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Great ethnic food in Alameda?

annie44 Jun 22, 2011 12:57 PM

Hi: Looking for a nice ethnic place to take my son to lunch in Alameda after picking him up at Oakland airport. Years ago I went to a nice, local Mexican place, famous for carne asada, but cannot recall the name or location. Quaint street. Any suggestions? We are open to anything ethnic and fun.

  1. JoyM Jun 22, 2011 01:55 PM

    Burma Superstar has a branch in Alameda

    Burma Superstar
    1345 Park Street, Alameda, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: JoyM
      RUTHfoodandwine Mar 14, 2012 08:17 PM

      I live here in Alameda for the past 13 yrs.. The truth is Ethnic is is a bit lacking here in the sense of delivering excellent quality.. e.g Flavors of India is no Vic's Chaat House of Spice Hut.. Penca Azul is awesome for their drinks food is quite another matter it is so so... I've been to all of the places mentioned some more than once or twice more than I should just to make sure that I didn't catch the chef/cook on an off day and believe when I say I can count the ones I do go back to on one hand.. Troy's, Toomie's for thai food, and the BEST place to eat here in Alameda is SCOLARI'S @ 1303 Park St ..It just doesn't get better than this...Mike takes fresh local seriously and does an awesome job with creativity.... the best part of the experience is the fact that you order and can go hang out next door at LUCKY 13 where the food will be brought over and where the best beer selection on the island is available for consumption..... On any given nights foodies, wine & beer geeks can be found picking up takeout, chowing down at the hole in wall joint or next door at Lucky 13.... I have had just about everything Scolaris can think of dishing out and have never been disappointed - from great salads, hamburgers, sandwiches,soups, stromboli, killa east coast slice pizzas etc... or their daily specials that can be found on their board (usually posted by 11:30am every morning on their facebook page "Scolari's Good Eats") hush puppies, chicken and waffles & the specialty burgers - that some have concluded is the best in the bay area!!! And to boot they are open pretty late most nights compare to most places in this town.. Try it & ENJOY!!!

      Toomie's Thai Cuisine
      1433 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

      1303 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

    2. Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2011 01:55 PM

      Hmmm ... good ethnic, yes. Great? I don't know. There are several Mexican restaurants in Alameda, but I'm not aware that any are famous for their carne asada. Since you said "quaint street" I'm going to assume you meant Park St. rather than Webster St.; Webster is also a couple of miles farther from the airport. That said, two of the better "ethnic" options in Alameda are on Webster: Otaez for Mexican and East Ocean for dim sum at lunch.

      Back on Park St. the best Mexican is probably the La Penca Azul (formerly La Pinata #3), which may be where you ate before. The best Chinese option on Park St. is Ark, especially for their hand-pulled noodles. For Thai there's King of Thai Noodles, for Indian there's Flavors of India, for Vietnamese Pho Little Saigon or Dragon Rouge (may qualify as more "fun"). I haven't heard anything particularly good about the new Cambodian place, the Aghan kabob place didn't look prepossessing. I've heard good things about the Greek place -- Troy -- though.

      Maybe the most interesting would be the Alameda branch of Burma Super Star, which is reputed to be one of the better branches.

      I'm not sure what people consider "fun" -- for me, the most fun place for lunch on Park St. is Ole's Waffle Shop, because of its old-fashioned (genuine, not retro) diner atmosphere. Depending on how old your son is, he may enjoy a place like Quickly, with Asian snacks and drinks.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2011 02:05 PM

        The site is running as slow as molasses, but let's see if I can generate some links:

        Pho Little Saigon
        1319 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

        Ole's Waffle Shop
        1507 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          annie44 Jun 22, 2011 02:15 PM

          Thank you! That is very helpful. I dug back through very old emails and found it was Otaez; however, the current reviews aren't so stellar. I will check out both La Penca Azul and Burma Superstar, which sounds intriguing, and give him a choice. My son is an adult and very much enjoys local, ethnic places that are authentic. A food adventure, as it were. Thanks again.

          3872 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

          Burma Superstar
          4721 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

          1 Tillman Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108

          1. re: annie44
            Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2011 02:23 PM

            If Webster St. is in the mix I'd give serious consideration to East Ocean. It's solidly good dim sum in a very nice atmosphere and I always think dim sum is fun.

            If you're going to Park St. you can just park you car and walk around until you see something that strikes your fancy -- with a couple of exceptions, all the places I mentioned are within a couple of blocks of each other.

