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Camino in Oakland?

Anyone know when this is slated to open? Last I heard it was April (but no firm date). Any leads are greatly appreciated.

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  1. A friend who's going to be working there said about May 1.

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    1. What type of restaurant and where?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cheesy Oysters

        On Grand in Oakland. Wood oven-centric menu (camino = fireplace in Italian). Probably something like Pizzaiolo minus the pizza.

        3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

      2. My bus goes past there and it still looks like it's far from opening. But at least they got rid of the port-a-potties outside so maybe that's progress? It's on the far end of Grand Avenue between the Grand Lake Safeway and Ace hardware store. The owners/chefs are formerly of Chez Panisse, which is why it's getting a lot of attention, including a mention in Food and Wine as a place to go in 2008. Guess they were thinking they'd open earlier.

        5 Replies
        1. re: singleguychef

          Is this the brick building that used to be a furniture store?

          1. re: Hunicsz

            Yes. It's a few doors down from Taza de Cafe.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Hasn't Taza closed? I live up the hill (toward Piedmont Ave.) and everytime I go past I never see anyone in the place.

              I have been curious about Camino; will definitely give it a whirl in early June when I have some time and between major dental appointments.

              1. re: mitzimarmle

                Taza was open Sunday night. What you see from the street is the front bar, most of the seating is in the back.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Plus, sometimes it's closed for private events.

        2. Camino is opening today Sunday, May 18th at 5:00.
          Hours are: Sunday - Thursday 5:00 - 10:00 (Closed Tuesdays) and Friday & Saturday 5:00 - 11:00 510-547-5035

          1. Thumbs up from me, too. Had the fava bean crostini, soft boiled egg and spinach app, the sand dabs with arugula and fennel salad, the roasted artichokes with polenta and beans, the cherry and apricot cobbler, and the chocolate-almond cake with espresso whipped cream. Everything was really good. Dessert wines are a steal ($5 for moscato, $5.50 for banyuls - went great with the cobbler and the cake, respectively).

            As Robert said, strong references to Chez Panisse Cafe are everywhere, down to the oatmeal-colored stock the menu's printed on.

            3 Replies
            1. re: daveena

              Was the menu still four appetizers and three entrees?

              None of those dishes was on Sunday's menu.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Yep - the other apps were a new garlic soup, a chicken salad, and something I can't remember. The third entree was roasted pork. If they change the menu this much in the span of two days (and execute everything as well as they did last night), I think i can justify making a standing reservation to eat there weekly...

                1. re: daveena

                  With such a short menu, I'll be surprised if they don't change it daily.

            2. What are the prices like for each entree? I was thinking about taking some out of town guests there Sunday evening, but I wanted to check out prices first.

              1. I had a pretty underwhelming meal at Camino last night. We shared a roasted asparagus and beet appetizer (this was very tasty), a little gems salad with anchoives and beets, the "mixed grill" of cod and pork belly (2 orders of that), and the grilled and braised chicken with peas and new potatoes. While none of the food was bad, none of it was particularly good either, and the portions were small -- we all left hungry, and I can't remember the last time that happened. The chicken was pretty flavorless, the peas were clearly fresh peas but were overcooked, and the new poatoes were boring. The fish in the mixed grill was the best thing that I had, but the pork belly was tough, and this is the first time I've ever met a pork belly that I didn't like. I really wanted to like this place, and the wine list was pretty reasonably priced, but I won't go back for food for a while (though I may go to the bar for a drink).

                2 Replies
                1. re: JasmineG

                  Don't feel alone, I had a similar experience. Had a roast pork salad which was good but not great. Portion size was small and the food was not hot. Tried all three entrees: artichoke with marrow beans, roasted chicken, and a petrale sole dish. All three dishes were again not hot at all. The artichoke dish consisted of 4 artichoke heart pieces (roughly one heart cut into quarters maybe a little more) on a bed of marrow beans. It had good flavor but wish it was warmer, the chicken dish probably had about 4 ounces of chicken with a soggy grilled piece of bread and some peas. Again, the flavors were good but a really small portion for about a $25 chicken dish. The sole was the largest dish but the sole was not deboned (intentionally). We would not have ordered it had we known but it was not mentioned on the menu. My dining companion spent the whole meal attempting to pick all the pin bones out of the dish with only moderate success.

