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East Bay Eats

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Im new here so if this has been discussed recently forgive me. I am wondering which restaurants are your favorite in the East Bay. I live in Alameda and found only a few decent places to eat. I would like to forgo the obvious Chez Pannise. I would like to know the choice for fine dining, mid-price, cheap eats and the all important take out joint. I work nights in Oakland (lake merritt bart station) and bring back chinese atleast 3 to 4 times a week. Our favorite is King Wah, but they do use alot of oil.

Here's my list:

Fine dining - ha ha I don't really know of any since I am a mid-price sort of gal

Mid Price - well not knowing what is mid-price to me my favs are

Sushi House (southshore mall alameda)

Angle Fish (Bay Farm Island)

Walnut Creek Yacht Club (there's a bart connection there)

Cheap Eats:

Kobe ya (alameda)

Pasta Primavera (walnut creek)

Pasta Pomodoro (college ave)

Crepe Vine (next door)

Take out:

King Wah & Yung Kee

4 Caminos (near fruitvale bart)

Taqueria Los Pericos (san leandro)

Zachary's Pizza

Im hoping y'all can help me expand my tastes.

Thank you in advance!

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Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. We did go there. You know I just returned from a 2 week trip in Germany and ate like queens!

Also I spent 7 years living over there (army brat). Maybe that's why I forgot about it. I've taken my dad there a couple of times.

Thanks for responding

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I am from DC and have only visited once, but I really enjoyed a meal at Breads of India in Berkeley. Enough so that will be going back there when I am in town in a few weeks.

And the upstairs at Chez Panisse is very good.


Bill Russell

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Two more nice ones: Jojo's and Bay Wolf, both on Piedmont Ave. Garabaldi's on College-dessert at the bar is an affordable luxury.

Cheap Indian eats (besides Breads of India): Updapi Palace on University; Vik's Chat House just south of University.

Mid-price. Last week I had a wonderful lunch at La Note on Shattuck. Will have to go back for dinner soon; they also do brunch.

Cactus on College (the crispy chicken tacos are better than the burritos) & Barney's Hamburgers on College Ave and Piedmont are two more cheap ones.

Lots of good cheap lunch eats in downtown Oakland.

Can't beat the pizza at the Cheeseboard (across from Chez Panisse) but Cafe Rustica (College Ave.) and LoCoco's (Piedmont Ave & Shattuck) are both pretty good.

Rick & Ann's (across from the Claremont) is a nice casual place.

PS Welcome!

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Down in Alameda, I usually go to Juanita's for Mexican. It's standard fare, but good (and good margueritas), and they have some less common things (their caldo tlapeno is quite good).

I'd put this in the "good" list -- not fine dining by any stretch, but a comfortable place to eat.

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Down in Alameda, I usually go to Juanita's for Mexican.  It's standard fare, but good (and good margueritas), and they have some less common things (their caldo tlapeno is quite good).

I'd put this in the "good" list -- not fine dining by any stretch, but a comfortable place to eat.

I have never been to Juanita's in Alameda, but I wonder, is it related to the Juanita's on Webster (I think, either that or Franklin) near 17th in downtown Oakland? I like that place for lunch.

Squeat

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Chez Panisse Cafe is definitely among my favorites. I know you want to forgo Chez Panisse, but the Cafe is really worth a try. It's much cheaper than its big sibbling downstairs, it's open late, and it's really good california cuisine. In a similar style, there's also Rivoli in Albany on Solano Ave, I'd describe the food as Cal-French. Very good and not too expensive.

The East Bay also has a lot of really nice small plates restaurants in the mid range. My favorite is A Cote in Oakland on College Ave, which serves French inspired small plates. They don't take reservations though, so the wait can be long on weekend nights. The food is very good and reasonably priced, and I like their wine list, which has fair prices and a good selection by the glass.

Other small plates restaurants worth trying include Grasshopper in Oakland on College Ave, right near the Berkeley border. They serve small plates with an Asian influence, similar in price to A Cote. The food is really good here too, but the wine list is not quite as elaborate as A Cote's. The bakery next door, La Farine, is among the best in the East Bay. Finally, Cesar in Berkeley on Shattuck Ave, right next door to Chez Panisse, is a very good modern Tapas restaurant, similar in prices and quality to the previous two places. Lots of interesting choices of wine by the glass.

