Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill 1520 Lakeside Dr./17th St., (510) 208-LAKE. L-D daily, Sat-SunBr; $$-$$$. Reservations advised. Valet parking.
Situated within the beautifully reformulated 100-year-old Lake Merritt boat house, this new restaurant offers a variety of venues. Seating is available outside on a dock with its own bar and menu, as well as inside at a long bar and also in a formal dining room upstairs that has a grand view. Menu highlights include a lovely, very green English pea soup with ham hock and crème fraiche, a delicate fried Petrale sole piccata served atop Yukon Gold potato puree and steamed watercress, and Liberty Farms duck with a roasted fig sauce. Other popular choices include barbecued baby back ribs, a half- pound burger, and assorted selections from the raw bar. Cocktails, mostly California wines, and the parent restaurant’s hand-crafted Beach Chalet beers (on tap) will quench most thirsts. Celebrating a special occasion? Consider surprising your dining companion with a romantic gondola ride leaving from the restaurant’s dock ((866) 737-8494; reservations advised). Allow time before or after to stroll around lovely Lake Merritt. In daylight, you’ll see a variety of birds (the lake is a bird sanctuary), and from dusk on, you’ll be enchanted by the encircling chain of lights.
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image courtesy of venue