Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jun 11, 2012 01:57 PM

Oakland - Laurel District recommendations?

I've lived in the East Bay for many years, but regrettably, know more about Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue, and Berkeley, than I do about my own backyard. I'd be interested in dining spots along the MacArthur corridor between 35th Avenue and High Street (or thereabouts).

I work at home these days, so lunch spots will be as welcome as dinner.

Any local gems to share?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The only place I know in Laurel is the Full House Cafe. It looks like there's a branch of Phnom Penh House, which should be good. There's also a West African restaurant that looks pretty authentic.

    I think you need to be our scout for this neighborhood!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      As always, I was hoping someone else would do it, and that I'd reap the benefit.

      1. re: Rapini

        But you get more satisfaction from doing it yourself! Not to mention props from SF chowhounds.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          What's the emoticon for "grumble, grumble"?

      2. re: Ruth Lafler

        Phnom Penh has pretty good food with friendly and efficient service from the family who run it. it might not please someone seeking or expecting more pungent Lao or Thai preparations.(Cambodian restaurants around here seem to generally have a fusion menu with some elements of both but the food doesn't seem to go as far with pronounced sour, bitter, sweet, or fiery flavours).

          1. Geraldo's (3811 Macarthur) has great burritos
            happy garden (4112 Mac) has pretty good chinese food
            Louisiana famous(4006) has great chicken and good donuts
            #1 seafood & chicken (4014) has very good fish & chip
            world(3726) has good coffee.
            2nd full house for breakfast.

            1. I love Full House's breakfasts, particularly their corn cakes and tasty hashes. Phnom Penh is reliable- I like their basil fried rice and a simple grilled chicken dish. You never feel rushed there. I have had Happy Garden only on a to-go basis, and everything was decent if a bit oily. And Louisiana Famous is decent fried chicken.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jillyju

                Was in the neighborhood and hungry, so dropped in to Phnom Penh last night. I've been to their Chinatown branch, but never this one. My favorite chicken soup (#216 on this menu) is just as tangy/lemony and herbaceous as ever, although some people might want a little more heat. We also ordered the two specials: grilled lemongrass pork ribs and eggplant with prawns and sweet basil. I thought the eggplant was good, but not particularly distinctive. The pork ribs were perfectly cooked (i.e. pulled easily off the bone but didn't fall of the bone) and had a delicious char, but were a touch dry. Still, I would order them again.

                As jillyju noted, the service was friendly and hospitable. Even though they were closing up by the time we were finished, they never rushed us, and even talked me into dessert (mango with black sticky rice). Then they ushered us out with "come back tomorrow." I'll definitely try to get back, if not today!

              2. Not far below MacArthur is Vientian Cafe. Great Lao sausage & rice ball salad. Also like their red curry sauce, but the pad thai was too gooey for me .


                Vientian Cafe
                3801 Allendale Ave.
                Oakland, CA 94619

                1 Reply
                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                  The nam khao (rice ball salad) at Vientian Cafe is my favorite version in the Bay Area. It is definitely worth a try, and (like another favorite Lao/Thai restaurant, Champa Garden) hidden in a residential area.