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Good to great restaurants around Oakland City Center Marriot

Dallas hound in town on business. Our two week stint at the Oakland City Center Marriot is reaching its halfway point and the hotel food being catered in has become a beat down. We can't take the BART into SF during the week (although did ride in for dinners at Ozuma and Michael Mina on Friday and Saturday. Very good.) with all the work going on, so any help on good restaurants around the hotel or a quick cab ride away will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Oh lordy, can't believe you've held out this long! Three spots you can walk to --- Verbena, Legendary Palace and Soizic. If you do a search, you'll pop up several postings. You can BART, bus, or cab over to Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood to try Oliveto and several other neighborhood places.

    1. Spices!3 (Taiwanese-style Sichuan)
      Binh Minh Quan (Vietnamese)
      Battambang (Cambodian)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Third on Shanghai. It's one of my new favorites downtown. Open till 10pm seven days?

      2. Believe it or not, you are very close to good chow! Really!

        Some starting points:

        1. walk two blocks east on 12th to Binh Minh Quan, on 12th just past Webster, for excellent, inexpensive Vietnamese. Try the crepe, steamed catfish, stuffed chicken wings, venison cooked in butter tableside....

        2. turn left on Broadway and walk north seven blocks (or get on BART and go one station to 19th Street; hardly worth taking a cab), to 19th and Broadway, to Luka's. One of the best nicer options downtown; sort of upscale pub food: try the frites and the oysters (which are only $1 each on Monday night!). Excellent beer selection. Bread is some of the best in town. Good burgers.

        3. Some of the best roast meats in Chinatown, can be found at New Gold Medal on 8th Street between Webster and Franklin, just a few blocks from you; totally bare bones atmosphere.

        4. I haven't been in a long time, but for something with more atmosphere, a lot of folks like Soizic on Third and Broadway near Jack London Square.

        If you want to go a bit further afield, jump on BART, take a Pittsburgh Bay Point train, go three stations to Rockridge, and you will have many options to choose from within a few block walk, including Oliveto, Citron, Pearl.....

        Another option that is a quick cab ride, but go early (ie no later than 5:30, or be prepared to wait) is Pizzaiolo on Telegraph Near 51st...

        Have fun!

        1. Caffe 817 for breakfast or lunch.

          Shanghai on Webster for Shanghainese "comfort food."

          Luka's Taproom (long walk or short bus/BART ride up Broadway) -- good beer on tap and sort of California/brasserie food. Great Oakland vibe.

          Honestly, though, BART into downtown SF from 12th street is less than 15 minutes, so it really isn't time prohibitive. For example, five minutes walk or less from Embarcadero (the first SF BART station) are Tadich Grill (classic SF seafood), Boulevard (upscale "New American"), and of course, the Ferry Building Market hall.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I was thinking the same thing, after making my suggestions: it really wouldn't take more than 5 minutes longer to get to the Embarcadero Station from 12th st than it would take to get to Rockridge...and coming home you can catch either a Richmond or a Pittsburgh Bay Point train, so you won't have to wait as long for the return train as you would at Rockridge.

            I'd second the Boulevard rec, and also try the Hog Island Oyster Bar at the Ferry Building.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I second Caffe 817 for your coffee fix and some great lunch items.
              Love the more authentic Cambodian (on Broadway) food at Battambang.
              Lots of choices for Vietnamese but generally like Vi's (Webster and 8th) for noodle soups and Le Cheval (Clay and 10th) for other fare (I often order watercress salad with cubed beef off the menu).
              Again, lots to choose from for Chinese food. I've liked Shanghai for fairly good Xiao Lung Bao ("soup dumplings") and other Shanghai-ese cuisine. Shan Dong for northern Chinese fare (e.g., zha zha mein). Gum Wah for the roast duck. Szechwan Restaurant for the fat noodles they use for a chow mein-like dish.
              Don't miss Tamarindo for Mexican small plates. La Furia Chalaca has some good renditions of Peruvian cooking. La Borinquena (Mexican semi-fast food despite the name) is fairly good for a quick bite.

              But if you're looking for something more upscale, you may want to go to Soizic or Verbena for California/fusion in the area. Or BART over to the Rockridge for Oliveto's (Italian), Citron (French), A Cote (French small plates), and Girabaldi's (California), and Marica (seafood).

              HAVE A GREAT TIME!!!

