a sweet and savory outing
Story and photos by Meredith Pakier
If you live in Richmond, you’re already savvy to the great array of local eateries. But yes, even someone smugly content with their endless options in Oakland can find plenty to savor along your streets and boulevards. Barely scratching the surface, I found a community brimming with laid-back, destination-worthy restaurants and bars.
Spot the retro mural and you’ve made it to Andy’s Donut Stop––an old-school, no-frills Richmond institution. Since 1954, Andy’s has been serving up fresh donuts, made daily in all the traditional flavors. I popped in for a glazed donut and was delighted by its tender crumb. 971 23rd St
At Daimo Chinese Restaurant, I suppressed the urge to order one of everything from their extensive and enticing menu. Opting for a modest order of dim sum to go, I was rewarded with a succulent steamed rice roll stuffed with BBQ pork and siu mai––both of which prompted an urge to go back for the full lineup. 3288 Pierce St
There’s a wealth of great taco spots in Richmond, but word-of-mouth led me to El Kora, where the carnitas tacos were juicy and tender with a well-balanced, spicy kick. Next to the truck is a small, shaded eating area for when you’re in no rush to get back to whatever it was you were doing. 636 23rd St
The pandemic forced seasonally focused Anaviv’s Table to shift from indoor communal-style dining to an outdoor Open Market, but the sense of intimacy remains, even with socially distanced tables. The main event on the menu is a wood fire–baked pizza with bold, non-traditional toppings like huitlacoche and black truffle, together delivering a double punch of umami. 600 Hoffman Blvd
The bright lights of Palm Halal Food Market’s sign warmly beckon, and inside, the reward is a menu of kebab plates, shawarma wraps, and more at the deli. While your meal gets prepared, shop the shelves for pantry staples like pomegranate molasses and sweets like sticky, sumptuous pistachio baklava from local Simurgh Bakery. My veggie combo plate arrived loaded with falafel––nicely crunchy and craggy––with sides of silky baba ganoush and hummus, plus dolmas, salad, and pita. 12915 San Pablo Ave
For classic Mexican and Mexican-American dishes, head to Portumex. Housed in a charming yellow bungalow, it also has an outdoor dining area set back from the street, where I devoured a plate of chilaquiles smothered in red sauce and cheese nestled alongside rice and beans. The casual atmosphere and generous portions make this an easy choice for brunching. 721 23rd St
Attached to the warehouse home of Purity Wine is a petite wine bar called The Study. Here, one can sit down for some serious study of Purity’s selections. You’ll want to sample their wines made with organic grapes from various Northern California vineyards, but also give consideration to other natural wines and ciders from both local and international producers. The selection is highly curated, but the vibe is unpretentious. Take a seat at the outdoor bistro tables to linger with a glass or grab a bottle to go. 1401 Marina Way S #280
Meredith Pakier is an Oakland-based food and wine professional. When she’s not writing as part of the Market Hall Foods marketing and communications team, she’s hiking with her dog, Nico, and dreaming about starting a garden.