Point Richmond Restaurants & Spectacular Shoreline Picnic Area
Point Richmond is a small, quiet, charming, tree-shaded town near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge with some interesting restaurants and one of the most spectacular Bay Area parks.
The grassy seaside park with tree shaded picnic areas has panoramic views of the SF Bay. There are places where you can stand and see all three Bay Area Bridges at the same time.
Im new to the area and hope I can get some recommendations on local restaurants. So far Ive tried
- Hidden City Café which is owned by a former Chez Panisse alumni
- Great American Hamburgers & Pie Co.
Whats the opinion on the following?
25 WEST On the window it says Asian American Casual Dining
SU ZHOU The sign says Chinese restaurant and Sushi Bar. That doesnt seem good, but it actually got a four star rating from the CC Times and two and a half stars from the Chronicle. There are Chinese dishes, a sushi bar and udon noodles. On Friday nights from 6:30 9:30 there is a Chinese Harp player. The restaurant is decorated with 200 year old Chinese artifacts and is named after the city the owners come from in Shanhai, In the link to the Chron review it says they serve unusual food, such as five-spice-seasoned boiled peanuts and mud-baked beggar's chicken with eight treasures.
SPOT LIQUORS has a little bar area in front and seems to be popular
ROSAMARIA'S CAFÉ Healthy Mexican. Very contemporary looking but always seems empty.
RED PEPPER Hunan and Mandarin
LITTLE LOUIE'S Deli that always seems to have a lot of business, but it the food didnt look amazing.
LITTLE CHINA seems small but it was packed at lunch
KAO SAN The CC times gives this Thai restaurant four forks and recommends the basil duck.
HOTEL MAC They had a sign on the sidewalk for a $8.50 blue plate special. The menu has things like flat iron steak, pot roast and seafood tacos with roasted jalapeno cream sauce and pico de gallo. Dont see many people in there, but the prices are high from the menu link: http://www.hotelmac.net/lunch.htm
EDIBLES Seems like a little deli off the town square
CAFE ALTURA - It seems to be a nice little deli with a pleasant outdoor patio
ALL'S FARE in Brickyard Cove, it seems it is a deli that has a bay view and serves breakfast and lunch
The picnic area at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline located on a lagoon is one of the prettiest Ive seen. There is also a working Model Railroad Train Museum. Here are two links with more info and pictures of the park and Keller Beach.
There seem to be two stores to pick up picnic supplies:
POINT RICHMOND MARKET which seems to be a rather ordinary corner market
SANTA FE MARKET seems like an upscale gourmet market
It is an accomplishment to be such a charming town in an area that boarders on major oil refineries and the place where it seems every car in the US is unloaded from ships waiting to be reloaded onto trucks and trains. I dont exaggerate; there are tens of thousands of new cars parked over the hill. And even in that area there is an amazing museum The SS. Red Oak Victory Ship a rusting museum that looks like it would be fun to explore. It is open on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. On Fathers Day, you can have breakfast on the ship. More information in the link about Point Richmond below.
There are all sorts of tug boats, barges and working ships on the road to the ship. There is somewhat of a ship bone yard where the magnificent Wapoma, the last of the steam schooners sits abandoned.
Point Richmond is really a fascinating area. There are some art galleries and there is even a theatre where the musical Ruthless is playing this summer. There are magnificent homes much like Tiburon, some with docks for boats.
You can pick up a pamphlet that has a walking tour of the small town at many of the restaurants. Many of the buildings date to 1900 and you will see saloons, hotels, churches, jails, markets, schools and hospitals. The buildings house businesses now, but they have been preserved. This was the terminus for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad and the tracks are still very active. Winehaven, was one of the largest wineries until prohibition.
Im hoping to get to know Point Richmond better. Im going to need to find some good places to eat with all this exploring. So, does anyone have any specific info about the restaurants and markets. What is good? What should be avoided?
Point Richmond gets my vote for the best variety of restaurant cuisines for a small town.
Most are better in quality than the average suburban restaurant. Hidden City Café, run by a former Chez Panisse chef, is as good as any of the better SF and East Bay restaurants.
There is ample parking. The town is quaint and tree shaded. There are lovely picnic areas at the local shoreline parks that have spectacular views of the bay.
While they might not be destination restaurants, they are great local spots that offer a nice variety of cuisines.
Theres German, Korean, Italian, Thai, Deli, Japanese, Mexican, Classic American, New American, a burger joint, Asian Fusion, American Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese, Chinese Cuisine from the city of SU ZHOU, and even two chains Starbucks and Extreme Pizza. The rotisserie chicken at the local market is Rocky Jr.
The German haufbrau had a Jazz brunch last Saturday.
Most of this is centered on the small one block town square. Most of the restaurants have a post in this thread and are based on my impressions after one or two visits. The Baltic is in the middle of being remodeled. I havent been to CAFE ALTURA or KAO SAN but they were covered nicely in the thread below by Kimchee. She and Larry have some comments about their experiences at ROSAMARIA'S CAFÉ.
While Im likely to drop in to most of the restaurants from time to time, Ill probably be a regular at Hidden City Café which is my favorite. Red Pepper has some Hong Kong Chinese dishes Id like to explore further. Hotel Mac has interesting wine tastings for $5 that Ill be attending monthly.
Of the three markets, I prefer Santa Fe Market. They have a little of almost everything including those Rocky Junior Rotisserie chickens. There is a nice meat counter in back with an on site butcher. The bakery carries Acme and Semi Freddi bread. There are organic veggies.
Point Richmond Market is smaller and more organically oriented. They carry bread from Grace Bakery. I will give the markets and restaurants credit for having bread from good bakeries. Most of the rest of towns East of Berkeley thru Crockett serve the mediocre bread from Maggerio Bakery.
To me, the reason Spot Liquor exists is because they are open the longest hours in town and have a small bar attached to an average liquor store with a few groceries. The sign in the window said hot doges, chili and nachos. But the food is of the 7-11 style.
