Best Hidden Lunch Spot

Rio California

Tucked inside a restored Victorian in Preservation Park, Rio California is the very definition of an oasis. Set off away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Oakland, this tiny Brazilian cafe and its sprawling, palm-shaded deck feel like they've been transplanted from a tropical bed and breakfast, offering a few moments of peace in the middle of a busy workday. The food, too, provides an escape to some far-off sunny place, and a happier state of mind: fish tacos made lively by a sweet-and-spicy corn salsa; Brazilian-style jerk chicken; and hearty tuna-salad and chicken-salad sandwiches that bring to mind lazy summer days on the beach in Rio. Best of all is the feijoada, Brazil's national dish, a complex and perfectly balanced union of slow-cooked black beans, bacon, sausages, toasted yucca flour, and rice — a dish so good you might close your eyes and forget, for a moment, exactly where you are.

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