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Need recommendations for Oakland trip Dec 27 -30- nothing elegant!

Travelling with husband (business for him, Christmas break for me) to Oakland between Christmas and New Year's. Can you recommend some places to try in Oakland?

Specifically:
1. Guy Fieri "Triple D" type places for lunch or dinner.
2. "Dive" bars with good drinks/food where you're welcome even if you're not a regular.
3. Unique ice cream, dessert, pastry places.
4. Sushi (preferably somewhere where sustainable fish is not the exception)
5. Best banh mi place (never tried one, want to on this trip)
6. Anything else inexpensive but fabulous. Authentic Mexican and Chinese are favorites.

Will have rental car and be staying near the airport. Hubby will be working in San Leandro. Willing to go into San Francisco, but were just there last month, so more interested in what Oakland has to offer. Can't wait to hear some fabulous CH rec's!

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  1. A little farther than Oakland just across the border to Berkeley is a great middle European bakery,Crixa Cakes. For Bahn Mi there's Cam Huong or Ba Le on International, tossup.
    http://www.crixacakes.com/
    For dive bar without food, Heinhold's First and Last Chance.
    http://www.heinoldsfirstandlastchance...

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    Crixa Cakes
    2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

    Ba Le Sandwich
    1500 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

    Cam Huong Cafe
    702 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

    Heinold's First & Last Chance
    56 Jack London Sq, Oakland, CA 94607

    4 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Can't recommend Van Kleef's enough. No food, just drinks, and a dark, old-fashioned atmosphere with all sorts of interesting things on the wall.

      While it doesn't fit any of your criteria, I would also recommend Cafe 15, a great affordable cafe with absolutely top-notch ingredients.

      1. re: wolfe

        Good recs.I' not a regular but has Guy Fieri featured Oaktown restaurants?It seems he's more into middle of the country.Quinn's Light House,Upper Deck Pub,with it's "throw them on the floor peanut shells",features 8 draft beers and over 58 domestic & imported bottled beers.There's an 80-seat outside deck overlooking the marina.Happy Hour at the Pub: Mon-Fri, 4-6 pm.
        Discount prices on drinks, beers and appetizers. It's not destination dining but a nice destination on a sunny afternoon,right off 880 from the airport.Good clams,mussels and garlic chicken wings w/a water view.

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        Quinn's Lighthouse Restaurant And Pub
        51 Embarcadero, Oakland, CA 94607

        1. re: casalbore spirit

          Quinn's deck (which has reopened) is fun. I can't stand the interior.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Quinn's outside deck for sure.Don't like any other part of the complex including the main restaurant.Am not crazy about the food,more that there's so few places to feel the calm of sitting by water,witha libation and food, when Oakland is right on the bay.Another suggestion for you Igoodwood,right off 880 on Fruitvale nr International is "Los Coco's" a Salvadoran restaurant with great pupusas and more:
            http://www.oaklandmagazine.com/media/...

      2. If you're staying near the airport, you're just a hop, skip and jump away from Oakland's Mexica/Fruitvale district. Check out one of the many threads on where to eat in Fruitvale, from ice cream to taco trucks to pupusa wagons.

        Here are a couple of fairly recent threads: the request http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/562094 and the report back: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/571843

        1. Daimo for Chinese, Sweet Fingers for Jamaican (both in San Leandro), Fruitvale in Oaktown for Mexican.

          1. Forgot Champa Garden, fried rice ball salad appetizer a must.
            http://www.champagarden.com/

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            Champa Garden
            2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

            1. CAFE GIOVANNI'S in Berkeley. Old-school Italian restaurant, been around for about 30 years. Recently the kitchen has taken an upturn and friends of mine who work in some San Francisco fine dining restaurants really enjoy the food.

              Casual yet romantic, good bar, great dining room fireplace, and beautifully decorated for the Holidays. Menu has something for everyone, good portions and reasonably priced. Nice extra room for parties 20 to 100. Not pretentious like many "foodie" places, but great for a business lunch, lunch with the girls, or a special dinner. My Mom used to love it even though she could go anywhere! And did I mention the bar is pretty cool?

              From The French Laundry to Michael Minna's I've eaten at the best, but Giovanni's is where I go for a relaxed, fullfilling, home-like experience. On Shattuck & Durant near downtown Berkeley.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BCtheOG

                Ew. If you like red sauce eye-talian, limp noodle pasta. Cafe Givanni isn't worth beeping at as you drive by.