I thought the Point Bar and Restaurant was a long abandoned bar. One window is boarded up. However, they open on weekends and have a Karaoke night. Just peeked in but my guess is liquor and no food.
Im glad there was an inquiry on the board about Hidden City Café that led me to discover this surprising and charming little town.
POINT RICHMOND MARKET,
Corner of Washington and West Richmond, Phone: 510-233-9044
SANTA FE MARKET Corner of Washington and West Richmond, Phone: 510-234-2409
SPOT LIQUORS, 6AM to 1:45AM
Corner of Washington and Tewksbury, Phone: 510-232-6704
The post linked below should have been included in this thread
As long as I'm at it, this link should also be in the Point Richmond Recap:
Point Richmond - Salute e Vita
Little Louies actually has the best omelet Ive tried to date in the area east of Berkeley.
Nothing fancy, just perfectly made. The thin omelet just melded perfectly with the ingredients of artichokes, tomatoes, avocado and Monterrey jack cheese. The garlic home fries were standouts, soft pieces of potato with an orangey fresh garlic coating.
Lattes come in those big bowl like cups. The waitress said that the water was really very light lemonade. It was pleasantly lemony and not sugary.
There is a nice deli on one side serving sandwiches, soups, chili, salads, burgers, daily specials, bagels and house baked cookies. Although they dont make the other desserts, it is the only place in town to get little cheesecakes and tarts.
They have some hot sandwiches like Reubens and French dips. Theres a veggie burger and some fish burgers (salmon, tuna, mahi-mahi). Of the grilled chicken sandwiches my favorite is the Mill Valley made with brie.
Bread is from Semi Freddi.and there were some nice looking sandwiches on ciabbata. This would be a good place to pick up picnic supplies if going to near by Keller Beach.
Breakfast includes the usual waffles, pancakes, a few omelets and scrambles Many people ordered the Challah French toast. They make their own corned beef hash. There are eggs benedict as well as huevos rancheros and bagels and lox.
Monday Tacos and carnitas
Tuesday Penne and pasta
Wednesday Mesquite salmon
Thursday Steak sandwich
Friday Fish and chips
Next to the Deli there is a sunny, modern, comfortable restaurant with service. A few wines are available by the glass. Lovely paintings of yacht racing from the local Dewitt Gallery grace the walls. Alternating with the paintings are whimsical clocks. It is a good place to do some reading since a big basket holds current copies of magazines like Travel and Leisure, Travel and Wine, etc.
The service is a little inattentive and you have to ask for some things like coffee refills. People are pleasant though in bringing what you need when asked.
49 Washington Avenue
Monday Friday: 6 am 4 pm
Saturday Sunday: 7 am 3 pm
Full breakfast menu
Monday Friday: 6:30 am 10:30 am
Saturday Sunday: 7 am noon
Any thought of taking advantage of the $4.95 lunch special vanished when the waiter brought an order of the Sizzling House Special Beef to the next table.
Carrying a bowl and a hot cast iron skillet, he put the contents of to bowl on the skillet where it sizzled wildly, covered the food with the white bowl for about a minute to allow the sauce to cook a bit more, and then removed the bowl. The most delicious aroma filled the restaurant.
Ill have that, I said.
Great choice. Pat myself on the back. Pat my tummy in contentment.
The dish had the most tender pieces of beef tenderloin with onions, scallions, lots of black pepper and what looked like sesame seeds, but turned out to be minced fresh garlic. Trying to cut carbs, I didnt get rice, yet managed to scoop up every bit of the sauce from the dish.
This restaurant had the only Asian customers Ive seen to date anywhere in the Point Richmond area.
There was actually a pretty good house soup of the day, some sort of beef stock with lots of mushrooms, tofu, celery and other stuff. It was a little spicy too.
The potsticker wrappers were too thick, yet there was a certain hominess to them.
The restaurant seems to have Hong Kong style dishes and quite a bit of sea food.
The menu has Hong Kong Style crispy noodles and also Seafood fried rice with gravy, fuk-jin style (8.95). See link below. Under the Chow Fun section there are Braised E-Fu noodles. Looking these up on the web, I found this cool Asian noodle glossary:
It describes E-fu noodles as follows:
Long, flat pale yellow noodles made from a mixture of eggs and wheat flour. They are deep-fried until crisp, then sold in loose bundles. E-fu noodles are quickly dipped in boiling water to soften them, then added to soups, braised dishes, and cold appetizers.
Other places on the web said they are served at weddings and birthdays as a symbol of good fortune. Another site said they were named for a famous calligrapher, Yee Fu, who served them to his guests.
Sorry about the details that everyone else in the world must know, but this is new to me.
There are about a dozen clay pot dishes like
- bone-in chicken with Chinese sausage and black mushroom
- braised fresh oysters with ginger and scallion
- crab and pork in spicy sauce.
The sizzling platters have three different variations on the beef tenderloin (house special, black pepper, satay sauce). There is also sizzling chicken in black bean sauce, sizzling fresh oysters in either black bean or black peppers sauce, sizzling fresh scallops in black bean sauce or sizzling seafood platter.
Lots of seafood even pan-fried live Dungeness crab with minced pork and garlic.
There is braised shark fin in three different preparations
- with bamboo fungus and crab meat
- with crab meat
- with shredded chicken
Seasonally superior shark fin chowder was available. There are also abalone and sea cucumber dishes. The most interesting fish fillet to me is crispy fried cod in sweet corn sauce.
Sometimes I wonder about the menu translations. Is there such a dish as honey walnut prawns coated with mayonnaise? Delicious sounding clam and squid dishes were
- Thai style spicy sweet and sour fresh clams
- Pan fried fresh clams in ginger and scallions\
- Pan fried fresh calamari with spicy X.O. sauce
Interesting appetizers were minced pork in crystal lettuce wrap and one called rosy duck. Ok, I dont like duck, but I have to say I know that description is going to make me order it one of these days. Rosy duck. It sounds so pleasant. Im telling you some of those menu descriptions just get to me like the princess prawns or Hunan exotic prawns. Im a princess in a way and I also want some of those exotic prawns.
