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Anything new/interesting in Oakland/Berkeley...preferably open fairly late?

I'm headed for Oakland airport Sat. night .....husband will be in Oakland for work and is meeting me there; then we're spending Sunday in Berkeley (I have a meeting there...) and Monday visiting my dad in Sonoma.

I'm letting my dad and stepmom plan the Sonoma eats (including dinner Sunday night) but I'm looking for suggestions for Sat. night. The plane lands around 7:30 or 8, but I have to allow for the possibility of a delayed flight.....So I'm trying to think of someplace good to eat, but in keeping with DH's requirements, it should be casual (hubby won't have had a chance to clean up after work, and his work can get a little dirty....), not requiring reservations, open until at least 10, and inexpensive. Somewhere near the I80 corrider (our hotel is the DoubleTree at the Marina, since I have to be there very early Sunday am for the meeting.....) would be nice.....

Any thoughts? Any ethnic is fine....

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  1. Off Gilman and I-80 and open late, and accessible by surface streets from the Double Tree, are Picate, Pyramid and T-Rex.

    Picate is a Berkeley-fied taqueria, nice, pleasant, inexpensive big enough menu. Pyramid is a brew pud, food is okay with safe picks, in-between inexpensive and moderate. T-Rex is moderately priced but not expensive, Californicated bar-b-q. I'd look for reviews in the links.

    T-Rex Barbeque
    1300 10th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    1328 6th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse
    901 Gilman St, Berkeley, CA

    1. Not just off of I-80, but fitting the bill in every other way:


      Open until midnight on Saturdays, with free goodies from 10:30 PM.

      4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

      1. See if Corso in Berkeley is open that late. If it is, get the hoffman chicken sauteed in pulugia butter...divine!

        PS While I really want to love Adesso(it is my 'hood) I was pretty underwhelmed. If you do go, I recommend the platter ofproscuitto and some baratta. Most things in the "free hour" were pretty unsatisfying.

        1. I'd stop at Gold Medal in Oakland Chinatown or Daimo in Richmond (a few miles north of hotel)

          1. Since you know the area, a little further up is Mint Leaf next to Chez Panisse in Epicurious Garden. They are open till midnight. It is organic Indian, so don't know how that would work for you, personally I'd be interested in what you thought. I haven't been yet though. Here's the Place record which has a link to an East Bay Express review.

            Not sure if Turkish Kitchen is new to you. It is next to McDonalds on the corner of University and Shattuck

            Not new, but if you get in really late, right up University or hugging it, Lanesplitter Pizza, Au Coquelet, Monte Cristo Taqueria

            I forgot if you like chocolate, but if your meetings get out early on Sunday, Chocolatier Blue on University might be worth a stop. They are open till 6 on Sunday

            1. If you're stopping to eat on the way from the airport rather than after checking in at the hotel, Chai Thai Noodles, El Huarache Azteca, Sea Salt, Lanesplitter, and Indus Village are all a short hop from the freeway and open till 10 or later. Anybody know how late Jalisco Cafe is open?

              If you're in the mood for pizza and beer, Lanesplitter is open until 1:30 and just a few blocks up University. Salads are decent. Order a 15", the 19" pies don't always come out right. I recommend the Carnivore or pepperoni + mushroom. Super-cheap and definitely a place where people haven't necessarily cleaned up after work.

              Templebar's kitchen might or might not be open, call first. Food's just OK but the atmosphere is great. Again definitely a place where you'd feel comfortable regardless.

              Indus Village is open till 10:30 on weekends. Good cheap Pakistani. (I think Kabana and DeAfganan are closed by 10.)

              T-Rex is open till 11 and the food's great. Like most places in Berkeley, people wear whatever. This month they have a special, rack of ribs plus a pitcher of beer for less than the usual price of the rack alone.

              Daimo is open till 3am. It's about five minutes past University on 80. Best Chinese in the East Bay.

              Picante and Pyramid are both OK in a pinch but the food is kind of eh.

              Mint Leaf is pretty good and the late-night menu is a steal but the food is relatively bland and Americanized.

              El Huarache Azteca
              3842 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

              Daimo Chinese Restaurant
              3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

              Lanesplitter Berkeley
              2033 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

              Sea Salt
              2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

              Templebar Restaurant & Bar
              984 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

              Indus Village Restaurant
              1920 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

              Jalisco Cafe
              1721 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

              Chai Thai Noodles
              545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

              1. Picante isn't exactly new, and only open until 10. Is right off the freeway though. I'm not a fan, but many are. The main room is very ugly (all tile - hose it down every night). Outside is OK.

                Pyramid is 11:30 on a saturday, T-Rex 11. Pyramid's food was rather generic last time I ate there. T-Rex I haven't eaten at but is likely a good fit.

                Lanesplitter is at San Pablo and University, open late (12? 1?), very casual. Recommended only if players involved like beer. Pizza's pretty good but the beer's the main attraction. It's at the same exit as your hotel, and it's cheap. (I usually get the 7-10 split, two slices and a pint, which is about $10 with tax and tip).

