While exploring our local backroads, we came across a tiny treasure of a restaurant named Oakley Bistro Punahele Tonnelier, who offer a romantic blend of traditional French cuisine married to the exotic flavors of Hawaiian comfort food.
A Marriage of Culture
In Hawaiian, Punahele means “favorite” while Tonnelier is the surname of the Chef and Co-Owner Stephane Tonnelier. The name alone is a perfect representation of the cuisine Chef Stephane prepares and Sydney presents to customers. The menu was designed to reflect the favorite comfort foods that both Stephan and Sydney were raised eating in their respective homes and cultures. Tonnelier represents the twist Chef Stephane adds to each dish that is served. The result is nothing less than culinary magic.
Finding A Home in Oakley
Chef Stephane and Sydney, residents of Oakley, had been looking for the perfect location to open their restaurant for quite awhile before they came across a tiny, completely gutted, building on Main Street in Oakley. Sydney passionately tells the story of how they knew the tiny space was the perfect fit for the cozy, welcoming and warm restaurant space they envisioned.
The process to renovate the building was long. The original, historic, building was nothing but a shell with 4 walls. The space which we see as the kitchen was nothing but dirt floors. Stephane and Sydney were able to design the space to reflect their vision for the Oakley Bistro. Stephane completed much of the construction work himself and designed the bar, focal point wall, and many of the tables himself. Sydney explained that the renovation was tedious, but it was also fulfilling watching their dream come to fruition.
A Tantalizing Blend of Flavors
The cuisine of the Oakley Bistro is best described as a marriage between families, customs, flavors and traditions. Sydney and Chef Stephane always knew they wanted a restaurant, but it wasn’t until the actual construction and design of the current space that they knew the menu would reflect both Hawaiian and French cultures. They saw Oakley as the perfect place to introduce contemporary and traditional flavors with American influences. Sydney said it best when she said, “It’s who we are. A marriage of French and Hawaiian culture raising our family in an American community.” She continues to share that the food is their way of inviting the community into their home and into their cultures.
Many of the ingredients used at Oakley Bistro Punahele Tonnelier are sourced from local farms and vendors. For more unique French or Hawaiian flavors, Chef Stephane depends on vendors who can provide the authentic products and flavors of each cultural cuisine. All of the sauces are house-made and dishes are all made when ordered. Sydney has also developed a variety of mimosas for customers. Monday’s are celebrated with bottomless mimosas!
A Delightful Experience
We were lucky to sample many of Chef Stephane’s dishes. Each dish was delightfully surprising with the blend of spices and textures. Perhaps even more fun is that with each bite, you truly are transported to another world. With the cozy and warm interior décor, the warm faces of Chef Stephane and Sydney, the incredibly detailed services of their staff and the tantalizing flavors of Hawaii and France, The Oakley Bistro is a true treasure of East County.
Visit Oakley Bistro Punahele Tonnelier at 3530 Main Street in Oakley, CA. They are open for breakfast, brunch and lunch on weekdays from 8am to 3pm and on weekends 7am to 3pm.
Thank you to Weichert, Realtors® – HH and Associates for sponsoring this video and supporting local businesses.
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Check out our other featured business: McCauley Olive Groves Store