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Alameda recommendations

alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 08:18 AM

My son is moving to Alameda in a couple of weeks. He asked me if I knew of any good places to eat there. I do not. Any suggestions? He likes Mexican and Chinese food but is open to anything flavorful.

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  1. g
    GH1618 RE: alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 08:34 AM

    If there is no suitable Mexican place in Alameda, there are many alternatives nearby in Oakland.

    7 Replies
    1. re: GH1618
      ML8000 RE: GH1618 Apr 17, 2013 08:56 AM

      On Webster there's Otaez. Not as good as the Oakland branch but if you stick with the specials, i.e., non-combos, it's good.

      In Oakland, try Taco Grill or El Huarache Azteca.

      1. re: ML8000
        hungree RE: ML8000 Apr 18, 2013 09:10 PM

        Nido plug - best Oakland mexican spot by far.

        1. re: ML8000
          Mission RE: ML8000 Apr 25, 2013 03:25 PM

          I give Otaez Oakland a downhill alert.

          They have got worse and worse since the owner died.

          I have eaten there about 25 times before and 5 times after and there is no comparison.

          Also the taqueria side has turned into a dumpy shadow of its old self.

          1. re: Mission
            ML8000 RE: Mission Apr 25, 2013 04:54 PM

            That is very sad on many levels, and not just the food. That guy was a pillar of the community.

            I live closer to the Alameda branch so I go there. That branch was never as good as the original but since the owner was murdered it has stayed on par. Also I always order the non-gringo specials, pozole, etc., and it's usually pretty good.

          2. re: ML8000
            GH1618 RE: ML8000 Apr 29, 2013 11:17 AM

            I just had breakfast today at Otaez in Oakland. Great, except the flour tortillas were much thicker than I've had everywhere else, so kind of "doughy." I don't know which way is more authentic, but I prefer the thinner ones.

            1. re: ML8000
              Ruth Lafler RE: ML8000 Sep 11, 2013 12:08 PM

              I had dinner again at Otaez last night. The specials are indeed the way to go (my dining companion ordered one of the combos and it didn't look that good, although the bite I had of his enchilada was pretty tasty).

              I had the Tuesday special albondigas soup. This is surely one of the best food bargains around. I got the small, which was a huge bowl (it must have been a quart, because the leftovers more than half-filled a quart container). It includes a plate with a small heap of rice, two taquitos and some shredded cabbage (presumably the rice and the cabbage can be added to the soup; I have no idea what the taquitos are about, but it does seem to be traditional to serve them with soupy dishes (I've also been served them with pozole), at least in the local Mexican community). Plus all the chips and salsa you can eat. The price: $5.95. The soup (like all the food there) can be inconsistent, but this was a good version, with big chunks of carrots and zucchini and lots of stewed sliced tomato. Perfect for my post-dentist meal.

              Including a beer and an agua fresca, we spent less than $30 ($36 with tax and tip) and both had leftovers.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                ML8000 RE: Ruth Lafler Sep 11, 2013 05:02 PM

                Wow, that is a deal. I'll have to remember that. Last special I got were the ribs. It didn't look like much but the price was reasonable and very tasty. I think it was like $7 or something. I'd order it again for sure.

                BTW, some of the standard gringo combos are good but like any mom and pop place, you have to sort through them. I like the flauntas, really hard to mess up.

                p.s. having their own parking lot isn't a deal maker or breaker but it sure is handy, especially with seniors.

          3. Robert Lauriston RE: alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 08:42 AM

            I'll go back to:

            East End Pizza
            The Ark (Chinese)
            Burma Superstar
            Forbiddden Island for tiki drinks (not food)

            I've had some good dishes at Penco Azul (former La PiƱata) but the menu's really long and a lot of the stuff's not great.

            1. chefj RE: alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 09:45 AM

              East Ocean Seafood Restaurant for Dim Sum
              As mentioned already Spieisekammer, Food and Beer
              Sampaguita Fil-Am Cuisine (not stellar but good)
              Yume Sushi ,with a caveat to read about the service and customs first.
              Luck 13 for Beer

              1. v
                Violatp RE: alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 09:49 AM

                If he's 21, he should know that the Hangar One distillery is in Alameda. Tours and tastings of delicious, delicious libations!

                1. Ruth Lafler RE: alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 10:57 AM

                  Here are a couple more discussions:



                  The only Mexican I'll eat in Alameda is La Penca Azul (Park St.) or Otaez (Webster St.). The rest of it is mediocre at best.

                  One place that doesn't get mentioned much is Hong Kong City, which has a pretty good 3-for-$18 menu with some more interesting (i.e. not standard Chinese-American food) options. It also often has good deals on crab in season.

                  I liked my recent dinner at Pho Sinh (Park St.). Mint Leaf (Vietnamese) has some good deals for happy hour (Marina Village).

                  East End pizza should be opening its expanded restaurant any week now.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    vincentlo RE: Ruth Lafler Jun 28, 2013 03:01 AM

                    Agree about Hong Kong City's 3-dishes-for-dinner menu. And they deliver too!