I strongly second the recommendation of Vik's Chaat House (Allston and Fourth) for inexpensive but very tasty Indian street food. Unfortunately, they're not open at dinner hours. Try them on the weekend, when they serve some meat dishes, though the lineups can get pretty bad. Chaat Cafe on University near MLK in Berkeley is also very good for North Indian food. Breads of India has its fans, but I've always found the food rather bland and uninteresting, so I would not recommend it.

For Pizza by the slice, try the Cheeseboard on Shattuck in Berkeley, or its offspring Arizmendi on San Pablo in Emeryville. Very tasty though non traditional pizza specials every day, no choices though. If you prefer East Coast style slizes, try Arinell's on Shattuck near University in Berkeley, they recently reopen, and fans claim it's the closest thing to a NY slice in the Bay Area.

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I have never been to Juanita's in Alameda, but I wonder, is it related to the Juanita's on Webster (I think, either that or Franklin) near 17th in downtown Oakland? I like that place for lunch.

Nope, completely different.

I used to like the Juanita's in downtown Oakland, but the owner is a bit too creepy. Whenever I go with female coworkers, he jibes about the salsa "putting hair on their chests", and if someone orders coke instead of pepsi, he repeats "caca?" just to make sure he heard you right.

Good food, but the guy's a jerk. I'd rather head south three blocks to Mi Casa (upstairs in a nightclub). Better (albeit simpler) food, and a lot less crowded.

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I'm hoping to get to the Chez Panisse Cafe in a couple of weeks. Do you need reservations for weekday lunch?

Thanks for the expert advice...

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I'm hoping to get to the Chez Panisse Cafe in a couple of weeks. Do you need reservations for weekday lunch?

Nope, no reservations needed for lunch, although if you arrive at 12:20 there might be a wait...

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Thanks everyone! I can't wait to try these new restaurants. Just to clarify, I meant forgo the obvious Chez Panisse cuz its a given, not for any other reason!

I guess the berkeley area tops the lists.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Kath

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Merle, thanks! I'm looking forward to trying it.

I used to work in Emeryville, my favourites were Bucci's, Cafe Rouge in Berkeley, Skates (overlooks the Bay) and of course Vik's Chaat House. There's a grill type place that had great garlic fries, I can't remember the name, it was in Emeryville.

Have fun exploring.

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There are really too many inexpensive options in Berkeley to explore, but have fun trying. Don't forget to go to Berkeley Bowl. Greatest market in the US? Maybe. I think Vik's is a little overrated. Get one of those puffed up things (can't remember the name) if you go.

For a low cost option, hit some taquerias in the Fruitvale area of Oakland. La Torta Loca, allegedly with two locations, one of which is just a window connected to a laundry, is fabulous Mexican street food.

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I don't know if it's still good, but I used to love Nizza La Bella on San Pablo in Albany. Great bistro food, with heavenly cocktails. Haven't been in a couple of years, though.

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I have never been to Juanita's in Alameda, but I wonder, is it related to the Juanita's on Webster (I think, either that or Franklin) near 17th in downtown Oakland? I like that place for lunch.

Nope, completely different.

I used to like the Juanita's in downtown Oakland, but the owner is a bit too creepy. Whenever I go with female coworkers, he jibes about the salsa "putting hair on their chests", and if someone orders coke instead of pepsi, he repeats "caca?" just to make sure he heard you right.

Good food, but the guy's a jerk. I'd rather head south three blocks to Mi Casa (upstairs in a nightclub). Better (albeit simpler) food, and a lot less crowded.

Hey, Merle,

Thanks for the info. You know, that guy at Juanita's downtown is a bit of a jerk. His humor has put me off more than once as well. He seems to be a misogynist, but, oddly enough (or maybe not), not a homophobe.

It's really too bad, because the food there is quite good.

Squeat

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I love Cesar, the wine bar next to Chez Panisse. The food is terrific. The fries are as thin as ribbons and have fresh herbs throughout, and all the drinks are top-notch.