Complementary pot of Jasmine tea. However, for $1.75 you could get other tea (bags) like Peets pure Pacific northwest peppermint and Xios blend of peppermint, chamomile and rose hips.
Not fancy décor, but some nice brush drawings and an impressive Buddha shrine on the wall in back of the register. The lucky cat sat next to the register which also had and American flag. There were some shell art paintings. And, for some unknown reason, a few Seven Dwarf wine bottle holders. At the front of the restaurant, a there was a tank of goldfish swimming in some green water. There was pleasant Chinese Harp music playing in the background.
The restaurant had people dropping in for take out orders and about a half dozen people at lunch time. It always seems empty to me when I drive by. So I dont know at this point about how fresh the seafood is. However, I can highly recommend that sizzling beef.
Daily $4.95 Non-Asian lunch specials (with soup, fried won ton, rice, fortune cookie and tea):
Monday Mongolian chicken
Tuesday Sweet and sour pork
Wednesday Vegetables, Prawns and chicken
Thursday Broccoli beef
Friday Garlic Chicken
All the non Asians ordered these. I wanted to slap them. Didnt they see that terrific sizzling platter or smell that delicious soup at the table next to them?
The English is limited and I just might whip out my Chow passport here to get directed to some of the good dishes. The owner seemed to perk up when I asked for chopsticks.
TAMS RED PEPPER
130 Railroad Avenue
Monday - Saturday: 10:30 am - 9:30 pm
Sunday: 4:30 pm - 9:30 pm
With a minimum $25 dollar order, they will deliver in the area Monday - Saturday from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
They also "serve parties and buffet"
Sounds pretty good -- lots of "real" Chinese food there.
Yes, there's really such a dish as honey walnut prawns coated with mayo -- it's pretty common, so I'm surprised you haven't run across it. Depending on how much mayo they use, it can be very good (although very sweet and rich). Although it's clearly a "fusion" dish, it appears to be quite legitimate, in that I've seen it on set menus intended for Chinese customers (i.e., untranslated until I asked). Europeans/Euro-Americans add Asian ingredients to Western dishes, so I don't find it odd that Chinese chefs would incorporate Western ingredients.
Little China is basically standard Chinese food but well prepared, with some nice touches and a good value. The menu says no M.S.G. and low oil.
The only non standard dishes were Unagi B.B.Q eel, soft shell crab, cumin lamb and ginger and onion lamb. There were a few pork chop dishes like salt and pepper pork chop. A note on the menu said that other dishes were available on request. Condiments were house made and very good.
Lunch specials run from $4.95 - $5.50 and include the soup of the day, shredded cabbage with peanut sauce, a won ton drizzled with sweet and sour sauce, steamed broccoli, steamed rice, an orange quarter and an fortune cookie for dessert. A pot of Jasmine tea was complementary.
Steamed rice could be replaced with chow mein or fried rice for an additional fifty cents. For a dollar chicken, beef or pork could be added to the chow mein or fried rice. Adding shrimp was two dollars.
The honey walnut prawns were actually one of the better versions Ive tried of this dish. The prawns had a light tempura like coating and were sprinkled with sesame seeds. The sauce was light and not cloying or overly sweet. The fried rice was light and fresh tasting.
Skip the potstichers. The wrap was too thick and doughy, although they were nicely browned and not greasy.
The restaurant is very pleasant with white table cloths, lace curtains, and a black and white tile floor. It looks out the tree shaded Point Richmond town center.
Little China is always busy at lunch time with lots of people stopping in for take-out orders. They will deliver locally with a minimum $15 order.
Not a destination restaurant, but a great place to stop if you live or work in Point Richmond.
152 Washington Avenue
Monday Friday: 11am 9:30 pm
Saturday Sunday: 4pm 9:30 pm
Looking at the menu, it just looked like an average breakfast place with sandwiches. The view of the Marina in Point Richmond is lovely with a background of Mt Tamalpais, a little SF and some Oakland.
I had the soup of the day and the daily special.
The black eyed pea with sausage also had tomato, cubed carrots and celery. The kielbasa-like cubed sausage gave the soup a little spiciness.
The fillet of sole was pan-fried and had a golden spiced exterior. It came with grilled vegetable mix of zucchini, red onion and red and green bell peppers. In addition, there is a green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers in a light vinaigrette.
This is basically a sandwich shop, but the food rose above that level. Blue hydrangeas brightened each table. The restaurant seems to be run by a nice Latino family and has been in business for about 18 years.
There are tables outside on the deck in the back of the restaurant. If you sit in the right place you can see the Marina.
Breakfast is pretty standard, eggs, bacon, ham, pork links and chicken apple sausages. Omelets include cheese, ham and cheese, Denver, and spinach, mushroom and cheese. Theres also sourdough French toast, pancakes, granola and oatmeal. On the weekend eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine are added to the menu.
For lunch, the Rueben has house made corned beef and a quote next to it on the menu the best Ive ever had. The sandwiches are the basics: club, turkey, veggie, ham, tuna, BLT, grilled cheese and tuna melts.
There is a grilled hot dog and four types of burgers which include a blue cheese burger, mushroom swiss burger and turkey burger .Salads are chef, house and taco. There is also house made chili. Sides include homefries, potato salad and kettle chips. There are no fries.
It is a nice place for a sandwich and I enjoyed my lunch and the view.
Deli with Bay View and Deck
1210 Brickyard Cove
Monday Friday 8 am 3 pm
Saturday Sunday 9 am 3 pm
The sign says Asian-American. That means you can get burgers, edname, Korean sandwiches, tempura, fried onion rings, Reubens, cheese steaks, salads, quesadillas, bui go ki, grilled NY steak or bento boxes. Whew!
