Steve Sugarman's Boalt Hall Dining Guide - Good Choices and Options By Neighborhood
A. Good Choices
Chez Panisse Cafe -- 1517 Shattuck (Cedar), Berkeley (548-5049) Chez Panisse's regular restaurant downstairs is marvelous, but it has long become a "destination" place where we rarely eat anymore. Upstairs in the cafe remains a local favorite.
Haven -- 44 Webster Street, Oakland (663-4400) Excellent Jack London Square waterside dining. Ambitious and sometimes unusual food; terrific tasting menu that does not break the bank; very good drinks/wine; a much welcome addition to the Oakland higher-end scene
B. Options By Neighborhood
- College Avenue and Telegraph Avenue
- Oakland Hills
- Piedmont Avenue/Grand Avenue
- Uptown and Downtown Oakland/Jack London Square/Chinatown
- Solano Avenue Area
- Emeryville/West Berkeley/West Oakland
- Downtown Berkeley
College Avenue and Telegraph/Temescal Avenue
A Cote -- 5478 College (Lawton), Oakland (655-6469) Lively French/American tapas place. Full Bar. Very tasty. Festive. Charming outdoor back patio.
A16 -- 5356 College Ave., Oakland. Instead of Hudson a new place from the SF folks behind A16 is coming.
Barlata -- 4901 Telegraph, Oakland (450-0678) Spanish Tapas in a lively setting. Tasty food, nice service. No reservations .
Barney's Hamburgers -- 5819 College (OceanView), Oakland (601-0444) Popular chain, but not my favorite.
Burma Superstar -- 4721 Telegraph, Oakland (652-2900) Classy Burmese in an attractive setting.
Cafe Rustica -- 5422 College (Hudson), Oakland (654-1601) Good pizza.
Crepevine -- 5600 College, Oakland (658-2026) Excellent salads and outdoor setting.
Commis -- 5912 College, Oakland From the chef behind Commis and Hawker Fare a new pubs is coming where Somerset was.
Dona Tomas -- 5004 Telegraph (51st), Oakland(450-0522), a very pleasant Mexican restaurant with a good bar and wonderful outside seating, especially in warm weather.-
Enoteca Molinari -- 5474 College, Oakland (428-4078) Small, hip wine bar with nice food.
Filippo's Pastaria -- 5400 College (Taft), Oakland (601-8646) Cheap, casual, Italian. Another Filippo's is in the Elmwood at 2930College (644-3848)-- nicer looking; similar menu.
Gordo Taqueria -- 2989 College (Ashby), Berkeley (204-9027) Great take out burritos.
Homeroom -- 400 40th Ave., Oakland (597-0400) Untried by us but promising reports.
King Yen -- 2995 College (Ashby), Berkeley (845-1286) Old reliable Chinese.
La Mediterranee -- 2936 College (Ashby), Berkeley (540-7773) Informal, Middle-Eastern(ish). Sidewalk dining.
Marica -- 5301 College Avenue (near Broadway), Oakland (985-8388). Seafood restaurant. Attractive setting. Some excellent dishes. Bargain pricing.
Nan Yang -- 6048 College (Claremont), Oakland (655-3298) Pleasing Burmese.
Noodle Theory -- 6099 Claremont, Oakland (595-6988) Inventive. Tasty.
Oliveto -- 5655 College (Rockridge BART), Oakland (547-5356) Our local has become a "destination" restaurant. The downstairs cafe is good with a fine, but small, bar.
Paragon Bar and Cafe -- not on College, but in the Claremont Hotel (549-8585) Great views, an outdoor patio where you can eat, slick bar, good enough food.
Pasta Pomodoro -- 5500 College, Oakland (923-0900) Ok. Inexpensive. Outdoor dining.
Pizzaiola -- 5008 Telegraph (51st), Oakland (652-4888) Good pizza and more place. Very crowded. Lots of fun, but very noisy.
Ramen Shop -- 5812 College Ave., Oakland (788-6370) As yet untried by us.
Shen Hua -- 2914 College (Ashby), Berkeley (883-1777). Large attractive Chinese in the Elmwood. Noisy
Soi4 Bangkok Eatery -- 5421 College (Hudson/Manila), Oakland (655-0889). Nice Thai food in Rockridge. Quite popular.
Southie -- 6311 College Ave, Oakland (654-0100) Great sandwiches.
Trattoria La Siciliana -- 2993 College (Ashby), Berkeley (704-1474) Home style fairly simple food, nicely prepared. Informal.
