Monday, April 13, 2009

More Dinner Places

How about we wrap up the dinner places now?

Here's a few Mexican spots:

Cesar (Two Locations: Piedmont and Gourmet Ghetto) - super pricy, but great cocktails. (ds)

Doña Thomas (Temescal) - an institution. (ds)

Fonda (Solano Ave, Berkeley)

Tamarindo (Mexican Tapas, Old Oakland)

Then here's some odds and sods that people have recommended:

Café Rouge (Mediterranean, 4th St, Berkeley)

Wally's Cafe (Middle Eastern, Emeryville) - Seems like it'd be greasy, as it's attached to a skanky bar off San Pablo. But instead the food is great and plentiful, and the folks are super nice. (ds)

Lois the Pie Queen (North Oakland) - We go for the chicken and waffles. (ko)

Speisekammer (German, Alameda) - so-so food at outrageous prices. good beer though (ds).

T Rex (BBQ, Gilman) - Has good brunch & happy hour. (ko) But don't go on a Sunday night, unless you like tough meat. (ds)

Tanjia (Moroccan, Temescal) - looks good, any tried it?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Basmati Baby

Man, I love Indian food. And I'm very forgiving. So I don't really care that there's not anywhere that superior in the East Bay. Maybe, though, in Fremont it's different?

Flavors of India (Grand Lake) Excellent but pricey. (ds)

Biryani House (Downtown Berkeley) - Best biryani I've ever had! Just really succelent meat. The other dishes are pretty standard, and the decor is leftover from a Burger King. Still, worth it for the biryani. (ds)

Breads of Indian (Old Oakland) - I like the food a lot but I seem to recall the menu changing frequently and so sometimes you can't get things you want. Maybe a little pricier too? (ds)

House of Curries (Rockridge) - I go all the time, since it's near the Beanery. Not sure about anything other than the Chicken Tikka Masala and the veggie pakora, because that's all I ever get. Why mess with success? (ds)

Kerry House Raj Indian Cuisine (Piedmont) - Perfectly decent for takeout. (ds)

Khana Khazana (Emeryville) – I have a friend who comes over from SF to eat take out from this Indian place. The restaurant itself has no atmosphere, but the people who work there are super nice. (ko) Isn't this where Armstead and Phyllis got food poisoning? I never had any trouble, tho. (ds)

Vik's Chaat Corner (West Berkeley) Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is about this place. Cheap, greasy, runny food that's housed in an old, barren warehouse. What's the beef? Or, in this case, the lamb? (ds)

Manga Italiana

I don't go out to Italian places very much, mostly because I figure I can cook Italian fine at home. However, people I asked liked these places, so I'm offering them up here.

Bucci's (Emeryville)

Dopo (Piedmont) - Everyone loves this place, it's near my apt, but it's not very gluten free, so I'll have to wait for the right opportunity to go. (ds)

Lo Coco's (Berkeley) I expect not all will agree here, but there's something about that place. (mp) Bleh. (ds)

Nizza La Bella (Albany)

Oliveto (Rockridge)

Pizzaiolo (Temescal) - People complain about the wait and the 'tude, but I had a great time here. Sweet atmosphere and excellent 'zas. Not so sure about the whole "put the salad on top of the pizza" thing though. (ds)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Who Was Lazy Susan, Anyways?

I know what you'll say: Racist! Ranking all the Asian places together on one post! You didn't put the German food in with the Italians or the French!

Um, I have no good response, except that I'm getting lazy. Lazy!


Champa Garden (East Oakland)

Kao Sarn (Richmond)

Neecha Thai (Grand Lake)

Ruen Pair (Thai, Albany)

Sabuy Sabuy (edge of Temescal) - Decent food, low prices. (ds)

Japanese (I don't like it much so don't listen to me):

Drunken Fish (Car Dealer Row, Oakland) - cool locale, had a bad experience here but everyone seems to love it. (ds)

Katana-Ya Ramen Restaurant (El Cerrito) - Best East Bay Ramen (pink)

Kirala (South Berkeley)

Mijori (Grand Lake)

Sushi Sho (North Berkeley) This is a different sushi experience. They only seat as many people as they can serve well. And by “they” I mean two people, the sushi chef and a waitress. So they only seat people at the counter. (ko)

Angelfish (Alameda-Bay Farm) This is where I like to go for dates. Great fresh sushi, and other specials that are not at your cookie cutter Japanese places. Also there is a weird gothic illusion picture in the waiting area. (jt)

Dim Sum:

