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Jul 28, 2011 12:54 AM

Pinole: The new and terrific Tina’s Place - one of the best omelets ever

The third time’s the charm. Tina’s started in El Sobrante, moved to another location in town. The most recent move was to downtown Pinole. On a Wednesday afternoon the place was packed with people waiting outside for a table.

The food was always good, but if my first visit is any indication, in this attractive new location it just got better … much better.

Breakfast was always the focus at Tina’s but there is now a dinner menu. The lunch dishes at other tables were looking great, especially the crispy chicken salad.

If the other food is like my omelet, this is one of the best places for traditional American food in this part of the East Bay.

Here's what I had rated from A+ to F -

A - ..... Joe’s scramble omelet

B - ..... Home fries

B - ..... Marble rye toast

B + … Mimosa

C + .... Coffee

Service: B + … Very, very good

Ambiance: B + … Very, very good

Price: $$

Flickr photostream

Details in first reply.

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    JOE’S SCRAMBLE OMELET: A - … Way above average

    When I saw the fresh spinach I thought “This is so wrong”. When I took the first bite, it turned out to be so right.

    Add some really great ground beef, a perfect omelet and a just the right touches of melted jack cheese. The fresh mushrooms were fabulous too. A little garlic, onion and a bit of parmesan completed it. So good.

    These are large portions, so look for a filling meal.

    HOME FRIES: B - ... Very good

    These were nice, crisp on the outside and sprinkled with diced pepper and onion.

    MARBLE RYE TOAST: B - ... Very good

    While not the perfect marble rye, I liked it a lot. It had enough rye flavor and just looked good. The bread is by Maggiora Baking Company of Richmond which supplies a lot of restaurants in the area. Smucker jam and marmalade was available

    MIMOSA: B + … Very, very good

    Nicely topped with a fresh strawberry, the sweet orange juice nicely complemented the sparkling wine.

    COFFEE: C + … Slightly above average

    The coffee is by McLaughlin which is a good roaster, but not one of my favorites. This cup was everything I don’t like about it, strong and acidic. The cup was large, held the heat well. There were refills and since I got one, I liked it enough.

    SERVICE: B + … Very, very good

    The servers were pleasant and good about answering question. Though there was a bit of a wait for the food, menus were delivered, orders taken and the check delivered in a timely way. The staff was on top of things.

    AMBIANCE: B + … Very, very good

    Nicely decorated in shades of brown and black, the booths and chairs are comfortable. This is sooo much better than the other two locations and one thing I always disliked about the old restaurants was missing … the smell of cooking oil. For some reason both previous location had that off-putting smell. This modern restaurant has none of that.

    There are some bar tables and seats at the bar. While there is no official parking lot, the restaurant is surrounded by many of Pinole’s public lots and is plentiful.


    The only nit I have is there is no beverage list. I like to know how much the coffee is and what else is available.

    I’ll definitely be back. I want to try that crispy chicken salad. There’s also the dragon’s lair omelet - hot sausage, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, jalapeno, cheddar, and spicy sauce

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Please tell me about the omelet, meaning is it the "hard-cooked-egg-outside with good stuff inside" type or a softer, french-Julia-Child-cooked type? Or?

      1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

        I'll answer, ,but first I had a great dinner there tonight of fried chicken, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, potato cheddar soup, just-baked warm sourdough roll with butter and strawberry shortcake. Not only good food, but a great value.

        Peach cobbler is in the works soon.

        The omelet is baby bear ... not too hard, not too soft, not too thick, not too thin ... as Goldilock;s would say "just right'.

        Tonight's whole dinner was B + … Very, very good

        IMO, the fried chicken is similar to Jodie's on Solano Avenue but better. The flour-dredged skin-on chicken was fresh from the fryer, crispy and juicy ... and generous ... it was half a chicken

        What I loved about the corn on the cob was the scoop of butter with it. I haven't had buttered corn ... by me ... in a long time. There was a mound of rustic mashed potatoes with a few skins here and there. Other choices were fries or baked potato.

        There was a nice, large complementry hot-from-the-oven sourdough roll in a napkin-lined basket with a dish of butter.. It was along the lines of a bake and serve type of roll rather than crusty sourdough, but it had a nice tang.

        There is also a choice of soup or salad. The soup was thick with good potato and cheese flavor, sprinkled with some fresh scallions.

        The tab so far ... $11.95 for all of the above.

        The fresh-baked biscuit embraced with soft whipped cream and lots of fresh unsweetened berrries has to be the deal of the Bay Ares ... it was huge and ... $3.95.

        I added two draft beers to that .. an IPA and Pyramid Hefenweizen, the glass nicely garnished with a slice of orange

        The final tab for all of the above . $28.

        I think some prix-fixe dinners at that cost are good deals, but this wasn't those mean little portions, but it screamed of America and plenty Many people walked out with take-home containers.

        The table next to me had one swell-looking ... and huge ... t-bone steak with asapragus and baked potato. A lot of tables had some great-looking chicken fried steak. Didn't see the other entree yet ... pork chops. Lots of tables ordered the substantial cobb salad.

        I have three step children who just moved here from Guatemala. I've taken them to Italian, Mexican, Chinese and other cuisine. I rattled off other cuisines available and asked them what they wanted next. They said ... um ... how about American. It stumpled me. There were a few places that were good but I was almost considering places like HomeTown Buffet or even Sizzler.

        Linda's Place is the perfect answer for traditional American cuisine ... there was even a baseball game playing on both big screen tvs.

        I say this sort of tongue in cheek. I'm always amused when people say of Mexican restuarants that it was filled with Mexicans .... or Chinese restaurants filled with Chinese people ... etc, etc ... so it must be good.

        American food for all the melting pot talk is often the food of people of European ancestry. The place was filled with Caucasians. It must be good.

        Tina's just wasn't as terrific as this in the old locations. This is a major uphill report. It won a "Best of the Bay Area" award by the SF Chronicle and another from KRON 4. I'd have to agree.

        1. re: rworange

          Eh ... forgot the photos

          1. re: rworange

            OK, the link seems to be missing also, so here it is.

            Tina's Place
            2300 San Pablo Ave, Pinole, CA 94564

      2. Stopped by with a friend. She had the chicken fried steak with hash browns.

        I had the spicy, chicken salad with corn salsa, mushrooms, cheese, croutons,black beans and ranch dressing on the side. While it wasn't spicy to me, it was good ... the crispy chopped chicken worked well with all the other ingredients. The ranch dressing was nice as well, not overly thick. In all, I'd rate this B+, very, very good. It was a very satisfying salad.

        I had a taste of the chicken fried steak covered in white sauce. I'm no expert on CFS. My friend liked it. I thought it ws fine, but probably wouldn't order it on my own as it isnt my thing to begin with. I wasnt crazy about the hash browns. The serving was too large which meant a lot of the white part of the potatoes and not enough crispy exterior. They were tasty enough but if ordering potatoes, I'd go with the home fries which were more flavoful to me. That being said, next breakfast I might have fresh fruit instead of potatoes just for the better calorie option. No rating as I only had a bite of each.