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Where is the Fairway of Oakland?

o
oakbie Sep 15, 2010 01:13 PM

Hi All: Just moved to Oakland from NYC, and I'm hoping to find the equivalent of a discount-gourmet foods outlet a la Fairway in NY.

While I love Trader Joe's produce, I'm looking for things like olive oil, hearts of palm, rice, dry goods, cheeses, olives, prime meat, etc. at less than Whole Paycheck prices. I miss my Roland pre-cut hearts of palm for $1.79/can. :(

I've tried local chains like Pak'n'Save and Lucky, but they are just run-of-the-mill supermarts. Grocery Outlet looks promising for ethnic food but seems hit-or-miss. There are some small international-food bodegas that are interesting and exotic, but not what I'm looking for.

Hopefully there are some transplant NY'ers here that understand what I'm talking about!

  1. wolfe Sep 15, 2010 01:21 PM

    Try Berkeley Bowl East or West, not discount but good selection and great produce.

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    Berkeley Bowl
    2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe
      o
      oakbie Sep 15, 2010 01:58 PM

      Thanks, wolfe...I will check it out.

    2. ...tm... Sep 15, 2010 02:29 PM

      As someone who has live by Fairway and Berkeley Bowl, BB blows Fairway out of the water, but I'm a produce-heavy shopper. Depending on what part of Oakland you live in you might find Farmer Joe's more convenient, or the Food Mill. And if the desired packaged products/oils are remotely middle-eastern Oasis Market on Telegraph has pretty good prices and selection. And you're right if Grocery Outlet is convenient to you you'll find some great bargains and quality packaged goods, but you can't predict when they will show up.

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      Berkeley Bowl
      2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

      Food Mill
      3033 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

      Berkeley Bowl West
      920 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA

      Oasis Market
      3045 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

      5 Replies
      1. re: ...tm...
        o
        oakbie Sep 15, 2010 02:58 PM

        Thanks tm...I'm near Lake Merritt so Food Mill and Oasis are both close enough to pedal over to...I'll check them out.

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        Food Mill
        3033 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

        1. re: oakbie
          wolfe Sep 15, 2010 03:10 PM

          The Food Mill is at 3033 Macarthur Blvd. Their selection of spices is encyclopedic but on my latest trip I found many of their prices significantly higher than the Bowls. Much smaller selection of everything else also.

          Edit: No place that I am aware of in the Bay Area has groovy videos like Fairway.

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          Food Mill
          3033 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

          1. re: wolfe
            o
            oakbie Sep 16, 2010 08:50 AM

            I pedaled over to Food Mill yesterday...love the self-serve bulk bins and agave-sweetened gummibears! But still looking for "Fairway" olive oil and discount/bulk canned goods.

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            Food Mill
            3033 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

            1. re: oakbie
              daveena Sep 16, 2010 09:50 AM

              You're really looking for Berkeley Bowl. They don't generally market their canned goods as discount, but stuff just costs less here - you'll probably find prices comparable to Fairway's. Go to the newer one first (Berkeley Bowl West) - the old one (East) is good, and closer to me so I still go there, but West is much larger.

              I actually really like the bulk olive oil at Trader Joe's - the one I buy is around $7/ qt, I think - it's good enough to make salad dressing and cheap enough to saute with.

              We also have a much stronger farmer's market presence here - Oakland alone has at least 5 farmer's markets that I can think of - the produce prices are really competitive, actually frequently better than even the mainstream chain grocery stores.

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              Berkeley Bowl
              2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

              1. re: oakbie
                wolfe Sep 16, 2010 01:20 PM

                Discount bulk at Smart and Final.

        2. p
          pauliface Sep 15, 2010 05:36 PM

          For fish and japanese ingredients, I recommend Tokyo Fish Market.

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          Tokyo Fish Market
          1220 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

          3 Replies
          1. re: pauliface
            s
            skwid Sep 17, 2010 09:54 AM

            Yep Tokyo Fish is awesome for fish and japaneese ingredients.

            I think others have covered this subject well but Berkeley Bowl would be the first place I would stop. Their fish is pretty good but not up to the level of Tokyo Fish. If you are near rockridge you might stop in at Rockridge Market hall which is right across from the Rockridge BART station (there is a Trader Joes on the other side of the BART station). The prices are not cheap but the quality is typically pretty high. The fresh pastas at The Pasta Shop are some of the best you can find and mean making your own pasta just isn't necessary.

