Where to Eat Lunch in the Bay Area

Summer brings to mind al fresco lunch and people-watching for me. Whether dining at a shady table with a view or having a picnic lunch in a lovely location, summertime presents the perfect opportunity for good food, crisp wine, and fresh air. Here are my top choices for summer lunch in the Bay Area regions. So grab a bottle of bubbly and join me as we enjoy the warm weather ???? 

San Francisco 

Chez Maman East - Potrero Hill

1401 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

This small French restaurant is nestled on the corner of 18th Street and Missouri Street on Potrero Hill, offering some beautiful city views. The mouth-watering menu showcases down-home southern French basics. You’ll find escargot, grilled fish, mussels and pomme frites, French Brie and baguettes, and even a hamburger with guacamole. Pair your dish with a glass of wine, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the French countryside.

Neighborhood parking is generally open on one of the nearby roads. A limited amount of indoor and outdoor seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. I love to dine outside so that I can watch the sun dance off the cityscape down below. You will likely experience a short wait, but I promise, it’s worth it!  


Bouchon Bakery

6528 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

The Bouchon Bakery, located right in the heart of Napa Valley in the lovely town of Yountville, has an array of sinful baked goodies, pastries, and tarts for your delight. Try a chocolate croissant or macaroon to satisfy your sweet tooth. They also offer sandwiches served on freshly made bread and baguettes. My favorite is the tuna Nicoise paired with a coffee éclair. Grab a latte to go with whatever you choose for a quick pick-me-up.

The bakery is excellent for grabbing goodies and bringing them to a nearby local winery of your choice to enjoy as a picnic. However, the line for takeout can be quite long at any time of the day. Therefore, I recommend ordering ahead through their website so you can quickly pick it up at the side door and skip the wait.

Lafayette - East Bay

Social Bird

3593 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA 94549

Social Bird is a tapas-style restaurant in downtown Lafayette in the East Bay. On a nice day, I love grabbing a bistro seat outdoors so that I can watch the pedestrians walk by.  

Start with one of their refreshing cocktails or enjoy a nice glass of wine. This restaurant is perfect for sharing dishes, allowing you to try several items. One of my favorites is the salmon tartare served with avocado, cucumber, and hand-cut chips. The wild prawns and organic polenta are also fabulous.  

Make sure you save room for one of their delicious desserts, made by the well-known pastry chef at their sister restaurant, Esin, just up the road in Danville. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a tart or the flourless chocolate torte!


San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area are stunning this time of year. What better way to take advantage of a beautiful day than outdoor dining with some fabulous cuisine… Santé!

About the Author

Melanie is a psychology doctor, wife, mother of two ‘princesses,’ world traveler, and lover of life. She is a pescatarian who enjoys exploring all world cuisines and is a wine enthusiast. Melanie has lived abroad in Salzburg, Austria, and Hanoi, Vietnam. Although for the past 15 years, she has called the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area home, allowing her to immerse herself in the superb, diverse cuisine and dozens of world-known wine appellations, all within driving distance.

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