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Staying in Emeryville--where to have dinner?

A last minute decision to go to the Cal-Arizona game on Saturday mean that the only lodging we could find was in Emeryville--that cluster of hotels on the spit near the Bay Bridge entrance. Looking for a place for a not-too-fancy dinner (as in don 't dress up & entrees no more than about $25 per person). Mr. Nutrax uses a wheelchair & tires easily, so holes-in-the-wall and places with long lines aren't going to work. He's also a pretty unadventurous eater. but does like Chinese & non-sushi Japanese.

Preferably not more than a 15 minute or so drive from the hotel. Parking is an issue ion that he can't handle a gravel parking lot or a really bad sidewalk, but on the other hand, we can park at a meter without paying as long as we remember the placard.

A bit of Googling gets me Trader Vics and the Hong Kong East Ocean Restaurant‎. I looked at both menus & they would work. Comments on them? How essential are reservations?

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  1. Bucci's is an Italian restaurant in Emeryville. The parking shouldn't be hard. Take a look at their website. I haven't been recently, but in the past the food was good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Glencora

      Bucci's has been one of my favorite places for a long time. Great casual/artsy atmosphere, good to very good food, reasonable prices. They don't take reservations unless that's changed, so there may be a wait but the bar is a good place to wait, probably even with a wheelchair. They also have their own parking lot at night, right next to the restaurant.

      6121 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

    2. Hong Kong East Ocean is fine for Cantonese style chinese food, particularly fresh seafood. It has the advantage of being easy to get to and close and has lots of free parking.

      1. The Townhouse is very near where you're staying and usually very good food, too. I also like Bucci's. Rudy's Can't fail Cafe is decent for breakfast and Arizmendi is known for their pizza and baked goods.

        1. Head to Daimo, about 5mins north of Emeryville on I-80

          Daimo Chinese Restaurant
          3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

          2 Replies
          1. re: kc72

            Richmond is 5 minutes north of Emeryville . . . when? At 3:30 AM with no traffic??? ;^)

            1. re: zin1953

              Also the ride back to Emeryville from Daimo, at most times, is longer than 15 minutes.

          2. Riva Cucina is an excellent little Italian spot just one block north of Ashby, off Sixth St.
            By the way, Daimo is more than five minutes from Emeryville. Traffic or no traffic.

            4 Replies
            1. re: AJL

              ok, 7mins. still under the 15mins the OP requested

              1. re: kc72

                It is about 5 on Saturday mornings.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    I happened to drive that stretch the morning of the Saturday in question, and the traffic was heavy but moving. It's more than 5 minutes, but not much more (remember Daimo, while technically in Richmond, is just two freeway exits north of Berkeley, and it's right off the freeway.

                    Anything on the west end of Solano would have met the 15-minute criteria, including, for example, China Village.

            2. Just a warning about Trader vic's. My husband has to attend meeting there sometimes. The food is average or less, over priced, and they have only valet parking. He says skip it.

              1. Close by is Rudy Can't Fail Cafe. Retro '80s feel...diner food. For a diner, it's good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ML8000


                  Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
                  4081 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

                2. Hi Nutrax,

                  You wouldn't need reservations at either Trader Vic's or Hong Kong East Ocean. But as noted, Trader Vic's is about the enormous cocktails, not the food. And while I have fond memories of dim sum at Hong Kong East Ocean, it's best known for the view. So go if you can get there before the sun sets...

                  The food at Bucci's or the Townhouse is likely to be better.

                  Traffic on that stretch of 80 is pretty awful on a Friday, but you could also take the frontage road north to 4th Street in Berkeley. If you wanted to try Daimo, I'd head there on your way into town. It's technically Richmond, but it's the south end, next to Albany.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Windy

                    Friday traffic won't be a factor since the game is on Saturday, but possible rain in the forecast can play a big factor for the OP.

                    1. re: kc72

                      Friday traffic may be a large factor if they are checking in to their hotel on Friday, going to dinner and then to the game Saturday. Mrs. Nutrax, which night? Stick to the Emeryville suggestions and stay off the freeway.

                      1. re: wolfe

                        Yes, I assumed Friday night, but it could be Saturday. However traffic is always a factor on that stretch of 80.

                        1. re: wolfe

                          Indeed. I pretty much avoid I-80 during any afternoon and especially on a Friday. It ranks up there as one of the worse cases of freeway congestion in the state. Surface roads are faster at that time of day.

                    2. I'll jump in here as a defender of Trader Vic's. It's an institution, and is an easy walk from where you're staying. Are you going to get a bargain? Hardly. The best meal of your life? Not a chance. But it's got a great view of the harbor and the retro-tacky tiki bar ambience is a hoot. Have a few cocktails with stupid names, split a pupu platter, and see what grabs you from the menu (last time I was there I was pleasantly surprised by the crispy duck). If you want a serious dining experience, this isn't it. But it can be fun.

                      Hong Kong East Ocean is all the way down on the other end of the peninsula. It's a longish walk or a very short drive. Parking is plentiful because it shares a parking lot with the Emeryville marina, where most of the cars are gone by early afternoon. It's an upscale Cantonese seafood place, and I've never been there when there wasn't a wedding dinner going on. Prices are fairly high but commensurate with the quality of the food.

                      I'd recommend a reservation at either place. You'll get seated eventually without them, but in the meanwhile you may get to spend some quality time with the bartender.

                      1. I'm surprised nobody mentioned Fourth Street shopping district in Berkeley. It's just two exit stops north of the Powell Street exit (which is the main Emeryville exit). Just take I-80 north and get off at the University Avenue exit but verge to the right following the signs marked "Fourth Street."

                        You'll find a quaint strip of outdoor shops and restaurants. The Japanese restaurant O Chame has gotten some good reviews and there's Eccolo. Bette's Diner is pretty popular but often busy, and there's Cafe Rouge, which might be a bit too fancy for you but it's casual California food. Even more casual is a Mexican fast food type place called Tacubaya.

                        But I also second your idea for Hong Kong East Ocean. You'll avoid the I-80 corridor mess and get a nice view of the Bay. But get there early if you're thinking of dim sum (about 11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. should be fine). They offer a seafood-focused menu for dinner.

                        1. Verify with Hong Kong East Ocean that it is wheelchair accessible. Many years ago, a friend of mine & I had a problem with that issue, but it may be corrected now.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Stephanie Wong

                            There's a ramp to access the front entrance. Also several disabled parking spaces.

                              1. re: wolfe

                                Thanks! I'll tell my friend who was wasn't able to easily negotiate the restroom on that visit. Maybe, we can put that place back on our list.

                                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                  Being as I am suspicious, having belonged to an Oakland health club that had its wheelchair accessible bathroom on the second floor with no elevator, call to make sure the access is not just to the front door.

                            1. I'm going to suggest the Elephant Bar, mostly because it's on the first floor of a mall with a parking garage, and should be pretty accessible.

                              Not too fancy, and you can definitely keep it to less than $25 per person. Shouldn't need reservations.