Surprisingly, there is a SF Chronicle review (link below)
I had the teriyaki salmon bento box, although shioyak (lightly salted mackerel) bento seemed more interesting. However, I know salmon and can judge the quality better on a known item than an unknown. Also, I wanted to try the gyoza potstickers without ordering it as an appetizer.
The bento box was fine. Nothing outstanding, but not bad. The Gyoza were a little greasy though so I wouldnt order them as an appetizers. There was a scoop of rice, a small green salad, dabs of things like a yellow pickled radish, some sort of egg thing, bean sprouts and cooked greens. Sometimes when you order the safe and familiar, perhaps its not the best choice. Id go back and try some of the other items.
They do have breakfast on Saturdays, but it is all American omelets, eggs, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches. I guess I was hoping for something Asian and I perked up every time I saw jack cheese. The menu has an odd text style so it looked like jook, This restaurant was Cafe Annie. Some of the breakfast dishes still carry that name.
The loose leaf green tea comes pre-brewed in a glass mug.
Some of the more interesting items were:
The soup of the day was Asian based with tofu
Korean sandwich sliced beef marinated in house sauce
Thin pig grilled ham, sautéed green onion, mushrooms, sour cream
Bui go ki (chicken beef or pork marinated in a house sauce)
Salmon stuffed avocado
A number of veggie items including stir frys with tofu
In-house oven roasted turkey sandwiches
Yuppie burger on rye or sourdough with sautéed mushrooms, green onion and sour cream
Teriyaki burger with bacon, pineapple and teriyaki sauce
California burger with Ortega chiles, bacon, avocado, sour cream and jack cheese
Again, there were lots of American standards like classic burgers, ham and cheese, grilled steaks, etc.
There are a few changes since the SF Chronicle review. The restaurants hours have been vastly scaled back. Breakfast is only served on Saturday. Dinner is no longer served, only lunch. I was told that Sushi and sashimi was no longer served because it was too expensive. While there are a few people at the restaurant for lunch, it is never crowded. For some reason, Point Richmond restaurants in general dont have an audience for dinner. Even Hidden City Café gave up serving dinner.
The review below describes the décor very well.
25 W. Richmond Ave
MON-FRI 11 am-2:30 pm.
SAT 9 am-2:30 pm.
I used to work nearby and this place was a favorite. If they have a soup on special, go for it! They make them fresh and they are out of this world. I don't know when you visited but the place was always busy when I went. The spicy fish tacos are the best I've had.
A word on Su-Zhou, I went a couple of times but was not impressed with anything except the size of the bill. Scoot down 580 to Daimo for much better food at a much better price.
The Hotel Mac was great the every time I ate there, good service, good food.
Little Louie's is popular with the local Chevron types and usually pretty good.
The Thai place was new but offered a good meal with a lot of vegetarian options.
Point Richmond is one of the undiscovered gems of the
Edibles makes its own pastrami and sauerkraut for the Rueben. The Rueben also has apples and bacon in it.
This restaurant is also a catering business. Everything is house made like fresh roasted turkey, meatloaf and roast beef. The soups are house made and the iced tea is fresh brewed, The owner was originally from Germany and there are a few German dishes on the mainly American menu.
German items include smoked pork chops, bratwurst, Weiner Schnitzel, a few German wines and two types of German Paulaner beer. The sausage and meats are from a German butcher in San Leandro (he only sells to restaurants unfortunately).
There are also some nice baked goods and pies from a local baker, Zoes cookies and other delights. The fresh peach pie today was, in fact, peachy. It WAS delightful and very home made tasting.
I had the Weiner Schnitzel which you can get as either a sandwich or a lunch plate. The lunch plate had a huge fried breaded pork fillet topped with gravy. It came with two scoops of mashed potatoes. The house made sauerkraut was very good and had bits of either diced pork or bacon and a bay leaf. It was like a good old fashioned haufbrau plate. Nothing fancy but hearty and well made. It was a real bargain at $7.50,
The owner says everything is fresh daily, The menu is a United Nations of choices,. There are pananii sandwiches, crepes and American standards like BLTs, Roast Beef and club sandwiches. That roast beef is made with house made slow roasted beef. The bacon is thick cut.
A sandwich called The Original has fresh roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and cream cheese.
There are some vegetarian options with organic produce. The grilled eggplant sandwich sounded the best of some good choices. It had mozzarella, tomatoes, red onions, greens, ginger, sesame and mayonnaise.
Breakfast items are standard omelets, pancakes, French toast, skillets and crepes.
There is a board of specials as also. The catering menu adds quiches, frittatas, lasagna, stuffed peppers, flank steak, prime rib, penne, aram sandwiches and tamale pie with corn bread to the sandwich and breakfast items at the restaurant. Some of these dishes were on the specials board.
It is a medium sized restaurant with a few side walk tables. The décor is pretty straight forward cafeteria,
It is amazing to me that such an ordinary looking place could have so many surprises. Ill definitely be back for that Rueben and fresh roasted turkey and meatloaf the roast beef with grilled onions sounds good too. Did I mention the melted mozzarella sandwich over coppa with olives, tomatoes, onions and pesto?
201 Tewksbury St.
Point Richmond, CA 94801
Forgot the hours. I know they close at 4pm on weekdays and are closed Sundays,
Just a few more notes after a few more visits.
While this is a mainly American menu, the German woman who runs this restaurant makes some reliable haufbrau food.
There is a nice fresh roast turkey dinner with house made stuffing chock full of giblets. It comes with whole berry cranberry sauce, two scoops of mashed potatoes and mixed veggies. The veggies seem to start out as canned peas and carrots that have whatever is fresh tossed in like zucchini, Italian flat beans, extra carrots or broccoli. The veggies are VERY cooked.