                  Biggest complaints:
                  Small portions but not small price
                  Food is served cool/cold
                  Small menu
                  Bones in fish

                  1. re: JasmineG

                    I ate there last night as well, with 4 others. We ordered everything on the menu plus doubles of a few dishes because we knew it wouldn't be enough food. Last night: 4 aps, $7 & $9, 3 entrees, $18 & $22.

                    It wasn't. we left hungry even after ordering all the desserts too. Our "tables'" favorite (there are long communal tables) was the vegetarian entree: Roasted artichokes with marrow beans, baked egg and dried pepper $18.
                    The mixed grill that listed pork belly had one one inch piece of some the best pork belly I've eaten but overcooked salted ling cod.

                    I would say it was similar to CP but only in airs, not plates. Salt and acid were missing as was cohesion and even flavor.

                    Total bill including 2 delicious non alcoholic drinks and 3 glasses of wine: $250 before tip.

                    I found it most unfortunate that nothing non-cafinated besides a rosemary tisane was available. Even a Roiibos would be nice...

                    Desserts could have matched the season as well. They felt a little autumn to me.

                    Menu writing is not their strong suit just yet. When you list an ingredient on the menu it can't merely be a garnish. Especially when it's a protein.

                  2. Of course it's gonna be expensive...In addition to the fact that you're paying for the "cachet" of their CP street cred; they turned a frickin' furniture store into a resto!!! Can you imagine the cost of doing a full build-out. Regardless of whether they own the building, or even had an assist from the landlord, that's gotta be one costly venture. I'm guessing between three and five hundred thou...perhaps more? Twenty five bucks for a quarter chicken; that's a hundred dollar bird...sheesh!! Better be one HELL of a good chicken....

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: adamshoe

                      And that's the thing...the chicken wasn't that good, and I don't even think it was a quarter of the chicken. It was $22, but that's a fine price for me if the chicken is great, but it was such a small serving and not particularly good. The setting is fantastic, though, and I loved the wood fires going, but if the fires hadn't been in the back of the restaurant, I would have had no idea that any of the food was cooked with a wood fire.

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Thanks for the update. I was planning to dine there sometime this week, but looks like we'd better let the place settle down. BTW, am going to Zuni this Friday - been there 5 times already, & had never had anything else other than their roast chicken.

                        1. re: klyeoh

                          It's hard to imagine that $22 for 1/4 chicken could compare with Zuni's fabulous whole chicken for two with bird-juice-soaked bread salad and greens for $48.

                    2. My experience at Camino is exactly the same as Robert's. Although it's a work in progress, our three meals have been excellent. Sure there have been minor snags in service and pace of the kitchen, but the place has only been open 2 weeks and each visit has shown improvement. We all have different expectations with some valuing quantity over quality or price over value but my personal feeling is that it's more important to go with an open mind and evaluate a restaurant in terms of what it's trying to achieve rather than whether it fits one's preconceived notion of what it should be.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cliff4cal

                        I went with a completely open mind and no preconceived notions or high expectations. In addition, I am not one who wants to leave a restaurant stuffed or with food to go. However, this place is charging a pretty penny for chicken, pork, beans, and rock cod. If you feel like paying the money for the CP pedigree and think you are getting your money's worth then that's fine. I eat out a lot and Camino did nothing for me. I understood the quality of the ingredients, the freshness, and the clean flavors. Even if the food had been hot, the portion sizes and prices were out of whack considering I can go other places and have a more enjoyable meal for less money. Its really not about the money, I am willing to pay to have an good experience. In the case of Camino, the experience was not worth the price.