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Apr 18, 2007 02:30 PM

Best Food in Old Oakland

I just moved to the Old Oakland area and would like to learn about the dining scene there. Went to Le Cheval today and was very disappointed with both the food and service. You get so much more bang for the buck at a place like the Slanted Door. I've also tried Breads of India, which I enjoyed. Please send your recommendations. Thanks.

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    1. In addition to that thread Robert linked, you should also do searches for the multitude of threads on Oakland Chinatown, which is only a few blocks away, directly on the other side of Broadway from Old Oakland.

      1. you've got a fantastic deli in Ratto's not just for sandwiches but for a whole sleuth of oils/spices etc. and of course the farmers market on a Friday is one of the better ones around.

        Tamarindo Antojeria is a pretty good place for a MExican meal or you could venture down to Mexicali Rose for a different type of Mexican food (but just as satisfying).

        My only other recomemdation (and I've only down brunch there) would be cock-a-doodle cafe (is that its name?. another Mexcian inspired menu, but its pretty good

        14 Replies
        1. re: rob133

          Thanks everyone. Those are great suggestions!

          1. re: rob133

            Have you been to Ratto's in recent years? I used to shop there regularly but after they split off more than half the space to make what's now Rex they cut the deli selection by 80-90%, dropping most of the hard-to-find items that bought me there.

            Oriental Lucky Mart at 535 8th has some really unusual stuff.

            The farmers market has good prices on conventionally grown Asian produce (which you can find in Chinatown seven days a week), but overall it's pretty mediocre.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I've only been to Ratto's in recent years, but it is still a decent store in my eyes. I'm willing to admit I don't know all the alternatives as I've only been in the area a few years.

              1. re: rob133

                It's a definitely still a good resource for the neighborhood.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Exactly: it's still a very decent place, but it isn't the "legend" it once was. My mom has sometimes shared fond memories she has of going to Ratto's while growing up, and she described a crowded, bustling place, with many different languages being spoken around the store, and all sorts of interesting goods. I haven't been by in awhile, but no memory I have of Ratto's is really like that.

                  1. re: shortexact

                    It was still like at least some days ten years ago. They had a lot of things I never saw elsewhere and haven't found since. Very interesting conversations among people in line about how they were going to use the things they were buying.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      You know, you're right actually. After I wrote that post, I thought back further in my head to when I was a kid (pretty much 10 years ago, as you said), and even then, it was much better than now. I think I've let some of my disappointment cloud those earlier memories. Also, there was a period where for some reason we didn't go much at all. Then, when we did return, it was a really stark contrast.

                      Oh, well, they still have good stuff. I don't want to discourage people from going, as it would be really sad if they closed. As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any immediate danger of that, though.

                      1. re: shortexact

                        I like the Old Oakland Farmer's Market a lot.

                        If you are looking for good prepared food they have a bunch of vendors.
                        I've only tried DiBrova which has excellent sausages. They are also near the live music which can be good at times. So you can eat your hot dog and enjoy the music.

                        Ok, I have taken home Roli Roti. There's a Filipino food booth that I think sells at Temescal and has had some good mentions there. There a BBQ place from Los Banos selling tri-tip and strawberry shortcake. All Star tamales gets major thumbs up on the board.

                        So on Friday's it might be worth your while to wander down this way on Friday for lunch.

                        There are some good bakeries if you need a baked good for breakfast.

                        Actually they have quite a few of the vendors that show up at Ferry Plaza ... and they don't face the FP restrictions so you'll see them sell items that you can't get at FP. Red River Smokehouse of Princeton has some of the best smoked fish in the Bay Area.

                        Other excellent vendors Yerena Farms is an organic farmer from Watsonville selling strawberries. Twin Boys is one of my favorite Bay Area farmers. They have some sort of connection with Margarita Farm in the past ... relative or former co-owner ... don't remember, but my favorite salad mix with flowers. Hamada makes me happy as they were one of my favs at Ferry Plaza.

                        I like Stackhouse Orchards for their excellent dried fruit and stone fruit during the summer. Quite a few more vendors move in during the summer.

                        Speaking of summer the Brewery has summer programs where there are outdoor movies and music.

                        Hope you will report back and keep us updated on the area restaurants.

                        1. re: rworange

                          Like what? I'm interested.... what types of items are vendors not allowed to sell at FP?

                          1. re: chemchef

                            Hamada usually has the most. I'm blanking on specifics here and it is true of Hamada at the other markets and other FP vendors that sell elsewhere.

                            The only specific example I can think of was the first time I learned of the FP policy. One FP vendor was selling some soulfully-flavorful tomatoes ... next week ... nada. When I asked if they were out, they said no. That particular week there were a lot of tomato vendors so other farmers were told not to bring any.

                            When I was cruising the South Bay farmers markets Hamada had things that they were restricted from selling at FP. So it is just a matter of looking around and what is in season. I'll report when I see unusual stuff .. .but I go early in the morning and it's the kind of stuff where there aren't large quantities.

                            1. re: rworange

                              I too, go early in the morning.

                              How did you find out about the FP policy? It doesn't seem consistent with their market, since I've shopped there year 'round and during tomato season, for instance, there is a plethora of vendors selling tomatoes. It doesnt' seem to be limited in any way. I'm not doubting what Hamada told you, but I'd just like to know more about this.

                              1. re: chemchef

                                Wasn't Hamada. It was another vendor who usually doesn't sell veggies. I didn't want to single out that vendor because who knows what Ferry Plaza management is like.

                                However, that was the summer I was unhappy with the move. So in addition to shopping at Ferry Plaza I started checking out the other Bay Area farmers markets. And sure, enough, vendors at Ferry Plaza who were at other markets were carrying things they don't sell at FP. The answer to the quesiton "why not at FP" was always the same.

                                Now the majority of the stuff was prepared food like jellies or condiments. However some fruit vendors were selling other produce and visa versa.

                                On the flip side, FP always got the primo produce so sometimes the other markets had sent some of the good stuff to FP or, if it was a Sunday market, they had already sold out of something there on Saturday.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  It's not just Ferry Plaza. I asked the Primavera people why they didn't sell their pork tamales at the Berkeley market and they said it was due to some market policy.

          2. Siam Bay, next to Le Cheval, is solid Thai food. The seafood curry served in a steamed kabosha pumpkin (listed on the specials menu, if it's available) is usually very tasty.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jillyju

              Really? I've rarely heard good things about it here. And every time I try to drag coworkers there (a lunch buffet with all the curry you can eat?) they resist.

              1. re: merle

                My vague recollection is that I learned about Siam Bay here on Chowhound, but I can't say for sure. A quick search didn't show too much, except for this which was very positive:


            2. For those who have been to both, how does the Oakland Breads of India compare to the branch in Berkeley?

              1 Reply
              1. re: shortexact

                I haven't tried it. What I'd like to know is if any had the Coorgi Roast Pork at any of the BOI. Anyone have it at the Berkeley or Oakland location?

                Besides the already mentioned there:

                Caffe 817
                Pacific Coast Brew Pub
                Jesso's Seafood