Looking for a dinner spot near Oakland City Center
I'm up from Los Angeles for an evening and staying at the Marriott in the Oakland City Center (I think it's on Broadway) . Is there something worthwhile in the immediate area for dinner or should I just stick to whatever is in the hotel? I'll probably be dining with one or two other people and I think French, new American or ethnic (ie good Chinese, Indian, Thai) would all be interesting options. Probably not looking to spend more than about $50 a person, not including alcohol. Thanks in advance!!
Old Oakland is very close to the Marriott (a block or so). There's a few restaurants there, "B" restaurant, Lavende East, Tamarindo, Jesso's (southern seafood) and Pacific Coast Brewery (very average pub food)..for a beer go to the Trappist (Belgium beers) If you're coming from LA I'd skip Tamarindo. B and Lavende would probably be the better choices but none will be packed so you can scout all of these, within a block.
Within walking distance is Chinatown (two blocks) and Jack London Square (4 blocks). Peony come to mind in Chinatown (maybe Legendary Palace). Peony is nicer but both places are within the $50 p/person. Soizic in Jack London comes to mind.
Flora is new American, has a good menu, great cocktails and a lively (read: noisy) atmosphere.
It may be a good idea to make a reservation for dinner; if not, go for a drink any way.
It is a few blocks (7?) uptown from the Marriott; if you would walk in downtown LA at night, you should feel OK in Oakland - if you are hesitant, it would be a very cheap cab ride.
1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Wow. Somehow it never occurred to me that there was a restaurant in the Marriott -- I've never heard of anyone eating there. Oh, except for one chowhound who claimed to have had excellent huevos rancheros there. Anyway, you can do better, without much effort.
The two closest places would be Battambang (across Broadway) -- good Cambodian food; and Cafe Verbena (across 11th) -- good Cal-Mediterranean (only open M-F, sort of a "businessy" atmosphere). In Old Oakland, "B" has decent "New American"; also, since you mentioned Indian, there's Breads of India (so-so reviews, I think). If you want to go uptown, in addition to Flora there's Luka's (very lively scene). Towards Jack London, in addition to Soizic (Cal-Asian fusion), there's Mono (new American), the new incarnation of Miss Pearl's Jam House (Cal-Caribbean), and La Furia Chalaca (Peruvian). The walk to Jack London Square from City Center I wouldn't call dangerous, but it's not particularly pleasant (especially walking under the freeway), so you might want to catch a cab.
re: Ruth Lafler
Been to Miss Pearl's Jam House a couple of times this week and quite liked the place - great alternative to the more staid (boring?) Scotts next door. The food's hit-and-miss tho.
- Baked clams with chile-bacon & butter - very fresh & tasty;
- Baked oysters with tasso & spinach - ditto above;
- Jamaican pepperpot soup (with oxtail, cassava, okra, yams, spinach, spices & peanuts);
- Petaluma jerk chicken, served with Caribbean rice & spicy black beans;
- Sugarcane barbecue prawns served on andouille corncakes & avocado-salsa.
- Jamaican corn skillet bread with whipped honey butter - delicious.
- Butternut squash bisque with chestnut-apple-tamarind salsa, rum cream & melon seeds - there seems to be an overwhelming scent of ginger in the soup which I don't quite fancy;
-Tuna poki, wonton crisps, yuzu lime & soy vinaigrette - unfortunately, the yuzu lime was too sharp & imparted an overwhelming sourish taste which overpowered everything else on the plate;
- Baked goat cheese, warm salad of corn, arugula, red cabbage & walnuts, with molasses-balsamic vinaigrette - done correctly, this will probably be absolutely delicious. I just thought it was a bit too oily for my taste;
- Sesame-crusted Ahi Tuna, roasted shiitakes, sesame cabbage & star-anise-ginger-red wine sauce - too much run-of-the-mill taste;
- Grilled eggplant & curried cauliflower "cous cous", toasted almonds & roasted tomato chutney - unless you're vegetarian, avoid this item: one of those that looked better on the menu than on a plate. It's mushy, babyfood-like stuff, and lacked the spicy-curry kick I'd expected. The Indian dhal & curries at Ghazal 100 yards away might have been a better option.
Service at Miss Pearl can be quite erratic. On a quiet Monday evening, we waited over half an hour before we saw our soups/appetisers!
Oh yeah, forgot about Le Cheval, a Vietnamese place, pretty much behind the Marriot. The crab. lemon grass beef and fish in clay pot are very good.