            One more suggestion: if you're foodies, you might want to check out the Alameda Marketplace (1650 Park St. at Buena Vista) -- either get some terrific pizza from the wood burning oven at East End Pizza or just browse the excellent bakery and cheese shop and have lunch across the street at King of Thai Noodle.

            2318 Central Ave, Alameda, CA

          2. re: Ruth Lafler
            Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2011 02:18 PM

            Some more:

            La Pinata Restaurant III (now La Penca Azul)
            1440 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

            East Ocean Seafood
            1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

            Ark Chinese
            1405 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

            Dragon Rouge
            2304 Encinal Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

            King of Thai Noodle
            1635 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

            Otaez Mexican Restaurant
            1619 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              myst Jun 22, 2011 02:29 PM

              As an aside the drinks at Tapioca Express, near Dragon Rouge, are a lot less sweet than Quickly.

              Ramiro Brothers is not fun, but they have a good burrito and I like the carnitas and the chicharrones. The super quesidilla is also good and messy.

              Burma Super Star has very tasty different food and a nice ambiance, but it is pricey and the portions keep shrinking. But, if you do go, try the Rainbow or Tea Leaf salads.

              Angelfish Japanese has very fresh sushi. Its located on Harbor Bay Island which is close to the airport.

              The Hob Nob is not ethnic but the place and the food are both fun...truffle fries, mac n cheese, cuban sandwich, good breakfasts. This reminds me that there is also a Cuban place -- I think they changed the name to Habanas?

              Best Vietnamese is in Marina Village at Mint Leaf.

              La Penca Azul is fun, but I get full on chips and just order two street tacos every time I go.....

              Angelfish Japanese Restaurant
              883 Island Dr # C-2, Alameda, CA

              Dragon Rouge
              2304 Encinal Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

              1518 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

              Taqueria Ramiro & Sons
              2321 Alameda Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

              1. re: myst
                myst Jun 22, 2011 02:33 PM

                Here are a few missing links

                1313 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                Mint Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant
                831 Marina Village Pkwy, Alameda, CA 94501

                1. re: myst
                  Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2011 03:10 PM

                  Good points. But you say you get full on chips like it's a bad thing! :-) (that happens to me in pretty much any Mexican restaurant with decent chips and salsa -- half the time I end up taking most of my entree home).

                  What do you recommend at Mint Leaf? I never get out that way, but maybe I should.

                  Since annie44 is talking about lunch, perhaps we should warn her that some of these places (like Ramiro) are going to be slammed during the lunch period(s) for the high school in the next block.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    myst Jun 24, 2011 09:10 AM

                    Good point about the high school. And I think I remembered you are not a Ramiro's fan?

                    At Mint Leaf I like the chicken curry. They also do a fried calamari and green beans. I've tried several other dishes and many were good including I think a beef cube plate, but I have not been in several months so can't recall the menu. The food is a bit fusion, but everything tastes fresh, clean, and light. My Vietnamese friends have agreed with me that most Vietnamese food in Alameda is pretty dismal....

                    Mint Leaf
                    1513 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 34957

                    1. re: myst
                      drewskiSF Jun 24, 2011 10:04 AM

                      The best Vietnamese I've had in Alameda was at Khanh Huong Chinese BBQ & Pho Ga on Lincoln.

                      They only have one Viet dish, Pho Ga (available in 9 variants with different cuts of meat and/or intestines) and the rest is Chinese.

                      The Chinese BBQ items are very good as well.

                      1. re: drewskiSF
                        moto Jul 9, 2011 01:27 PM

                        'pho ga' will be the soup noodles with chicken. if you order 'pho ga', that's what you'd get, not beef or beef tendon or duck. those dishes are called 'pho - x ' (x = word for other meat/poultry/offal). thanks for the info on this place.

                        1. re: moto
                          moto Jul 9, 2011 01:48 PM

                          details on the Pho Ga at Khanh Huong from yelp (yes, that site that some 'chowhound' users like to scoff at) indicate that all the pho there is chicken with variations of chicken parts -- the innards are livers and gizzards. specializing in one type of pho is usually a good thing.

                          1. re: moto
                            drewskiSF Jul 9, 2011 02:33 PM

                            this link's to a picture of their pho selections from that "other" site

                        2. re: drewskiSF
                          Stephanie Wong Mar 14, 2012 12:10 PM

                          Owners of Khanh Huong are ethnic Chinese from Viet Nam. Mom likes their "home-style" Cantonese dishes; for example, roast duck wonton noodle soup,steamed salted fish/pork hash. They offer a special menu of 3 choices for about $17 (including rice if eating in).

