Located in the East Bay, Hayward is only a 30-minute drive from San Francisco and boasts varied cuisines to suit any palate. The city has classic American choices, with burger and steakhouse places, and even one of the country’s first local breweries still crafting their own beers to go along with the traditional food. There are also enough international options to make the city an interesting food hub. From Afghan to Mexican fare, Italian and Japanese sushi specialists, Hayward is even home to a locals’ favorite Texan pit-smoked bbq place.
Serving the Bay Area for over 30 years, La Piñata is a Mexican restaurant decorated with a colorful exterior and interior, complete with traditional art on the walls. As the place is quite small, their take-out option comes in handy. Every Thursday night, they bring in a Mariachi band for a complete Mexican experience. The menu features traditional dishes like enchiladas, tacos and burritos and other choices like tortilla soup or the grilled chicken bowl. Wash them down with some typical drinks like a margarita or a tequila shot after your meal.
Val’s Burgers is a classic American diner with dark red leather couches, a relaxed atmosphere and an open kitchen where the chefs prepare the food in front of you. The wooden walls are decorated with framed photos of former customers and old boots. Expect to find on the menu a few of the staple American dishes like burgers, steak sandwiches, buttermilk pancakes and also a country breakfast, as they open in the morning. Make sure not to miss their shakes, which come in various flavors from strawberry to chocolate.
A micro-brewery producing a variety of house beers and serving with them a large selection of pub food, Buffalo Bill’s Brewery has a classic American pub look, with bare brick walls, high tables and stools alongside leather booths and a few TV screens. The menu features a large selection of appetizers, salads and main dishes, ranging from burgers to pizzas and sandwiches. The star factor of the house is its craft beer selection, from pale ales to orange blossom cream ale and full-bodied stouts. Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ll find seasonal craft brews to taste, together with your food.
Located in the center of downtown Hayward, Buon Appetito offers contemporary Italian cuisine in a modern, relaxed place. White tablecloth dining, romantic chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and Italian-inspired paintings on the walls make the place charming, while the open kitchen allows direct glimpses of the food in preparation. Expect to find a typical Italian menu with antipasti appetizers, Italian panini sandwiches, pizzas and homemade pasta in a variety of flavors. Finish up your meal with staple desserts, like tiramisu or torta di ricotta.
Sushiland is a basic Japanese restaurant offering sushi paired with other dishes, like salads and noodles. The interior is quite small, with a few tables, basic decoration and some Japanese art on the walls. But their menu is large enough to feed any appetite. Expect to find all sorts of sushi rolls, deep-fried or baked rolls, appetizers ranging from various tempura dishes to edamame beans, and udon noodle soup in various flavors.
Hippie’s Brew is a breakfast and brunch place specializing in bagels and coffees. The modern interior displays hip, top-to-bottom graffiti art on the walls and wooden furniture for a warm atmosphere. The bagel sammie choices range from the cheddar-bacon scone to the Freakin’ French toast, which is a sweet and savory bagel. They offer fresh roast coffee in a variety of flavors, which you can match with a morning pastry while you grab a book or play a game in their game area.
What started as a corner taco truck 30 years ago is today one of the most recognized Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area. Tacos Uruapan (the name draws from the original owner’s hometown in Mexico) offers a warm, family-friendly atmosphere with basic decor and rich food, ensuring a traditional dining experience. On the menu, you’ll find dishes like quesadillas, burritos and tacos, meat and vegetable options, the unmissable chips and salsa, plus the ‘super nachos’ with beans and guacamole.
Ghazni Afghan Kabobs is an Afghan restaurant located downtown near the Japanese Gardens. Featuring a modern, simple interior with large wall pictures depicting images from Afghanistan, the restaurant’s menu offers traditional appetizers like borani banjan, which is eggplant with tomato and yogurt sauce, or dumplings with ground beef and yogurt. Among the main dishes, find chicken, beef or lamb kabob served with rice, salad and naan, their traditional flatbread.
Held by three Texas-born owners who take pride in their ‘pit-smoke’ barbecuing skills, Tex Howard’s Pit-Smoked Bar-B-Que is a Texas-style barbecue business offering deliveries and catering. They prepare their meat on an outside smoker pit, and on Thursday afternoons, they do a pick-up day. You can taste all types of smoked meat from pork ribs and sausages to chicken, beef brisket and even whole turkeys, which you can enjoy with their side dishes like beans, potato salad or chipotle cole slaw.
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Right in the center of the city, Acqua E’ Farina is the locals’ favorite Italian restaurant. The inside walls are painted with look-alike Italian storefronts and overhead private windows to immerse the customers in a true Italian setting, you’ll feel like eating on the cobblestone streets of Italy. The menu features traditional fare like tortellini, gnocchi or risotto, veal scallopini or the typical appetizers, bruschetta or carpaccio. Another plus is their extensive wine list, with imported Italian wines and prosecco along side California varieties.