New job in downtown Oakland, looking for lunch places
that's right, i managed to unstick myself from the powerful adhesive that is graduate school and went and got myself a "real job".
turns out that job is in oakland, a place i know nothing about, and have only visited previously to use the airport; oh, and one purposefully forgotten raiders-steelers game :(
i work at 20th and harrison, have limited time for lunch and will be on foot, but am willing to spend my time walking to a great place and back for worthwhile takeout to eat at my desk!
so far i've eaten at the whole foods, a few sandwich places across the street and golden lotus (veggie vietnamese). these are the places on my short list to try out:
phnom penh house
what am i missing? and what should i order/avoid there?
thanks in advance!!
welcome to my world. Unfortunately, the best options (a few of which are on your list) are a bit of a walk from 20th and Harrison, so be prepared to get a bit of exercise! ...
I am not a Pho 84 fan: the food is ok to good, but it can be crowded at lunch. Ba Vo has similar food (I thought they were owned by same people) but some dishes are noticeably better (particularly their Pho Ga, which is very good). Binh Minh Quan on 12th near Webster is a long time favorite; lots of posts to search. In the other direction (and a bit closer to you, perhaps) is the long closed Vo's (at Grand and Webster) which is getting ready to reopen any day now, and is (well, was) comparable to Ba Vo food wise, in my experience.
One of my Chinatown favorites that is not on your list is New Gold Medal. Delicious roast meats.
I also like Cafe Madrid, a bocadillos place at 20th and Broadway
For me, Luka's is more of a afterwork place than a lunch spot. Try it on Monday afternoon for $1 oysters.....
And you should also check out Rico's. I have only been once or twice since my original report:
most because my cholesteral can't handle it more often, but it is a great option for diner food. A burger and a shake there: highly recommended!
In addition to being a good walk from OPs location, it is very, very crowded, very very noisy, service is haphazard and the food is mediocre, IMO. However, I have had to go there now and then for work events, and I do have to say, they have a nice drinks menu (assuming it is the sort of work function where one can drink): so if you do find yourself having to go there, try a ginger cosmo!
Cafe Madrid is only a couple of blocks from you and across the street from me, at 20th and Broadway in the old I. Magnin department store building. It's quite good and verrrry pleasant for lunch. The owner/manager? is friendly and accommodating. He gives tastes of different types of chorizo for example so you can choose ingreds for a sandwich.
The coffee is also quite good. I love to eat lunch there and read my book. The gazpacho is also tasty - it's pureed.
Luka's is great for soup and delicious catfish sandwiches. Crowded and noisy at lunch and they'll often put you in the hideous side room , painted black and with big, backless stools and little round, nightclubby tables.
Dai Ten is a fairly blah Japanese place on the corner of 19th and Webster. Okay for bento box lunch. Nothing spectac.
I agree with the pans of Le Cheval. Food has gone waaay downhill and it's far away from you.
I've had very good turkey sandwiches from Fat Cat Cafe on Telegraph between 17th and 18th. They actually COOK TURKEY and ask if you want some dark meat. Rolls are blah.
Again, I lovvvvvvve Cafe Madrid.
Some folks like the Louisiana Chicken place on B'way just before Grand. I've had pretty good chicken and pretty lousy chicken from there.
Welcome to Oaktown!
I work in your area and I'm always complaining about the poor lunch options around here. Which is why I often bring lunch from home.
But other than the ones you mention, my other go to places include:
1) Don Day, a Korean place on the way to Chinatown at 14th and Webster. They sell Korean inspired burritos for $4.99. http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200... It's not bad and you can eat in or take out. If you want regular burritos, everyone goes to Happy Burritos on Webster close to 19th and 18th Streets. (You'll see the line out of this non-descript place at the peak of lunch hour.)
2) I often walk all the way to Chinatown for things, including the Vietnamese sandwiches at Cam Huong on Webster between 10th and 9th Streets. Also on 10th Street are a couple of pho places: Pho Hoa Lao II is the more popular and the newer one is Kim Huong at 10th and Harrison. Here's my comparison: http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200... Also on that street is Shan Dong Noodle House that has Shanghai dumplings.
In terms of places nearby, there's a rotisserie place that I can't recall the name of. It's on 19th Street between Webster and Franklin near a shoe store. It has a salad bar and also sell rotisserie chicken plates. Not bad, but a bit pricey. Things seem fresh though.
Three miles might just be outside of my walking radius for lunches. ;-)
It is too bad that the place that took over Vi's was taken over by Rang Dong, because their pho had been incredible. Rang Dong isn't bad, but given the distance I stick with Phuong Nam, which is at least consistently decent (and sometimes quite good). For pho ga, I agree with Susan about Ba Vo being tops. In terms of taste I would put Pho 84 near the top, but the noise and insane lines keep me out of there. It is not worth being broiled and having a headache when I stagger back into work just for good pho.
they have a lamb hot pot for $16 (small, almost enough for 2) and $22 or $23 for a large. the lamb pieces were fatty and bony but as the broth condensed, it became more flavorful and it was fun digging out the meat from the lamb chunks. only found a few shreds of ginger and a tiny mushroom in the broth. a few years ago jon kauffman in the east bay express reviewed, favorably, a goat hot pot at this place but they no longer have it.
here's a video of the hotpot:
My husband loves the Cam Huong bahn mi and also often either buys them on the way to work or walks there for lunch.
Also, next door to Cam Huong is Shanghai Restaurant which, imnsho, has the best won ton soup around. Fresh and delicious. They make it all there.
Down on Washington between 9th and 10th is Cafe 817. Quite a walk but really good for breakfast or lunch. Highly reccoed.
According to SF Mag (a copy of which I "borrowed" from my landlady since she doesn't live here and never takes it out of the mailbox) Oakland is the latest "happening" city and several new places are opening.
20th St is a toughie, there are a bunch of possibilities in Chinatown but as posters have already noted it's a bit of a walk. One thing nobody has mentioned is Pacific Coast Brewery on Washington between 9th and 10th. There are also a couple of eateries on the same block as Le Cheval, I can't speak to their quality as I haven't tried them, but one or another of them may be worth a visit.
I've taken classes down there and I found a few places to eat:
A little Japanese place on the 2nd? floor of the Rotunda Building. Don't remember the name, but it used to be in North Berkeley.
Popeye's Fried Chicken in the BART mall.
Isn't Chef Edward's (name?) BBQ not too far from you.
Jamaican take-out place in a storefront on Broadway?
The Japanese place is most likely Genji, street level if you come in from Telegraph on that walkway between 16th and 15th. Decent enough, but I would get takeout from Kyoto Express (north of 17th and Webster) for half the price if you like udon.
Chef Edwards is around 20th and San Pablo, so a straight shoot.. albeit through horrible construction.
Jamaican? There's a place on Webster just above 14th, open occasionally (but never when I wander by) for lunch. It took over the old Mi Casa location. That's all I can think of, unless you mean Our Place (22ndish and Franklin, also a haven of construction), which does have a decent jerk chicken.