Enjoying chips and salsa on Comal's pack patio. Photo: Comal
Enjoying chips and salsa on Comal’s pack patio. Photo: Comal

The calendar might not say it’s summer, but as soon as we recover from our Memorial Day cookouts, the change of season is in the air. So why not embrace that feeling and get on with summertime eating? Whether you’re looking to spend your afternoon on a sunshine-filled patio, take your kids out for ice cream, or bring your dog along for a food-focused adventure, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve collected some of our favorite lists and guides to East Bay food and drink by contributor Emily Laskin — keep them handy all summer long.


Oyster Po’Boy at The Cook and Her Farmer. Photo: Kate Williams

Nothing beats a great sandwich for an easy, satisfying lunch — and this humble meal between two slices of bread is one of the best things to bring on a weekend summertime outing. Not sure where to start? Try one of our picks for the best in the East Bay, from patty melts and grilled cheese to tortas and meatball subs.

Seafood Tacos

Fish tacos at Saigon Deli. Photo: Emily Laskin

Tacos are blessedly easy to come by in the East Bay. But tacos with our favorite summertime filling — seafood — are a rarer breed than your average carnitas or pastor. From Fruitvale trucks to local, organic Berkeley foodie pleasers, we’ve collected six of our favorite local fish (and shrimp) tacos.

Soft Serve

Curbside Creamery soft serve swirl. Photo: Curbside Creamery

You gotta love soft serve: it’s all-American, it’s got that smooth and fluffy texture, and it used to be the dessert of choice at fast-food joints and trucks blaring annoying jingles. These days soft serve is back in an all-grown-up kind of way, with creative toppings and quality ingredients. Here are some surprising (and a couple of predictable) East Bay spots to get your soft serve fix.

Patio Dining

Brotzeit Lokal’s patio overlooks the Oakland marina. Photo: Brotzeit Lokal

While al fresco dining is a year-round option in our pocket of Northern California, the (often) warm days and golden evenings of summer are the perfect time to take advantage of some of the area’s outdoor dining and drinking spots. There’s something for everyone on our roundup, whether you prefer a burger and a beer, Cal-Asian fusion and fancy cocktails, or tortilla chips, salsa, and an an ice-cold margarita.

Dog-Friendly Spots

The author’s dog awaiting a burrito. Photo: Isaac Zisman

What to do if you’re looking for an outdoor dining spot, but can’t leave your dog at home? Bring your best four-legged friend along on your summertime adventures to some of our favorite dog-loving establishments around the East Bay. Some even serve dog treats to keep Fido happy while you nurse your beer, barbecue or cup of coffee.


Pozole and all the toppings at Taqueria Campos. Photo: Emily Laskin.

And when the weather turns cool, as it inevitably will, don’t despair. Make the most of a week of cloudy days with a hot bowl of soup. We’ve collected a diverse array of our favorite East Bay soups — from classic tomato to spicy menudo — to warm body and soul and give you a reason to leave the neighborhood.

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