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May 1, 2008 04:36 AM

Looking for East Bay suggestions for coworkers from Seattle

Hey folks... chowhound from Seattle here...

Looking for options for dining with coworkers in Hayward/Oakland.

They seem to be stuck on Horatio's in San Leandro and Scott's in J.L. Square.... it's one or the other every business trip. While these are both addiquit (but boring) establishments, I want desperately want to break them from their mold and force them to branch out a little. Personally, I want to experience something local that I can't find in Seattle.

Zachary's Pizza comes to mind, but it might be too far from Hayward to convince my coworkers to go to a pizza joint (granted the pizza could potentially be mind blowing).

Switching topics here... I grew up in the East Bay... does anybody remember Bartola's (closed now) located across the street from Hooper's Chocolates and Casper's Hot Dogs in that weird in between of Oakland and Berkeley? Gawsh, I miss their soup! This is the kind of place I have in mind.

Thanks all!

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    1. I'm not familiar with Bartola's - what kind of food did they serve?

      For upscale-ish food near JLS, I'd go to B Restaurant, Tamarindo, or Levende (all around 9th and Broadway). klyeoh, who seems to have vetted the area more thoroughly on his business trips here than any of the regular East bay posters, recommended the mieng kam, yam woon sen, and yellow and green curries at Siam Bay, which I keep meaning to try.

      Venture a little further east and you hit Chinatown. My favorites are Shanghai Resataurant and Pho Hoa Lao II for their #26 (pho bo kho - spicy beef noodle soup). You can get pretty good duck noodle soup at pretty much all of the places with ducks hanging in the windows. And I may have found a new favorite in Gigul Gigul Korean Restaurant (specializing in soups and casseroles).

      2 Replies
      1. re: daveena

        Bertola's was a family-style Italian place (family-style bowls of soup and salad, entree, spumoni). Long gone. But in that neighborhood you and your friends might enjoy Pizzaiolo.

        5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Wow!!! Glad somebody remembers Bertola's...We used to go there when i was going to Berkeley '69-'72 for cheap dinners and cheaper cocktails...My parents tell me about going there when they were grad students at Berkeley just prior to my conception in '51...drinks were even cheaper then...

      2. Scott's, wow, how boring (and expensive!). For much better and cheaper meals not far from there, I'd recommend Flora (at 19th and Telegraph), and I second the recommendation of Pizzaiolo.

        1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

        2 Replies
        1. re: JasmineG

          Yeah, don't go to Scott's...not if they're from Seattle. You have plenty of fish in Seattle and they're probably picking Scott's as a safe pick, as not to offend anyone. For seafood however, you might to Sea Salt in Berkeley.

          1. re: ML8000

            Good suggestion, though that's a little far from Hayward. Maritime East in Berkeley (on Telegraph) is also good for seafood, but that may still be outside the target area.

        2. This place was just reviewed in the Chronicle. A jamaican place called sweetfingers.

          It's in San Leandro ,which is right in between where you'll be.

          4 Replies
          1. re: sugarbuzz

            OK--- So on the first night, despite my protesting, the group of eight of us ended up at Horatio’s [again]. We were seated on the patio and ate an overpriced, boring meal, in the cold and in the dark. One $40 steak was horribly over cooked.

            Day two, I was able to convince the others to try Sweet Fingers because it was close to the hotel. This ended up being one of the best travel dinners we have had in a long time. The staff was great, the food was fantastic, and the mixed drinks were stiff. We had a birthday in the group, and I kid you not, the entire staff and clientele joined in on the birthday wishes. Great times were had by all. As we left, everybody sitting at the bar turned around and waved friendly goodbyes and welcomed us to come back soon. This was truly a night to be remembered… all for $240 + tip!!

            Thanks for all your tips chowhounds!


            1. re: phinious

              Thanks for reporting back. I think that's the first report about Sweet Fingers on Chowhound. What did you have?

              Well, hopefully you gained restaurant creds with the group and next time they will look to you to pick a place.

              Sweet Fingers
              464 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94577

              1. re: rworange

                I had the "award winning" jerk chicken, and could only get trough about half of it before I finally gave in: .. darn those big portions.

                This place is truly special, with heart and soul. Genuine to the core.It's the anti-Christ to Horatio's, and we loved it!

                We are back in Seattle now, thanks again for the suggestions!

              2. re: phinious

                You should have sent back the overcooked steak. That's one dish Horatio's can do a passable job with.

            2. How about stoping into Val's Burgers (Hayward) for lunch?