I had lunch a few weeks ago at La Estrellita on the NW corner of 5th Avenue and East 12th Street in Oakland just a few blocks from Lake Merritt. A blurb in the East Bay Express, link below, touts their margaritas. The vegetarian burrito I had was unremarkable but the warm chips were fresh as were the green and red salsa. The space is interesting. The larger of the two public rooms in the restaurant, the one containing the bar, appears to be about 100 years old and has an intriguing crown molding along the walls. Last month I was walking around in the area checking out nearby Vietnamese restaurants and trying to find historic remnants of Old Oakland.
The restaurant's spot at 12th St and 5th Ave was the southwest corner of several square blocks that contained the largest building in Oakand, the Tubb's Hotel, until it burned down in the 1890's. Some of the residents of the Tubb's were Gertrude Stein, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London. A horse-drawn trolley ran from Broadway downtown eastward along 12th Street to bring patrons to the hotel which was promoted as a resort destination.
Here's a link to some history of the hotel and a photo:
This is a link to the EB Express note on La Estrellita and its margaritas:
If you go there, please let us know what you think.
La Estrellita Cafe
446 East 12th St.
Oakland CA 94606
Wow, Mr. Z! Lived here 23 years and never knew abt. the Tubbs Hotel...cool! I've even eaten @ La E. but never delved into the history. If the OP is willing to drive a little to the former E. 14th St. (Int'l Blvd...) there's Huarache Azteca, Otaez, Taqueria San Jose & more awaiting them.... adam
I hope to soon check out Pho Thanh Hung at 2211 International Blvd. which has goat hot pot on a special afternoon menu. Jon Kauffman wrote about it a few years ago in the East Bay Express but I haven't found any post on the goat dish on CH.
While in that neighborhood, there are some Oakland landmarks such as the Cohen Bray House on 29th Avenue and a Carnegie branch library on 23rd Avenue that might at least be worth a pass-by. Here's a link to the details on some of the landmarks in the area:
Landmarks #8 and #43 are close as well as Historic Districts #4 and #5, listed near the bottom. The history of that district, which used to be called Brooklyn, and how it has changed over 150 years is very interesting.
Are you going to the Parkway? There used to be a decent Mex dive near there years ago called "el vallarta"? Don't know if they have a full bar or if they're even there anymore. Lake Merritt is 3.2 miles around, so it's a pretty vast dining array. Where are you going? Narrowing the area down would help others to help you ;) adam