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Outdoor dining in Walnut Creek/Concord?

Dave MP May 10, 2012 09:57 PM

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 :)

Dave MP

  1. g
    goldangl95 May 10, 2012 10:04 PM

    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
      Dave MP May 10, 2012 10:32 PM

      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
        goldangl95 May 10, 2012 10:43 PM

        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
        Bigshadetree May 11, 2012 06:50 AM

        Link to Walnut Creek free shuttle:

      3. j
        j mather May 11, 2012 07:52 AM

        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
          goldangl95 May 11, 2012 10:08 AM

          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. b
          btcreek May 11, 2012 08:51 AM

          If you want a quick walk there's The Counter for burgers:

          A new option is Corners Tavern next to Macy's:

          4 Replies
          1. re: btcreek
            goldangl95 May 11, 2012 09:55 AM

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

            1. re: goldangl95
              btcreek May 11, 2012 10:48 AM

              Yes, right out front on the sidewalk.

            2. re: btcreek
              goldangl95 May 18, 2012 07:54 PM

              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
                btcreek May 18, 2012 10:04 PM

                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. Eugene Park May 11, 2012 07:10 PM

              Sasa has an outdoor seating area. Food is decent.

              1. j
                jmarek May 12, 2012 10:34 AM

                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
                  btcreek May 12, 2012 11:19 PM

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

                  1. re: btcreek
                    Dave MP May 14, 2012 10:22 AM

                    What is Pizza Antica like? Thanks for these recommendations.

                    1. re: Dave MP
                      btcreek May 14, 2012 11:26 AM

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

                      1. re: btcreek
                        Glencora Mar 1, 2013 12:05 PM

                        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
                    Glencora Feb 28, 2013 10:15 AM

                    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
                      Melanie Wong Feb 28, 2013 10:24 AM

                      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. Glencora May 12, 2012 11:41 AM

                    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. Melanie Wong May 12, 2012 11:25 PM

                      "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. c
                        chefboys May 14, 2012 09:54 AM

                        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. m
                          milklady May 14, 2012 03:44 PM

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

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: milklady
                            btcreek May 14, 2012 09:32 PM

                            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. Robert Lauriston Feb 28, 2013 10:26 AM

                            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.


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