. He called the owner and began the process of bringing Chianti’s to Brentwood. “My dad’s been successfully doing this for 30 years, so I figured there was no risk for me to jump in with him,” said Shayan. “I didn’t expect it to take off so fast.” The father and son teamed up to provide Northern Italian cuisine to local residents, as well as familiar patrons. “We actually have a lot of customers from the Pleasanton area who have moved to Brentwood, so we thought we’d keep the name for recognition.”
Al put together a menu based on recipes that he was raised with, as well as his own personal creations, which has proven to work quite well. Chianti’s most popular dishes are any options that include their soft and delicious veal or their incredibly flavorful seafood. “Our Veal Champagne and Prawns & Scallops are very popular,” said Shayan. The Veal Champagne is comprised of sautéed veal scaloppini and mushrooms served with mashed potatoes and vegetables in Chianti’s champagne sauce. The Prawns & Scallops are sautéed with sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and onions in a creamy basil sauce served with fettuccini pasta. Possibly the most unique dish is the Blackberry Salmon, which has a fresh salmon fillet served with blackberry sauce, vegetables, and polenta. “It makes a lot of people nervous until they try it,” said Shayan. “My dad had that dish in a couple other restaurants that he owned, but even I was a bit apprehensive about trying it until we opened our Brentwood location. It’s very good.”
Part of what has attributed to Chianti’s success is the use of fresh ingredients. “You can expect everything to be fresh, never frozen. No sauce is ever made prior to you ordering, and if you have a gluten allergy, we can make the pasta gluten-free or keep flour out of any dish that may usually contain it because it’s not premade.” Chianti’s has their bread delivered from a Pittsburg bakery, and they complete the baking process right before delivering it to your table. Shayan also makes frequent trips to the local farmers’ market for ingredients. The chefs are in the kitchen prepping for the day starting at 10:00 a.m. “A lot of times it’s even earlier than that,” said Shayan. “We go out and pick things up. It’s nonstop. There is a lot of prep and work that goes into the kitchen and putting out quality food.”
Of course, with a name like Chianti’s, you have to offer a premium wine list. “The name of the restaurant is based on my dad’s love of that type of wine,” said Shayan. “He designed our drink menu; wine is one of his passions. We have local wines and Italian imports.” Chianti’s also recently received their full bar license, so they now offer specialty cocktails as well. They offer familiar favorites such as a Moscow Mule, Mai Tai, Long Island Ice Tea, Midori Margarita, and Apple Martini, along with many others.
Entering their third year in business this January, Chianti’s continues to be a Brentwood staple with residents voting them Best Italian Food in Brentwood three years in a row. “The atmosphere of people coming in and wanting to chat with you and have a good time keeps me from getting tired,” said Shayan. “The pace can get crazy sometimes, but that’s the fun of it. It never feels like work.” Stop in and try a little piece of Italy, and you’ll quickly discover why Chianti’s is many people’s first and best dining choice in Brentwood.
Address: 3101 Balfour Road, Suite F, Brentwood, CA 94513
Tel: (925) 516-1500