Outdoor Dining in Oakland: Where to Go

Oakland, CA, is quickly becoming a foodie destination, with new restaurants popping up all the time. Among the newest arrivals is a crop of restaurants that offer outdoor dining. With the perfect combination of fresh air and delicious food, these eateries are ideal spots for an enjoyable dining experience.

Discover some of the best outdoor dining places in Oakland.

The Dining Scene in Oakland

If you’ve never been there, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Oakland is home to a wide range of dining options. The city has become a popular destination for food lovers from all over the country. From cozy cafes and food trucks to high-end restaurants, Oakland has it all.

You can find Southeast Asian cuisine, soul food, Mexican dishes, Middle Eastern options, seafood, fried chicken, ramen, and whatever you are craving.

And if you’re looking for an outdoor dining experience, you won’t be disappointed either.

5 Best Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining

1. Arthur Mac’s Tap and Snack

Many locals swear by Arthur Mac’s Tap and Snack, located at MLK Jr. Way, Oakland. This restaurant is family-friendly and offers comfort food with a twist. The outdoor seating area is spacious, with plenty of tables and retractable roofing for shade. They have pizzas, soft-served ice cream for children, and local craft beer for adults!

Private events are available, too. You can rent out their space for a birthday party or any other special occasion. Arthur Mac’s is a great spot for family lunches and night out with friends.

2. Cholita Linda

Serving handmade Latin American dishes, Cholita Linda is an excellent option for outdoor dining in Temescal Plaza. The restaurant serves classic chicken, pork, tofu, and grilled fish tacos, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Enjoy their umbrella-shaded seating adorned with colorful murals and features a festive atmosphere with your favorite agua frescas.

3. Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers

Barney’s is an iconic Oakland eatery serving classic American fare. Both Piedmont and College Ave. locations have a rustic dining room and an outdoor space for foodies who want to enjoy their delicious burgers and fries under the sun.

Beer lovers also have something to look forward to. Their beer tap and mini burgers make the perfect combination for a memorable meal. Make sure also to try their milkshakes or choose wine if you’re feeling classy.

4. Crepevine

A place built for families, friends, and loved ones to gather and have a good time, Crepevine in College Ave. provides delicious breakfast options for everyone, regardless of age. They are committed to providing the freshest, healthiest ingredients and creating everything from scratch, so you can be sure you’re getting top-notch quality food.

Many of their dishes come with a side of customer service, as they are known for making sure everyone feels at home. Students, families, and business people alike flock to Crepevine for its inviting atmosphere and tasty food. Try their baked French toast or eggs benedict with a side of mimosa, and enjoy the sunshine!

5. MAMA Oakland

MAMA Oakland is an amazing Italian-American restaurant located on Piedmont Ave. It offers an intimate and inviting atmosphere and delicious Italian-inspired dishes. Their outdoor seating area is perfect for an al fresco dinner with friends and family or even a romantic date night.

Their menu consists of classic Italian staples like handmade pasta, pizzas, and salads. They also have some desserts that are both decadent and delicious.

5 Outdoor Dining on a Night Out (e.g., beer gardens)

women toasting outdoor dining beer baron oakland
Photo from Beer Baron Facebook page

1. Brotzeit Lokal

Brotzeit Lokal is a German beer garden in Embarcadero at East Oakland with outdoor seating and traditional Bavarian dishes. Enjoy classic pretzels, schnitzels, sausages, and local German-style beers! You can bring your pets and kids here to get a taste of Deutschland, but make sure to bring warm clothes if you’ll dine in the evening.

2. Drake’s Dealership

Beer lovers will be in heaven at Drake’s Dealership. Located in Uptown, Oakland, this spot has a massive outdoor beer garden with wood-fired pizza and bar snacks. There are many beers on tap and an extensive bottle list. You won’t go thirsty here.

Dogs are also welcome to join in on the fun, so bring Fido along for some outdoor dining. Just make sure to keep them on a leash. You can bring your own games, too, and the dealership is close to other great spots.

3. Beer Baron Whiskey Bar and Kitchen

More of a night-time spot, Beer Baron Whiskey Bar and Kitchen in Downtown Oakland has a massive outdoor patio with a long list of vodka, gin, and whiskey options. You can choose from various drinks, cocktails, and delicious snacks and meals to keep you going.

4. Telegraph Beer Garden

The famous BEERYLAND sign that is appreciated by all will welcome you at Telegraph. Enjoy house beer, delicious food, and great conversation in this lively restaurant with its rustic picnic tables and colorful graffiti. Make every moment count while sipping on Hennesy White.

5. Ghost Town Brewing

A unique addition to Oakland’s nightlife scene, Ghost Town Brewing is a metal-themed brewery offering an unusual but welcoming atmosphere for metalheads and everyone else. The outdoor area in Laurel has a full kitchen, is dog-friendly, and with plenty of seating.

5 Outdoor Dining Places with the Best Pizzas

1. The Forge

If you love pizzas, then The Forge is your place. Located at Jack London Square, its wood-fired pizza pies are cooked to perfection in the open kitchen and served on the wood-laden urban patio dining area. They’ve been a favorite among Bay Area locals since 2013, who come for the delicious pizza and stay for the veggie-centric mains and craft cocktails.

People also come for their other options. Spicy chicken wings, sandwiches, and burgers are all made with local and seasonal ingredients. So don’t forget to try something other than pizza, too.

