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Feb 16, 2009 04:46 PM

any good eats near the Fox Theater in Oakland?

going to a show there next weekend and don't know the hood at all. up for any and all recommendations.

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  1. Haven't been to any except Luka's (years ago..), but, let's see. Flora, Tamarindo, Ozumo, Le Cheval, B Restaurant, Levende East. Have Fun! I'm gonna see the Moody Blues in April and can't wait to see the old Fox re-born. (lived here since 1985....) Adam

    4 Replies
    1. re: adamshoe

      Spoken like a true Oaklander, adamshoe. I liked all the above, except for Le Cheval (eeks).

      My dining choices, in terms of priority: B Restaurant, Tamarindo, Levende East & Flora. Will go to Ozumo only if the others are all closed.

      1. re: klyeoh

        That's too bad about about Le Cheval. I haven't been in like 3 years, but used to go to their 1'st place way-y-y back in the day in this funkay SRO hotel a couple blocks away from their present locale. At the time it was much better than the Slanted Door is now. Am planning to go to Flora before the Moody Blues. Should I ? Adam

        1. re: adamshoe

          We liked Flora very well. Nice ambience, good variety in the entree selection, high quality ingredients. Cocktails tasted like drinks with personality, not personalities slinging beverages. Seems like a nice start to a fun evening. Dinner and a show!

          1. re: oaktowngirl

            Flora place link

            1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

    2. Flora, Flora, Flora. Great food, and even better cocktails.

      1. Lukas on the southwest corner of Broadway and W. Grand and Franklin Square
        on the southeast of that same corner are two personal favorites. Van Kleef's is a
        decent place for an after-show drink, though on weekends he tends to charge a
        cover to listen to an often distressingly bad band. It is, however, a remarkable
        part of the neighborhood and entirely worth a visit.

        Luka's Taproom
        2221 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

        Franklin Square Wine Bar
        2212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

        Cafe Van Kleef
        1621 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          I'm thinking Luka's would be perfect. Don't want anything too fancy, but definitely want something solid. I've heard they have a great burger. And I know they've got some good Belgian brews on tap.

          What else is good at Luka's?

          1. re: brian j

            Just a note that if you have a curtain to make, especially on a weekend, you'll need a reservation.

            Since it's supposed to rain again this weekend, in terms of location, Flora is right across the street. Luka's and Franklin Square are about four blocks away. The B, Levenda, Tamarindo, Le Cheval are a bit further, on the other side of Civic Center. If you're thinking casual, there's also Pho 84, which I'd recommend over Le Cheval. It's open for dinner Friday and Saturday, not Sunday.

            Pho 84
            354 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612

            1. re: brian j

              Most of the time half the crowd at Luka's looks like Cake and/or Modest
              Mouse fans so you should feel pretty comfortable. Definitely try for a
              reservation; it can get crowded. Don't let them sit you in the cavernous
              back, black, dancefloor party room behind the bar.

              Things on the current Luka's menu that I've had are the burger (real nice),
              the beet/grapefruit/arugula salad (whole lot of interesting) and the steak
              and the braised lamb shank. The latter two are perfectly conventional
              versions. Since they're a bar too, the kitchen tends to err on the salty
              side, though never unpleasantly.

              If the Duchesse de Bourgogne is on the beer menu, I can't overrecommend it
              too highly. It's like drinking carbonated pink balsamic vinegar with a kick. I mean
              than in the good way.

              And in case there's any confusion, the place link for Van Kleef's seems to
              think it's a "cafe". It is decidedly not. Bar only. Although every once in a while
              Van Kleef decides to whip up something questionable like hot tomato and
              vodka soup and force it on his customers, it's a drinking establishment.

              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                Sweet. Thanks everyone. I got a 6pm rez for Luka's. Showtime is not until 8pm so plenty of time to eat and drink some brews. I'm leaning heavily towards the burger. Do they have nightly specials too?

                1. re: brian j

                  So ... how was Luka's? What did you have?

                  1. re: brian j

                    Yeah, how was it? I'm doing the same pre-show dinner dance with the Fox theater tomorrow, and we haven't had too many reports lately from Luka. I'm wondering if we should go with Luka's, Flora, or just scarf some little star before leaving SF.

