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This time last year, we had no choice but to celebrate Thanksgiving at home, as the late-2020 surge in COVID-19 cases meant area restaurants were restricted to takeout service. In 2021, while many restaurant owners are opting to close for the holiday, there are still several spots that are planning on serving diners indoors and, in many cases, outside this Thursday. It’s true, this list is shorter than it was prior to the pandemic, but folks who prefer to dine out on Thanksgiving have a variety of choices, as you see from the list below.
As of publication time, the Centers for Disease and Control says that even fully vaccinated people might still be at risk of infection if dining indoors, so please consider the risks before taking a seat inside. Outdoor dining carries far fewer risks, the CDC says. If you’re dining indoors in Berkeley, everyone over the age of 12 is required to show proof of vaccination; many restaurants in the East Bay also have their own vaccination policies for folks in their dining rooms. So if you’re dining with an adult who isn’t vaccinated, it’s wise to check with the restaurant before you make a reservation or head over.
Speaking of reservations, while these are the restaurants that had tables available as of publication time, it’s possible that places might book up shortly. “Everyone seems to be waiting until the last minute to make any plans this year,” an Oakland restaurant owner told Nosh last week. Given that, we suggest that if you’re going to dine out on Thanksgiving, you reserve that table today.
Boichik Bagels “Don’t cook hungry,” Boichik Bagels warns patrons this week, and to that end it will be open with its usual menu (and its usual delivery schedule_ from 7:30 a.m. until they’re sold out or 1 p.m., whichever comes first. Preorders are available for bulk bagels, only, and must be placed by 10 a.m. Wednesday. If you just want a bagel or a sandwich, just walk on up. Boichik Bagels, 3170 College Ave. (near Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley
Copper Spoon This woman-owned cocktail bar in North Oakland still has outdoor seating available from 8-9:45 Thursday, or at least they did as of publication time. It hasn’t dropped a Thanksgiving menu, but its usual menu includes a buttermilk-fried-chicken-on-a-carrot-cake waffle that just might be better than turkey, anyway. Reservations are available online. Copper Spoon, 4031 Broadway (at 41st Street), Oakland
Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill The view’s the thing at Lake Chalet, where a three-course turkey dinner will run you $75 per person over 12 before drinks, and $30 for kids 12 and under (but only two courses for that age group). Reservations are open from 5:45 to 7:45 as of publication time, and are available on Yelp. Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill, 1520 Lakeside Dr. (between Lake Merritt Boulevard and 17th Street), Oakland
Seoul Gom Tang This Korean destination is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, serving up its usual menu of soul-satisfying soups, bubbling hot pot and marinated and roasted meat dishes. “No reservations,” we were told when we called to confirm hours of operation, so if you’re worried about scoring a seat you should call (510) 597-9989 to confirm a table is available. Seoul Gomtang, 3801 Telegraph Ave. (at MacArthur Boulevard), Oakland
Souley Vegan “This year we are opting for meals with generous portions served on plates instead of all-you-can-eat buffets,” this longstanding plant-based restaurant writes on its website, but the food at this Creole spot is so filling that that’ll really be fine. For $36/ adult and $17/child under 10, you’ll enjoy a menu of seitan country fried steak, dirty rice casserole, sweet tea lemon cake, bottomless mimosas and much more. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and seating is walk-in only. Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway (at Third Street), Oakland
Udupi Palace This South Indian restaurant is serving up its usual menu of delicious dosa and uthappam from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Thanksgiving day. Udupi Palace, 1901 University Ave. (at MLK Jr. Way), Berkeley
Zino This airy Downtown Berkeley restaurant specializes in Mediterranean flavors, but its Thanksgiving buffet menu is stacked with traditional dishes like turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. It’s $49.99 per person for adults, $24.99 for kids 6-12, and free for kids 5 and under. Reservations are available online. Zino, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley
Zut! This Fourth Street Cal-Mediterreanean spot has tables available from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (as of publication time). No word yet on if they’re planning any special menus, but its usual lineup of salads, flatbreads and sandwiches doesn’t sound too bad, either. Reservations are on Resy. Zut!, 1820 Fourth St. (between Hearst Avenue and Virginia Street), Berkeley