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Returning hound; what's opened in the past year or so that I shouldn't miss?

berkeleybob Feb 23, 2009 07:36 PM

I left SF for the east coast a year and a half ago, and will be returning soon for a brief visit. I'm having a terrible time trying to decide which of my old haunts I should try to squeeze into this trip and was thinking that maybe I should just try somewhere new instead of trying to relive old glories.

Are there any not-to-be-missed places that have opened in the past year or so in SF or the East Bay? I just did a search hoping to find one of Prabhakar Ragde's yearly trip reports, but it doesn't look like he did one last year.

FWIW, before I left, I think the most recently-opened places that I really loved were Perbacco, Olivia (which I know has closed), and that Burmese deli across the street from the Federal Building.


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  1. Ruth Lafler RE: berkeleybob Feb 23, 2009 07:45 PM

    Time flies, and it's hard to remember what opened when! Since you're in Berkeley, had you had a chance to try Wood Tavern? For sure new in Berkeley is Corso by the Rivoli folks. If you like Italian, you might want to try SPQR in San Francisco, and if you hadn't gotten to La Ciccia before you left, you should put that on your list as well.

    La Ciccia
    291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

    Wood Tavern
    6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

    1788 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      Chuckles the Clone RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 24, 2009 09:28 PM

      It's been a pretty slow year. Prabhakar apparently was here last summer
      though his literary output was more understated than in the past:

      The Zax people have finally gotten their new place, Sidebar, opened over on the lake in
      Oakland. I haven't been and only a couple of reports here. You could be a pioneer!

      There was a bit of excitement about a year ago when the Lalime's empire seemed to
      be readying a wood-fired pizza place next door to Sea Salt. Did anything ever come
      of that? Been a while since I've been down that way.

      Corso and the Franklin Square Wine Bar have been my personal favorite newcomers.

      Oh yeah, was Riva Cucina here when you left? Pleasant Italian in an odd location.

      Riva Cucina
      800 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

      Franklin Square Wine Bar
      2212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

      1788 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

      542 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

      1. re: Chuckles the Clone
        Ruth Lafler RE: Chuckles the Clone Feb 24, 2009 09:30 PM

        Oh, speaking of Uptown, there's Flora, from the Dona Tomas folks.

        1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          Chuckles the Clone RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 25, 2009 01:53 PM

          Oh, speaking of Uptown, there's a new part of town called "Uptown".

          Roughly the triangle bounded by Telegraph, Broadway, and West Grand in
          (formerly) "downtown" Oakland. It's got that interesting balance of trendy bars,
          redevelopment funding, danger, architectural heritage, condos, artists, and
          new restaurants that often precedes a full-on trend.

          Flora is the centerpiece, Luka's was the trailblazer, Franklin Square with it's
          tables set out on the square could have been boxed up and shipped in from
          the european city of your choice. Plus some interesting outliers like the Mua
          Lounge a bit to the north and it's diametrical opposite Rico's Diner a bit south.

          1. re: Chuckles the Clone
            susancinsf RE: Chuckles the Clone Jul 10, 2009 08:09 AM

            and of course, it is flourishing now that I left my job at a building next to the triangle....even five years ago, that area was mostly a Chow no-persons land....

        2. re: Chuckles the Clone
          Robert Lauriston RE: Chuckles the Clone Feb 25, 2009 01:27 PM

          Work appears to be progressing on the Krikorian's Falanghina but they weren't open last time I was by there.

      2. Shane Greenwood RE: berkeleybob Feb 24, 2009 11:57 AM

        Boccalone Salumi has opened a retail spot in the Ferry Building if you want to pick up some tasty pig parts to take home too.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          berkeleybob RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 24, 2009 06:31 PM

          Thanks for the recs, Ruth. It's SO much easier to do a search when you have the names.

          And pork butter! That sounds great. I'm probably not going to be able to resist stopping by Hog Island at the Ferry Building, so I'll definitely check out Boccalone while I'm there.

          1. re: berkeleybob
            Bryan Gros RE: berkeleybob Feb 25, 2009 01:13 PM

            I'll put in a plug for Bellanico, in the Glenview. Great neighborhood "real" Italian place

            4238 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

            1. re: Bryan Gros
              JasmineG RE: Bryan Gros Feb 25, 2009 06:56 PM

              A few doors down from Bellancio is Marzano, which I've been to (or gotten takeout from) a few times now, and have had great food each time.

              4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602

        2. Paul H RE: berkeleybob Feb 26, 2009 06:22 AM

          Camino is probably this brightest new star in the last year.

          3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

          2 Replies
          1. re: Paul H
            Robert Lauriston RE: Paul H Feb 26, 2009 10:11 AM

            Second on that, best new restaurant in years, though not to everyone's taste.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              JasmineG RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 26, 2009 12:38 PM

              Yeah, definitely not to mine, I had one of the most expensive bad meals in years at Camino.

          2. p
            Prabhakar Ragde RE: berkeleybob Jul 9, 2009 06:20 PM

            How ironic -- here I am trolling the board for interesting finds in preparation for a July visit, and I find berkeleybob looking for my posts for the same purpose. (I had more disappointments than successes last summer, hence my just tacking comments onto existing posts rather than doing a big new one.)