Toast -- 5900 College Ave, Oakland (658-5900) Attractive wine bar, nice food, some outside tables. Now expanding.
Troy -- 2985 College Ave, Berkeley (666-8500) Simple neighborhood Greek.
Uzen -- 5415 College (Hudson), Oakland (654-7753) Can be fine sushi. Simple.
Wood Tavern -- 6317 College (Alcatraz), Oakland (654-6607) Lively local with a nicely varied menu. Very popular. Very tasty food. Very welcoming hosts. Excellent bar, if you can get a seat.
Zachary's -- 5801 College (OceanView), Oakland (655-6385) Midwest-style deep dish pizza (but not as good as the original). A second Zach's is located on Solano Ave. We go for slices at lunch all the time.
Zachary's -- Across from Zachary's is coming a thin crust flatbread/pizza place.
Bellanico -- 4236 Park Blvd, Oakland (336-1180) Italian neighborhood place with very good food and gracious service.
Italian Colors -- 2220 Mountain Blvd (Montclair) (482-8094). Ok Italian. Good enough food.
Kakui -- 2060B Mountain Blvd, Oakland (338-1188) Hip Japanese. Inventive.
Marzano -- 4214 Park Blvd., Oakland (531-4500) Pizza, small plates, and good ambience.
Montclair Bistro -- 6118 Medau Place, Oakland (482-8282) Nice bar. Good food. Friendly service.
Rumbo Al Sur -- 4239 Park Boulevard, Oakland(479-1208) From the A Cote team, a Latin American good-time place. Tasty small plate options. Unusual wines.
Adesso -- 4395 Piedmont, Oakland (601-0305). A bar with food. Wonderful Italian treats from the Dopo crew. Lively scene, open late.
BayWolf -- 3853 Piedmont, Oakland (655-6004) Classic. Usually delicious. Nice heated patio
Camino -- 3917 Grand, Oakland (547-5035). Limited menu very nicely done. Shared long tables. Attractive enough setting. Ambitious. Go with four people and share pretty much everything on the menu.
Cesar -- 4039 Piedmont Avenue (40th), Oakland (883-0222) Oakland. Sister to the well-established Berkeley boite, emphasizing Latin food.
Commis -- 3859 Piedmont (Mac Arthur), Oakland (653-3902). Fixed price fixed (expensive) meals. Very Ambitious. The "high end" place to go now. On our visit, it was fabulous.
Dopo -- 4293 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland (652-3676). Very tasty pizza and other Italian items. Attractive place with some outside seating; great for lunch. Very popular.
Lake Chalet -- 1520 Lakeside Dr, Oakland (208-5253). Large effort on Lake Merritt. Nice view. Outdoor weekend brunch. Nice feel. Good enough food.
Lo Coco's -- 4270 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland (652-6222). Friendly pasta place.
Mezze -- 3407 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland (663-2500) Appealing Mediterranean place. Attractive. Ambitous and tasty food. Very friendly service. Nice bar.
Milano Restaurant -- 3425 Grand, Oakland (763-0300) Pleasant Italian.
Ninna -- 4066 Piedmont Avenue (near the cinema), Oakland (601-6441). Semi-fusion, new American food with Thai overtones. Friendly service. Good food. Quiet.
Sidebar -- 542 Grand, Oakland (452-9500). Comfortable food in a nice Lake Merritt locale. Good bar scene.
Spettro -- 3355 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland (465-8320) A very popular, somewhat zany, casual Italian place with OK food.
Uptown and Downtown Oakland/Jack London Square/Chinatown
Ba Vo -- 416 13th Street, Oakland (832-1429) Vientnamese untried by us.
Borgo Italia -- 499 9th St., Oakland (210-1008) Untried by us but promising reports.
Bocanova -- 55 Webster Oakland (444-1233) Latin American tapas on the water at Jack London Square. Attractive. Lively. Good food. Eat outside at lunch.
Breads of India -- 948 Clay Oakland (834-7684) Good indian food. Said to be (even) better than the original Berkeley locale.
Caffe 817 Washington -- Oakland (271-7965) Friendly Italian cafe for breakfast and lunch in Old Oakland.
Chop Bar -- 247 4th Street, Oakland (834-1904) Great burgers. Fun place. Sit at the bar.
Duende -- 468 19th St., Oakland (893-0174) Paul Canales formerly chef at Oliveto has just opened a Spanish restaurant. Untried so far by us.