              1. re: Wel Rommel

                Vi's is long gone: replaced by Pho Tu Do, which closed last winter and is now something else that I keep meaning to try but have not yet managed. Looks like it's still a Vietnamese soup place, but it is tricky to judge by the name.

            2. Of course, don't miss Tamarindo Antojeria for Mexican small plates. It's at 8th and Washington, very much walking distance to your hotel.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Gastronomie

                Hey there, please tell us more. I've had a couple folks tell me privately how much they like it, but no one has posted an update for a while.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I'm starting a new thread about it. :-)

              2. Luka's Taproom is a great choice. It actually has a slightly cajun air about it. They make fabulous catfish sandwiches. Went out to lunch with people from my office last week and we ALL ordered them.

                1. Thanks so much for all the recommendations. Here is a report in case anyone was wondering which ones we chose.

                  Soizic -- Sunday night. Definitely a nice change from the hotel food. Service was spotty, but the food was good. I had the endive salad with blue cheese, pears and walnuts and for an entree - the spinach and ricotta pasta dish. Others had the penne with smoked chicken and broccoli which ended up coming without the chicken. Nice walk down Broadway before and after dinner. Sunshine is nice after 10 days of fluorescent lighting.

                  Verbena -- Monday night. early dinner, not too crowded although they ran out of the beurre blanc sauce for the fish special which seemed odd to me. I wouldn't have thought that beurre blanc was an involved sauce that takes too much time to whip up. The foccacia bread was good. I had crab ravioli. Good wine selection by the glass. Others had the fish special -- monkfish with a balsamic reduction instead of beurre blanc and the fettucine with rock shrimp. All in all a tasty dinner.

                  Caffe 817 -- Tuesday breakfast. Loved this place thanks so much for the recommendation. The sidewalk seating was perfect for an IM chat with my husband back home while I enjoyed a cafe mocha which the owner pronounced "beautiful" when she gave it to me. She was in an especially good mood as her team was up 2-0 in the World Cup game. I had the Croque Madam for breakfast and the egg was poached perfectly.

                  Lunch Tuesday at Binh Minh Quan. Wow, those are some stuffed chicken wings. I probably would have gotten just those if I had known how big they were. Also had the Shrimp and vermicelli. Great value and great food.

                  Dinner Tuesday at Tamarindo. The sangria was refreshing and just what was needed at the end of a long day. This was a great little restaurant. I don't know that any praise that I have would add much to the other post on the board solely about the restaurant. I do recommend it if you have a chance.

                  Dinner Thursday at Chaya Brasserie on Embarcadero. Thursday night the whole group went over to Chaya in SFO. Choices were limited since the chef was dealing with 25 people. I had the tuna tartare appetizer, the spinach, and mushroom salad and the duck breast as the entree. The other entree choices were salmon wrapped in potato or steak. One of the guys had the salmon and was not that impressed. My duck breast was good, but it was served with odd accompaniments. The dessert for the group was small bites of Chaya's dessert offerings: lemon tart, truffle and a small scoop of sorbet. It was good, but there are other restaurants I would go to if given the choice.

                  Friday afternoon -- Victory lunch at Siam City next door to Le Cheval which was full for lunch. This place was great. The crabcake special was quite delectable. The rolls (crisp and spring) were a big hit at the table. Everyone enjoyed their lunch. I had the bar b q honey pork with brown rice. The other entrees were pretty diverse at the table. Everybody raved about the food, but it could have just been overflow from the great mood we were all in.

                  Again thanks for the help. To add my own recommendation, I loved the Its A Grind coffee house on the corner near the Marriott -- about a block from the courthouse. Locally owned, great music, great staff and excellent coffee. At least one member of the team must have been over there 5 or 6 times a day for coffee and the like. They always remembered us, asked us how our case was going and remembered the more frequent buyers' preference even though we were only there 2 and a half weeks. If you are in the Oakland City Center area near the courthouse, give them a try. I liked the coffee much better than Starbucks, but then I don't really like Starbucks.

                  Happy Fourth, everyone. I am off to track down some fireworks.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: itsjustme

                    Fantastic report, thanks for posting! Caffe 817 had been a favorite under the original owner, and it's good to hear that it's still strong.


                    I'm happy you got out of the hotel for some local eats, and especially that you've made it home in time for the holiday.

                  2. Mixed reports on B (spinoff of Boxed Foods, in the former Oaktown Cafe space):