Legendary Palace (Downtown Oakland) The last time with my stepfather, who likes to consider himself an expert on dim sum, gave it a B/B-. I liked it, but I am not as good a judge as he is. (mp)


Pho 84 (Uptown) - Oh how I love the noodles here. (ds)

Binh Minh Quan (12th and Webster) My FAVORITE Viet place. They don't specialize inPho, but everything else is fantastic. Cheaper than Pho 84, but higher end and cleaner than other Chinatown Viet places. Also fresh and delicious. I always get Chao Bo (beef porridge) and a Bahn Hoi Plate (Grilled meat with fresh veggies and herbs, served with rice paper so you can roll your own Viet burrito. Also service is fun cuz all the guys that work there are kind of spacey like they are stoned. (jt)

Cam Huong (Chinatown) do you want a $2.50 viet sandwich that will blow your mind? This is the place. Green curry tofu sandwiches for the Vegetarian in your life, Grilled Onion rolled in Grilled beef for you. Also they have very delicious looking Deli stuff, but I've never had it. Grab a sandwich and bike to Lake Merritt or Alameda to enjoy it by the water. The best and possibly the only way to spend $2.50 on lunch. (jt)

Pho Ga Huong Que Cafe (East Oakland) Just discovered this place. It is so good when you are sick and your boyfriend drags you out of bed to drink some hot healing salty but not MSG-y chicken pho. Its hard to park in this neighborhood but its so worth it. They only sell chicken stuff here. Not a fancy or clean looking place but the food is great and the soup comes with a gingery, scalliony dipping oil to dip your chicken into. (jt)

Korean: (jt has eaten ALOT of Korean in Oakland so if you want some in depth recommendations, lemme know.)

Sahn Maru (Temescal) This place is great. Open late, have a vegetarian menu (most Korean places do not. Not a veggie friendly cuisine). They have a black goat hot pot that is on my list to try. Very nice service. Lots of good ban chan (small plates served pre dinner) (jt)

Ohgane (40th and Broadway) Hectic atmosphere but the BBQ is good! And they have buttons on the table for you to push to get service. Huge restaurant so good for parties.(jt)

Pyung Chang Tofu house (49th? and Telegraph) This place has terrible service but I love it. Creamy silken tofu in a spicey broth with meat and kimchi and dumplings served with perfect white rice in a stoneware pot. Come expecting terrible service, but come hungry and you won't regret it. Also Soondoboo(tofu pot) is filling and cheep for Korean food. (jt)

Jong Ga House (Grand Lake) Nicest service- they'll explain how to eat things if you don't know how. Shabu shabu dinner is awesome. They have great banchan and BiBimBap. I come here with my mom ALOT. Also every meal starts off with a cold spicy kimchi noodle soup!(jt)


Burma Superstar (Alameda) - I adore the one in SF, but haven't been here yet. Such great noodle dishes! (ds)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

California Cuisine

Some of you may have thought, after that last post, "Where the hell is Chez Panisse? I mean, it's got be French, since it's got 'Chez' in its title, right?" Well, I grouped it with other California Cuisine places -- ones that steal from the French, from Asia, from your own back yard, if you're not careful.

These are the kind of places you go to for special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, and successful leg amputations.

Camino (Cal Cuisine, Grand Lake) - Been wanting to try this place, but I'm nervous. Very limited menu that changes daily, so the reviews I've read have said you pays your moneys and you takes your chances. Megan likes the drinks. (ds)

Chez Panisse (Cal Cuisine, Gourmet Ghetto) - Everybody's been, and yet no one I know really raves about it. For prices this high, it should be better than organic and regionally grown. (ds)

Flora (New American, Downtown Oakland) - Sweet atmosphere, great drinks, good food (ds).

Franklin Square Wine Bar (American, Uptown) - Small portions, outdoor seating, good wine (ds).

Lalime's (Cal/French, North Berkeley) - Only went once, but was underwhelmed by the food and atmosphere. I think Karen's a fan, though. (ds)

Mua (American/Asian Fusion, Car Dealer Row Oakland) - Great space, tiny portions, hefty prices. Go for the drinks and the decor (ds).

O Chame (Cal/Asian Fusion, 4th Street)

Rivoli (California, Solano)

Sea Salt (Seafood, NW Berkeley) - I hate seafood, but Thaddeus does too and he said this place rocks. (ds)

Wood Tavern (California, Claremont) - Thinking about going here for my birthday. I know Matt & Wendy love it. (ds)

French Dinners

Today's topic is French dinners in the East Bay. Here's the creme de la creme. Got any comments on these? How about some others?