                Is Luka's too formal? Not that far from the freeway, lively atmosphere, good eats. I think if he's clean enough to get on a plane (no clumps of manure on shoes, for example), he'd be clean enough for Luka's. Oakland has a soft spot for blue collar. Kitchen till 10:30, limited bar menu to midnight, drinks until 2 - so even if you slide in late, you won't feel rushed. Not sure it's *inexpensive* though. I'd place it somewhere between inexpensive and expensive.

                15 Replies
                1. re: bbulkow

                  Luka's not formal at all. Atmosphere's more bar than restaurant. One of my favorite burgers. Great fries if you like the Belgian style. Other food's sort of Frenchy.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Janet is a long time poster and familiar with the area. She has a passion for Vik's. The only reason I mentioned some long established places was in case the plane really got in late, these were a few options to refresh her mind. i am not sure though what 'new' means to her though .. within the last year? There's a lot of new action going on in Temescal but it is out of her geographic request and many of the places might not fit other criteria.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Barlata's another new place. It's a relatively short detour from 80 since it's just a few blocks from the 51st St. freeway exit and onramp.

                      4901 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                    2. re: bbulkow

                      I can't disagree w/ your assessment of Picante or Pyramid but the question was for inexpensive, late and close to I80. I'd say the food in on the level of good diner...good, safe picks, will most likely be satisfied but certainly not mind blowing in any way.

                      The most interesting suggestion, inexpensive and open late might be Indus Village...and not far from I80 or the Double Tree. I've never been past 7-8-ish, didn't know they were open late. The food there is very well prepared and the chef has a light touch. The food does come with some heat (even if you request mild) which I like but I can see others might not, esp. later in the evening.

                      1. re: ML8000

                        Indus is open until 10:30 on Saturdays.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I did see your rec above and a light bulb went off...didn't know it was open late. The thing is, maybe I don't think about Indus as a night place because it's very, very fluorescent in there at night and not so inviting...but the food is v. good with crazy prices. The $6.99 combos are a deal. The buffet however scares me.

                          1. re: ML8000

                            What's scary about the buffet? I've never been in there at luncyh.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I've never tried the buffet. It scares me how much food you could put away.

                            2. re: ML8000

                              I just called Indus Village and she says they do not/never have had a buffet.

                              1. re: sydthekyd

                                One of the stores on that block used to have a huge serving of very good chicken, 2 legs and thigh pieces with rice, for $5 on a Saturday. . It was set up in warming trays just to the right of the front door. Not sure if it was the southern most or the one associated with Indus Village. It certainly could be interpreted as a buffet, albeit limited.

                        2. re: bbulkow

                          Hubby won't be on the plane; he's meeting me after a job in Oakland. There won't be manure....he'll just be dusty :-)

                          But since he'll be in downtown Oakland, and since he might end up going to a place like Luka's to have a beer and maybe watch some basketball (they have TVs, right?) while he's waiting for me, I think I'd like something different for dinner. Besides, DH doesn't do burgers. Indus Village is certainly a possibility..and so is Sea Salt, especially if oysters are involved...but I have it in my head that its pricier....

                          I don't do pizza; I guess I should have mentioned that.

                          I don't suppose there are any Southern Indian places open anywhere? (Vik's is always a stop when we're in that neighborhood, but they close too early...besides, I'm sure DH will head there Sunday while I'm in meetings....)

                          1. re: janetofreno

                            Sea Salt's prices are online.
                            dinner: http://seasaltrestaurant.com/menus/Ne...
                            3-10 "other menu": http://seasaltrestaurant.com/menus/Th...

                            Southern Indian, I believe Udupi Palace is open till 10. That's at the other end of University from your hotel, about a ten-minute drive.

                            Udupi Palace
                            1901 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                            1. re: janetofreno

                              I would *not* swear that Luka's has TV, although they might in the bar area with the pool table.

                              1. re: bbulkow

                                Lukas definitely has TVs in the front bar area, but it's not a great sports watching place -- the TVs are small and (at least when I've been there) the sound isn't on.

                                Sea Salt's prices have definitely gone down recently, and the oysters are great. T-Rex is also a good spot, and is right off the freeway and open late.

                                1. re: JasmineG

                                  Through the end of the month T-Rex is offering a slab of baby back ribs and a pitcher of beer for $25. Regular prices are slab of ribs for $28 and a pitcher $13 = $41, so that's $16 or 29% off.

                          2. Oh, dear...I was just reading an old post about "open late in Berkeley" and someone mentioned Top Dog. Well, its certainly not new, but it IS an old favorite. Do you think I can talk DH into that one????

                              1. re: susancinsf

                                Sorry, just saw this question, and I've been traveling and off line a lot. So to that person, and to the person who (rather rudely, I might add) pointed out by an email to me that I never reported back...we went to Udipi Palace. If Susan thought about it, she would probably realize that knowing my DH that was the most predictable place. As Jerry likes to say, even a bad Dhosa beats a good meal at any other restaurant....(Jerry loves Dhosa as much as any food on earth. And ours there were fine....)