I liked the Rueben with the house made corned beef, house made sauerkraut and thin melted Swiss. I liked the fact that it wasnt overdone and you could eat it with your hands instead of a knife and fork. It was supposed to have applies in it, which was the main reason for ordering it, but I didnt see any. It was good though.
Meatloaf is solid and not my favorite. I am still thinking about the fact that you had a choice of sauerkraut or mashed potatoes. Im sorry I didnt go wild and try meatloaf with the heavy brown gravy and sauerkraut.
There are huge bowls of hand made soup. I do think of the Friday clam chowder as German clam chowder. It was really thick potato soup with clams.
There are daily specials
Monday Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday beef tips (like stroganoff)
Thursday chicken and dumplings
The huge portions and home cooking seem popular with the local refinery workers. This place is busy at lunch time. The owner is a very personable sometimes using English, German and Spanish in the same sentence. She always stresses everything is made fresh daily and that Nothing is older than I am.
The best part of Su Zhou was the lovely music by Gwen Sio who plays the Chinese harp on Friday nights from 6:30 9:30. The twentyish young woman, who played the harp with the concentration and skill of a symphony musician, made me a fan of this beautiful music and instrument.
A search of the web after eating here seems to indicate that Point Richmonds Su Zhou has very few dishes from the cuisine of Suzhou, a city near Shanghai.
Complementary kimchee (Really, kimchee? I asked).
Forbidden City Fries (yeah, I know)
Soft Shell Crab
Su Zhou vegetables
Tempura fried green tea ice cream (well, there IS also a sushi bar here, udon noodle soups and teriyaki.)
Talk about needing Chowhound. This is why I rarely eat Chinese food without a Chowhound print out or now the Chowhound guide clutched in my hands.
At the least, the San Francisco Chronicle review (link below) would have been useful because service was unhelpful, slow, inattentive, initially unfriendly and, at times, even creepy. When not waiting tables, the waitstaff stood in a line along the wall staring out at the restaurant. Its no fun having four people watch your every bite. The Chron review cites the awful service and excuses it as the new restaurant still having to train the staff. Three years later, they still are not trained.
And yet, I plan to go back and try a few more dishes I havent seen before. Primarily I want to try the Begger Chicken described as stuffed chicken with 8 treasures wrapped in clay and mud baked. The origin of that mud needs to be checked. This town is next to some major oil refineries.
They also have a page of specials that change every two weeks. The Long Life meat balls with bean curd, black mushroom, water chestnuts, onions ginger and chives sounded interesting.
Please talk me out of the Emperor mango roll unless that is anything anyone has ever heard of. The mango is what is appealing.
About those fries, the question of what appetizers were from the Suzhou region seemed to translate as what dishes are unique to this restaurant. They pointed to:
Steamed little dragon buns stuffed with bread and fresh meat
Forbidden City Fries, mile high fries with peppers and basil.
Really, I said. They serve fries in Suzhou? How about that, I was thinking. A region in China that has potatoes instead of rice. In fact, I dont ever remember seeing a potato in any Chinese restaurant unless it was a Chinese-American joint serving regular fries. Needless to say, a Google search turned up nothing on Hidden City Fries.
There was a warning that the fries were hot, as in spicy. The one forlorn sliver of jalapeño (are there jalapeños in Chinese cooking?) really didnt do its part to fire up the dish. There were a few slivers of red and green bell peppers. The basil must have been on vacation with the sushi chef because it wasnt on my plate.
Actually the potatoes were good. They were finely shredded and fried and filled the plate like a big airy birds nest. Sort of like wire thin deep fried hash browns, they were more like crispy noodles. They had a nice crunch and were not heavy.
The fried crab with a little ginger flavored cabbage and some chopped greens was fine if not exceptional. With the kimchee I was thinking cabbage was big in Suzhou the city. The kimchee was pleasantly bitter chopped cabbage with a mild spice. The dish holding it was a small bamboo bicycle with a basket attached. The cuteness set off some warning bells.
The tea was not free. It was 50 cents, served in a small, black cup that scalded the fingers. Initially they forgot to bring it. There was FINALLY a refill, but it was slow in coming.
The veggies were standard ordinary Chinese veggies with a little shredded fresh cabbage on the side.
If the ice cream were not Lapperts, I might have liked the tempura ice cream better. The tempura was not sweet, but had the texture like those shortcakes from Safeway. The outside was crispy. The large grapefruit-sized ball was cut in half exposing the green ice cream center.
There were totally unexciting liquor selections, one sake, Clos du Bois wine by the glass, Chinese beer and a few other beers.
The restaurant is nice enough with a long sushi bar on the wall next to the kitchen. On the other wall is a bar for drinking. Chinese antiques are displayed on the brick wall of the restaurant area.
The two different restaurants, Chinese and Japanese, actually work well side by side. It is like having nicely decorated mini Asian food mall.
The link to the Chronicle review below has a good description of the Japanese menu and a nice description and background on the restaurant.
On a Friday evening, only four tables were occupied. Almost everyone had children and I think it was a cultural attraction of the Chinese harp music that brought families in. By 8pm I was the only person in the place and I was lingering because of the music.
Not one customer was Asian. In fact, there were no Chinese characters on the menu, only English. There is probably no hidden Chinese menu since Ive never seen a Chinese customer near the restaurant Maybe next time, Ill amuse myself by whipping out my Chow passport just to see what happens.
The Chronicle, Contra Costa Times and Marin Independent Journal all gave favorable reviews when the restaurant opened. The Chron does say it is pretty standard Chinese food with a few exceptions. However I wonder if restaurants like this get worn down by being located in the suburbs and then start accommodating the menu to the area.
More about Suzhou the city
Real Suzhou cuisine
199 Park Place and West Richmond
Phone: (510) 236-2118
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. 7 days a week.
The $8.50 Blue Plate on Thursdays is Corned Beef and Cabbage. There were three large thick slabs of fork-tender corned beef without a spec of fat. A little fat on corned beef is a good thing, but this meat was perfect without it.
A few sweet carrots, one small skinned red potato and cabbage came with the corned beef. The veggies were nicely done and not over or under cooked. The baguette served with lunch was dry and was avoided after two bites.
There is no dessert menu, but a dessert tray is brought out with standards like a good looking cheesecake, slices of tarts and cakes. The small bread pudding baked with blueberries was served hot in a bowl of thick vanilla sauce. The pudding had a nice touch of lemon in it. The desserts are house made by the managers wife.
It is solid standard American fare. Probably the best things to order would be the basics like pot roast or flatiron steak. The lamb chops with artichokes and cheddar mashed potatoes at another table looked very good. The Hotel Mac and Cheese can be ordered with pancetta.
Many people were ordering the burgers and fries. The Pennington Burger was ground sirloin with bleu cheese, hickory bacon, Dijon mustard and Horseradish sauce
There is a wine cellar in the hotel and two pages of mid-priced wines. On Friday all bottled wines are 50% off. They have a special Winemaker dinner every few months with a featured winery. One Tuesday a month there is a wine tasting evening with the opportunity to sample about 20 wines for $5.
In addition to the standard ports and sherries there were some from California wineries like Ficklin, Geyser Peak and Kunde, For a dessert wine I tried the Beringer Nightingale a sauterne type of sweet wine made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semilion. It was a little too sweet for my tastes and I would not order it again.
There were more than a dozen different varieties of tequilas, vodkas and single malt scotches. Two of the vodkas were from Poland (Shakespeare and Pravada). There was Vodka from Denmark (Fris) and one from France (Ciror). The 18 single malt scotches were identified as Highland, Islay, Acran, Speyside and Orkney. I want to try the least expensive one some day just because of the name Sheep Dip.
The only disappointment was the award winning mojito. It won my award as the worst mojito Ive ever tried. Served in an Old Fashion glass, a layer of chopped mint with some brown spots sank to the bottom and was buried by ice cubes. The weak drink tasted like little more than mint flavored water. Avoid it.
A fire gutted the hotel in 1971 and it was renovated in 1978 to look like the original Hotel. The Mac opened in 1911 and was called The Colonial Hotel. It served dinners to Standard Oil boarders.
It was renamed The Mac when a former Claremont Hotel manager, M.V McAfee, turned it into a destination restaurant. The menu says that Dunkin Hines said it had the best food in the country. Who knew there was a real Dunkin Hines? Given the products his name is attached to, Im not sure if this is a good thing. However, maybe someday people will say the same about products with the name Wolfgang Puck. Anyway, the hotel went into a decline after World War II.
It has three dining levels, the bar downstairs, a back dining room with stained glass windows (picture on website) on the second level and a dining room on the third level. Think of Sams and Tadich in terms of décor. There is a nice stamped metal ceiling.
In addition to the Blue Plate Special at lunch there are nightly specials. On Mondays dinners are 25% to 50% off. So the $16 pot roast is $8, the chicken Marsala is five dollars cheaper at $13.50, lamb chops are $18, not $26, etc.
Tuesday is the Managers Surprise. Some Appetizers are 50% off on Wednesday, There are martini specials at the Thursday night happy hour. On Sunday there is a Lobster and Prime Rib Special,
There are special events and holiday celebrations throughout the year. In March they had a single malt tasting and dinner. They not only have a Halloween celebration, but they have an even one for the Day of the Dead. Currently there is summer kick-off with Caribbean-oriented drink and food specials like jerk Pork Chops, mango sorbet, and a Pina Colada martini (yikes).
Heres the link to the menu. The special event button has all the events for the year including Wine tasting Tuesdays and the Winemaker Dinners. The picture is of the second floor dining area.
Hotel Mac Restaurant and Bar
50 Washington Avenue,
Point Richmond, CA 94801
Monday Friday 11:30 2:30
Monday Thursday 5:30 9
Sunday 4:30 - 8
Friday Saturday 5:30 9:30
The link below has the schedule of the Hotel Mac wine tastings, winemaker dinners and other special events.
This Tuesday the following wines can be sampled from 5 7 pm
This month is a tasting of alternative whites. Other months there will be;
Champagnes & Sparkling Wines
ALTERNATIVE WHITES BEING SERVED TUESDAY
Pinot Gris Bodega Larton 2004 Argentina
Chenin Blanc Ballentine 2004 Napa
Viognier Consillence 2003 Santa Barbara
Pinot Gris McMurray Ranch 2004 Russion River
Riesling Trefethen 2003 Napa
Vernaccia di Sangimiano 2003 Terrazz y Puthod
Alluvium Blanc Beringer 2002 Napa
Semillion St. Michelle 2001 Washington
Pinot Gris St. Michelle 2002 Washington
Pinot Grigio Estancia 2004 Monterey
Vendemia White Murrietas Well 2002 monterey
Voignier Wild Horse 2003 Santa Barbara
Pastiche Joseph Phelps 2001 Napa
Conundrum Caymus 2003 Napa
Ariadne Clos Du Vai 2001 Napa
White Jest 2003 Sonoma
Serenity Brassfield 2003 Lake County
Red truck White, Cline 2003 Sonoma
Menage A Trois, fOLIEa Deux 2003 Napa
Cuvee Blanc Rosenblum 2004 California
Evolution Sokol Blosser 2003 Oregon
My friend, who lives in Pt. Richmond, persistently brags that it's "the most desirable neighborhood in the Bay Area." We always laugh, and tickle her a good one. But, by this thread and the responses, you're making it sound like she could well be correct. Thanks for another fine investigative report.
I work nearby and eat in Pt. Richmond for lunch, but I'm a seafood-veggie eater only (don't eat beef, chicken, pork).
Kao Sarn is a good Thai restaurant. It must be run by the same owners as Bua Luang on Solano Avenue, because they have the same menu. Their " house specialities" are good (but a little pricey $9-12). One of my favorites is the Avocado Jumbo Prawns - chargrilled shrimp with fresh unseasoned steamed veggies and peanut sauce with avocado slices. The grilled marinated prawns are divine and also show up in some other dishes there as well. Small curry puffs are a good app. Like a samosa, but smaller (4 per order) and served with cucumber sauce. My co-workers are always fans of the Panang Beef special as well as the Basil Duck. Curries are tasty (except the pumpkin always seems to be undercooked). You get a free small salad (iceberg, raisins, corn, cabbage, carrots & sweet creamy dressing) with your dine in meal. Also, they have a separate vegetarian menu. Can see the Bua Luan menu at the menu page webiste:
Rosamaria's is healthy mexican food and it tastes like it. No lard or fryers, no refried beans. Unfortunately, the chips are not homemade. The salsas are mediocre (pico de gallo-like mild, green medium, red hot). I like the quesadillas because they are light as air and not greasy. 4 crisp triangles with not too much cheese, I get the grilled shrimp (marinated in citrus, garlic, and scallions). The guac always tastes too limey. They offer a rotating variety of 1 vegetarian tamale everyday. Salads are not exciting, burritos just OK, enchiladas have a pretty good homemade sauce. They have mexican hot chocolate and agua frescas (but it always seems to be horchata - even in this great fruit season). The owner is nice and is always around serving and cooking. A great bright space with Latin and surf decor, magazines to read.
Cafe Altura is OK. I like to eat on the small back patio on nice days. The falafel is poor - gummy and green (not fried or not fried enough?). The greek salad is good and I like the salmon special when they have it, which consists of poached or grilled salmon, salad of choice, and bread for $6. Basic mediterranean fare, but not even close to the league of Truly Mediterranean.
Hotel Mac got voted Best Mojito in the East Bay last year by the East Bay Express, butI've never eaten there.
It looks as if something might finally be happening to the Baltic restaurant and pub, which claimed it was going to be undergoing renovation for the last year. They have a great back patio. Noticed a change of onwership for the liquor license.
Crossing my fingers for El Molcajete restaurant on Marina Bay Parkway, the new mexican restaurant opening soon, but not soon enough. The kitchen looks to be about 1/2 done.
Amini's by the Bay (small market with deli) at the marina is good for picnic goodies (deli sandwiches, wine, and great seasoned air-baked curly fries - so good you won't believe they're air-baked). Small patio tables to watch the boats or bask in the sun.
Basically I find much of the food in Point Richmond to be just OK. I would recommend expanding your dining choices to
-Richmond's authentic mexican restaurants
-El Cerrito (Ba Le for $2 vietnamese sandwiches, Best Burrito, and many Thai choices like Sa Wa Dee or Krung Thep)
-the Pacific East Mall for a variety of Asian dining and groceries
-or hopping on the highway to Gilman St. area (Picante, Lalimes)
Thanks so much for the recommendations and saving me some money and legwork.
Great tip about the seasoned air baked curly fries at Amini's by the Bay. I actually walked in there and it didn't look like much. In fact it didn't even look worthwhile enough to take advantage of the view. I'll take a look again.
I am more familiar with Berkeley than this immediate area. So far I am THRILLED with Hidden City Cafe. Saves that trip down San Pablo Avenue.
Thanks to for the Kao Sarn and menu link.
Other than Portumex, is there any other Richmond Mexican restaurant you might suggest.
It was no nice of you to take the time to post. It is really helpful.
Suzhou sounds interesting, though the juxtaposition of Japanese food would queer the experience for me. Those are typical Suzhou dishes that you pointed to. Suzhou is a lovely city, the home of famous classical gardens, silk-and-bamboo music and lisping maidens.
"Above is heaven; on earth, Suzhou and Hangzhou."
BTW I like your new nom d'écran and the fact that you are more diligently using your spell checker. Keep it up!
Hidden City Café can match any of the top breakfast spots in San Francisco or Berkeley. It also serves lunch. Chef and co-owner Shellie Bourgault, once worked at Chez Panisse. The food is simply prepared using top notch ingredients. There is a small core of standard dishes, but order the specials that change weekly.
The Hobbs Genoa salame, mizuna, roasted red pepper, and goat cheese sandwich on lightly toasted buttery slices of Metropolis bread included truffle oil and generous shavings of Pecorino Romano cheese. It was a perfect balance of textures and flavors. Mizuna is a Japanese green that has a taste similar to a mild mustard green. It reminded me of the type of sandwich that Desiree serves.
It came with spring greens, delicious radish slices, thinly sliced crisp cucumbers and a lovely light herb vinaigrette. Instead of salad there is the option of soup, which was gumbo on Sunday.
The white peach / strawberry shortcake had the most elegant whipped cream that was like eating lightly sweetened clouds. A scone-like biscuit was cut in half and filled with whipped cream, deeply flavored strawberries and skin-on sweet white peaches which had touch of acidity.
I slow down when eating food of this quality to savor each bite. By the end of the brunch I was almost purring with contentment.
The blue corn meal pancakes with strawberries looked amazing. The Huevos Rancheros with salsa and black bens had a huge link of chorizo. The falafel sandwich with raita looked excellent.
On the regular menu, the Quatre Epice French Toast with real maple syrup is on my must try list. The restaurant is known for its pancakes and the pillowy thick pancakes looked fabulous.
Most of the items are non fussy breakfast things like omelets, scrambles and pancakes. There was also polenta scrapple and an Atkins scramble.
The smooth coffee, served in satisfyingly large white mugs, is Maxs Blend from McLaughlin Coffee in Emeryville. The staff is always circling to make sure cups are filled.
The Banana Millet bread is two thick toasted pieces of light yet buttery banana bread with lots of millet to give it a pleasant crunchiness. There was not a heavy banana taste as you would get from a denser banana bread, I like more banana flavor, yet very much enjoyed the delicate texture.
There was nothing particularly special about the omelet, but it was well done and satisfying. Home fries were very lightly salted chunks of browned potatoes.