Cafe Fanny in Berkeley is also a treat for a poached egg and a perfect cafe au lait.

I had a terrific "super-quesadilla" at a hole-in-the-wall Alameda place--I think it had a name like Alameda Taqueria. It was very inexpensive and REALLY good. I can find out details from my friend (who lives there) if it doen't ring a bell.

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What is that bar across the street from Chez Panisse only a block or so over that's been there forever? I seem to remember some good pub grub in there...

Oh great, now I won't rest until I can dislodge the name.

Squeat

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I don't know if it's still good, but I used to love Nizza La Bella on San Pablo in Albany. Great bistro food, with heavenly cocktails. Haven't been in a couple of years, though.

Just went for the first (or second? -- my memory is becoming embarassing) time on fri. Good food, good deal ($100 for 5 before tip). Nice people. We'll be back.

What is that bar across the street from Chez Panisse only a block or so over that's been there forever? I seem to remember some good pub grub in there..

Triple Rock?

I'm glad someone mentioned Café Rouge. My favorite restaurant.

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[
What is that bar across the street from Chez Panisse only a block or so over that's been there forever? I seem to remember some good pub grub in there..

Triple Rock?

That's it! Haven't been there in years, but I seem to remember having some good chili in there. Thanks!

Squeat

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I'm an Alameda girl too, and I've been to almost all the joints mentioned, and they get my seal of approval. My husband used to work in Oakland, and has told me all sorts of stories about Juanita's in Oakland. His coworkers dubbed that guy the "Burrito Nazi." Anyways, of the Mexican places in Alameda, I think that La Pinata is the best. They've got homemade corn tortillas and margaritas the size of swimming pools. Picante (in Berkeley and in Alameda) is good "Alice Waters-ized" Mexican fare. Sushi House is good, but a tad overcrowded for my taste. The new place, Tomodachi, on Park Street, has really friendly staff... whenever I pick up takeout, they give me a cup of sake and a plate of edamame while I wait. Kamakura, on Broadway, has pretty good sushi as well. East Ocean on Webster has excellent Cantonese-style seafood (some say it's better than the Emeryville branch). I like Huan Tha Bistro (Burmese food), but my hubby's been kind of resistant to going there, since it's some sort of an adjunct to that hair salon on Park Street (weird, I know). Oh, and Tucker's has the best. ice-cream. ever.

Outside of Alameda, Kirala has great sushi (and robata), and so does Tachibana. I haven't been to Shen Hua (Szechuan) in a while, but I remember liking it, despite the deafening noise level. If you're willing to endure the wait, Trattoria La Siciliana has wonderful Sicilian food.

I know quite a few more places, but I'll stop for now.

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mysticonnie, please don't stop!

I need more information about downtown Oakland. I've lived in San Francisco for 20 years, and in Marin before that, but the East Bay has always been a complete mystery to me. Now I work in downtown Oakland, and need lunch advice.

I know about battambang, and I usually get tamales at the farmer's market on friday, but I need an East-Bayer's real scoop on the lunch scene in Oakland!

Cheers,

Squeat

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I work in downtown Oakland, too. I usually bring my lunch or eat unspeakably bad food at a meeting, but here are some of my haunts:

Pho 84 for Vietnamese. (I think it is on 17th & Webster.) Some of the workers opened a new place on 16th between Webster and Franklin-it is pretty, a little better and not as crowded, but I can't remember the name.

Take It Thai across the street is okay; the owner is kinda more cranky than the food is good.

Great sandwiches at Cafe Aroma on the corner of 19th and Franklin and the nice pulled turkey sandwiches and turkey salad at 17th & Franklin. (can't remember the name.)

The Japanese place down 17th (between Franklin and Webster) is pretty good.

Peony & a little takeout place on Webster for dim sum in Chinatown.

Addis Ethiopian buffet on 19th between Franklin & Webster.

There is a wonderful Greek deli on I think 20th, right by Broadway. They have gyros and the best pita / hummus. On that corner is a place w/ good Philly cheesesteaks and cheese fries.

There are few good Mexican places in the neighborhood.

