Outdoor lunch in the East Bay

I’m looking for outdoor lunch in the East Bay. From Dublin to Pleasant Hill and Oakland to Walnut Creek to meet vaccinated friends. Any Ideas?

Daughter’s Diner

One great thing to come out of the pandemic is that more and more restaurants are opening up outside space; I hope this particular emergency improvisation becomes a fixture!
Some I like (running the gamut from upscale to street-food style):

Imperial Tea Court, 1511 Shattuck, Berkeley
Amazing hand pulled noodles dishes (and their incredible tea menu). They’ve always had small tables on their lovely, multi-level patio but it might be tough for large parties.

1830 4th Street, Berkeley
Incredible izakaya. Has a front patio. Nice area for walking around in too. May need a reservation.

Vik’s Chaat Corner
2390 4th Street, Berkeley (NOT walking distance from 4th Street shops and Iyasare area)
Still my favorite Indian food around here. Street food style Chaat (don’t miss the Bhatura Cholle), and also more substantial (and great) daily specials. They’ve added outside tables.

Nido’s Backyard
104 Oak Street, Oakland
Nido’s incredible Mexican food and great drinks. Colorful, big outdoor space.

Swan’s Market
538 9th Street, Oakland
Several restaurants under an open indoor/outdoor space. Great spot and has different options all right there (and in the surrounding Old Town area). There has been some new restaurants coming in/changing out recently so I’m not sure of the current line up.

Grand Lake Kitchen
two locations in Oakland, the Lake Merritt location is right at the lake (so nice for walking) and I think has a bigger patio.


You absolutely cannot do better than Rio California in Preservation Park, downtown Oakland. Get there on time when it opens as the patio fills up fast. This park is a serene little jewel smack in the middle of downtown Oakland and hardly anyone but nearby workers and Brazilian fans know about it.

The coxinhas (chicken croquettes) and seafood lemon risotto are excellent, but it’s the feijoda (Wed and Thurs ONLY) that brings us back. This is the only restaurant feijoda we’ve had that tastes exactly the way our Brazilian friend from Goias, made it (albeit one doesn’t need that much farofa - Rio puts a big spoonful on the side but don’t use more than half of it!).

Good daily specials, too.

The order line moves fast as most people know what they want. We suggest standing off to the side and perusing the menu, then get in line and order. With multiple people you can have one person stake out a table (all seating is outside on the patio) and defend it against all comers [grin].
RIo California
1233 Preservation Park, Oakland (no reservations, alas)
Menu: Lunch menu Rio California

I’d second Iyasare although the food is much better when Chef Kamio is there. I’m not as in love with his other chefs. Also, the menu at lunch is more limited. Don’t miss the Kakiage Tempura, especially if you add the shrimps.
1830 Fourth Street, Berkeley
Lunch menu Iyasare


Here’s a suggestion for the Dublin-Pleasanton area, especially as the weather turns nice:

Market Tavern Dublin
4775 Hacienda Drive, Dublin (across the parking lot from the theatre)
All day menu: Market Tavern Dublin

Our best friends used to live not far from this restaurant (they just bought a home in Vallejo six months ago and have already said they are missing this place!). The four of us went for lunch in late 2019 and enjoyed it so much that when we decided to also go out for dinner we went back!

Before the lockdown we made 2 more visits for a total of four visits in less than 4 months. The only other restaurants in the EBay we visit that often are Paradiso/SLeandro and Belotti/Oakland.

Excellent service, good drinks, and the food was terrific. Nice large covered outdoor patio area.

Ooh, this sounds great! Had never even heard about it. Nice location too.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold