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Dec 3, 2010 07:24 AM

Flora, Oakland[split]

Odd it wasn't on their website. I had lunch around the corner 12/2 at Flora. Flora was quite nice: the sunchoke soup was like an entire bowl of gravy, but better, and the pulled pork was an excellent take. I ordered the pulled pork a few times at 900 Grayson, this was much better. The room is a little more formal, a little "ladies who lunch", but nice and quiet and good for an informal business meeting.

900 Grayson
900 Grayson St, Berkeley, CA 94710

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  1. The new chef at Flora is Rico Rivera, previously the everything-except-pizza chef at Pizzaiola. I've always loved his food, and he's starting out very well at Flora.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Rapini

      good to know, since I really do the like the items-other-than-pizza at Pizzaiola. I've never been that impressed with the food at Flora. The cocktails, otoh, are outstanding. I was there with Windy when she enjoyed the Montega Bay cocktail at Flora:

      the bar snacks we also had weren't memorable, obviously, since it was only a few weeks ago and the cocktails are all I can remember. But yeah, I think the Montega Bay would make my top ten list also. I'd like to go back to Flora when I'm not facing a two plus hour drive home afterwards....

      1. re: susancinsf

        The room may have a better ambiance after dark. At happy hour, it was kind of cool and elegant, from another era. And yes, order a Montego Bay.

        We watched the main bartender training a new recruit.

      2. re: Rapini

        Huh! New chef, huh. The fries weren't all that excellent, and I remember Bauer raving about the fries previously. What's been haunting me is the coleslaw, which I think had a little fennel grated in. Tasty.

      3. Had lunch on Sunday. Per the menu Rico Rivera's still the chef,

        "Classic" shrimp cocktail ($12 for five good-sized shrimp) was indeed classic. I'm picky about shrimp, usually don't like them, these were first-rate.

        Bass brandade fritters ($7) were great, served with sort of Thai-ish green beans with basil.

        The fried chicken ($15) was a boned-out leg and thigh, just like at Pizzaiolo, good though I'd have preferred on the bone. Came with a celery root and apple slaw that really made the dish.

        Pork shoulder and black bean stew ($14) with butternut squash, brussels sprouts, scrambled eggs, and a cheddar biscuit was delicious, a really brilliant combination of ingredients.

        Short but very interesting list of wines by the glass, much improved. Carter Beats the Devil cocktail was as great as I remembered.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I finally made it to Pizzaiolo, partially because I won't be going to Plum much, and -- wow. I know you talked it up a lot before it started, but everything is great. Vibe, cocktails, friendly service ("I messed up your order and didn't put it in so here's some soup while you're waiting" - and the soup was _great_) guys aren't afraid of a bit of char on their pizza, and a reasonable price. What's not to love?

          This is somewhat what Vesta is going for in RWC, but Pizzaiolo is better.