                    1. re: SteveG

                      Luka's is nice if u can be in the main room, it gets pretty busy though
                      Good beer, I'm not sold on the fries

                      1. re: kewlio

                        We had reservations for 6 pm and went to Luka's before the Spinal tap show and found it acceptable.
                        The wait staff was friendly. Cocktails took around 10 minutes from order to delivery. We got 2 orders of the mussels- yummy. they were prepared well, the broth was delicious and not too many unopened ones. A burger - yummy as well - it was nicely charred on the outside and med rare on the inside as ordered. The burger seems to be the popular choice based on the plates coming out of the kitchen. We also got a large side of the fries - meh - i prefer crispy exteriors and soft interiors, and something else that I cannot for the life of me remember. We were able to get in and out within the timetable we had. The price point was fair. My only complaint was with the fries and the wait staff to table ratio. It could take some time to get the staff's attention, however, once we did, the request was honored in a timely manner.

            2. Not seeing an update.. Help! Last minute request... Looking for suggestions for good eats, moderate ($-$$) price range within walking distance fm BART, going to see a show at The Fox Theater tomorrow night.... Is Luka's still the best choice in this price range? Meh reviews on yelp but I trust Chowhounder reviews more anyway... :)

              19 Replies
              1. re: tmsmama

                Luka's food is good but it's often really loud. If that doesn't bother you, make a reservation.

                Moderate price, check out the menus for Plum Bar and Hopscotch.

                1. re: tmsmama

                  Luka's is always fine but can be crowded preshow. If you're in the mood for burger-fries-beer-shot for $20 total, I would recommend Plum Bar or Bar Fauna (before 7). Other $$ choices nearby: Flora, Hopscotch, Duende.

                  1. re: tmsmama

                    Flora and Duende are the best in that area, but maybe above your price point. We're planning dinner at Hopscotch before a Fox how next month, which is quite good; but check their website to see if the prices are okay for you.

                    Less spendy is Rudy's Can't Fail, right there at the Fox. I've heard good things about XOLO, a small, upscale tacqueria, just across the street, but haven't tried it yet.

                    1. re: tmsmama

                      Two other newish places that I like in that vicinity are Hutch (southern) and Mockingbird (Cal-cuisine). Both are in that price range and are less of a scene than the trendier bar type spots that dominate much of Uptown.

                      Only a little bit farther away is Hawker Fare, which just launched a new family-style dinner menu. Prices are still very reasonable.

                      1. re: tmsmama

                        Flora and Duende are great if in your budget. Again reservations are essential.

                        1. re: tmsmama

                          I'd pick Miss Ollie's in Old Oakland over Luka's. It's in the opposite direction but approx the same distance. The reviews are very good, the food reasonable/moderate in price.

                          The only downer, they don't take reservations. There are a few places very close, so there's back up, Desco, Tamarindo, La Cheval, Cosescha.

                          1. re: ML8000

                            Miss Ollie's is twice as far from the Fox as Luka's.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Yeah, .3 miles vs. .6 miles. So it's quite relative, a 7 min walk vs. a 12 min walk. OMFG..the horror!

                              BTW, there's the free Broadway shuttle.

                              1. re: ML8000

                                Just things to keep in mind in figuring out if there's time before the show.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Here is my report on Luka's:
                                  Thank you so much for your speedy responses! I was unable to see any of the other posts in time to take advantage of suggestions, so responding to this post because it was the last I read before I went off-line. We went with the suggestion to go to Luka's (our first time ) and we were really happy with it. We went on the early side, around 6 PM - it was great that we could get a reservation, because when we arrived there was space but by the time we left it was packed. Our service was excellent. Several water refills from various fokjs and a server who came often, knew the menu and was solid all around.

                                  We were in the first room towards the back in a booth and the noise level was fine for us (I think especially because we were in concert mode anyway. :) ). . Two of the four of us had the hamburgers , which were cooked perfectly medium and medium rare, one with grilled onions. They were juicy and so flavorful, and i did not expect to love them because I am a picky hamburger eater. Really well sized, big enough to share if you are not a big eater. The house cut fries were cooked well too, a bit crispy on the outside, tender and hot on the inside.

                                  I had the shrimp and grits - really flavorful, I was completely satisfied. My husband had the mussels, Thai style (Off the menu but they will do it if you ask, we learned.) which were very fresh, and a bit spicy in a light broth -- the biggest portion we've ever had in a restaurant. That was definitely a dish to split - We actually had to leave some behind which to me is a travesty, LOL. But they just weren't going to keep well through the concert then home...

                                  Thanks so much for all of the good input, though I am not a frequent poster I really appreciate all of the hard-core Chow Hounders that make this board the awesome resource it is. :)

                          2. re: tmsmama

                            Was it really last minute, and you went somewhere?

                            There's been such an explosion in places since 2009.

                            In the $-$$ range, rudy's is definitely a contender. Although I've only been to the e-ville, it has its moments, beer list was always decent, lots of upscale diner options.

                            I stopped going to Luka's because it's really loud and cramped, and I'm not a person who typically has that as a problem. I can't imagine they've changed much, good beer, good fries and burgers.