                  2. n
                    nerdigrrl RE: alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 01:44 PM

                    anyone try the new crawdad/shrimp/crab Boiler Place on Encinal?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: nerdigrrl
                      shanghaikid RE: nerdigrrl Apr 17, 2013 08:20 PM

                      had the "dave's catfish" (9.99) at Hang Ten Boiler
                      -5ish pieces of fish given the salt and pepper treatment
                      -breading not thick, just right
                      -fish very tasty, tasted fresh
                      -lot of fries given with spicy sauce added
                      -assume rest of menu just as tasty.

                      1. re: nerdigrrl
                        PegS RE: nerdigrrl Apr 18, 2013 05:15 PM

                        Actually was there Monday. The signature sauce is not as sweet as the one at Rockin' Crawfish. It has a lot more minced garlic, but the "mild" is also more mild than at Rockin. The people there are very nice. The crawfish otherwise wasn't bad, although still had a number of mushy ones. Two of us ordered 6lbs of crawfish, a small side of garlic noodles, a side of steamed broccoli and one piece of corn. Total come out to something over $90.

                        1. re: nerdigrrl
                          jillyju RE: nerdigrrl Apr 25, 2013 03:25 PM

                          I tried it about 3 weeks ago, for lunch. Had an order of the shrimp in a medium spicy lemon/garlic (? not 100% sure of that). I thought the shrimp was on par with Rockin' Crawfish in East Oakland, in terms of freshness and proper degree of doneness. I think I might like the sauces I've tried at Rockin' a bit better, but given the high convenience level of Hang Ten for me, it's probably where I'll go from now on. I thought it was a good value, from very friendly people.

                        2. s
                          shanghaikid RE: alfairfax Apr 17, 2013 09:00 PM

                          hang ten boiler
                          sidestreet pho
                          east end pizza
                          soleil's african cuisine
                          asena (turkish)
                          Q's Halal chicken
                          mexican: oakland
                          -otaez, taco grill, santo coyote, el huarache azteca

                          beer:lucky 13
                          cocktails: Z's cocktail lounge
                          spisisekammer, beer only, skip desserts, they're outsourced.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: shanghaikid
                            karenfinan RE: shanghaikid Apr 29, 2013 10:16 AM

                            the owner of Soleil passed away, and I saw a sign there this weekend for a new place- forget the name, but didn't sound African. New owners.

                          2. Ruth Lafler RE: alfairfax Apr 18, 2013 11:00 AM

                            I learned this morning that McGee's Bar and Grill -- which has always had terrible food -- has brought in a real chef (business is getting competitive on Park St.!). Supposedly the food is much improved and worth checking out. It's a great spot for a beer and a ball game, so decent food would be a welcome addition.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              lakemerritter RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 18, 2013 05:00 PM

                              McGee's has always had good fries and a decent burger (but that's all I would ever order there). A new chef will definitely get a trip out of me!

                              Spieisekammer not to be missed--best German food I have had outside of Germany and I love the atmosphere. Sit in the front bar area; it's lots more fun.

                              The Burma Superstar here is just as good as the Richmond flagship.

                              Lots of good drinking--all the best have been mentioned. Lucky13 has an excellent beer list, Forbidden Island makes mean rum drinks, I also like Lost Weekend as the go-to dive option.

                              1. re: lakemerritter
                                Ruth Lafler RE: lakemerritter Apr 18, 2013 05:51 PM

                                Yeah, Alameda has a lot of good bars, and now that I think about it, a really wide assortment of restaurants. Not all of these places are good, but there sure is variety! Just in the Park St. area there's:

                                Southern-influenced new American
                                Vietnamese (both northern and southern)
                                Pan-Asian fusion
                                Chinese, northern
                                Chinese, Hong Kong
                                Chinese, American
                                Italian (Americanized)
                                Turkish-influenced Mediterranean
                                Afghan-influenced Mediterranean
                                Pizza (several different styles)
                                Mexican (both restaurants and taquerias)
                                Japanese (both sushi and non-sushi)
                                Classic coffee shops
                                Wine bar
                                Burger places
                                Sandwich shops
                                An assortment of coffee, bubble tea, fro-yo, ice cream, etc. places


                                a really good bakery
                                a really good cheese shop
                                two produce markets
                                two wine shops
                                two bagel shops

                                I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Looking at this list, what's missing is a good deli -- it would be nice to have Italian or Eastern European (or both!). There's a Korean market, but I don't think there's a Korean restaurant.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                  chocolatetartguy RE: Ruth Lafler Jun 12, 2013 02:06 PM

                                  Any other specific recommendations on Park St. I plan to be over that way Saturday and right now my short list in Scolari's, Oles, that sandwich shop off of the BOA parking lot. Something quick, simple would be welcome.

                                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                    foodeye RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 12, 2013 02:19 PM

                                    On Saturdays from 11-3 there is an OTG truck gathering at the foot of Park St., near the beach, in the shopping mall parking lot. The participating trucks vary from week-to-week, but there is always something interesting and good. My favorites there include Streetery, Chairman and, new to the group, WhipOut.

