10 Best First Date Restaurants: Oakland

More laid-back than San Francisco but more cosmopolitan than Berkeley, some of the ten best first-date restaurants are in Oakland. Whether you want to take your date to somewhere fancy or just grab some pizza, Oakland's eateries offer a plethora of options that will impress your prospective paramour. 

  1. Flora, 1900. This former florist's shop in Oakland's flourishing Uptown neighborhood offers a fancy yet casual setting, incredible cocktails and American food that is accessible and delicious.

  2. Le Cheval. This Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Downtown Oakland is beloved by regulars for its food, but not its atmosphere or service. However, if you want to be left alone with your date to eat fabulous food in an unpretentious place, head here.

  3. Restaurante Dona Tomas. This upscale restaurant that introduced fine dining to the Temescal area provides a classy setting to woo your date, with great drink concoctions and a gourmet take on Mexican food.

  4. Coach Sushi. Decent sushi at this Lake Merritt favorite, but the real draw is the all-you-can-drink sake box. Coach himself will fill you up after just about every sip, so if you want a buzz to take the edge off, this is the place.

  5. Cesar. The tapas at this well-known, upscale eatery—which has a Berkeley location as well—will impress a foodie. Just watch out not to order too much, as the bill can reach astronomical proportions when the drinks are added.

  6. Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub.  If you're looking for a relaxed vibe on the first date, this bustling pizzeria works. The best New York-style pizza in the East Bay and a wide selection of beers, including a rotating cask ale, will work wonders if your date seems like a pizza-and-beer girl.

  7. Levende East. If your date seems like a girl who likes tearing 'da club up, this happy hour favorite in Old Oakland is the place. Great appetizers and main courses complement a trendy atmosphere and some of the best cocktails in the East Bay.

  8. Bakesale Betty. For a lunch date on a sunny day, wait in the line outside Bakesale Betty, pick up a couple of the most famous fried-chicken sandwiches in the Bay Area and a couple lemonades and plop your self down at a sidewalk ironing table for a singular experience she will remember.    

  9. Zachary's Chicago Pizza. If you're wooing a girl from the Midwest, take her to this Chicago-style pizzeria for a little taste of home. You may have to wait a while for a table, especially on a weekend night, but the deep-dish delicacies are worth it. Use a fork and knife though, are you may be wearing some tomato sauce.

  10. Zza's Trattoria. Standard Italian food is nothing you'll remember, but if you're looking for a good excuse to continue the date after dinner, the connected wine bar does the trick. Just wander over after your meal is done and keep chatting while you sample some delicious vino. 

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