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best east bay vietnamese?

preferrably veg-friendly...

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  1. Binh Minh Quan.

    There are some good Vietnamese dishes on the menu at Champa Garden.

    1. My current favorite is Bui, on Solano Ave.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Hop

        I just went to Bui and loved it. Are you looking for more upscale or more casual? Bui is definitely more upscale and doesn't serve things like pho or bun that I noticed, and definitely no bahn mi. (For the latter, I LOVE Ba Le II in El Cerrito.)

        1. re: Hop

          Bui is very overpriced. The food is good, but portions are small and we came away hungry. We split a vegetarian spring roll and had one entree of tofu and one of chicken with eggplant which was about 1/2 cup of minced chicken and the rest a whole sauteed Japanese eggplant. Two glasses of wine and it was $30!!!!! It is trying to be a Slanted door I guess, but it should be just a good neighborhood place.

          1. re: Hunicsz

            I third Binh Minh Quan. In fact, I regularly walk right past Pho 84 from my office to go another five blocks to BMQ (which is also quieter and less crowded as well as having better food, IMO).

            Just had lunch there Tuesday; in addition to some old favorites (the crepe and the stuffed chicken wings), we tried the pork and ginger in clay pot, which I don't think I've had before. It was a hit! (though obviously not vegie friendly; there are choices on the menu that are however).

            1. re: michele_corum

              What dishes are good there at Pho 84 ? thks

              1. re: Han

                I haven't ever had a bad meal at Pho 84 and I go there serveral times a week. Personal it's #61 dark, which is a chicken dish, but they have a wonderful selection of vegetarian dishes.

                1. re: Han

                  If you like spicy, nothing can beat #47 at Pho 84: a tofu curry with black mushrooms, vermicelli, and garlic. No other downtown Oakland Vietnamese place makes it even mildly spicy - not even the oft-venerated Binh Minh Quan.

              2. Has anyone recently tried Unicorn in Berkeley?


                (the last link is a looong post, but Unicorn is in there near the end of the original post)

                1. We were at Unicorn recently.
                  A very nice meal, not entirely Vietnamese -- more upscale, more of a fusion approach.
                  Excellent food, good wine list, nice atmosphere.
                  The new menu is a bit hard to decode. Some of our favorite dishes are on the vegetarian menu which is on a separate piece of paper.

                  My two previous reviews are linked below. I stand by all the comments, based on a dinner about two months ago -- though prices are up a bit.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Joel

                    Unicorn's menu is a mix of Vietnamese, Thai, and Malaysian dishes. Good food. Did not seem fusiony to me.

                  2. Pho Ao Sen on International Blvd - use to go here when I lived in Oakland, not the best location.

                    Golden Lotus Restaurant- 1301 Franklin St, more vegetarian than not

                    Le Soleil- in San Leandro- not bad

                    I still like Le Cheval and there are plenty of veggie dishes.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Lori SF

                      Actually, I believe Golden Lotus is ALL vegetarian, and while it isn't the best, IMO, it is quite good, and definitely should be on the list for veggie options. Their fake meats can be quite convincing...

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        Yes you are right about Golden Lotus being all vegetarian. I use to go there quit often and it has always been inconsistent and while some dishes are excellent some are just ok.

                        1. re: Lori SF

                          Here is a report on a Chowlunch we had there a few years ago, with some of the hits listed:


                          Haven't been in a while; probably time to go back for an update!

                          1. re: susancinsf

                            I thought Golden Lotus was pretty good, and that's a nice compliment coming from a carnivore. The real problem with the place though is they don't serve any alcohol. Why is that so often the case with veg. restaurants?!?!

                            1. re: crunchy

                              The Buddhist sect that runs Golden Lotus eschews alcohol as well as meat.

                                1. re: crunchy

                                  I don't know about the Golden Lotus folk, but there are some very strict Buddhist sects that even ban tea (and other forms of caffiene) and onions and garlic as being too stimulating.

                    2. I like Le Cheval in Oakland. I have been there on several occasions and had great food each time. Unfortunately, the service was not so great the last time I was there. I will still go back for the wonderful grilled lemongrass pork chop... yum!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chemchef

                        They do have a full bar, which is nice, but don't go at a peak time because it'll be packed and you'll wait. I enjoyed the carpaccio or whatever they call it in Vietnamese places...

                      2. IMO... I would take my visiting siblings to these places... I'm sure they are not THE best, but they're pretty good....

                        for pho: Pho Oakland on 12th
                        for rice dishes: Binh Minh Quan, the Banh Hoi and Banh Xeo there are also pretty good
                        for Banh Cuon: Banh Cuon Tay Ho (right next door to Binh Minh Quan)
                        for Bun Bo Hue: Pho Ao Sen (early Sunday morning) or Pho King on International
                        for Com Chien with Ga Roti: Thanh Ky on 12th (across from "Clinton" park)
                        for Bun Rieu: Binh Minh Quan and/or Pho King (on International)