Lunch near Oakland Airport
I make that drive all the time (from my house near the airport to Half Moon Bay). It's only about 40 minutes, especially now that they've widened the bridge and the traffic flows better.
Unless you think you can't wait that long, I suggest you just head straight for Half Moon Bay and then have a leisurely lunch there, rather than trying to get off and on the freeway.
Otherwise, at least on the Oakland to Hayward side there really isn't much. Maybe someone can suggest something in San Mateo.
re: Ruth Lafler
Not really a lunch spot but a great place to each none the less. If you like old style Italian American cuisine, like any of the Joe's restaurants, there is Francesco's right off Hegenberger.
It has daily specials. It's the kind of place you order veal parmigiana with half spaghetti half ravioli.
Other than that Fruitvale taco trucks are not that far off and a quick hop off the freeway.
People often ask if there are any "old fashioned" Italian restaurants in Oakland, and I always wonder about Francesco's. Sounds like it fits the bill. Someday I'm going to have to check it out.
I'm a big fan of the Fruitvale taco trucks, but the original poster requested "pleasant luncheon spots" which I didn't think could be applied to taco trucks.
re: Ruth Lafler
Francesco's is ok if you are near the airport and dying of hunger and Angelfish is closed and you don't want to go to Fruitvale (g). Or you want to meet someone for a martini.
It is definitely an old-fashioned Italian restaurant. The average age of the patrons is about 70.
I don't remember huge specifics about the couple times I have been there except for wishing I was somewhere else, and also not being impressed enough with the meat/marinara to be happy to be at an old-fashioned Italian place ...
Their tableside Caesar is pretty good. I remember being amused because my mom and I ordered it, and the waiter said to us "OK, just so you know that's a Caesar salad prepared traditionally with anchovies and evertyhing". We laughed and said we were aware of that. The waiter later told us that so many people who order it are completely taken aback when he adds the coddled egg and anchovies that he has started explaining before he starts (g).
I know that there are some people that really enjoy it ... A friend's dad swears by it. But I probably won't return.