Diablo Dish: Celebrate Summer at These Outdoor Dining Destinations
Plus, don’t miss the 37th Art and Wine Festival in Walnut Creek.
It’s Summertime, and the Eating is Easy
Sure, we all love the backyard barbecue, but there are times when it seems like it's too much effort—or it’s just too hot—to hover over a flamin’ grill and flip burgers. Luckily, the East Bay has no shortage of restaurants for alfresco dining, so the next time you want to enjoy the summer weather in a cooler and more relaxed way, head to a local spot for a superb meal in a fun outdoor setting. While there are more outdoor dining options than we could list, here are a few to get you started.
Walnut Creek: Once you find some parking near the intersection of Mt. Diablo Boulevard and North Main Street, there are three solid selections: Va de Vi, Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, and Telefèric Barcelona. All make it very easy to enjoy the summer evenings with a cool drink (or two) and good food.
Lamorinda: The patio at El Charro will likely be crowded, and yes, many foodies feel it’s beneath them to settle for the familiar menu at this longtime restaurant—but the margaritas here are top-notch, and the blue cheese dip with those crispy chips is always a winner. However, those who’d prefer a taste of summer in Provence should head to Reve Bistro instead.
Concord: Todos Santos Plaza is a summertime delight, with a picturesque park and lots of dining options. Lima’s patio offers views of both the park and a neighboring courtyard that’s reminiscent of the restaurant’s Peruvian roots. Right down the block is The Hop Grenade, which offers more craft beers than you could ever sample.
Pleasanton: Tri-Valley newcomer Salt Craft has taken patio dining to another level—as outdoor seating the only type of seating available, but it works just fine; even when it’s windy and overcast, the heaters do their job. And with a menu offering everything from simple sandwiches, to pastas, to scrumptious desserts, the restaurant has something for everyone.
Livermore: So many wineries, so little time. It’s hard to go wrong on Tesla Road out in the Livermore Valley, so just pick a driveway, and find a patio.
Through the Tunnel: Oakland’s Cholita Linda has reasonable prices, good margaritas, and a nice patio – and it’s hard to ask for more (well, maybe no line). Comal, the upscale Mexican eatery in Berkeley, has a beer garden out back, and it’s a lot easier to find room out there than in the crowded dining room inside. And for family fun, don’t forget Plank and its bocce ball court in Jack London Square. If that atmosphere doesn’t work for you, Lungomare’s patio gives you a view of the action happening at Plank down below—with a lower noise level.
Walnut Creek’s Art and Wine Festival Has Become an Institution
It’s year 37 for the Art and Wine Festival, and while there are many imitators, clearly this longtime event is doing something right. Check it out for yourself this weekend at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, there will be live music, mouthwatering food, booths displaying artwork from 200-plus creators, and of course, a whole lot of wine and beer.