            So I'll kick this thread back to the top and renew the request: what's new and exciting since August '08? Berkeley and environs, and SF, mostly, though I'll go out of my way for something fabulous. (With luck, I can write more this year, though it would help if there were more "downhill reports", also, to warn me away from old favourites gone rancid.) --PR

            16 Replies
            1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
              Ruth Lafler RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 9, 2009 06:49 PM

              Lots of new stuff in Oakland:


              Chai Thai Noodles (former Thai House Express chef)

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                macadam RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 9, 2009 07:04 PM

                Adesso on Piedmont Ave in Oakland.

                1. re: macadam
                  Prabhakar Ragde RE: macadam Jul 9, 2009 07:49 PM

                  I'm the only one in the family who drinks wine, and one daughter is now a vegetarian, so Adesso is probably out, much as I enjoyed Dopo in the past.

              2. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                daveena RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 9, 2009 07:15 PM

                I really, really like Pican, Flora, and Adesso. Am planning to go to Commis ASAP, as well as Lush Gelato. Also like Aunt Mary's Cafe for brunch.

                Liked Bellanico, Marzano and Mua ok, but don't feel compelled to go back to any of them. Was unimpressed by Sidebar.

                1. re: daveena
                  Prabhakar Ragde RE: daveena Jul 10, 2009 07:51 AM

                  I owe the Mua people a lot for Café Pastorale, but after reading reports and reviews, it sounds as if I'd be better off revisiting Soizic, which I haven't been to in several years.

                  1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                    susancinsf RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 10, 2009 08:04 AM

                    not sure why you think so; I've only seen lukewarm and mixed reviews on Soizic lately (I may be one of those: said it might be good for a group, but it isn't somewhere I would choose as a destination by any means).

                    Have you tried the Korean places in Oakland? Lots of options, my current favorite is Sura. Tofu stew for the vegetarian...great panchan selection

                    I also had a very nice lunch fairly recently at the relatively new Beijing Restaurant in San Francisco; lots of positive reports on the board

                    I also thought that Jayakarta, which is fairly new, did an excellent job with vegetarian dishes, especially the spicy eggplant:


                    Jayakarta Restaurant
                    2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                    4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                    Beijing Restaurant
                    1801 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112

                    1. re: susancinsf
                      Prabhakar Ragde RE: susancinsf Jul 10, 2009 08:35 AM

                      Soizic: Just nostalgia on my part. I wasn't crazy about my last visit. Mua doesn't have Pastorale/Soizic's chef, and it sounds as if the concept needs time to work itself out.

                      Korean: not since being underwhelmed by Sahn Maru. Sura looks positive. Tofu stew may not have vegetarian broth. My wife and I really like Korean food, but my dear offspring has had difficulty in recent restaurant visits. Still, with 17 banchan, maybe there will be some choices...

                      Jayakarta was a revelation two summers ago, not as exciting last summer. We'll probably still go back, as good Indonesian is rare.

                      1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                        susancinsf RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 10, 2009 12:49 PM

                        good point about the tofu stew; I don't tend to pay close attention to such things; they are very helpful and friendly, might be worth a call...I do know that a lot of the best panchan are definitely veggie.

                    2. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                      susancinsf RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 10, 2009 08:05 AM

                      adding a link for Soizic also...

                      Jayakarta Restaurant
                      2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                      Soizic Restaurant
                      300 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

                      4869 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                      Beijing Restaurant
                      1801 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112

                  2. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                    Paul H RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 9, 2009 08:31 PM


                    1. re: Paul H
                      Chuckles the Clone RE: Paul H Jul 9, 2009 11:40 PM

                      Commis certainly seems to be the current "only open five minutes and already everyone's talking about it" place. I haven't been so I can't say anything useful but I've got a reservation for mid-next-week. Because I'm like that with herds.

                      Anyway, if you do go I would seriously suggest a stop by Adesso up the street for a little tipple before dinner. It's exactly the sort of place for that. Belly the whole family up to the bar, if it's before 7 grab a couple of the free (!) rice balls and mini sandwich things from the sideboard, order one of their delicious sweet-bitter-fortified-campari-like mixed drinks, and revel in the civilization of it all.

                      Bar Lata on Telegraph in Temescal is a pretty decent tapas place. While, yeah, tapas ho hum, what they're doing right is making the best tortilla de patatas I've ever had outside Spain. Maybe if you decide to go to Pizzaiolo or the new edition of Burma Superstar that's over there and you find yourself on the end of a 90 minute waiting list, head over to Bar Lata for a little pre-dinner snack.

                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                        Prabhakar Ragde RE: Chuckles the Clone Jul 10, 2009 05:39 AM

                        I'll have to hit Barlata in memory of great meals at the early B44 (they still quote me on their Web page, heh). I was not that impressed with my visit last summer to the old edition of Burma Superstar (because Troya was closed). It's clear I'll have to research Uptown Oakland...

                        1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                          Robert Lauriston RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 10, 2009 08:49 AM

                          Have you been to Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen? Worth a trip into SF for a weekday lunch.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            Prabhakar Ragde RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 10, 2009 09:21 AM

                            We tend to drive into the City, so I have less experience with the Tenderloin than I should. But Pagan sounds interesting...?

                            1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                              Robert Lauriston RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 10, 2009 09:49 AM

                              Street parking's easy at Larkin Express. If you want the best Burmese, go there.

                              Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen
                              452 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                    2. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                      Morton the Mousse RE: Prabhakar Ragde Jul 9, 2009 11:46 PM

                      Camino is wonderful. I've had two incredible meals there in the past month. Just don't go with picky eaters, the menu is the size of a matchbook (though everything on it is fabulous.) They are very veg friendly, though.

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