I think Sea Salt is a great choice. Love the oysters, fish and chips. If you get there by 6, oysters are $1. Great cocktails. They also have cheeses so it's perfect spot for us. Haven't triend Maritime East yet and I wish them luck with that location. I absolutey love the brownie sundae with the salty caramel ice cream at Sea Salt.
re: Cheesy Oysters
For a primarily seafood restaurant, I practically limit myself to Sea Salt in Berkeley, Tadich in SF, and Barbara's Fish Trap in Princeton by the Sea (near Half Moon Bay).
We have only been to Maritime East once. We were disappointed, even though they were very eager to please. Maybe we just miss Zax in that space so much!
Sea Salt is consistently unusual, a tough combination.
Both Sea Salt and Marica have good selections for non-seafood eaters--with more options at Marica.
Last night, the grilled Calamari at Sea Salt was fantastic. The Sturgeon seemed a little undercooked, but there are usually 2 straight up 'pieces of fish' served very nicely (the other was Salmon last night) plus unusual combinations that work like the Bacon, Lettuce and Trout, BBQ Eel Banh Mi or the infamous Lobster on a Torpedo Roll. Service last night was quite good, and it looked like quite a few larger parties were having a good time.
Sea Salt's great but I think the atmosphere at Maritime East is more festive.
There's also Marica, good food but a little downscale from those two.
2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702
2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA
Marica Seafood Restaurant
5301 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618