What a Breeze
Waterfront dining is closer than you think.
Marin and San Francisco pretend they’ve cornered the market on waterfront dining. But we know better: The East Bay has plenty of places to kick it. Here are just a few.
Lake Chalet guarantees you’ll never overlook Lake Merritt’s easy charm again. Dine on Kumamoto oysters, chowder, and local sole, as rowing crews glide by. The wraparound patio and long dining pier (pictured) put you at the water's edge. And if you’re as frightened of big checks as you are of big sharks, swing by for happy hour on Tuesdays, when carne asada and fresh fish tacos are $2.50 each. If love trumps cash, valet the car and step into a gondola. The one-hour ride will whet your appetite for steak, a sunset, and … Oakland, thelakechalet.com.
The Dead Fish boasts 150 outdoor seats, so you’d think it would be a cinch to get a table. But don’t dilly dally: Brunch and dinner fill up quickly. Every table overlooks the Carquinez Bridge, but ask for the patio with the best view. If you’ve got a group, reserve a cabana fitted with electric fans and spray misters. Close your eyes, breathe deep, and you’ll swear you’re on the beach—especially when cracking a whole crab. Crockett, thedeadfish.com.
The Prickly Pear Cantina’s nine lagoon-side tables are the hottest (and coolest) seats in Blackhawk Plaza. The vibe is calm and relaxed, with a shot of “party on!” The burbling Plaza fountains and margaritas (Pink Cadillac, anyone?) are a smoldering combination, especially when musicians play on the patio. Got kids? Direct them to the nearby playground. There are ducks, too. (Just don’t let the tykes toss them a taquito.) Danville, thepricklypearcantina.com.
Lungomare means “waterfront” and is meant to evoke a seashore promenade on the Italian Riviera. Ligurian dishes such as whole branzino and seafood crudo are served on two patios, one with a fire pit and a railing with water views. Bring your pup: Lungomare is extremely dog-friendly. There are several tables inside situated for a spectacular sunset. Oakland, lungomareoakland.com.