A Cote (Rockridge) - Delicious small plates, great drinks, nice staff. (ds)

Bay Wolf (French, Piedmont) - Nice food, but kind of too grandma-y for me. (ds)

Bistro Soizic (French, Jack London Sq). Same people who own Mua.

Chez Simone (French, Temescal). Looks homey, doesn't accept credit.

Citron (Bistro, Rockridge) - Just went here and I thought it wasn't that great, esp for the price. (ds)

Dig's Bistro (formerly Olivia, West Berkeley) - I have seen local celebrities here, like Robert Reich and Russ Blackmar. (mh)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Brunch list!

Okay, first things first. Brunch. I love brunch, mostly because I love the idea of dessert for breakfast.

Below, I've put one-line descriptions after the restaurant's name and neighborhood. Check the initials to see if it was me or someone else who wrote them. It'd be great to have people add their two cents, in either the comments or on the page itself. (I can give you the password to edit.)

900 Grayson (West Berkeley) - Cute, a bit minimalist foodwise, but often tuned to KALX. (ds)

Aunt Mary's (Temescal)
I've eaten here about 5 times. The food is great, creative and tasty, the staff is super friendly, the coffee is delicious and packs a punch, the space is sunny and inviting. That being said, the proportions need work, and it takes FOREVER to get your food. I think these are new restauranteurs and so they have not figured out the "serving all your food at the same time without letting the food get cold." It seems to take 1.5-2 hours to get out of there. I will continue to go here alot, but never when I'm in a hurry or starving. (jt)
Went for the first time this weekend, and all JT says is right. The pain perdue (French toast w/ custard and whiskey) was amazing, as was the sausage and Migas. I love the atmosphere, staff, and art on the walls. We went at 2:55 (they close at 3) and they were happy to seat us. Looking forward to going back. (ds)

Blackberry Bistro (Lower Hills) - Adorable, tiny, crowded early. (ds)

Brown Sugar Café (Southern food, West Oakland) -- Hit or miss, but great biscuits. (ds)

Café 817 (Downtown Oakland)

Café Fanny (West Berkeley)

Cockadoodle Café (Downtown Oakland)

Farmers Markets (Grand Lake or Temescal) - Breakfast tamales from the Grand Lake or something else with a Blue Bottle cappuccino from the Temescal (mp), like a buckwheat crepe from the French guys who make crepes. (ko)

J's Hamburgers and Such (Mexican, Piedmont) - For the Huevos Rancheros, of course. (mh)

Jimmy Bean's (Gilman) - Went back for the first time in years recently. Had a stunningly good cheese danish. Other stuff was pretty basic. (ds)

La Note (French, Downtown Berkeley)

Luka's (Downtown Oakland) - Has great beignets, but a bit overpriced. (ds)

Lynn & Lu's (Grand Lake) - I used to love this greasy spoon, but it's gotten greasier. Good outdoor seating in back. (ds)

Mama's Royal Café (Temescal) -- Greasy hipster diner, good people watching, okay food (ds).

Meal Ticket (Gilman)

Merritt Bakery (East Oakland) - Hit or miss foodwise, but always a great experience overall! (ms)

Montclair Egg Shop (Oakland Hills)

Oliveto's downstairs cafe (North Oakland) - For the occasional "breakfast pizza" (mp)

Piedmont Cafe (Piedmont) - For its extreme basic-ness (mp)

Rick & Ann's (Claremont) - An institution, which means forget about the weekends. Amazing sausage patties. (ds)

Rudy's Can't Fail Café (Emeryville) -- Everyone loves this place, but I have never had a good time there. Takeout, however, is great for a sandwich. (ds)

Sam’s Log Cabin (Albany)

Saul's (Jewish Deli, Gourmet Ghetto, Berkeley) - Love that pickle barrel. Good cheap eats. (ds)

Sconehenge (South Berkeley)

Shandong restaurant (Chinatown) On weekends they have Chinese breakfast- hot soy milk, cruellers, beef and scallions in homemade steamed bread, sesame bread, sweet red bean buns, etc. Shandong is CHEAP! You can feed 6 for under $30. And they make all their dumpling dough by hand, and the bread and handmade noodles are also made in the front of the shop. Dinner is also delicious and cheap here!(jt)

Somerset (Rockridge) - I love this place, even if it's a bit Cal Parents Weekendy at times. Great coffee drinks, great potatoes, great pancakes. (ds)

Thai Brunch (South Berkeley) -- Semi-legal institution run by a church. Good, plentiful Thai favorites, outdoor seating, lots of college students. (ds)

Tropix (Carribean, Piedmont) - Amazing cornbread! (ds)

World Ground (Laurel District)