The house made foccacia reminded me of Linguiria. It had the same thickness. It was cut in half, spread with lots of butter and had char marks from the grill. It had a slight sweetness. The foccacia smelled and tasted like it had some corn meal in it.
A blackboard had a half dozen glasses of wine priced at $5, mostly Rosemont. There was also Piazanno Rio Camerata Chianti.
The desserts for the week, whiskey cake, pecan pie and pineapple upside down cake, were also listed on the blackboard.
Almost as important as the food, the service was big city quality. These were pro servers. That is harder to find the further you get from the metro area.
Hidden City Café is the perfect melding of small town charm with big city polish. You enter the small restaurant through a screen door. The high ceiling and large windows facing the tree lined square make the space seem larger. There are two round window tables, a total of seven booths on either wall, a counter with four benches and five tables for two down the center of the restaurant. The tables can be pushed together for larger groups.
Bud vases on each table sprouted bouquets of peonies, daisies and roses.
It has the cozy feel of a country kitchen crossed with a arty coffee shop. The furniture has a rustic distressed wood look. A wooden shelf runs the length of one brick wall. Under the shelf, copper pots and cookie cutters hung between unframed canvas paintings, On top were little household odds and ends like cookie jars, vases, dishes, egg cups, lots of roosters, a ceramic turkey gravy bowl, a clock and paintings. My favorites were a Pillsbury Doughboy tea pot, and a box game called Fast Food Franchise.
The link below has an old SF Chronicle review.
Hidden City Cafe
109 Park Place
PHONE: (510) 232-9738
Tuesday-Friday: Breakfast 7:30-11:15 a.m.Lunch 11:30a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: Brunch 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
The Chron says it is difficult to find. It is not the restaurant that is the problem, it is Point Richmond. IGNORE online maps AND the I-580 signs for Point Richmond which take a convoluted route, There are Three ways to get there easily,
1.If you are familiar with the Richmond Parkway, follow it to the end, You will see a gas station at the Quality Inn. This is Garrad. Take a right. At the end of Garrad, take a left, Head to the town.
2.If you are familiar with Cutting Blvd, follow it to the end. At the gas station it turns into Garrad. Keep going straight to the end. Take a left and head to the town.
3.From I-580 take the CANAL street exit, NOT the Richmond PKWY/ Pt Richmond Exit. Head toward the Bay, You will see the gas station with the Quality Inn, Take a right, go to the end, take a left and head to the town.
Thanks for the update. I used to work in that area and frequented Hidden City often in its first year. It was always a welcome respite from the commute to stop in for their excellent breakfast and I have to say that their Niman Ranch burger was one of the best ways to get your hands dirty and appetite satisfied. Great to know they're still going strong after all these years.
There was only coconut cream pie today.
The unusually dense custard was chock full of coconut and topped with toasted coconut. The taste was unusual and then a light went on. It was flavored with rum. It was coconut rum pie. It tasted very much like the fillings you get in Italian cakes that have rum custard.
The thin crust was just sturdy enough to contain the filling. The coconut seemed fresh grated because of the long irregular size. The whipped cream didnt add a lot to the piece though. It was that standard coffee shop type of whipped cream, the type that might be found on a Dennys pie. But the pie was house made and this seems like a place to keep an eye out for the pie.
This is the simplest of burger joints. There are burgers, dogs and sandwiches like grilled cheese, tuna, BLT and ham.
If you get the burger, ask for grilled onions. Otherwise the burger comes with a thick slice of white onion, tomato, lettuce and mayo. It is served in a paper-lined plastic basket. Other condiments are on the table. It is a good sized burger, classically done.
Onion rings, fries, chips and chili are also available. The fried fish sandwich was popular on my visit. Beverages include soft drinks, milk, OJ, shakes, coffee, tea and cocoa.
There are simple breakfast items like omelets, eggs, hotcakes and breakfast sandwiches.
There was a steady stream of traffic from locals and nearby workers. Its the kind of the place where everyone knows each other by name.
It is the type of burger joint you go to on a summer vacation. In fact, if you walk through the tunnel down the street you will come on a grassy seaside park with tree shaded picnic areas that has one of the most spectacular views of the SF Bay. The restaurant has a picnic table outside, looks out on an old baseball field and is pleasantly shaded by a huge tree.
Searching around on the web, Im sorry I didnt get the hot dog. The link at the end by a local resident says the Miller dog is quartered and lightly grilled and served on a toasted burger bun with the same condiments as the burger lettuce, onion, mayo, tomato. It says they are so good they're almost a sacrament.
Great American Hamburgers & Pie Co.
35 E. Richmond
Pt. Richmond, Ca 94801
It is located across the street from the Richmond Municipal Natatorium.
I had lunch at Great American Hamburgers today and for me it's a mixed bag. The burgers are a commercial patty they buy and then fry well done. For that type, they're quite good, but don't expect fresh ground cooked-your-way burgers. I also ordered my burger-joint staple, onion rings. There was nothing resembling an onion to be found in those rings. They were just commercial pulverized-or-whatever rings and not worth eating. I had a very good piece of apple pie with a very good crust. On the whole, if I'm going to have my infrequent burger ration, it will be at a place with better burgers and real onion rings.
Sorry if it seemed that the burger was anything but what I mentioned, a classic grilled burger. It is along the lines of a joint like Red Onion. Better than a Fast Food burger, but definately not specialty meat. I'm not a fries/onion ring person, so glad I didn't waste the calories.
I would expect the same of breakfast. Better than Dennys, but if you are looking for Bette's, this isn't the place. Breakfast is probably along the Red Onion lines as well. Actually, if when I think about it this places IS almost identical to Red Onion, but the pie was better.
Wish I had been there for the apple pie though. I think that may be the thing that this place does really well. I don't order lots of cream pies, but I know apple pie and would be able to give a solid thumbs up or down.
I am wondering about that hot dog though. Thanks for the report back.