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what's missing from the Chron's "Bargain Bites" list

Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2011 10:31 AM

People are always recommending it here but to me that's bad advice.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/listing...

  1. daveena Jun 6, 2011 07:21 PM

    This year's list was a big improvement - at least a couple of legitimate East Bay places made it this year. Last year, Kim Huong, one of the worst restaurants in Oakland Chinatown, was the only Chinatown restaurant to make the list (this year there are none, but honestly, better none than Kim Huong). The Michelin folks must have picked it off that list, because Kim Huong made Michelin's Bib Gourmand list, which is just obscene. Also, this year they dropped some of the more absurd picks, like 900 Grayson, which is good but in no way a Bargain Bite.

    few more of my faves, not yet listed by Robert or abstractpoet%3

    Oakland%3

    BC Deli

    Black and Silver

    Ensarro

    Fortune Restaurant

    Kang Tong Degi (dishes are more than $12 but sized to share - does the Chron account for that?)

    Phnom Penh

    every taco truck in East Oakland

    In Alameda%3

    rk

    Homeroom Racing Cafe

    Scolari's

    -----
    Kang Tong Degi
    3702 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    Phnom Penh Restaurant
    3912 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619

    Homeroom Racing Cafe
    1305 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

    Scolari's
    1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

    8 Replies
    1. re: daveena
      Ruth Lafler Jun 7, 2011 05:04 PM

      I thought Scolari's was pretty expensive for what it was. Bargain to me doesn't necessarily mean "cheap" it means "good value for the price"!

      -----
      Scolari's
      1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

      1. re: daveena
        a
        abstractpoet Jun 7, 2011 08:29 PM

        I find Scolari's to be a good value for the food. The burger, for instance, is a couple dollars more than Trueburger's, but I also think it's a couple dollars better.

        I suppose if you care about the ambiance/comfort (which hasn't deterred us), then you'd maybe dock it a couple points - I haven't tried having my food brought over to the bar.

        -----
        Trueburger
        146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

        Scolari's
        1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

        1. re: abstractpoet
          Robert Lauriston Jun 8, 2011 10:15 AM

          Trueburger's burger is $5, Scolari's is $9.

          -----
          Trueburger
          146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

          Scolari's
          1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            a
            abstractpoet Jun 8, 2011 10:23 AM

            Huh - I think it used to be $7 or $8 for the plain burger. Anyway, I like it better than Trueburger's - meat, bun, etc. (And I do like Trueburger.)

            -----
            Trueburger
            146 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

            1. re: abstractpoet
              Robert Lauriston Jun 8, 2011 10:30 AM

              I might be wrong about the price, I was just going by the most recent post on Yelp. Earlier posts said $8.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston
              Ruth Lafler Jun 8, 2011 10:25 AM

              Plus the fries -- which are mediocre -- are $5 or $3 for a side order with the burger. That's just ridiculous! There are fancy restaurants that don't charge that much (or any more) for better fries!

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                a
                abstractpoet Jun 8, 2011 10:29 AM

                I can't speak for the regular fries, but the garlic fries at Scolari's are EXCELLENT, and a half-order (for maybe $4?) is plenty to share between two people.

                Maybe you were there on an off day, Ruth? It's fine if you just don't like the place - but I also don't know if all the line cooks are equally good. When the head chef is cooking, I've found the food to be uniformly excellent.

                -----
                Scolari's
                1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                1. re: abstractpoet
                  Ruth Lafler Jun 8, 2011 10:45 AM

                  I thought the burger was very good. I just didn't think it was a "bargain" -- not when, for example, you can get a burger and fries at Marlowe for only a buck more. The regular fries were a real disappointment.

        2. Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2011 03:38 PM

          Old Jerusalem.

          -----
          Old Jerusalem
          2976 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. m
            mhuang Jun 6, 2011 03:09 PM

            I always feel the Peninsula/South Bay are always underrepresented on the Bargain Bites listings.

            The criteria of $12 and under on the entrees list is what really wipes a lot of restaurants off the list, because a lot of bargain bite-ish type places will often have a special dish or two that are just above $12.

            However, a lot of great gems such as the ramen houses of the peninsula/south bay do meet that price point.

            Himawari (San Mateo)
            Shalala (Mountain View)
            Maru Ichi (Mountain View)
            Ryowa (Mountain View)
            Orenchi Ramen (Santa Clara)
            Ramen Kahoo (San Jose)
            Santouka (San Jose)
            Ramen Halu (San Jose)
            Ramen Tenma (San Jose)

            Japanese/Sushi Restaurants
            Hotaru (San Mateo)
            Yume-ya (Sunnyvale)
            Hoshi (Santa Clara)
            Hana Maru (Sunnyvale)

            Thai
            Thai Basil (a few seafood items are 12.95, but most everything else is 9.95) (Sunnyvale)

            Indian
            Chaat Paradise (Mountain View)

            Korean
            99 Chicken (Santa Clara)
            Bon Chon Chicken (Sunnyvale)
            Secret Garden (Santa Clara)
            Choi's Kitchen (Santa Clara)
            Roll House (Santa Clara)
            Zazang (Santa Clara)

            Napoletana Pizzeria (Mountain View) would be my choice for Italian/Pizza, but about half their entree/pizza menu is over the $12 mark -- the entrees top out at $14, and the pizzas top out at $16.