Flora -- 1900 Telegraph (19th), Oakland (286-0100) Jazzy-look place from the Dona Tomas folks. Lively and noisy. Very good food.
Faz -- 14th and Broadway, Oakland (272-1111) Very attractive setting, including charming outdoor lunch seating in warmer weather. Trying to please staff. Pretty good food from a 'through the tunnel' establishment.
Haven -- 44 Webster Street, Oakland (663-4400) Excellent Jack London Square waterside dining. Ambitious and sometimes unusual food; terrific tasting menu that does not break the bank; very good drinks/wine; a much welcome addition to the Oakland higher-end scene.
Hawker Fare -- 2300 Wester Street, Oakland (832-8896) Thai street food. Hip. Tasty.
Hopscotch -- 1915 San Pablo Ave., Oakland (788-6217) Untried by us but promising reports.
Ichiro -- 412 15th Street (Franklin),Oakland (452-1994 ). Terrific and low priced Japanese food (sushi, sashimi and more) in the heard of downtown Oakland. Friendly host,some unusual dishes, & good sake list.
Il Pescatore Ristorante -- Jack London Square, Oakland (465-2188) Very traditional on the water at Jack London Square.
Le Cheval -- 1007 Clay Street, Oakland (763-8495) Good Vietnamese, but noisy.
Luka's Tap Room and Lounge -- 2221 Broadway (Grand), Oakland (451-4677). Revitalized, even hip place in Oakland's "updown" district. Very lively at lunch. Good enough food.
Make Westing -- 1741 Telegraph Ave, Oakland (251-1400) Big success bar.
Mua -- 2442 Webster, Oakland (238-1100) new trendy lounge, good food and more. In what looks like a former car bodyshop, very Brooklyn.
Ozumo -- 2251 Broadway (Grand), Oakland (286-9866)We have had terrific meals at this attractive upscale Japanese place with a large and jumping bar scene in the front. Share a number of the small plates (like Hanabi and Me Kabetsu), skewers from the Robata Grill (like Buta and Hotate), a platter of mixed sashimi, and inventive dazzlingly presented sushi rolls.
Pho 84 -- 354 17th St, Downtown Oakland. Good Vietnamese food. Occasionally you have to wait for a table.
Pican -- 2295 Broadway (Grand), Oakland (834-1000). Southern food in an attractive setting. Dressy. On our one visit so far there was a long wait for our table and slow service but the food was tasty and how nice to have unusual things on the menu.
Plum -- 2214 Broadway, Oakland (444-7586) Very very trendy. Unusual dishes.
Plum Bar -- 2214 Broadway, Oakland (444-7586) Casual next door partner.
Quinn's Lighthouse -- 19510 Embarcadero East, Oakland (536-2050) Sit outside on the deck. Eat peanuts - drink. Good enough food. Classic.
Scott's -- 2 Broadway (Jack London Square), Oakland (444-3456), and other locations. Nice for a drink and view; pretty good fish.
Tamarindo -- 468 8th St in Old Oakland (444-1944). Terrific family run, Mexican tapas place. Charming and popular.
The Forge -- 466 Water St, Oakland (645-9292) Wood fired pizza at Jack London Square so far untried by us.
Vien Huong -- 712 Franklin (Chinatown), Oakland (465-5938) Authentic, casual, Vietnamese place
Yoshi's -- 510 Embarcadero West (Jack London Square), Oakland (238-9200) Said to now offer first rate Japanese food. Jazz club next to the restaurant has great music.
Ajanta -- 1888 Solano, Berkeley (526-4373) Good Indian food.
Fonda -- 1501 Solano Avenue, Albany (559-9006). Tapas and bar scene. Much praised by locals.
Lalime's -- 1329 Gilman, Berkeley (527-9838) Very popular. Some say it is their very favorite in the East Bay.
Nizza La Bella -- 825 San Pablo (just North of Solano), Albany (526-2552). French/italian riveria bistro sort of place. Attractive appearance; some pretty good dishes.
Rivoli -- 1539 Solano Ave. (Nielson & Peralta), Berkeley (526-2542) Physically attractive, Rivoli is uneven in my opinion. Many praise it as among the very best in the East Bay.
Vanessa's -- 1715 Solano, Berkeley(525-8300). Small, lively, Vietnamese tapas place with a French twist offers a huge number of mouth-watering small plate options.
Zachary's -- 1853 Solano, Berkeley (525-5950) See College Avenue. Pizza!
Breads of India -- 2448 Sacramento (Dwight), Berkeley (848-7684)Nice Indian cuisine.
