Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
This Brazilian lunch spot, located on the first floor of a restored Victorian that sits within spitting distance of I-980, is one of Oakland’s best-kept secrets. Ney Araujo, the Rio California’s gregarious chef-owner, opened the cafe in the late Nineties, offering an affordable lunch option for employees of the dozens of nonprofits in Preservation Park — and for whoever else cares to come. Araujo’s mayo-heavy salad-based sandwiches are classic Rio de Janeiro beach fare, while his impeccably grilled jerk chicken offers an unexpected taste of Jamaica. Don’t miss out on the feijoada, a black-bean stew that is Brazil’s national dish — for good reason, you’ll conclude, after tasting Araujo’s complex, savory version. Meanwhile, the sprawling, shady outdoor patio makes for as peaceful a lunch spot as you’ll find in Downtown Oakland.
Payment Type: Cash, Visa, MasterCard
Lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. Pastries and coffee only for breakfast.