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good seafood in the East Bay?

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I go sailing in the Emeryville/Berkeley area but sadly, have yet to search for seafood in the area. Soon I'll be taking some friends from France sailing and thought they'd enjoy a place with good seafood and a reasonably nice atmosphere.

Any suggestions for East Bay places, from the Carquinas Strait on down? Also, any opinions for Spenger's Grotto, off Hwy. 80 in Berkeley, which I've gotten some conflicting advice on?

All advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

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  1. My company had its company holiday party at Spenger's last Christmas. The banquet (mass prepared food) was not good at all. The choices were fish and steak, both were over done I think. The salad was over dressed, but the chocolate fudge cake was really dense and chocolaty. Not a good review so far I know, but while waiting for the party to start, my husband and I enjoyed some freshely shucked oyster and fried calamari at the bar area, they were both excellent. The oysters were fresh and tasty, the calamari was not chewy or oily, fried just right. The bartendar lady was super friendly. So I think maybe if you don't go there expecting good "sit-down" food but instead a good place to get drinks and good appetizers.

    Maybe their individual prepared entree will be better than our banquet food...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Wendy Lai

      We ate there soon after it opened...don't expect much. I'd look elsewhere. I've seen a few good comments about the seafood restaurant at the foot of the Carquinez Bridge - think it's called the Nantucket? Interesting setting. Or in an Asian vein, the seafood restaurant in the Pacific Far East Mall is pretty good, with good deals on lobster and crab. (they have seafood in tanks)

      1. re: Wendy Lai

        I had lunch there once: way over-priced and not very good.

        Another time a friend suggested take-out. She paid so I don't know about price(!), but I was underwhelmed.

        1. re: Lynn

          Their takeout counter is not bad at all. The catfish burger is good, served in a coleslaw lined bun with chips (UK style fries of course, not the supermarket chips). The fish and chips can be very good to fair, depending on when the last batch was fried. I think they get enough traffic at lunchtime, but not sure in late afternoons.

          In any case, getting their fast food takeout and eating it by the water in the Berkeley Marina nearby (or at the end of the afternoon after a good windsurfing or sailing excursion) can be a great experience.

          Other great takeouts in the W. Berkeley area:
          -Bette's Oceanview counter (nice pizza, arams, foccacios, salads and great desserts including the best strawberry tarts in the bay area)
          -Vik's on addison near 5th.

      2. I've heard so many bad reports on the new Spenger's I haven't bothered. If you have guests, you can't beat Trader Vic's in Emeryville...near the water, and good food...not grossly overpriced. It's also a traditional site they will remember.

        1. j
          JenniferFishWilson

          Scott's Seafood in Jack London Square is good,not great but I believe you can sail up to the dock and "park". The view of the estuary @ sunset is nice. Or you could have seafood appetizers and a drink in the bar (outside if it's nice weather) and walk to a better restaurant in the neighborhood like Soizic. (If you do eat @ Scott's the sanddabs are decent.) Also check out FDR's boat--it's docked near Scott's.

          I remember the restaurant under the Carquinez bridge that Gordon mentioned--haven't been there in years but it was fun and funky.

          Anything would be better than Spengers.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JenniferFishWilson

            The restaurant under the Carquinez Bridge is The Nantucket Fish Company in Crockett. Yes, it is funky but it is fun, friendly and I recently had a lovely piece of halibut there.

          2. What about Downtown, the new place opened by the Cesar folks? It sounds to me like it's a "primarily" seafood menu.

            I have not been, but close foodie friends in the industry go often and love it. The atmosphere should be your typical "East Bay people watching" which could be fun for your friends from France. . . some Berkeley flavor. Let us know where you go!

            (Nantucket's is worth a trip some time, as well.)

            Bon Appetit!