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Mar 15, 2007 11:26 AM

Quick bite in El Cerrito?

I have about 1/2 hour to grab dinner in El Cerrito and don't know the area very well. I'll be in the vicinity of San Pablo Ave between El Cerrito Plaza and Central Ave. Any suggestions? I know there is a Trader Joe's in the plaza and would rather not pick something up there. Thanks!

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  1. Half an hour limits choices. There's Chef's Chinese, Louisiana Fried Chicken, and Rubio's Mexican in El Cerrito Plaza. There's also Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ across the street (San Pablo) from Pier One Imports.

    1. you could grab a tasty and cheap bahn mi (vietnamese sandwich) or a bowl of noodles from Ba Le just a block North from Central Ave - on San Pablo Ave. - in the Peppermint Mini Mall. they have one or two small tables but it's mainly take out....or there is a Nation's Hamburger right on Central & San Pablo - strawberry pies might be coming in right now?

      1 Reply
      1. re: gordon wing

        I really like the bahn mi from Ba Le but I think the place closes at six. I was going suggest the Junket in the plaza, but I see that it closes at six too. (El Cerrito is such a happening place.) I'd probably get fish tacos at Rubio's.

      2. In the mall there is also a lovely Panda Express or Macaroni Grill - both chains, of course. For true dining experience in one-half hour I don't think you will find too much. You can also go into Albertsons and select from their deli section. I think the most interesting suggestion so far has been the Waikiki Hawaiian Barbecue.

        1. Why not grab something at the Pacific East Plaza which is at Central and Pierce (towards the freeway and bay)... It's relatively fast and good food at almost any one of the restaurants you choose.

          1. Up the street from the Plaza is FatApples. great American diner food ... a little wine and a nice bakery. In the El Cerrito Plaza go to StoneCold Creamery ... take a right on that street and follow it to the end. (maybe 8 blocks). There is FatApples.

            There's a counter or you can do take-out.

            The Junket is a little German Deli in the Plaza but they close early ... 5 or 6. You can get a great German beer served in the correct beer glass and a sandwich or nice German frankfurters with potato salad. You can even get a glass of that green german beer.

            I would choose Big Al's Burgers over Nation's. Big Al's is on the corner of the block the plaza is in a half a block from Wells Fargo Bank.

            That Louisiana chicken can be merely ok or really, really bad. The Rubio's is one of the worst I've ever been to ... but it has been a few years and I refuse to darken their door again.

            Instead of Panda Express the better (tho not great either) Chinese option is Chef's Chinese. I'd pick FatApples over Macaroni Grill which is mediocre and pricy at best.

            The Junket and Chef's Chinese are near Trader Joe's in the plaza.

            I haven't been, but someone whose food opinion I respect really likes Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ

            2 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              I agree with most of your suggestions... but I would also add Pasta Pomodoro. I know its a chain, but I feel that that particular location has great service and the food's always been decent when my husband and I have gone. Good value.

              1. re: chemchef

                Yeah, I agree. Out of all the chains in that plaza, pasta pomedoro is the best option. I like it.