It’s Summer! Our Picks for Patio Dining in the East Bay

Gaucho Burger served at American Kitchen. Photo: American Kitchen

If you love outside dining, but not necessarily sitting next to traffic, here are some ideas for restaurants with patio dining options that are more or less off the beaten path.

American Kitchen

LAFAYETTE – Trees, au natural flooring (aka dirt) and a cozy fire pit provide the patio at Lafayette’s American Kitchen with park-like ambiance that marries itself perfectly with the restaurant’s comfort menu theme. If you’re new to American Kitchen, try one of their  nightly specials, like a burger and a beer, grilled cheese, or mac and cheese. We’re not just talking one option, American Kitchen features a handful of variations on a theme, like Cajun mac, pesto mac, truffle mac and more.

I stayed on the lighter side on my last visit, enjoying the spring veggie pasta primavera with chicken, mushrooms, asparagus, peas and spinach topped with goat cheese. Many primavera recipes are heavy on the pasta and light on the veggies. I was pleased to discover that veggies truly were the feature of this dish

Entrées start at $13. Beer and wine only. Open daily from 9am. 71 Lafayette Circle in Lafayette.

Photo: Stella’s Ristorante/

Stella’s Ristorante

DANVILLE  – Stella’s Ristorante, which recently replaced Ferrari’s at Blackhawk Plaza, has a cozy patio nestled away from the walking areas of the shopping center so there are few distractions from your meal.

A friend and I caught up recently at Stella’s sharing a salad and flatbread pizza. If you are a fan of the caprese salad, take it up a notch as we did and order the burrata version. This decadent combo of mozzarella and cream may leave you never wanting to go back to plain mozzarella in your caprese again. We paired this with the rustica flatbread topped with Italian sausage, olives, mushrooms and mozzarella. The flatbreads are ample enough to share. Ours had plenty of flavor, and the thin crust was so guilt-free that we decided to split a generous slice of tiramisu for dessert.

Entrées start at $18. Open daily 11am-9pm. Beer and wine only. 3451 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville.

Kabobs served at Oasis Wine Lounge. Photo: Oasis Wine Lounge

Oasis Wine Lounge

PLEASANTON – Pleasanton’s Oasis Wine Lounge features an outside patio located adjacent to the restaurant. A fence helps lessen street noise and eliminates walk by traffic.

If you’re the type who counts the days until pumpkin lattes make a comeback, you’ll want to start with the pumpkin borani. It will give you a new appreciation for pumpkin as a savory rather than sweet food.

Kabobs and curries are great options. I loved the Kabuli with seasoned basmati rice mixed with carrots and raisins. I had mine with a filet mignon kabob and side of eggplant borani, which is a dish of sautéed eggplant slices topped with garlic-yogurt sauce, tomato marinara and fresh mint leaves. Eggplant tends to get a bad rap, but when done right, like in Oasis’ Kabuli, it’s full of flavor.

Entrées start at $15. Full bar. Open daily 11:30am-9:30pm. 780 Main Street in Pleasanton.

Fries served at Sanctuary Ultra Lounge. Photo: Gina B./

Sanctuary Ultra Lounge

LIVERMORE – Tucked away at the east end of Livermore’s First Street, Sanctuary Ultra Lounge’s front patio seems private as that part of the street doesn’t get as much foot traffic.

Tapas, burgers and salads are all great choices, but I took my server’s suggestion and opted for the thick cut pork chop served with seasonal veggies and collard greens. I am so happy I did. The chop was tender – no need for a steak knife for this one – and perfectly seasoned. I loved the differently colored sautéed carrots served with the dish. The greens finished off the plate perfectly. I paired my meal with a glass of local Livermore wine.

Entrées start at $11. Full bar. Open Monday-Friday from 11:30am and Saturday and Sunday from noon. Check the calendar for themed evenings and live music. 2369 1st Street in Livermore.

Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature on East Bay dining in the print editions of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in July 2017.

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