2. Pizziaolo

Pizzaiolo is a sleek pizzeria in Temescal, Oakland. The outdoor seating area is open all year round, landscaped with succulents and string lights, and provides a cozy atmosphere to enjoy pizzas, pasta, and cocktails. Date nights, family dinners, or even solo dining here are all excellent options.

3. The Star on Grand

The Star on Grand is a pizzeria on Grand Ave. with a great outdoor patio where you can enjoy scrumptious pizzas and other delicious Italian dishes. The popular spot has been serving happy residents,  sure to satisfy your pizza cravings.

Make sure to reserve a few tables in advance, though – The Star on Grand gets busy quickly. The parking lot also fills up fast, so you might want to park a few blocks away and walk over. Many locals have made this their go-to spot for pizza, apps, and craft beer.

4. Sliver Pizzeria

A newer addition to Oakland’s pizza scene, Sliver Pizzeria is a hip pizzeria located on Telegraph Ave. It has an inviting outdoor patio with lots of seating. Summer concerts and events keep the atmosphere lively during warm nights.

Sliver’s specialty is healthier pizzas with sourdough crusts, offering no meat options at all. They make their own sauces, dough, and vegan cheese.

5. Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

This East Bay favorite has been serving up award-winning deep-dish pizza since 1983. Zachary’s Chicago Pizza in Rockridge offers an outdoor patio with a great neighborhood view. You can also get other classic American dishes and enjoy a great beer or wine selection from their extensive list.

5 Best Locally-Sourced Outdoor Dining Oakland

outdoor dining nidos backyard
Photo from Nido’s Backyard Facebook

1. NIDO’s BackYard

If you want to try something a bit different and fresh, visit Oakland’s own NIDO’s BackYard. Their menu features seasonal Mexican cuisine fused with Latin American flavors. The outdoor dining area is bright and airy, with colorful paintings on repurposed shipping containers.

2. Z Cafe and Bar

Located on Oakland’s Broadway, Z Cafe and Bar offers creative dishes crafted from local ingredients. Their menu changes with the seasons to provide the freshest flavors. You can enjoy their outdoor seating area while eating and take a ten-minute walk to the famous Paramount Theatre.

With over 100 vodka, gin, and whiskey options, you can find something to suit every taste. Happy hours start at 3 pm and finish at 9 pm, so you can enjoy drinks and snacks while chatting with friends or colleagues. Just bring warm clothes if you want to spend an evening here.

3. Scott’s Seafood Grill and Bar

Seafood lovers will be delighted to visit Scott’s Seafood Grill and Bar. They specialize in sustainably sourced seafood that you can enjoy with the sounds of live music and entertainment while looking at the colorful Oakland Harbor in Jack London Waterfront.

If you’re looking for something unique and special, consider the Red Room Lounge experience. Richly decorated, this lounge offers a unique and luxurious atmosphere. Make a reservation early to get a seat on this sunny Waterfront patio and enjoy classic yet innovative dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients.

4. Limewood

Fine dining doesn’t have to be inside. Limewood, located at Claremont Club and Spa in Oakland’s East Bay neighborhood, offers modern cuisine made from ingredients sourced from all around the region. Wine and cocktails are available to enjoy with the beautiful view of San Francisco.

You can also enjoy the outdoor seating on their garden terrace. Lunch or dinner here will be a memorable experience as their secret garden-like oasis has the best atmosphere, with a luxurious view, a sunny outdoor dining area, and comfortable lounges.

5. Communite Table

Finally, farm-to-table cuisine can be enjoyed in Oakland with Communite Table. Located at MacArthur Blvd., this restaurant serves nostalgic homestyle cooking. You can enjoy American classics along with some fresh, innovative dishes.

Their outdoor dining area is perfect for those sunny days in Oakland. This industrial-style exterior works with the unexpected homey interior of the restaurant, the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner.

Tips on Choosing the Ideal Outdoor Dining Spot

group of people dining outdoors
Photo by Steven Lasry on Unsplash

Because of the sheer variety of outdoor dining spots in Oakland, it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you. You want to take everything into account to make the best decision. Here are some tips for you:

1. Ask about pet policies

Many outdoor dining spots have different regulations when it comes to bringing your furry friends along, so make sure to inquire before you show up with your pup.

2. Consider the season

The weather in Oakland can be unpredictable, so check the forecast before setting out for dinner. If it’s likely to be chilly or windy, layer up or choose somewhere with heaters, fire pits, and windscreens.

3. Look for happy hour specials

Many outdoor dining spots offer reward programs and discounts during happy hours, so keep your eyes peeled for these offers. It’s a great way to save a few bucks while still enjoying the atmosphere.

4. Look for deals and discounts online

Trying a new place can be pricey, so it’s a good idea to search for deals and discounts online. This way, you can enjoy delicious food without breaking the bank.

5. Check out the menu

If you have dietary restrictions or preferences, it’s important to look for restaurants that offer food that meets your needs. You can find menus online or call the restaurant to ask about their offerings.

Explore Oakland

No matter what type of outdoor dining experience you’re looking for, Oakland has something to offer. Children, pet parents, beer lovers, and foodies alike can all find something to enjoy in Oakland’s outdoor dining venues.

Check out the different places, and compare deals and discounts online, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect spot for a meal with friends and family. 

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