For three years, I lived in San Ramon, California, and had family in Dublin, California. I still live about 20 minutes up the road, and I make it down to Dublin several times per month. After hundreds of visits to the Dublin area, I’ve been able to visit many of the city’s restaurants personally.
The Dublin dining scene is more eclectic than the fancier, newer scene up in San Ramon. You get some newer, trendier places but also lots of old-fashioned mom-and-pop restaurants that have been there for years. Dublin is a diverse and fast-growing town, so there are all kinds of cuisines available.
Here are my picks for the top 10 Dublin, California restaurants.
Denica’s Real Food Kitchen
Denica’s is one of my favorite breakfast places anywhere in the Bay Area. It’s a local chain with a few locations around Dublin and Livermore.
If you head there on the weekend morning, be prepared to wait a bit. The lines are a testament to the fact that the food is fantastic. It’s a combination of traditional American breakfast food and a lot of Mexican cuisine influences. Case in point: anything you order comes with a side of chips and salsa.
You can get traditional dishes like waffles but also innovative ones like a bright purple Ube pancake. Whatever you choose, I recommend having them put their homemade whip cream over it.
The atmosphere is casual, and the walls are decorated with travel photos of the owner’s family around the restaurant. You’ll also find memorabilia connecting to the local area.
Before the pandemic, they had a train table with model trains that your kids could play with are you waiting for your food. The table is still there, but you may need to bring your own trains.
My favorite dish at Denica’s
- Belgian waffle with strawberries and whip cream
Urban Plates is a great place for a casual, family-style meal. For years when I lived in San Ramon, my family would meet up at the Urban Plates in Dublin for a casual meal.
The dishes on their menu are like the kinds of things you’d make at home: simple roasted chicken, meatloaf, and the like. That said, Urban Plates does add in some more complex dishes like ahi tuna and a tasty lamb shank.
Urban Plates offers counter service, which makes it easy to order fast. You walk along the cafeteria-style line and select the items you want. Chefs either prepare them to order or load them up from steam trays. Despite the cafeteria-style service, all the food is excellent, hearty, and delicious.
Urban Plates is also known for its selection of craft-brewed beers and wines that rotates routinely. It’s not fancy, but it feels like home.
My favorite dishes at Urban Plates
- Moroccan chicken braze
- Steak plate with mashed potatoes
Lazy Dog Cafe
Lazy Dog Cafe is the best place in Dublin if you want to bring a furry friend along. I have bichon frises, and it’s fun to go to Lazy Dog Cafe and sit outside on the covered and heated patio with the pooches.
Lazy Dog Cafe serves big portions of American food, served in an intricately themed California Craftsman-style restaurant. If you have never heard of that style, think of a warm and inviting ski lodge near Lake Tahoe.
Even if you’re not visiting with your dog, you’ll still love that Lazy Dog Cafe has tasty and hearty food as well as a great selection of beers. Much of the restaurant’s decor is dog themed.
My favorite dishes at Lazy Dog Cafe
- Any of the flatbreads
- Their tasty chicken wings
Pacific Catch is located in the Persimmon Place shopping center. It’s a chain, but they have good seafood and reasonable prices. It’s also a nice atmosphere for a somewhat more fancy family dinner.
Pacific Catch serves pacific rim style seafood. That means it’s a combination of Californian and Hawaiian influences. You’ll find traditional seafood dishes but with more of an island flair. The interior is tasteful, though. You won’t find any tiki bar decorations here.
My favorite dishes
- Fish and chips
- Baja tacos
Sri Thai is a hidden gem restaurant in Dublin. Most people who live in Dublin haven’t even heard of it. It’s located right by the movie theater and has a small storefront.
The restaurant isn’t fancy; to be honest, it’s kind of a hole-in-the-wall place. That said, the food is excellent. I like their spicy curries and tasty soups, and their classic chicken satay is delicious too.
Sri-Thai is good for takeout, but I find their food is freshest if you eat it at the restaurant.
My favorite dishes at Sri-Thai
- Chicken satay
- Penang curry
- Tom Kha Gai soup
The Dublin location has a nice side patio with a bar where you can sit and watch the game.
I like their Chicago-style deep dish pizzas and also their dry rub chicken wings. Leave plenty of time if you order a deep-dish pizza, they take at least 20 minutes to cook
My favorite dishes at Patxis
- Dry rub buffalo wings
- The classic deep-dish cheese pizza
The Habit Burger Grill
The Habit Burger Grill is another chain, but it’s worth a stop if you’re looking for a juicy and delicious cheeseburger.
The Habit Burger Grill is also at Persimmon Place. The service can be a little slow at this location, but it’s a step up from your traditional fast-food burger.
My favorite dish at The Habit Burger Grill
- The cheeseburger with their unique sauce
Lucille’s Barbecue is wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about this place.
Lucille‘s is another local chain, but don’t let that fool you. The quality of the barbecue is top-notch. When you first enter the restaurant, you’re greeted by a giant smoker, which is how you know the meal is going to be good.
People drive from all over the East Bay to come to Lucille‘s. They have real-deal barbecued ribs, brisket, and more. I’ve taken guests there to show them what real American barbecue food is like.
In addition to an interior filled with warm and charming southern motifs, Lucille‘s makes each visit special by pairing their food with buttery, crumbly biscuits and apple butter. Grab that, some sweet tea or lemonade, and some brisket, and you found barbecue perfection here in East Bay.
My favorite dishes at Lucille’s Barbecue
- Barbecued ribs
- Barbecued brisket
- Those absolutely amazing biscuits
Casper’s Hot Dogs
Casper’s Hot Dogs is a tiny stand in the older part of Dublin towards the city’s west end. The stand looks like it dropped out of 1955, and the company has been around since 1934. The sign and the whole surroundings have a classic look that’s very cool.
Inside, you’ll find a variety of tasty hot dogs and other American fast food. This is a casual place it hasn’t changed much in many years, so it has a pleasantly retro feel.
Paris Baguette‘s name suggests a French place. The actual restaurant is sort of that, but it’s also blended with a lot of Asian influences. You’ll find classic French pastries, but made with rice flour and the same kind of filling you’d find in sweet buns.
The combination of influences makes for some tasty pastries and delicious cakes. It also means they have some great sandwiches that blend European and Asian ingredients.
The self-serve pastry section is super fun, especially for kids. It’s also a nice place to go get an espresso, sit at a table, and get some work done.
My favorite dish at Paris Baguette
- Any of their fruit and cream cakes
Dublin’s food scene is electric and diverse. You get a nice combo of older, family-owned restaurants and newer chains. Check out any of these places, and let them know that the Bay Area Telegraph sent you.