            Lillie Mae's House of Soul Food (San Jose) is also what I would consider a bargain bite, with most of their entrees between $8-15 for combo plates with sides.

            -----
            Ramen Halu
            375 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

            Chaat Paradise
            165 E El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA 94040

            Himawari
            202 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

            Hoshi
            246 Saratoga Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050

            Zazang Restaurant
            3006 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

            Ryowa
            859 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

            99 Chicken
            2781 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

            Maru Ichi Restaurant
            368 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

            Choi's
            3530 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

            Thai Thai Restaurant
            653 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            Roll House
            3486 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

            House of Soul Food
            635 East 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94577

            Orenchi Ramen
            3540 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

            Ramen Tenma
            487 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

            Santouka
            675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

            Shalala
            698 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

            Bon Chon
            572 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

            Napoletana Pizzeria
            1910 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA 94040

            1 Reply
            1. re: mhuang
              l
              lrealml Jun 7, 2011 01:07 AM

              Most Chinese places on the peninsula meet this criteria as well... Off the top of my head, Little Shanghai, Crouching Tiger, The Noodle Shop, and Everyday Beijing are all places I know I can go and get a great meal and a ton of leftovers for quite a bargain; some of them have things like whole fish or whole duck over $12, but they are meant to be eaten family style (so per person it is less than $12).

              Also, Tacos in RWC.... I won't even start down this route. Too many to name.

              There are also some Indian places down in Sunnyvale like Taste Buds that meet this criteria as well.

              And Back A Yard Caribbean is very close to meeting the criteria... a couple of entrees are $12.95.

            2. a
              abstractpoet Jun 6, 2011 11:28 AM

              There are good places on the Chron list, but there are also enough bad/mediocre places on there to render the list pretty hit-or-miss. In some ways, it'd be helpful to make the list shorter, not longer - to say which of Bauer's recs are either not that great (Lynn & Lu's, Crepevine, etc.) or are outdated (Bakesale Betty, which IMO is just coasting on its laurels at this point and isn't particularly cheap in its category).

              That said, some other inexpensive places I like that aren't represented (or mentioned by Robert):

              Indus Village (Berkeley)

              Chai Thai Noodles (Oakland)

              Chef Lau's (Oakland)

              Shan Dong (Oakland)

              Taco Grill (Oakland)

              Uncle Dougie's (Oakland)

              Woodminster Cafe (Oakland - Friday night Persian dinners)

              Inkas Restaurant (SF)

              Mandalay (SF)

              Turtle Tower (SF)

              Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen (SF) - Saturdays only, and I'll admit that, brunch-/lunch-wise, this is at the upper limit of what I'd consider a "bargain".

              Zaki Kabob (Albany)

              Mac's Wok (El Cerrito)

              Chopin Cafe (Walnut Creek)

              -----
              Inkas Restaurant
              3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Turtle Tower Restaurant
              631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

              Mandalay Restaurant
              4344 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118

              Indus Village Restaurant
              1920 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

              Chopin Cafe
              1574 Palos Verdes Mall, Walnut Creek, CA 94597

              Shan Dong Mandarin Restaurant
              328 10th St, Oakland, CA 94607

              Chef Lau's
              301 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

              Woodminster Cafe
              5020 Woodminster Ln, Oakland, CA 94602

              Taco Grill
              3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601

              Mac's Wok
              10558 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

              Chai Thai Noodles
              545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

              Zaki Kabob House
              1101 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

              Uncle Dougie's
              362 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612

              Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
              San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

              1. Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2011 10:31 AM

                Are there any banh mi or Yucatecan places on that list?

                Banh Mi Ba Le (Oakland / El Cerrito)
                Bodega Bistro
                Bowl'd (Albany)
                Burmese Kitchen aka Larkin Express
                Chef Yu's (Oakland)
                Esperpento
                Helmand Palace
                Jayakarta (Berkeley)
                Lanesplitter (Berkeley / Oakland / Emeryville)
                Maykadeh
                Memphis Minnie's
                Poc-Chuc
                Pyung Chang (Oakland)
                Saigon Sandwich
                Thai House Express
                Truly Mediterranean
                Turkish Kitchen (Berkeley)

                -----
                Jayakarta Restaurant
                2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                Saigon Sandwich Shop
                560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                Bodega Bistro
                607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Thai House Express
                901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Truly Mediterranean
                3109 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                Helmand Palace
                2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Bowl'd
                1479 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                Turkish Kitchen
                1984 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                Banh Mi Ba Le
                1909 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                Chef Yu's
                3919 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                Esperpento Restaurant
                3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                2 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  v
                  vulber Jun 6, 2011 02:39 PM

                  one of their criteria is that most entrees are under $12, which disqualifies esperpento (two tapas will be more than $12), helmand, bodega bistro, and maykadeh. im pretty sure bowl'd wasn't around at the time they put the list together.

                  the banh mi place at 6th and clement is on the list

                  1. re: vulber
                    Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2011 03:37 PM

                    Most of Esperpento's tapas are under $6.

                    http://www.esperpentorestaurant.com/?...

                    That arbitrary cutoff is one of the things that make the list weird and dotted with some of the most expensive places in certain categories, such as to-go sandwiches and Gott's (which actually should be disqualified for charging $15 for an ahi burger). Lots of places where you can eat very well on the cheap have more expensive items someone on a budget would simply not order.

                    -----
                    Esperpento Restaurant
                    3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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