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler
                    Robert Lauriston Mar 14, 2012 08:42 AM

                    Troy: hummus was the best I've had in a restaurant, chunky eggplant salad (not baba ganoush) was great, falafel were first-rate, cooked to order and crunchy with a squirt of superior tzatizki. On the other hand, the dolmas, chicken schwarma, and cucumber salad (mostly tasteless tomatoes) were not very good.

                    Apparently they have a branch in the Elmwood as well. Different menus.


                  3. Stephanie Wong Jun 23, 2011 09:14 PM

                    For me, Tommy Tucker is a great slice slice of Americana -- a genuine old-fashioned ice cream parlor in a genuine retro space. I love having a sundae for dinner. . . or just a big scoop of macapuno/

                    Tommy Tucker
                    1349 Park St., Alameda, CA

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Stephanie Wong
                      Ruth Lafler Jun 23, 2011 10:11 PM

                      "Tommy Tucker"?

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        Stephanie Wong Jun 23, 2011 10:57 PM

                        Genuine old-fashion Americana is not easy to find & could be considered a threatened (if not endangered) ethnicity with all the fusion and hyphenated offerings in Alameda. . . in the same vein as Ole's, Jim's, and the now closed Tillie's (which relatives of mine used to sojourn to from Redding).

                        1. re: Stephanie Wong
                          Ruth Lafler Jun 23, 2011 11:36 PM

                          I'm just confused at the "Tommy Tucker" reference -- do you mean Tucker's? They used to offer a Tommy Tucker cone (do they still?).

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            annie44 Jun 24, 2011 05:49 AM

                            Thanks, Stephanie. Is that at 1349 Park? It sounds like a really fun stop for dessert before the drive back to San Ramon. I'll post where we end up eating at today, my vote is East Ocean or Burma Superstar or Alameda Marketplace....so many choices. I'll let my son choose since it's his vacation. Tomorrow we are in SF, didn't realize it was Gay Pride weekend. Thinking Slanted Door for lunch or, or Swan Oyster, Nopalito, Suppenenkuche, Tony's Pizza ---Kokkari or La Mediterranae...so many options, so little time. Fun! Any suggestions for an Irish Pub near Union Square for my son?

                            Slanted Door
                            Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                            Burma Superstar
                            1345 Park Street, Alameda, CA

                            Tony's Pizza
                            820 Willow Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                            1. re: annie44
                              myst Jun 24, 2011 09:13 AM

                              For Irish, I like Irish Bank.- great amiance and friendly crowd. My Irish hairdresser also likes Johny Foley's.

                              Irish Bank Bar and Restaurant
                              10 Mark Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

                              Johnny Foley's Irish House
                              243 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                              1. re: annie44
                                Ruth Lafler Jun 24, 2011 09:22 AM

                                There was a report in another thread that Swan is closed for vacation this week -- so check if you decide to go.

                                1. re: annie44
                                  Stephanie Wong Jun 24, 2011 09:25 PM

                                  Added the link

                                  Tucker's Ice Cream
                                  1349 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                                2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                  Stephanie Wong Jun 24, 2011 09:23 PM

                                  Yep -- in the past 40+ years, my circle has always referred to it as Tommy Tucker's. Guess I should proofread more carefully before clicking on Post My Reply :^)

                                  Definitely still offer the Tommy Tucker -- and they seem to still be a great hit with the "wee'uns".

                                  1. re: Stephanie Wong
                                    Kayde Jun 24, 2011 11:28 PM

                                    We had a large (18) family dinner at The Ark a few months ago, loved the show of the hand-pulled noodles (tasty too) and the kids especially enjoyed the carved fruit and veg birds etc. (One little girl insisted on taking hers with her for the weekend.) And then we all walked over to Tucker's for dessert, which imop definitely counts as a rare spot. Big hit, like a memory and almost exotic. especially to people from Mall-and-Chain Land.

                          2. daveena Jun 25, 2011 10:57 AM

                            Homeroom Racing Cafe has a few terrific dishes - I'm not generally one to order the same thing over and over again at a restaurant, but I have their chicken with green beans and their pad kee mow almost weekly.

                            Homeroom Racing Cafe
                            1305 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                            1. Ruth Lafler Jul 8, 2011 11:56 PM

                              So where did you end up?

