Best Lunch in the East Bay

Best Lunch in the East Bay

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Clean Plate Club

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Whether you’re after a grab-and-go sandwich or a more formal sit-down affair, you can find it in the East Bay in spades. Oakland alone consistently ranks as one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the country — in fact, a 2019 analysis by WalletHub showed that Oakland was thee most ethnoracially diverse city in the United States. In short, if you’re an adventurous eater, this is the place for you. These are our East Bay Best Lunch winners for 2023, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.

In and Around Richmond

Asian Pearl Seafood Restaurant

Are usual brunch plates not doing it for you anymore? Switch it up and try Hong Kong-style dim sum at Richmond’s Asian Pearl Seafood Restaurant. If you’ve never been to a traditional dim sum restaurant, it is quite a unique dining experience, featuring push carts full of delicious dim sum options, like xiao long bao (aka soup dumplings) and sesame balls, for you to choose from.

Golden Gate Bistro

Whether you’re looking for big breakfast plates or good ol’ classic cheeseburgers, you’ll be sure to find them on the menu at Golden Gate Bistro. This spot is located near Point Richmond and is perfect for a casual afternoon lunch in the East Bay. On Saturdays, there’s free music from 11am to 2pm, so come out and enjoy a good meal and live entertainment.

In and Around Berkeley

Zut! on Fourth

1820 Fourth Street, Berkeley

The lunch menu of salads, pizzas, sandwiches and brunchy foods changes regularly at Californian-Mediterranean Zut! on Fourth, but one thing remains the same: They’re all prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. You might find the Brussels sprouts with lemon and grana padano cheese, seared salmon Niçoise salad, or a pear and gorgonzola pizza among the offerings. Whatever you decide, pair it with a hand-crafted or house-bottled classic cocktail or choose a wine off the list of small-production wineries from California and farther afield. Hours are Monday through Wednesday 11:30am to 8pm, Thursday and Friday 11:30am to 9pm, Saturday 11am to 9pm, and Sunday 11am to 8pm.

In and Around Oakland


Banh Mi Ba Le

Authentic and perfectly crispy banh mi sandwiches is what you’ll find at Banh Mi Ba Le. Along with other Vietnamese specialties like spring rolls, iced coffee, Thai tea, avocado smoothies, and more. Their banh mi’s are packed to the brim with ingredients and flavor and neatly wrapped in a fresh, crunchy roll. Pro tip: skip the line and order ahead, and pay in cash to avoid their credit card fee. Hours Tuesday-Sunday 7:30am to 5:30pm.


Cholita Linda

4923 Telegraph Ave, Oakland

Other Locations: Old Oakland Farmers’ Market, Temescal Farmers’ Market, Alameda, & Jack London Square Farmers’ Market

Come for the fish tacos, stay for the yucca fries. Latin-American comfort food is Cholita Linda’s specialty. What you can expect: friendly service, good-sized portions, and decently-priced bay area food. We recommend ordering ahead online so you can enjoy your food even quicker. Hours are Sunday-Thursday 11:00am to 9:15pm Friday-Sunday 11:00am to 9:30pm.

Photo: Courtesy of Pomella

Chef and owner Mica Talmor derives the inspiration for the dishes she creates at Pomella from Levantine, Maghrebi, North African, Mediterranean, Eastern European and Middle Eastern food — all flavors she grew up with in her native Israel. That means a chicken tagine with couscous and chermoula, lentil salad with goat cheese and sherry vinaigrette, and lamb kefta wrap with cabbage salad lemon-herb sauce are all equally at home on the seasonally changing menu. The selection of craft beer, wine and cider pairs nicely with the food, but the house-made minted lemonade and hibiscus iced tea offer a refreshing zero-proof alternative. Hours are Monday through Sunday 11am to 8pm.

World Famous Hotboys

An equally delicious as aesthetically pleasing fried chicken sandwich is what you’ll find at World Famous Hotboys. Yelp reviewers unanimously have rated it as the “best chicken sandwich” in the Bay. If you enjoy a nice kick, we recommend the medium-spice chicken sandwich with crinkle-cut fries, and don’t forget the ranch sauce! Hours are every day 11:00am to 8:00pm.

In and Around San Leandro


Top Hatter’s

Asian fusion set in a welcoming atmosphere, you just might forget you’re in San Leandro. Their eclectic menu is bound to please everyone in your party. We recommend eating family style so you can experience more flavor and dishes you might not order for yourself like the oxtail and grits and savory donuts. Hours are Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 12:00pm to 2:30pm, 4:45pm to 8:30pm Friday and Saturday 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 4:45pm to 9:00pm.

More Local Favorites in the East Bay

Who’s writing these?

Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite

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