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Oakland: Fenton's Creamery holiday flavors

rworange Nov 7, 2009 09:45 AM

The eggnog, apple pie and rum raisin ice cream flavors are quite good. I liked that the pumpkin didn't overdo the spicing but the flavor of the pumpkin was also too subdued. Actually I liked the eggnog more than the gelato version down the street at Lush which was too subtle.

This was a first visit and the ice cream was surprisingly good. It has a nice texture for mid-range ice creams such as Mitchell's, Swenson's, Bud's, Loards, etc.

You can even buy a slice of ice cream pie. I really think that is really ... uh ... cool. You don't need to commit to the unknown of a whole pie.

There is American diner food with burgers, fries, chili, soup, salads and grilled sandwiches such as a tuna melts, BLTs, classic grilled cheese, French dips and club sandwiches. The prices are on the high side though ... the tuna melt is $9.25.

I thought it beat out Ghirardelli in terms of old-fashioned Ice cream parlor ambiance. It didn't look staged and it was filled with locals rather than tourists. There are booths, marble tables and counter seats to watch the cooks.

The almost 900 reviews on Yelp give it an average four star rating. I realize that Fenton's has been there for generations so some of this probably has to do with sentimentality. BTW, I learned there is a Fenton's at SFO.

However, I was impressed despite going in with a negative attitude. I think Fenton's Ice Cream is good enough that it should be included in any Bay Area ice cream discussion. I'll have to try more to see if they are the best in this category as I suspect. Respect must be paid.

Fenton's Creamery
4226 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

  1. s
    sydthekyd Nov 7, 2009 10:06 AM

    So open-minded - thank you!

    1. Robert Lauriston Nov 7, 2009 10:21 AM

      The ice cream itself is good. Definitely a step up from Mitchell's.

      The other food can be dreadful, and their stupid gimmick of putting sundaes in a too-small dish means that the hot caramel (quite good) or hot fudge (mediocre) sauces spill out and get cold immediately.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        rworange Nov 7, 2009 11:04 AM

        Thanks for the tip about the hot fudge. I was thinking of comparing it to Ghiradelli's somewhere along the line. I was going to get the hot chocolate but the server said it was a powdered mix like Nestles.

        They are open late though, until midnight on Friday and Saturday. The even serve breakfast on those days and Sunday. I wonder if that is any good.

        1. re: rworange
          Robert Lauriston Nov 7, 2009 11:15 AM

          The food is some of the worst I've had in the East Bay, right down there with Quinn's Lighthouse.

      2. Cecelia Nov 7, 2009 12:17 PM

        My family and I have been going to Fentons all our lives. We were devestated after the fire and worried that it wouldn't reopen. Then, we worried that when it did reopen the experience would be different. Well, not much haschanged, except the interior of the building itself.

        The Black and Tan, substituting coffee ice cream still rocks. I even like the delicate act of extracting the ice cream without disgorging the caramel and hot fudge sauces.

        And, yeah, the food kind of sucks, with one exception not on the menu anymore (I don't think): the tuna and egg salad on grilled sour dough bread. Simple and simply delicious.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Cecelia
          Pandora Nov 7, 2009 02:57 PM

          The black and tan was my favorite in college. I still kep an eye out for toasted almond ice cream like fenton's.

        2. Eugene Park Nov 7, 2009 06:56 PM

          Haven't been there in years, but I do remember the ice cream AND the crab sandwiches were delish. I hope the crab sandos are still available and taste as good as I remember them.

          I agree that everything else non-ice cream is very lacking there. But the crab sandos were good....

          2 Replies
          1. re: Eugene Park
            Robert Lauriston Nov 8, 2009 09:18 AM

            A friend ordered a crab sandwich and it was reeking of ammonia. It's amazing to me that a kitchen could send out spoiled crab.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Eugene Park Nov 8, 2009 06:41 PM

              Uggghhhhh. I'm pretty sure they use crab from a can. Unless they're pre-making the filling going into the sandwich, it shouldn't be too tough to open the can, mix it up with mayo and whatever else while the bread is grilling, then serve it.

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