                              1. a
                                annie44 Jul 9, 2011 06:35 AM

                                Oh, thank you for jogging my memory to post!!! We went armed with all these wonderful recommendations, and my son selected the Mexican place on Park Ave....La Pinata? The Margaritas were good! and so was the food. They have a huge menu!...I had my eye on Burma Super Star, but it was my son's vacation and his choice.. We then went and toured the USS Hornet, which he loved. If you have men friends and need to entertain them, I highly recommend that Museum. Even I found it very interesting, too, but wear running shoes because you have to climb up and down many steep metal ladders between decks and up the the bridge. We had planned to stop for ice cream at Tucker's after the Hornet, but were still too full. I had a chili relleno and a street taco, my son had a tamale and enchilada plate as I recall. Thanks so much for all the excellent advice. A friend and I will be visiting Alameda to try out the other recommendations. . In SF we just couldn't eat enough....we had lunch at The Slanted Door, expensive and worth it, best halibut! Then we tried to have dinner in North Beach but parking was impossible, so we ended up at an Irish Bank Pub down a little alley way in Union Square, walking distance from the Marriott. It was almost 10pm and were were hungry and tired from touring Alcatraz. The food was ok, the atmosphere fit my son like a glove. My daughter had their special pastrami, which looked much better than the fish and chips I had, which were, truthfully, slightly burned. But all in all, it served the purpose for a hungry group of people. Thanks again for all the help!

                                Slanted Door
                                Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                Irish Bank Bar and Restaurant
                                10 Mark Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: annie44
                                  Ruth Lafler Jul 9, 2011 12:37 PM

                                  Thanks for reporting back! I love the Margaritas at La Pinata/La Penca Azul -- fortunately I live walking distance so I don't have to worry about overindulging. You're right about the Hornet -- we took my Dad there one year for Father's Day and had a great time, but the next day I could hardly walk my quad muscles were so sore from all the ladders.

                                  Sounds like you had a good visit with your son.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                    annie44 Jul 9, 2011 02:05 PM

                                    Yes, it was a very good time. And lucky you for living so close to those good Margaritas!

                                    I hear you about the Hornet, I didn't even think about ladders when I suggested we visit. (And I happen to have a broken toe right now, so it was more than challenging, but so worth it to see how much my son enjoyed it.) It's a great outing for men, I see they also have one night a month where they do a flashlight tour after hours and people can sleep over. Not for me, but guys would probably love that. It was quite the experience to see those tiny "bunks" or hammocks they slept in, three tiered. Can you imagine?!

                                    Thanks again for all the good information...we loved Alameda!

                                2. g
                                  GH1618 Mar 14, 2012 08:48 AM

                                  Habanas Cuban on Park.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: GH1618
                                    Robert Lauriston Mar 14, 2012 08:55 AM

                                    Habanas is more Cuban-inspired than actually Cuban.


                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      Ruth Lafler Mar 14, 2012 01:52 PM

                                      Habanas is in a weird category of restaurants where when I go I always have a decent-to-good meal, and a good time, and yet I feel no urge to go back there. To answer your question from the other thread, I'm not sure when me last visit was vis-a-vis the ownership change, so I can't comment specifically on that. IIRC the "new owners" are really the old owners -- or a subsection thereof.

                                      In sad news, I might have to report a major downhill on King of Thai Noodles. The pad Thai, which has always been very good there was terrible this weekend -- if I hadn't known it was pad Thai I would have thought it was a badly executed Chinese stir fry: oily, gummy, and without any of the tart or herbal flavors characteristic of Thai cuisine. The roasted duck noodle soup was decent, but also not particularly Thai in its flavor profile. The green curry was rather more one-dimensional than I remember. I can only hope that it was an aberration!

                                      Finally, two thumbs up for the Alameda Burma Superstar. When we got there on a recent Saturday night there was a wait they said would be half an hour, so we gave them my cell number and went across the street to browse in the bookstore while we waited, and then they called me in only a few minutes.

                                  2. r
                                    rubadubgdub Mar 14, 2012 12:25 PM

                                    Just continuing the thread: My sis is in love with Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup on Webster. She's been more than a dozen times and still raves about it. The free range chicken is a standout: juicy and tasty. Noodle soups are light and fresh tasting and noodles done just right. Not sure what this style is called, but it doesn't have the herbs you get with pho and broth is lighter than a typical Chinese egg noodle soup. (We call it Chinese-style pho.) A highlight is the ginger scallion sauce they give you for the chicken dip (get extra and toss it in the soup). You can order different types of noodles (clear, egg, rice). For comparision we ate at Pho Ga Huong Que Cafe this weekend and while the styles are the same, all of us had overcooked noodles, which is a big minus verging on unacceptable for me. Plus Mama's is bright, clean, and has a parking lot.

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