                            Lots of places here listed are $$$ in yelp. As mentioned, if you're up for that kind of thing, they're all a cut above. I haven't been to hutch - $$$.

                            Yelp has some very solid search capabilities.... let's try restricting to $-$$ and the correct time.

                            Umami burger - it's up by Plum. I've had the one in Palo Alto, and it's kind of worth a try, but didn't do a lot for me. The price is extortionate, the burger has only a little going on.

                            Plum Bar - not really $$.

                            Anfilo - coffee house with ethiopian plates - sounds good! Any reports?

                            Suya - African Carribean Grill - any reports ?

                            Xolo - mentioned - no reports yet

                            Bay Fong Tong tea house - I like me a good tea house. Especially if they have those crispy spicy chicken things. Any reports?

                            Molcajete Taqueria - looks pretty good from the pictures. I've found a good Molcajete place in RWC, with the stone bowls, but this place is a little scary because they don't have Molcajete on the menu. Any reports?

                            Pho 84 - Always solid reports.

                            Phuong Nam - any reports?

                            Camber - new thai bar - any reports?

                            Mockingbird - new american closer than hopscotch - any reports?

                            Hopscotch - very good. Nice burger. Worth a detour. May not be your idea of $$, but more value than some places. Great cocktails and interesting wines.

                            Mama's Vietnamese - any reports?

                            Ichiro Sushi - any reports?

                            Adam's Med Grill - any reports ?

                            Ma Me House - Vietnamese - any reports ?

                            Hi Life Pizza - some people on help claim it's the closest thing to NYC pizza they've had locally. Has vintage arcade machines upstairs, so could be a "labor of love". Reading through reviews, I'm not hopeful, but would be interested in a CH report.

                            OVERALL - if I look through Help, and I wanted to try someplace new, and was constrained by price & show, I would try... CAMBER. The place has enough upscale interior, it's closer to the show, and some of the pictures of the dishes show they might know something about cooking Thai, and they have cocktails.

                            1. re: bbulkow

                              Camber's menu is kind of scarily all over the place. Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Lao, sliders, tiramisu ...

                              Plum Bar's food is a good value, especially the $6 snacks, which come in generous portions and are quite filling. I didn't like the new greens dip.

                              There's at least one report here on Molcajete. That's a tool rather than a dish, so it makes sense to me that they wouldn't list it on the menu.


                              tmsmama's post was yesterday, so the show is tonight.

                              1. re: bbulkow

                                I like the various (quite spicy) meat skewers at Suya a lot (esp. the tilapia and the chicken), but I think of it as more of a takeout spot. I think they have a few tables, but I've always just gotten the food to go.

                                Xolo's tacos were a pretty big disappointment when I tried them — lots of dry, overcooked meat across the board — but I haven't been over there in at least a year. It's a cute space, though.

                                Molcajete is great for masa-based dishes.

                                Hutch is definitely no more expensive than Luka's if you're talking dinner entrees. Lots of options in the $16-$18 range. I dig the rabbit Brunswick stew.

                                Does Anfilo serve dinner now? I thought they only did an Ethiopian buffet during lunch hours. Haven't tried it.

                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                  Yelp claimed Anfilo is open until 8pm, unknown if it serves more than tea later.

                                2. re: bbulkow

                                  "Hi Life Pizza - some people on help claim it's the closest thing to NYC pizza they've had locally."

                                  An emphatic no- the crust is terrible. The cornicione is unbearably thick and hard; you'd break your teeth eating that thing. The rest of the crust is stiff as a board, too.

                                  Molcajete is not a taqueria. Kauffman and/or Birdsall Liked it, which surprised me because the related Antojeria El Chilar nearby is very mediocre:


                                  Adam's has good shawarma.

                                  Haven't been to Bay Fung Tong, but their forte is seafood and it's usually packed.

                                  1. re: bbulkow

                                    I used to live in that area. Bay Fung Tong was ok but not the best for Chinese seafood -- Legendary Palace does it much better.

                                    Ichiro had good fish sometimes and ok oyako don and other basic Japanese dishes.

                                    I'd recommend Shan Dong for dumplings and hand pulled noodles, Vien Huong for chow jew ho fun, Jong Ga for Korean, and Dogwood for cocktails and grilled cheese sandwiches.

                                    1. re: foietographer

                                      Some of those places are downtown, closer to 12th St. BART, rather than uptown near19th St. BART and the Fox.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        They are, but I was responding to bbulkow who specifically asked about Bay Fung Tong and Ichiro :)

                                        1. re: foietographer

                                          What, you don't think we have to slavishly adhere to the OP's question, that this might be a conversation? Outre !