Lana's (Chinese) on 19th between Broadway and Franklin isn't too bad if you choose carefully-their chow fun and stir-fried veggies are pretty good. Plan time for a nap after luch-it is way too much food for me.

There are a few more that I can't remember the name of, and a few more that have either gone downhill lately or gone out of business all together. The biggest loss was a Korean place around 14th.

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I, too, work in downtown Oakland. Maybe we should all get together for a lunch sometime!

Pho 84 for Vietnamese. (I think it is on 17th & Webster.) Some of the workers opened a new place on 16th between Webster and Franklin-it is pretty, a little better and not as crowded, but I can't remember the name.

Not sure about the new place, but Huynh is on 15th between Franklin/Webster, and I prefer it. It's been there for a long time, but got a face lift two years ago. Prices are consistently $1-2 less than Pho84, the seasonings are more subtle and fragrant, and the food is more consistent. (that being said, #47 at Pho84 is still in my top three meals)

Pho 84 also has an adjunct on 13th called Ba Vo (I think). Same menu, but I think without the seafood options.

Vi's (Webster near 7th) has great pho.

Take It Thai across the street is okay; the owner is kinda more cranky than the food is good.

I like it for quick take-out (the way many people do Lana's), but nothing else. For better Thai, Sabuy Sabuy Jr. off of 16th, just north of City Hall, in that strip of restaurants (next to Miss Saigon and Bistro Burger). If you want a Thai buffet, there's a spot next door to Le Chaval (10th+Washington?), but be warned that the only edible food is the buffet food; their normal chef oversalts everything.

Great sandwiches at Cafe Aroma on the corner of 19th and Franklin and the nice pulled turkey sandwiches and turkey salad at 17th & Franklin. (can't remember the name.)

Henry's cafe. Good, but it was better before they had a fire, closed, and reopened at a 30% price increase...

Jimmy's and Billy's on Broadway (N of 16th and S of 20th, in some order) are also good, and offer some Mediterranean fare as well.

The Japanese place down 17th (between Franklin and Webster) is pretty good.

Ichi Japon? Aie! Well, truth be told I don't think any of the Japanese places in downtown Oakland are good, but the service at Ichi is bad enough to turn me off of it. If you don't mind hole-in-the-wall, head around the corner to Kyoto Express (Webster just N of 17th). Very limited menu and seating (I do it to go), but friendly. Genji (city hall area) is just a ripoff.

Peony & a little takeout place on Webster for dim sum in Chinatown.

Tin's Tea House (7th+Webster) is my fave. Heard good things about Legendary Palace too (7th+Franklin?). Peony is good, but it feels too pretentious to me. Not sure why.

Addis Ethiopian buffet on 19th between Franklin & Webster.

I just tried that a few weeks ago. Good, and it's the only Ethiopian within a mile, so...

There is a wonderful Greek deli on I think 20th, right by Broadway. They have gyros and the best pita / hummus. On that corner is a place w/ good Philly cheesesteaks and cheese fries.

Sounds like Athenian Deli, on Franklin just N of 21st. The cheesesteak place is an IB Hoagies (on that corner). It's undeniably better than the one at 16th+San Pablo. Great onion rings.

There are few good Mexican places in the neighborhood.

Ah, yes. I like Taqueria del Sol (14th, Franklin/Webster) for burritos, and Mi Casa (Webster just N of 14th) for tacos, enchiladas, and flautas. Mi Casa is in my top three fave restaurants. A bit scary to go into (it's up a dark stairwell in a nightclub), but the food is well worth it. Some folks like Happy Burrito, but I find their burritos a bit mushy, and the rest of their food is kind of vile.

There are a few more that I can't remember the name of, and a few more that have either gone downhill lately or gone out of business all together. The biggest loss was a Korean place around 14th.

Yes! There's a new Korean place I like on 13th and Harrison. It has no name (in English at least), and it's a one person shop, so if there are other people in there, be prepared to wait a loooong time for your food.

Err, sorry for all the corrections. I'm actually working on a site with (hopefully) a relatively comprehensive list of downtown Oakland restaurants, complete with menus, so I've done a lot of wandering around recently. (also I've been working in the area since '97)

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