Thanksgiving is, arguably, one of the best holidays of the year. The affable autumnal vibe in the air, the stuffing, that parade in New York City with the gargantuan cartoon balloons, the stuffing, family feuds at the dinner table, pigskin on the telly, the stuffing. To make this Thanksgiving a no-cook/no-clean affair, close down your kitchen and make a reservation at one of these East Bay spots — from white-tablecloth scenarios to a community feast for the underserved, there’s a dining option for everyone next Thursday.
Also of importance: While these restaurants had tables available as of publication time, it’s possible the following places might book up before the holiday. “I have only a handful of reservations left at this time, but we do have a waitlist,” an Oakland restaurant owner explained to Nosh. All of that to say: If you’re going to dine out on Thanksgiving, make haste and reserve your table posthaste.
Alley & Vine will host its first dine-in menu this year, offering revelers a three-course menu ($79 per adult, $35 per child 12 years and under). Diners can select steak, fish or turkey for their entree, which will be accompanied by a seasonal collection of appetizers and desserts. Might I suggest, weather permitted, nabbing a reservation on their flora-filled patio? The venue’s stunning brick wall will make the perfect backdrop for your dinner. Alley & Vine, 1332 Park St. Unit D (at Central Avenue), Alameda
Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill comes with a dazzling view of Lake Chalet, which will pair nicely with their $85-per-person prix-fixe Thanksgiving menu. Look forward to butternut squash soup, roasted turkey, seabass and farro risotto. Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill, 1520 Lakeside Dr. (between Lake Merritt Boulevard and 17th Street), Oakland
Limewood Bar and Restaurant, located inside the Claremont Hotel, serves an unabashedly swank contemporary menu for this year’s festivities, including oysters served with apple mignonette and chili sauce ($25/$45), mushroom tartine with meyer lemon ricotta and braised radicchio ($26), brine roasted turkey accompanied by garlic smashed potatoes and brioche stuffing ($50) or their vegetable cornucopia of romanesco cauliflower, heirloom tomato, roasted honey nut squash ($35). Don’t miss out on their lobster skillet mac and cheese studded with chunks of the aforementioned crustacean bathed in a jasper hill white cheddar béchamel ($48). Limewood Bar and Restaurant, 41 Tunnel Rd. (at Claremont Avenue), Berkeley
The Rendez-Vous will be open for the big day, keeping much of their menu as-is but adding some Thanksgiving-inspired fare. “We do have some really gorgeous new fall additions that we are so excited to feature,” co-owner Johnelle Mancha said. “We recently added a new mainstay to our menu, the Matelote de Poisson soup, inspired by mine and my husband’s favorite French fish stew.” The soup, created by chef Nate Berrigan-Dunlop, features local Fort Bragg flounder, manila clams, shrimp, yukon gold potato, fennel, white wine, and garlic, all served with baguette slices dressed with rouille. Look for other little changes, like the swapping of walnuts for cashews on their bar snack menu, as well nightly fall-inspired specials that rotate based on Berrigan-Dunlop’s inspiration. Don’t miss the storied decor inside this new Bushrod restaurant, including a circa-1800s street lamp fixture and walls revealing Prohibition-era frescoes. The Rendez-Vous, 5526 Martin Luther King Jr Way (at 56th Street), Oakland
Souley Vegan, Tamearra Dyson’s vegan Louisiana Creole restaurant near Jack London Square, will serve a special holiday buffet menu featuring “crawfish” etouffee, garlic-braised collard greens, “Andouille sausage” cornbread dressing, brown butter mashed potato and gravy, rosemary country fried steak, baked Cajun mac and cheese, buttered black eyed peas, pecan praline candied yams, jalapeno cheddar cornbread and cranberry rum-soaked pound cake. Phew. All of it 100% plant-based. Dine-in happens from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway (at Third St.), Oakland
Two Star Market will host its annual free Thanksgiving dinner and celebration. Traditional Thanksgiving fare, from mashed potatoes and stuffing to green beans and turkey, will be paired with the live music and dancing. If you can’t make it to the feast, you can volunteer or donate. Two Star Market, 2020 MacArthur Blvd. (at Canon Ave.), Oakland
Zino, the Hotel Shattuck Plaza’s dedicated restaurant, is bringing back what the pandemic stole from us gluttons — the buffet. For $59.99 ($29.99 for kids 6-12, free for 5 and under) you’ll get access to a bounty of herb-roasted turkey and sage gravy, prime rib with a dijon glaze, salmon and couscous stuffing with dates and pistachios, garlic mashed potatoes, bacon Brussels sprouts and more. The AYCE feast goes from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Zino, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley
Zut On Fourth, the California-Mediterranean joint noted for its seasonal fare and beloved bar program, will offer a prix-fixe menu for Thanksgiving. Diners can look forward to apple and ginger-tinged squash soup, quince and pomegranate-topped crostini smeared with goat cheese, spinach or Cesar salad, and roasted turkey breast and dark meat accompanied by apple stuffing, potato purée and candied yams. Tryptophan trip not your style? You can instead order the Chilean sea bass, wild mushroom vegetable risotto, or 12-ounce grilled ribeye for your entree. Dessert options include pumpkin pie, flourless chocolate cake, or, my personal recommendation, the tuxedo sundae with Straus vanilla and chocolate ice cream topped with chocolate, caramel, toasted nutsand whipped cream. Zut On Fourth, 1820 Fourth Street (at Delaware St.), Berkeley
Featured image: the Thanksgiving spread at Alley & Vine. Credit: Alley & Vine