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Cesar's on Piedmont

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bkaufman Aug 24, 2006 05:33 PM

I went to the new Cesar's on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. Same basic menu as Shattuck spot. Much bigger and very loud. I sat at the bar. Bar staff more interested in talking to each other rather than taking care of customers. Good tapas - very over priced. By the time I left the place was packed with 20 somethings with a line out to the street. I rather rather go to A'Cote on College Ave in Rockridge. Mike is the best bartender in the Bay-area.

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: bkaufman Aug 24, 2006 05:53 PM

    A friend who went last week said they waited from 6:30 to 8:30 for a table, but the food was great and they had a good time.

    1. JasmineG RE: bkaufman Aug 24, 2006 06:12 PM

      Here's an earlier thread about Cesar on Piedmont: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      I found the menu to be MUCH more extensive than the Berkeley location. I got lucky the two times I've been and haven't had to wait that long, I'm sure it'll quiet down after the first rush is over. Interestingly, I think that A Cote has gotten slower because of Cesar -- the other night at 8 we were thinking about going to Cesar, but drove by and saw the crowd of people outside, so went to A Cote and were seated right away.

      1. jeffyd RE: bkaufman Aug 25, 2006 01:30 AM

        I'm that friend, and we're going back again tonight. We never tire of Cesar- the piedmont store is just more of what we like cesar for......

        1. ae1011 RE: bkaufman Aug 31, 2006 08:51 PM

          Went last night (Thurs) - given an estimate of 30 min wait when we arrived at 7:30p; others patiently waiting on the sidewalk. Thought the bartendar was attentive and drew us into getting a drink while we stood and waited for a table. Ended up securing seats at the bar and ordered food there. Definitely busy and loud. Yes same food as Shattuck but still tasty. Don't miss the cinnamon chocolate ice cream!! I'd say go before the weather turns and they lose the sidewalk seating.

          1. Robert Lauriston RE: bkaufman Dec 7, 2006 05:32 PM

            A friend and I went for a late-afternoon lunch last weekend and I like it a lot better than the original. The higher ceilings and more widely spaced tables make it less noisy, and the longer menu is a plus. No tortilla, that's just wrong. How can a tapas bar not have tortilla?

            They have a small room with a round table for ten or so that can be curtained off for private parties.

            1. JasmineG RE: bkaufman Dec 7, 2006 06:07 PM

              I agree, I like the Piedmont Cesar SO much more than the original. The food is better, there's more to choose from, and the atmosphere is much better. I think they have tortilla on and off the menu, because I was there once this week and once last, and they had tortilla on the menu each time.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JasmineG
                Sasha RE: JasmineG Dec 7, 2006 06:17 PM

                I'm a huge fan of Caesar on Piedmont. Two years ago while living in Spain I began to detest tapas. But at Caesar they're like nothing I've ever come across in Spain. They were elegant, prepared well, imaginative and the quality of ingredients showed.

                My only issue with the new location is that they made the bar too damn big! Space better used for more tables.

                Piedmont ave. is on the upswing for sure. Now with Gregoire, Caesar, Doppo, Jojo, Baywolf, Xyclo. Will someone open a damn bakery already!!?? Betty, Acme, La Farine, Bread Garden, Arizmendi, something!! :)

                1. re: Sasha
                  itsolivia RE: Sasha Jan 24, 2007 08:24 AM

                  I agree with Sasha....Cesar in Piedmont is way better. Bute Gregoire is where it is at.

              2. p
                PateBriseej RE: bkaufman Dec 7, 2006 08:15 PM

                I had a really good experience here when this location first opened. We went in early Friday evening right around 6pm. 10 minutes later all tables were full and people were lining up.I think it's all about timing for this location. We sat on the patio and received excellent service. Highly recommend their signature side car cocktail really delicious!

                1. singleguychef RE: bkaufman Jan 5, 2007 04:07 PM

                  I have to say I have mixed feelings about Cesar. I really liked the coziness of the Shattuck original but am glad I can walk to the Piedmont location from my home. The food is just as good and, yes, the menu is more extensive. And it's seasonal, so you know you can always find something new. But I'm just bugged about the prices. I don't remember feeling so ripped off when going to the Shattuck location. But seems like the new Piedmont location has a mix of pricing, some items reasonable just like the Shattuck location but some items that are just overboard. And the large plates are basically one item dishes without any sides, but they'll charge close to $17 for what other restaurants would consider a meal. Here's my complete review with photos: http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200...

                  I'm glad it's in the neighborhood but you have to be careful not to overspend. In reality, Cesar would be a great place to grab a drink and have one or two tapas before going to dinner somewhere else. But with the crowd at Piedmont, you can tell most of them are there for dinner. At least the portions won't contribute to the obesity of America! ;-)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: singleguychef
                    JasmineG RE: singleguychef Jan 5, 2007 06:31 PM

                    The pricing is the same at the Shattuck location, just without the large plates. I had been getting irritated with the pricing at Shattuck in the past few years too. Some of the large plates do have sides, and I find that they mean that I can order two less tapas in order to get full. I agree with you that the pricing is high for the tapas, but I've found the pricing for the large plates to be pretty good.

                    1. re: JasmineG
                      singleguychef RE: JasmineG Jan 5, 2007 08:41 PM

                      I think it's probably a matter of the more you go, the more you figure out which dish might be the better deal. For example, like I said in my review, I loved the seasonal tres pinchos they had. It was great combinations of flavors, but they were basically toothpick items in a martini glass, so you know you're not getting a lot. It's really almost like an amuse bouche. And I think it was $10.95. To me, that should have been priced more like $7.95. (If I knew this beforehand, I probably would have skipped it. But again, hard to tell from the menu.)

