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Champa Thai/Vietnamese in El Sobrante - Nice Pho

J T Aug 29, 2006 04:01 PM

Had lunch last week in El Sobrante. Champa is a Thai/Vietnamese place located in El Sobrante on San Pablo Dam Road. It opened about 3 weeks ago.

For about $5 ordered a Sm pho. My order we in front of me quickly and was quite flavorful. I asked for some chili sauce and was brought out a tray of about 10 different condiments, all of which I ended up trying and loving the spiciness of them. I was really happy just to have a Vietnamese place open closer to my house and happier still at the quality. I hope the place is successful and stays around a while so please give it a try if you are in the area. Thanks.

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  1. rworange Aug 29, 2006 04:31 PM

    Thanks for the pho report, J T. That's the second positive report on the pho. This link has that has a few reports on the pho, banh mi, calamari salad (big thumbs up) and bbq pork.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    That reminds me I need to post a heads-up report about a new Thai noodle place in Albany.

    Champa seems like a good place to pick up dinner or lunch if shopping at Raley's on San Pablo Dam Road. Address is in link above.

    J T ... any signs of life yet for the other two restaurants in that plaza?

    3 Replies
    1. re: rworange
      Scrapironchef Aug 29, 2006 05:19 PM

      The Filipino place seems stalled, I know from personal experience that the longer it takes to get open the less likely you are to succeed.

      Aside from a banner in the window the other new place next to the liquor store is a mystery.

      JT have you tried Pho 89 next to the San Pablo Supermarket? The banh mi are very good and the rice plates tasty, been a little warm to work my way through the pho menu.

      1. re: Scrapironchef
        k
        kc72 Aug 29, 2006 05:30 PM

        i tried the pho a little bit after they opened and didn't think it was that great. at that time, they were still setting up their steam tables and everything. didn't even know they had sandwiches there.

        i still like the pho place on San Pablo Ave. near McBryde.

        1. re: kc72
          Scrapironchef Aug 30, 2006 03:17 PM

          To their credit they aren't really a steam table place. They just didn't demo the old counters when they moved in.
          Everything I've had has been made fresh.

          I have to agree with you about the one near McBryde, very good and great service. Have you had the do it yourself sausage/rice paper dish there?

    2. Robert Lauriston Aug 29, 2006 04:56 PM

      Does this Champa have any connection with Champa Garden in Oakland?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        rworange Aug 29, 2006 05:05 PM

        Nope. I asked. This is probably a good for the neighborhood type place.

      2. g
        gdodds Aug 30, 2006 06:04 AM

        I've dined twice at Champa with my family. My husband and I enjoyed the Thai food while our two younger kids ate through their orders of Pho Ga. It is not on the menu but they said they could make it. It contains a bit more garlic flavor than what were are use to from our orders at the Pho place in the Ranch 99 Plaza but still enjoyable. As for the Thai food, the Pad Thai was very good and the red curry dish I ordered was good but did not stand out as a favorite. The Vietnamese coffee was quite potent. I also live in the area and hope this place does well. The owners were pleasant and accomodating. The location is divided into two main areas. The first being a main dining area and the second has a bar, a large open space for seating or dancing and a stage. The owners mentioned that music will be a regular feature, I believe she said on every 3rd Sunday around 5pm. We missed the first show - a jazz band.

        1. Scrapironchef Aug 30, 2006 03:09 PM

          We intend to go back and work our way throught the Thai side of the menu. I'm still looking for a green curry to replace the late lamented Phu-Ping in Pacific Sq. Andaman just didn't do it for me.

          The Indian place that used to have this spot had a regular cowboy swing or some such group that used to take over the place a couple of times a month.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Scrapironchef
            g
            gdodds Aug 31, 2006 12:21 AM

            We also missed Phu-ping. Unfortunately, I have not been able to concentrate on my meals at Champa being that I am dining with my "ever-ready bunny" toddler. But all four of the dishes were good, the Pad Thai so far scoring the best marks. The restaurant is very accomodating to families and has a small area in front of it and a walkway where I run my kids when they are getting antsy.

          2. Scrapironchef Oct 19, 2006 12:08 AM

            Just an add and a bump on this thread--

            My brother was in from out of town and we went over to Champa for dinner, everything was great, including the cowboy swing band! I'm no big fan of the genre, but was pleasantly surprised at how good they were.

            Seems the band that used to hang out at the Indian/pizza place before is still playing the odd gig here. It was weird enough in an Indian resto, but totally surreal and enjoyable while having a great Thai/Vietnamese meal. They're supposed to be back on Thursday the 26th, give them a call to confirm.

            1. J T Oct 19, 2006 12:26 AM

              I've gone back to Champa a few times more and I'd say I most enjoy the different noodle soups and the Thai curries.

              Of the other restos in the Plaza, Jennifer and Todd's serves up really good breakfast. The Jones' BBQ is good. The Royal Palace (sp?) Chinese is OK. I don't like the Philipino place too much (I'd only go for the pansit(?) noodles).

              1 Reply
              1. re: J T
                rworange Oct 19, 2006 01:32 AM

                I stopped by the Philipino place and it didn't look as horrendous as described, though I wouldn't bother with the lumpia. They had bilbinka on the menu, but the day I stopped by the baker didn't show up and they didn't know when or if he was coming back. The other desserts looked uninspiring. It kind of ticked me off though that Champa didn't have anyone there while this place was half-full.

              2. t
                tonyhale Oct 25, 2006 11:06 PM

                My wife and I have beeen dedicated to Champa Thai ever since it opened. We try to visit at least once-a-week. Because it always looks nearly vacant, we are trying to spread the word about the excellent, flavorful food. I like the Thai best. My wife likes the Vietnamese. Incidentally, my wife is Japanese-American, while I am African-American. So these fusion places hold a "special place" in our heart.

                We've tried the Pilipino food, but it is too greasy for us. To our pallate, Champa tastes lighter and better.

                Please check it out and enjoy!

                1 Reply
                1. re: tonyhale
                  rworange Oct 26, 2006 05:06 AM

                  Nice to have another poster from this area. Hope you will report about other favorite.

                  What are your favorite dishes to date? Any to skip?

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