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Mar 11, 2010 08:44 AM

Good food Friday night near West Oakland, Lake Merritt, Fruitvale, or Coliseum BART

No southern or barbecue

So far, I've thought of Oakland Chinatown and the Fruitvale taco trucks, what else?

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  1. How near is "near"? I can't honestly recommend the areas around West Oakland BART or Coliseum BART at night, and I have a pretty high tolerance for urban ugliness. There are some good sit down restaurants in Fruitvale, in addition to taco trucks. FWIW, the last time I was headed to the Coliseum, I had dinner at El Huarache Azteca, which is about five blocks from the Fruitvale BART station (39th and International).

    1. There's plenty of good sit down food near Fruitvale BART as well. Taco Grill has tasty Pozole.

      Not a thing near Coliseum BART.

      Oakland Chinatown is near Lake Merritt station, but it's probably closer to 12th Street. Any reason you're skipping over the 12th and 19th Street stations? Even if you're heading from SF to the Coliseum, so long as you plan to exit BART to eat, changing trains downtown doesn't add any difficulty to your journey. There are great options downtown that would make it well worth considering.

      10 Replies
      1. re: lexdevil

        a friend and i are going to be going to the 7pm A's game, and he'll be coming from SF on BART, and i'll be coming from the dublin/pleasanton BART, so we need somewhere on the dublin/pleasanton line where we can meet up, grab a bite, hop back on BART, and go to oakland/coliseum

        i also just though of green papaya deli too

        1. re: vulber

          If you didn't like the fish sauce and spice at Lers Ros, I think you'll be equally "revolted" by the cooking at Green Papaya, as the Lao cuisine likes an even heavier style of fish sauce. You could ask for less, but then why go there?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            i love fish sauce and spicy food, i just don't like it when it overwhelms the main ingredient(s) in the food; if i get a papaya salad, i want to taste the papaya, which i couldn't at lers ros

            1. re: vulber

              Lao cooking uses more of both, just be forewarned that the cooking is not geared to non-Lao. Lao style green papaya salad is BLACK with fish sauce, and not my favorite. As noted in the other thread, green papaya doesn't taste like a ripe papaya and has little flavor of its own. Where have you had a green papaya salad that you've liked?

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                You're right that Lao papaya salad includes padaek (Lao fermented fish sauce), whereas the modified version known as Thai papaya salad served in Bangkok omits padaek.

                One should order Lao papaya salad if they prefer their salad spicy and on the fish sauce side. For those who prefer sweet and a milder taste, then order Thai style papaya salad.

                But I would like to say that the "black" Lao papaya salads served at some Lao restaurants in the bay area are definitely not what I would call typical Lao papaya salads. I don't blame you for not liking it because even I do not care for their version. I mean, it should be slightly darker, but not black.

                That's why I typically do not order Lao papaya salads from those restaurants (they use too much dark fish sauce) and I also do not order Thai papaya salad (it's just too sweet and simple for my palate).

                I prefer Lao papaya salads made at home. There's just more flavor and they don't overpower it with too much padaek. There has to be some padaek, but not too much of it. I think the ones made in the SF Bay Area are catered to people from the southern region of Laos. Other regions have their own versions of Lao papaya salad.

                Here's some photos of Lao papaya salad that I consider more authentic and home-style:





          2. re: vulber

            You could still both get off BART downtown with no trouble, Have him take the Pittsburg/Baypoint or Richmond line. Exit at 12th Street or 19th Street. Then take a Fremont train to the Coliseum after you've eaten.

            1. re: lexdevil

              except that i'll be coming from the pleasanton BART and won't have time to get there

              1. re: vulber

                12th Street is 11 minutes beyond Fruitvale (the stop closest to you where you'll find food, but it is pretty much all Mexican). It's 6 minutes beyond Lake Merritt, and you'd probably spend that 6 minutes on the longer walk from the Lake Merritt station to your dining destination. I will grant, however, that you'll lose those minutes in both directions (when you get back on BART to the Coliseum).

                If you're really cutting it that close, I think you're going to have to consider Mexican food.

                1. re: lexdevil

                  But I understand what vulber is saying: 12th St. is not on the Dublin line, so he'd have to transfer to another train, which eats up some time. That said, there are some really good restaurants very close to 12th St.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    The 11 minute and 6 minute time differences include the transfer. I calculated them from Pleasanton.

        2. Taco Grill (right by the Fruitvale BART). Great tacos and pozole. Have a churro afterwards from the cart right outside.

          Chop Bar isn't too bad of a walk from the Lake Merritt BART. Very good food.

          In Chinatown, I like Shan Dong (for buns and noodles) and Chef Lau's (for solid, inexpensive Canto). Gum Wah for roast duck wonton noodle soup.

          5 Replies
          1. re: abstractpoet

            ooh, thanks for the chop bar suggestion

            also come to think of it, my friend is visiting from arkansas (hence no southern/barbecue), but he's originally from texas, so that might rule out mexican too

            1. re: vulber

              I'm not sure why it would rule out Mexican. What you find in Fruitvale isn't very similar to what you'd find in Texas.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I would agree with that, except my experiences have shown that as a general principle (not always true), people from Texas are very provincial about their Mexican (actually, they're provincial about nearly everything) and aren't really a fan of our style of mexican)

                1. re: vulber

                  I believe Texans would claim they're being nationalistic, as Texas is far more than a province.

                  Not that I'm disagreeing with your statement.