Brown Sugar Kitchen -- 2534 Mandela, Oakland (839-7685) Both local and hip. Great for breakfast and lunch.
Bside BBQ -- 3303 San Pablo Ave., Oakland (595-0227 Untried by us but promising reports.
Bucci's -- 6121 Hollis, Emeryville (547-4725) Hip Italian, sometimes with an attitude.
Cafe Rouge -- 1782 Fourth St., Berkeley(525-1440) We find that sitting at the bar for burgers and fries can be marvelous.
Fuse Box -- 2311 A Magnolia St, Oakland (444-3100) A very special non-traditional Korean discovery in the West Oakland warehouse district open only W, Th and F for lunch as of this writing. Delightful.
Kabana Restaurant -- 1106 University (San Pablo), Berkeley (845-3355). Very unassuming Pakistani eatery with friendly host and good food.
O Chame -- 1830 Fourth St., Berkeley (841-8783) An East Bay treasure; unusual Japanese food in charming setting.
Paisan -- 2514 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley (649-1031) Pizza and pasta. Attractive setting.
Riva Cucina -- 800 Heinz, Berkeley (841-7482) Hidden away Italian place. Attractive. Tasty. Noisy. You can sit outside at lunch. Very friendly service.
Skates -- 100 Seawall Drive (Berkeley Marina), Berkeley (549-1900) Good views and drinks, mixed qualty food, great variety.
Spengers -- 4th and Hearst, Berkeley (845-7771). Huge. Famous. Mixed reviews.
Townhouse -- 5862 Doyle, Emeryville (652-6151) Go for a good time, good food, good drinks, maybe even sit outside in warm weather. Good bar. Not pretentious.
T-Rex -- 1300 10th St (Gilman) Berkeley(527-0099). Bar-b-que (ribs, etc.) place by the LaLime group. Goregous space. Uneven food quality. Many have been disappointed.
Vik's -- 726 Allston, Berkeley (644-4412). Casual Indian food, best for lunch, lots more choices (and crowds) on weekends.
Zut -- 1820 Fourth Street, Berkeley (644-0444) Attractive. Mixed setting.
Bar Cesar -- 1515 Shattuck, Berkeley (883-0222) Very animated tapas and bar scene. Lots of fun. Noisy.
Cha Am Thai -- 1543 Shattuck, Berkeley (848-9664) Good Thai, but disappointing to some.
Chez Panisse -- 1517 Shattuck (Cedar), Berkeley (548-5049) Chez Panisse's regular restaurant downstairs is marvelous, but it has long become a "destination" place where we rarely eat anymore. Upstairs in the cafe remains a local favorite.
Comal -- 2020 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley (926-6300) Very attractive, hard to reserve, good enough Mexican food.
Corso Trattoria -- 1786 Shattuck, Berkeley (704-8004). Authentic Florentine food. Very tasty. Nice wines. Noisy.
Gather -- 2150 Alston Way (in the David Brower Center) 809-0400. A somewhat confused menu, but some nice items in an attractive setting.
Great China -- 2115 Kittredge St (Oxford), Berkeley (843-7996). A modestly unassuming place with terrific Peking Duck, plus some marvelous specials.
Gregoire -- 2109 Cedar (Shattuck), Berkeley (883-1893). Take way (or two outside tables) of terrific french-inspired snack food at lunch; also dinner take-away.
Joshu-Ya Brasserie -- 2441 Dwight Way, Berkeley (848-5260) Friendly Japanese near campus.
Kirala -- 2100 Ward (Shattuck), Berkeley (549-3486). Some call this the best Japanese restaurant outside of Japan (not me). Long lines all the time.
La Note -- 2377 Shattuck, Downtown Berkeley (843-1535) Charming outdoor back garden. Tasty lunches.
Liaison -- 1849 Shattuck (Hearst) Berkeley (849-2155). Another pleasing option near campus. Bistro food in a nice setting.
Revival -- 2102 Shattuck, Berkeley (549-9950). Attractive. Good food. Good before the movie or theator OR try eating at 8 or later when it is likely to be calmer.
Silver -- 2132 Center St, Berkeley (356-4044) A new pizza place in downtown Berkeley from Cheeseboard alums. So far untried by us.
Plearn Thai -- 2050 University, Berkeley (841-2148) Good Thai
Venus -- 2327 Shattuck Avenue (near Durant), Downtown Berkeley, (540-5950) Nice enough for a quick, simple meal before the movies or theater or for lunch.