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            Berkeley Bowl
            2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

            1. re: skwid
              bbulkow Sep 17, 2010 11:22 AM

              If the OP is pedaling distance from the Food Mill, I would think Tokyo Fish would be a pain. Even old Berkeley Bowl will be a little bit of a pain, but worth it.

              -----
              Berkeley Bowl
              2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

              Food Mill
              3033 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

            2. re: pauliface
              Robert Lauriston Sep 17, 2010 10:51 AM

              Monterey Fish is also great.

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              Monterey Fish: Retail
              1582 Hopkins St, Berkeley, CA

            3. jason carey Sep 18, 2010 11:44 AM

              If you think Trader Joes's produce is good I don't knwo what to tell you .. it is literally garbage in shrink wrapping. Berkeley Bowl in Berkely is the closest thing to Fairway.. but not cheap like that for anything except produce.

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              Berkeley Bowl
              2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

              10 Replies
              1. re: jason carey
                Robert Lauriston Sep 18, 2010 11:54 AM

                I'm spoiled by the farmers markets, but the produce at Trader Joe's looks better than it used to, and, while a step down from Berkeley Bowl, it's a big step up from Safeway.

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                Berkeley Bowl
                2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  jason carey Sep 19, 2010 01:53 PM

                  Do you really think Trader Joes's styrofoam flavored industrial fruits, sticky mushrooms in wrapping and bagged tasteless lettuce are better than Safeway? I actually don't shop there (Safeway) much, but at least you can actually see what you are buying cause it ain't all encased in plastic. Why don't we do a little comparison and shop for 15 items from both photograph and taste them and see really which is better. I generally supplement my CSA with B Bowl or farmer's market.. but I am sorry, TJ's produce is truly vile.

                  1. re: jason carey
                    Glencora Sep 19, 2010 02:35 PM

                    The strawberries and melons are tasteless, the corn is almost always old, and I hate those bagged romaine lettuces. The grapes, blueberries, oranges and bananas are fine, because they don't need to be perfectly ripe and they store fairly well. The same could be said of Safeway's stuff, probably.

                    1. re: Glencora
                      daveena Sep 19, 2010 04:46 PM

                      In season, baby artichokes and blood oranges at TJs are both good and incredibly inexpensive.

                      1. re: Glencora
                        bbulkow Sep 19, 2010 10:27 PM

                        I went to my local TJ's for the first time in a long time, to get a few staples because it was en route. The bananas were green, green, green and far worse than safeway's. Safeway's in season fruits are pretty good around us. Not farmer's market good, but quite tolerable.

                        1. re: bbulkow
                          JasmineG Sep 19, 2010 10:55 PM

                          Yeah, I agree, I was in Safeway tonight, and the produce there was significantly better (looking, at least) than what I see at Trader Joe's.

                  2. re: jason carey
                    Ruth Lafler Sep 19, 2010 03:57 PM

                    I took a visiting NYer to Berkeley Bowl (original) -- we walked in the entrance into the produce section and he gasped "this is bigger than an entire Fairway."

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                    Berkeley Bowl
                    2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      wolfe Sep 19, 2010 04:52 PM

                      Heck, I took someone from Marin to BBE and I shopped for everything I wanted and they never got out of the orange section before I finished.

                      1. re: wolfe
                        m
                        ML8000 Sep 19, 2010 05:19 PM

                        I've had the same experience bringing someone to BB and looking at the bread section. They were in shock that there was that much decent bread and that many choices.

                        When I go to BB, I put on blinders, esp with the produce. If you browse too much, you might end up with way too much stuff. I have to ask myself constantly will it be eaten w/i 3 days...because if it's not, it will rot.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler
                        jason carey Sep 25, 2010 10:53 AM

                        that is not true about the Size.. Most of the Fairways are larger than BBOWL.. but anyhow you can't compare.. BBOWL is Much better for Produce.. but their other prices are high.. Whereas Fairway is decent for produce but has much better prices on all the other stuff across the board

                    2. s
                      SouthToTheLeft Sep 19, 2010 10:45 PM

                      Oh god. I just moved here, too, from near the Red Hook Fairway. I've not found anything that matches that in terms of size and variety, but Bi-Rite in the city has better produce than Fairway.

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