Readers’ choice winner
Sam’s Log Cabin
The votes have been cast, and our staff has weighed in. All this week, Nosh is celebrating the best and most notable drinking and dining in the East Bay, with editorial picks and our first annual readers’ choice awards. Check back daily from Dec. 26-30 to see our picks.
Sam’s, a 1930s-era cabin built from a Sears kit, has past lives as a speakeasy and a bookies’ den, but its current iteration as a breakfast-and-lunch standby is what continues to draw craws today. It’s always had a nice outdoor dining area, breezy real estate in even higher demand in these pandemic times. Those in the know stop by on off hours (2 p.m. is a safe bet) to secure a table outside.
Cityside’s editorial picks
It felt like every time a friend got laid off this year, we’d burn it down with margaritas and tacos at Nido’s Backyard in Oakland. It’s a sprawling patio, where they’ve painted colorful stripes on the ground, leading from the bar to several different seating areas, like a rainbow version of the yellow brick road? But with wild plants. It’s a great place to invite a large group or a group of unknown size and cheer everybody up. — Nosh contributor Becky Duffett
Faction Brewing and with its comfortable, wide-open patio that welcomes all, including dogs AND kids, is the spot for us. It’s like the East Bay’s front porch. The view is unbelievable, the vibe just right —urban yet remote — and the food trucks offer a range of relaxed dining to go with those fresh craft brews. — Nosh openings and closings columnist Joanna Della Penna
I’m so thrilled with Babette‘s new home and their patio. They did an amazing remodel of the former Lanesplitter rustic backyard. The picnic tables and dirt floor were perfect for pizza and beer, but the brick patio and cozy group hangout area in the back are a welcome improvement. — Cityside platforms director Doug Ng
I’m a big fan of the back patio at Nuevo Sol, the almost-year-old brunch spot from former Bette’s cook Gilberto Monroy. Monroy’s inventive takes on breakfast classics are hard to beat, and the yard offers shade or sun (depending on what you need) as well as protection from the area’s chillier breezes. — Nosh editor Eve Batey
Juanita and Maude in Albany has a lovely lighted patio out back. Very pleasant to sit outside there beneath the strings of lights. Kinda magical. — Nosh contributor Risa Nye
Nido’s Backyard. There are certainly places with better food, but Nido’s is all about the outdoor experience. — Cityside CEO Lance Knobel
The large back patio at Babette, with a beautiful giant redwood at its center, is hard to beat. The informal, welcoming atmosphere makes it a great option for breakfast, brunch or dinner, and the firepit area is a lovely spot to hang out with friends on chilly evenings. — Cityside editorial director Tracey Taylor
I appreciate that Tacos Oscar has both a cute back patio and a parklet on 40th Street. The patio is covered enough that it successfully kept a large group protected from the rain on a recent visit for a friend’s birthday, but it’s also airy enough to feel safe. I also enjoyed stumbling on Lake Chabot Public Market in Castro Valley on the way back from camping on one of the last warm weekends this fall. It’s a fun food court with ramen, poke, Korean BBQ, boba, and ice cream — and large tables both indoors and outside. — Oaklandside housing and homelessness reporter Natalie Orenstein
Hidden Cafe has the perfect setup. Strawberry Creek Park beats any parklet. — Berkeleyside managing editor Zac Farber
This is because of where I live, and my own food preferences, but I find the patios at both Doña and Pomella my go-tos, especially since I can choose last minute depending on which has space. If I’m going further out, Nido’s Backyard is a great spot. — Nosh contributor Alix Wall