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What are your Go-Tos. Regular, consistent, value near Oakland or Berkeley.

  • d

We've fallen for a few places, some with the help of this board, and were wondering what your go-tos are. This is more for the "Where should we go tonight?" conversation that keeps coming up than the "Where should we have a romantic evening?" plan.

Here are ours:

B Restaurant - consistent, tasty, a comfortable place with friendly service, sometimes a wow, always good.

Champa Garden - ridiculous value, complex flavors, best in class and better than most.

Rudy's Can't Fail - no fuss, diner gone Cali, simple, quick, inexpensive

Casa Vino - for some reason it still surprises me that this place is so good. Lots of wine options with 1/2 glasses, flights, etc. It's not the Taj Mahal, but for a laid back meal, it's nice.

Kabana - Pakistani food on University in Berkeley. Affordable, complex, spicy, quick.

Aunt Mary's Cafe - Used to go for dinner, but now for brunch. Love the menu and the people there. Don't even mind the wait.

China Village - Some of the best szechuan we have found. Value is very high.

Sahn Maru - Of all the Korean joints on Telegraph, we keep coming back for their Dinner A - $42 for three entrees, soup, and a lot of panchan.

Lois the Pie Queen - Some of the nicest people ever. Tasty, quick, simple. Not "diner cheap" but worth it.

Saul's - In love with the steps they have taken with the new menu.

Those are our regular haunts. Where are you hanging out?

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Champa Garden
2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
4081 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

Lois the Pie Queen
851 60th St, Oakland, CA 94608

Kabana Restaurant
1106 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

Aunt Mary's Cafe
4307 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

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  1. My newest addition to this list is Encuentra on 2nd Street, near Jack London Square...a very friendly wine bar with terrific vegetarian appetizers and small plates. This isn't clunky veggie fare, but well executed food that happens to contain no meat.

    Marzano [Park Blvd., not College Ave.] a wonderful neighborhood place with a talented bartender, and good pizza's and other dishes. For us, this is the place we go to when we're on our way home, and realize we'd rather go out than cook for ourselves.

    [Bellanica on the same block of Park Blvd. is also good for that purpose].

    We used to go to Cesar [the Oakland outpost] pretty regularly, but have only been once since the menu changed.

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    Marzano
    4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602

    1. How funny: the first thing I thought of when I read the title of your post was "Champ Garden"!

      I think you have a very solid list there. I'd add Pizzaiolo and Shanghai.

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      Pizzaiolo
      5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

      Shanghai Restaurant
      930 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

      1. We've been enjoying the Cantonese seafood and dimsum at L & L Seafood Restaurant on San Pablo in El Cerrito. On the same block is the wonderfully goofy Jac's, a Hong Kong-style cafe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ernie in berkeley

          Also in Peppermint Plaza is Ba Le for bahn mi, seafood soup and goi cuon.

        2. Funny---that's a list of many of our favorites, too! We also like Boot and Shoe (though need to go early or late to avoid crowds); Wood Tavern (ditto for the wait, or go for lunch); Sunnyside in Albany for brunch (haven't tried the Berkeley location yet); Shan Dong in Chinatown for noodles and dumplings; Pho 84 in Uptown for Vietnamese; and Burma Superstar in Temescal on weeknights when the wait's not insane.

          Pizzaiolo and Dopo are great too, but for some reason we have much better luck getting in and out of Marzano (agreed on Park v. College!) and Boot & Shoe without breaking the bank. Dunno why, since in theory the prices are about the same.

          3 Replies
          1. re: artemis78

            Thanks for those who have replied so far.

            Ruth-- I think some of our list has been influenced by your posts (and Robert L., rworange, Melanie and a few others). We've been in town 2 years and I think we might be following your lead. Thank you. We will check out Shanghai.

            The husband (who posts under "dcfoodblog") doesn't eat pizza often, but I will sneak out to Pizzaiolo some night. (We're also thinking there was a Ruth Lafler on the figure skating boards he followed for years - before we lived in this area?).

            Artemis78 - We'll need to try Sunnyside. Have visited most of the others and like them all. I always forget about Marzano. Our one meal there was good, but we went on an extremely busy night. We'll check it again. (And I post under "considering" on City-Data Forums. We owe you a debt of gratitude if you are the same as the artemis78 over there. So kind and helpful as we were moving and looking for neighborhoods.)

            Ernie and wolfe -- Those sound great too. We like Ba Le, but are always looking for more good Vietnamese (husband is Vietnamese) and dim sum.

            Always fun to hear where people hang out!

            dcfb and dcfoodblog

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            Pizzaiolo
            5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            Marzano
            4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602

            1. re: dcfb

              I'm not much of a pizza person, either, but there's lots of delicious things to eat at Pizzaiolo besides pizza.

              Yup, that was me on the figure skating boards. As far as google can tell, I'm the only Ruth Lafler in the world, which is not too surprising given my somewhat uncommon first name and my very uncommon last name. I haven't been very active in skating fandom recently, but I am thinking of going to Skate America, since it's on the West Coast (Portland) this year.

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              Pizzaiolo
              5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

              1. re: dcfb

                Yep, same user name on that board too...should probably mix it up one of these days! ;)

                I realized I left Sidebar off of that list, too. We don't go as often as we mean to, but it's almost always good when we do, and it's another spot that, like Wood Tavern, can be a $15 meal or a $50 meal depending on your mood (which I like; sometimes we just don't have the wiggle room to splurge on a really nice meal out, but a burger and a beer in either of those spots feels almost as fancy!)

                And if you go to Sunnyside, the tasting menu is a must (at least once---it's a huge amount of food so hard to do too often...but it's almost always really creative and tasty, and I love that they're brave about experimenting).

            2. If you've been liking China Village, do yourself the favor and drive up to Happy Golden Bowl for a change of scene. For my money, the dishes are different enough, the value still high, it's got a spot in rotation. Not enough to bump CV out, just a change of pace.

              Add Lanesplitter San Pablo. I'm not fond of the Temescal branch, but two-topping 7-10 split and a pint brings a smile to my face - and change back from $10 - even in the late night.

              For lunch I like the burger at Triple Rock. When I was living in north berkeley, Barney's Solano was also in rotation, because it was the quickest decent burger. I know Barney's has a tough rap around here, but I liked it. I like Triple Rock better, though!

              For everyday eats I also have a soft spot for Khana Peena. Reminds me of real india (fast and slightly out of control), the nan's super fresh, the flavors bright. Solano only - the Bancroft branch didn't do it for me. Not a good rep here on CH. Friends keep taking me to the curry joint next to Sunnyside, which is far cheaper, but I like the greater selection at Khana Peena. The schwarmas next door at Jereuselem got good play, too.

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              Happy Golden Bowl
              10675 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA