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Sep 6, 2001 05:08 PM

Downtown Oakland Eatery Listings

  • m

As a public service, let it be known that I have been compiling a list of restaurant experiences in the downtown Oakland area since starting my job here in April. Lunch only. The Excel file is located at or you can click on the link below.


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  1. Wow! Impressively dedicated!

    I worked at 20th and Harrison for almost ten years -- comforting to see the food scene in that area hasn't changed much in the six years since then.

    By the way, at Take It Easy Thai I always ordered the noodle soup (choice of meat) -- they'll make it to the requested degree of spiciness. I enjoyed watching them make it -- I figured it couldn't be that different from the street vendors in Thailand, at least in technique.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      Marc Schoenfeld

      Ruth, thanks for the suggestion. I may go there today, as it's been a while. I too like how you can see the kitchen and it almost looks like someone's home. One of the things about Oakland is that it's in a time-warp which is why much of the city is in decay but also ensures that good establishments aren't booted out in some real estate bubble. As for my dedication, I have to thank the large amount of nothingness that often consists of my work day and a need to keep my excel skills honed.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        While I agree Marc shows impressive dedication in his experimentation and graphing, he needs to branch out more! First of all, he should give Juanita's another shot. They have some GREAT food, well worth the price. I recommend the cloud-like chile rellanos, the beef tacos, the carne asada, and the always popular green chicken enchiladas. Become a regular there and you'll have a shot at the unlisted specials (mole verde, carnitas and more.)

        There are also some other good options in the neighborhood. Try the catfish special at Quick Bite at Franklin and 15th (5 pieces of cornmeal battered catfish, fries or potato salad, and a soft drink for less than $6 with tax - be prepared to wait a little, though; they're not all that quick) or the barbequed brisket (with choice of side - I choose mac & cheese -$7) at Chef Edwards at 21st and San Pablo. Le Cheval (Clay and 10th?) is also very good - great tofu salad and claypot rice -comes with soup at lunch.

        If you've got a car or a bike (or don't mind walking) Merritt Bakery just on the other side of the lake on East 18th has some really good fried chicken. (Good cole slaw too.) For that matter, the best catfish I've ever had is a couple of miles farther on East 18th at Vida's Fish Market (it's take out only and cooked to order so call ahead). It's better than Quick Bite, though not as close.

        Come on, Marc! Step out, you're in a rut!

        1. re: Jan Black

          Hey Jan, great post! Lots of good chowin' there.

          I'd just run across a mention of Merritt Bakery elsewhere and was about to ask here about the fried chicken. Now I know, thanks. Is it a lunchtime place or open dinner hours too?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Thanks, Melanie. I'm new to the site, drawn here by Trillan's New Yorker story.

            Merritt's take out menu says that they're open 24/7, including holidays! And you want to get take out; there's a remarkable price difference for eating in. The neighborhood may be a little iffy after dark, however. I haven't been there then.

            1. re: Jan Black

              An extra welcome, Jan!

              24/7, good to know, as I wind up all over the Bay Area at all times of day.

          2. re: Jan Black
            Marc Schoenfeld

            OK, I tried Quick Bite and got the fried chicken wings special, as I'm not a catfish fan. They only have wings, no other pieces, but 6 of these with hot sauce, seasoned fries, 2 slices of wheat bread, and a Safeway Select Black Cherry soda for $4.88 was more than I could have hoped for being starving. You are right about them being slow. I saw a lot of phone orders being taken which might be the way to go next time, if I can find their number which seems not to be listed anywhere. I liked the nice jazz music playing inside on a pretty good fidelity system. I can only take one fried chicken meal per 20 day period, but after I have recovered, I'll try the Merrit Cafe and Bakery place you recommend. It sounds very intriquing.

        2. j
          Jonathan King

          I don't have Excel on my computer (never had any use for it until now!). Can Marc, or someone, summarize his findings easily for the likes of me? Or even just me?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jonathan King
            Melanie Wong

            Jon, the beauty of Marc's spreadsheet is not just his list of restaurants and commentary but his extensive statistical analysis and graphs illustrating his eating patterns. No way to summarize that in mere text.

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              Jonathan King

              You're right! Marc was kind enough to email me a pointer to a Windows-based Excel viewer, and with it installed I was able to view his handiwork in all its complex glory. True houndish dedication....