I freakin' love Peet's coffee - it's got a higher than normal caffein content and these people know how to make perfect foam on top of it.
If there was one thing I could change about Peet's in Livermore though, it'd be the boring tables and chairs and the continual classical music. However, I will say this: when it's 110 degrees outside, Peet's is one of the few places downtown that has the air conditioning to save you from melting!
My favorite way to enjoy Peet's in Livermore: Grab a cappuccino and sit in their bar-style seating along the window that provides great people watching for the central downtown intersection.
Panama Bay is near 'n dear to Livermorians' hearts. The servers are quirky and friendly and they're serious about great foam.
The atmosphere is not like a Peet's though - you're more likely to hear the White Stripes or the Stones here than you are to hear classical music. The clientele is a great mix of folks on their laptops sitting in comfy sofa chairs, teenagers wearing (let's face it) retarded fashions, and bicyclists grabbing coffee before heading out to the Livermore hills.
My favorite way to enjoy Panama Bay: Head down there on a warm Saturday morning, grab the paper and a cappuccino and sit outside along first street watching the people go by.
Casa Orozco has become one of the places to be seen in Livermore largely in part to the great design and ambiance of their new restaurant and their fabulous margaritas. If you're single or just need to kick back with coworkers after a long week, their bar is great.
However, I have always been disappointed by their food. I don't know how you mess up Mexican food (it seems like a no brainer to me) but every dish I've tried has been just OK. The servers in the restaurant also frequently get my orders wrong.
My recommendation: Stop for one of their awesome margaritas at their bar or on their enclosed outdoor patio, then continue on to one of Livermore's restaurants along first street for your meal.
I went to Terra Mia with two colleagues for dinner. I found the service and atmosphere to be excellent and the food to be very good.
I have an allergy to gluten (found in wheat, pasta, etc.) so I was apprehensive about going to an Italian restaurant, but the waitress was very helpful and gladly helped me by working with the chef to find an appropriate dish that I wouldn't be allergic to.
We happened to go on a night that was very slow but I think the restaurant has the potential to be an exciting place to be. I'd like to try it again on a weekend night.
I also think this place would be perfect for large gatherings - family reunion, birthday, office party, etc. They have the right layout, menu, and service to pull that off quite nicely I think.
Uncle Yu's food makes me realize how Chinese food probably became such a hit in America - the taste is authentic and full of flavor. The atmosphere is slightly elegant (dim lighting, white table cloths, etc.) and would lend itself easily to a romantic dinner or dinner with a colleague.
The food is on the high end of mid-range prices and the wine list is extensive so you can go from cheap to very expensive. If you're looking for cheap Chinese take out go to Yin Yin down the street but if you're looking for gourmet Chinese, you won't be disappointed at Uncle Yu's.
My personal favorites: The seafood soup and a Yu-tini.
This isn't your typical ale house - besides the rotating beer list, it also has the best burgers in Livermore, friendly servers, and a family atmosphere.
It's also nice that you can bring a real variety of friends, and everyone can find something they like. I prefer to hunker down with a cilantro-jalapeno burger with garlic fries but my friends on a diet can get their grilled chicken breast with a side salad.
My tip: Try them out on a warm summer evening, sit out on the front patio and people watch while you eat 'n chat with friends. Don't go for your first time on a Thursday night though (it'll be packed b/c Thursday is Pint Night).