                      For the large plates, I had the chicken which was perfectly cooked. But no sides, unless you count the limped grilled scallion placed on top?

                      We should all note our favorites that give a nice size portions, that'll help make better choices I think. (And also, like I said, some of the items are in Spanish with no translation.)

                      I think the orange pound cake dessert is worth its price! (The Dive, I might try the charcuteria platter next time. I was worried it my be an experience I had at Dopo where I ordered the salami platter for two and 16 thinly sliced salami pieces came on a very large plate and I was charged $22!)

                      1. re: singleguychef
                        JasmineG RE: singleguychef Jan 6, 2007 05:47 AM

                        Yeah, I love the pimentos there, but I always wince at the price. But I was there the other night and we ordered the lamb shank, which was very good (if a little sweet for my taste) and came with cousous. The salt cod and potato is a bargain on their menu, it's one of my favorite items, and it's one of the cheapest. A newish menu item is the fried cauliflower, and it's fantastic, and not a bad price. I think that all of the bocadillos are an excellent value, and all of them are really tasty.

                    2. re: singleguychef
                      Morton the Mousse RE: singleguychef Jan 7, 2007 05:35 PM

                      If I lived in the area, I'd probably start with drinks and a tapas at Cesar, and then walk down the street to Gregoire to have a reasonably priced dinner.

                      1. re: Morton the Mousse
                        itsolivia RE: Morton the Mousse Jan 24, 2007 08:24 AM

                        thats the way to do it. As much i like Cesar's food, i really justgo for Sunday afternoon cocktails. mmmm...truffled potatoes at Gregoire....

                      2. re: singleguychef
                        Robert Lauriston RE: singleguychef Jan 24, 2007 08:32 AM

                        I thought the pricing was weird from the first week the original location was opened. Some dishes, such as an ample helping of tortilla, were good values. Others, such as toast with a little Serrano ham, were two or three dollars a bite.

                      3. The Dive RE: bkaufman Jan 5, 2007 07:40 PM

                        I always think tapas end up being more money than you think it should be. However, we were just at the Piedmont Cesar's last week and found the charcuteria platter for two to be quite large and a good value, allowing us to get by on just two other tapas (that smoked trout dish is excellent) to round out the meal.

                        1. s
                          slider RE: bkaufman Feb 17, 2007 09:49 PM

                          My husband and I went to the Cesar on Piedmont Avenue tonight. We had high hopes for the evening as we have been to the Cesar on Shattuck Avenue and loved it! We arrived at the restaurant at 8:45 pm on Saturday night and were told there would be a 30 minute wait. We headed to the bar and found the bar staff to be great! We enjoyed our drink at the bar and were seated far before the expected time. The food was amazing at Cesar—an array of tastes and flavors. However, our service was TERRIBLE! I have never left a tip less than 15% before this evening, and we left a 10% tip. The waitress was not only inattentive, but rude! When asking for specials or specialties, she responded, “Everything is good.” She said she would give us a few moments to decide and didn’t come back to our table for 20 minutes. We asked for waters with our meal, which we never received. We had to request the “free” olives and bread. I will not go to the Piedmont Ave. location again!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: slider
                            Morton the Mousse RE: slider Feb 17, 2007 10:38 PM

                            You usually have to request the free bread at Cesar, unless you order a stew or some other dish with lots of juices to sop up.

                            1. re: slider
                              Robert Lauriston RE: slider Feb 18, 2007 08:42 AM

                              I've had no service problems there. Maybe they were short one server last night.

                              1. re: slider
                                singleguychef RE: slider Feb 18, 2007 09:52 AM

                                I've never had any problems with service. May have just been that one waitress. I wouldn't write off going to the Piedmont location because of one server, especially after you said the food was amazing.

                                I would say give it a second chance. If you get the same waitress, ask not to be served by her and ask for a manager to explain that your last experience was less than attentive. That's the only way they'll know that the servers aren't living up to the food.

                                1. re: slider
                                  daveena RE: slider Feb 18, 2007 01:39 PM

                                  I wonder if you had the same waitress I had - she was possibly the surliest waitperson I've ever had. The host was extremely helpful and accomodating, so we tried to tip him extra, and her less, but he said the tips were pooled.
                                  Anyway, our food was excellent too (much better than the Cesar on Shattuck, I think). I fully plan to go back, and to specifically request not to be seated at one of her tables.

                                2. a
                                  Agent 510 RE: bkaufman Feb 18, 2007 03:04 PM

                                  I also like how the Piedmont location has a small gourmet shop on one side of the restaurant. They have these addictive bags of Catalan-style cookies ("panellets"): $4.50 for a bakers' dozen.

                                  1. JasmineG RE: bkaufman May 23, 2007 10:46 PM

                                    Just had a new bocadillo at Cesar tonight -- slow roasted pork with picked red onions. Amazing. The fava bean/pea/asparagus croquettas were also excellent.

                                    1. Robert Lauriston RE: bkaufman Jul 16, 2009 03:15 PM

                                      Ate at Cesar for the first time in a while--Barlata's closer to home.

                                      Deep-fried fresh garbanzos were fun, like Spanish edamame. Sobresada, spreadable chorizo like nduja, very tasty. Green salad with tuna, hard-boiled egg, asparagus, etc. was OK but I wouldn't order it again. Pollo asado was very tasty and juicy, basically jerk seasoning. Great hangar steak with anchovy butter, mushrooms, I'm not sure what all. Had some great wines by the glass at reasonable prices. Excellent meal overall.

                                      They're now closed Mondays and open for breakfast Tuesday-Sunday at 8am. Weeknights after 10pm everything's 20% off (kitchen closes at 11, bar's open till midnight).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 16, 2009 03:39 PM

                                        Link:

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                                        Bar César
                                        4039 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

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