                                    1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                      Ruth Lafler RE: chocolatetartguy Jun 12, 2013 02:37 PM

                                      East End Pizza is open in their new, bigger digs, and sells slices at lunch time. I finally tried that sandwich shop (I usually go to Dimitra's, but it was too early) and had the turkey with bacon, which was pretty good.

                              2. z
                                zunzie RE: alfairfax Apr 18, 2013 06:14 PM

                                I love the HobNob.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: zunzie
                                  The Dive RE: zunzie Apr 25, 2013 10:52 AM

                                  I like Hob Nob too. My favorites are the green bean salad, ahi tacos and fries. The chicken wings are very good too. And the beer list has gotten a bit better with the addition of Almanac Saison.

                                  1. re: The Dive
                                    Robert Lauriston RE: The Dive Apr 25, 2013 10:56 AM

                                    Same people just opened Moxy in Berkeley.

                                  2. re: zunzie
                                    Stephanie Wong RE: zunzie Apr 25, 2013 12:01 PM

                                    Love the happy hour specials at HobNob, menu appealing to wide age range & groups

                                  3. j
                                    jaiko RE: alfairfax Apr 23, 2013 07:49 PM

                                    - Speisekammer pronounced Spuhtz-kahmmer)
                                    2424 Lincoln Ave., Alameda

                                    Speisekammer makes the best potato pancakes with housemade applesauce, very tart. Ask for some sour cream and they're sublime. Far, far, far better than Saul's, whose latkes I hated.

                                    If you like the taste of bananas, the wheat beer Spaten Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse makes a virtue out of a vice. It's crisp, dry, and quite delightful.

                                    - Zen Asian fusion tapas
                                    2315 Santa Clara Ave. @Park St., Alameda, CA

                                    Terrific food, in fact it's the first restaurant where my Hong-Kong born DH has said he actually approves of the Asian fusion menu. The servings are small but quality is very high.

                                    The kimchi rice was terrific - low on the sugar content so correspondingly more flavorful and spicy. Skip the pastas, just not great with the other foods.

                                    Enoki beef and Tiger Eye (sushi grade squid wrapped around salmon salad with tobiko) were wonderful. Pork Belly Sushi was tasty but messy: it's a two-bite sushi that doesn't quite hold together firmly enough. But that pork belly is yummy!

                                    Skip desserts, very weak - too sweet and poorly conceived. Decent coffee.

                                    Not a four star place, but a very solid three star. Good friendly service (family owned and operated) and excellent value for the money.

                                    1. Robert Lauriston RE: alfairfax Apr 26, 2013 09:34 AM

                                      Grub Street reports a new place called Mama Papa Lithuania just opened at 1241 Park. I guess that's a first for the Bay Area.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        Ruth Lafler RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 26, 2013 11:02 AM

                                        They're opening right and left! Since that was formerly a market, I wonder if it's going to be a deli (maybe just wishful thinking, since we don't have a good Eastern European deli in Alameda, or really in the East Bay).

                                        BTW, I spoke with Paul at East End Pizza yesterday and he's now projecting an opening of the new restaurant around the third week of May.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 26, 2013 11:10 AM

                                          I think Euromix on Piedmont is a great deli.


                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          Martin Strell RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 11, 2013 03:58 PM

                                          Just to be clear, Grub Street reported that the restaurant WILL open, not that is HAS opened. I walked by the other day and peaked through the glass. It looks like they may be getting close, but still not open.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            jaiko RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 11, 2013 04:11 PM

                                            The Aug 8th issue of The Alamedan has an update on Mama Papa as well as several other restaurants opening in Alameda - see the lower half of the column:

                                          2. m
                                            Martin Strell RE: alfairfax Apr 28, 2013 08:33 PM

                                            Yume Sushi is spectacular for a splurge and very underneath the radar. As chefj says, do some reading and familiarize yourself with the rules, but it's worth it.

                                            1. m
                                              Martin Strell RE: alfairfax Apr 29, 2013 02:56 PM

                                              Another under-the-radar place in Alameda which hasn't been mentioned is Cafe Abigail. By day, it's a standard sandwich place right by the water. On Saturday nights, they serve Moroccan food, with a belly dancing show. Recommended. (Ruth - you didn't have Moroccan on your list!)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Martin Strell
                                                Ruth Lafler RE: Martin Strell Apr 29, 2013 04:45 PM

                                                I was just listing the restaurants around Park St.! I wasn't sure what the current status of Abigail's was. Some day I'll have to make it over there.

                                                1. re: Martin Strell
                                                  karenfinan RE: Martin Strell Apr 29, 2013 06:05 PM

                                                  Oh, this is right by my house, I have been seeing the sign for them since I moved here, I'll have to check it out!

                                                2. daveena RE: alfairfax Jun 15, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                  American Oak reopened a few weeks ago after a suspicious fire - food's as good if not better than before (although they dropped pizza from the menu). Stellar burgers, possibly my favorite in the Bay Area. Great cocktails.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: daveena
                                                    Robert Lauriston RE: daveena Jun 15, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                    How's the burger cooked?

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