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Outdoor dining in Walnut Creek/Concord?

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I have a vision, and I'm curious whether I can make it a reality this summer. Perhaps someone can advise. Here it is:

5:30 PM - Hop on BART in Downtown SF and take the train to somewhere in the warm part of the East Bay....probably Walnut Creek or beyond.

6:15 PM - Get off BART, and walk to a nearby restaurant, where I sit outside, enjoying the warm summer evening that I can't always get in SF. The restaurant might be casual/order at counter (bbq, burgers, good sandwiches) or might be something a bit nicer (a place with sit-down service, drinks, etc), but either way would have a nice environment for hanging out for about 2 hours or more. Also important: in my vision, the food is delicious and hits the spot on a summer night.

8:30 PM - Walk back to BART, go home to SF.

In terms of the walking part, I'd rather not walk more than 10 minutes.

So, is this possible? If only Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg was BART accessible :)

Thanks,
Dave MP

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  1. Va de Vi has outdoor seating (wine, small plates). During peak times, there is a shuttle from BART to Downtown Walnut Creek, otherwise it's about a mile and a half walk.

    3 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Cool, good to know! I am guessing 8:30 PM would no longer be peak time....

      Also, I think that unless the food was particularly good and worth the trip, I'd be more in the market for a casual place (i.e. I could wear shorts and a t-shirt)

      1. re: Dave MP

        Tomatina has outdoor seating - generic Italian.

        Red Door also has outdoor seating, really nice patio, but food is really, really mediocre

        But honestly, the outdoor seating at Va de Vi doesn't read fancy to me and shorts and a t-shirt should be fine...

        La Scala (a coffee shop) has an outdoor courtyard and is open late (which is a nice feature in Walnut Creek)

      2. re: goldangl95

        Link to Walnut Creek free shuttle:
        http://www.walnut-creek.org/about/qua...

      3. To add a few more in WC: Breads of India, Lark Creek, Oi-C, Pyramid Alehouse, Pomegranate, Mi Casa.

        In Concord, EJ Phair Brewpub, and La Pinata.

        1 Reply
        1. re: j mather

          Bread of India is really, really medicore. The Walnut Creek region just may very well be the worst region for Indian in the Bay Area.

          The food at Pyramid Alehouse is what you would expect.

          Lark Creek is decent to good, same or slightly greater level of formality than Va de Vi. I don't remember their outdoor patio.

        2. If you want a quick walk there's The Counter for burgers:
          http://www.thecounterburger.com/walnu...

          A new option is Corners Tavern next to Macy's:
          http://cornerstavern.com/

          4 Replies
          1. re: btcreek

            Does the Counter in Walnut Creek have an outdoor patio? Huh. I guess I never realized.

            1. re: goldangl95

              Yes, right out front on the sidewalk.

            2. re: btcreek

              Went to Corners Tavern and was pleasantly impressed. Wine/Beer selection is limited but very well done. The yellowtail appetizer I had was very well balanced and had a nice kick.

              But best of all, one whole wall of the restaurant is wide open to the street. The design takes full advantage of the golden sunlight and warm nights of Walnut Creek. Whether one is actually on the patio or not doesn't matter as the light and the air flood the whole front of the place.

              It's super busy, and seems like a bit of a hot spot...so keep that in mind....

              1. re: goldangl95

                Completely agree. I went for lunch and had a pulled pork sandwich which was good. The garage doors were rolled up all the way with a cool breeze, no direct sunlight but plenty of light coming in made for a very nice experience.

            3. Sasa has an outdoor seating area. Food is decent.

              1. Another option is to BART to Lafayette. Weather is about the same as Walnut Creek. You can easily walk to Chow and eat outdoors. Food is good (not great but good), casual atmosphere, sit down. Sounds like the type of place you want.

                It's a longer walk to Artisan Bistro - less casual but the food is fantastic. Or rather, the food is less casual, though you can easily show up in shorts and the outdoor seating feels casual. Metro is another option in that vein, but I think it is a bit overated.

                6 Replies
                1. re: jmarek

                  There's also Pizza Antica which is really close to Lafayette Bart.

                  1. re: btcreek

                    What is Pizza Antica like? Thanks for these recommendations.

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      Here's the menu: http://www.pizzaantica.com/menu.php
                      It's casual, a bit loud inside, great pizza.

                      1. re: btcreek

                        A bit loud? Deafening! However with the heat lamps the outside tables are comfortable enough and conversation is possible out there. I thought the pizza could have been cooked longer, otherwise it was good. Liked the chopped salad, too, and appreciated that the split order came on two plates. With avocado, salami and sun dried tomatoes, it's definitely rich and shareable.

                  2. re: jmarek

                    I'm going to the Town Hall theater tonight and am thinking of trying Pizza Antica, but am checking in for any updates. The only place I've eaten in Lafayette is Chow and I wasn't thrilled. A few suggestions here look good, but are too pricy for tonight.

                    1. re: Glencora

                      The two places I've eaten in Lafayette and can recommend are Lily's House for Shanghainese and El Jarro Mexican. I've been to Lily's House several times, worth the drive from the City, but not for a couple years now. Many old posts on the board. Maybe someone has a more current perspective. Neither has outdoor seating though.

                  3. I just went to Morucci's Si Mangia Bene for the first time a couple weeks ago -- nice outdoor patio, nothing fancy, but warmer than Berkeley. Full of locals with a nice non-chain feeling. Delicious sandwiches. May be farther than you want to walk, though -- just under a mile from BART.

                    1. "If only Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg was BART accessible :)"

                      Maybe this will make you feel better . . . Healdsburg is cold at night. Temperatures drop down to 55 degrees or so in the summer. That diurnal temperature shift is what preserves acidity in wine grapes. So, no warm summer nights up this way.

                      1. You could also check out Tender Greens in Walnut Creek, or the patio at Il Fornaio (I know it's a chain, but their patio is great).

                        1. I love Tender Greens, and they have a nie outdoor patio.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: milklady

                            Agree, I like TG, although sometimes their dressing is off a bit for some reason. Citra Grill looks like it may be somewhat similar is opening next month as well (across from the movie theater.

                          2. There are several restaurants with outdoor seating at Theater Square in Orinda. We followed the heat out there one evening last September and ended up at Barbacoa, I thought I posted about it but either I forgot or it got deleted. The pizzas at Bonfire looked good.

                            http://www.orindatheatresquare.com/in...