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chowing without a car?

barleywino Oct 11, 2013 02:30 AM

What areas outside of the city are best for chowing and are near a BART or Caltrain stop (within say 5-10 blocks)? Especially interested in Japanese/sushi, Chinese, New American, gastropub/craft cocktail...trying to decide where I would want to move to and open to anything in the Bay area!

  1. Robert Lauriston Oct 11, 2013 08:39 AM

    You're working in SF? Where exactly?

    More or less the same question from a few years ago:


    Sort of related:


    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      barleywino Oct 11, 2013 03:41 PM

      Thanks for pointing me to these threads! It's not quite finalized yet but if it happens, it would be financial district.

    2. s
      sundeck sue Oct 11, 2013 09:17 AM

      And there are the East Bay options.

      I only know the closer-in ones--of those, there are a lot of great picks--my favorite with proximate BART stops would be Oakland12th and 19th St. (Uptown), Macarthur (Temescal and Korean along Telegraph), Rockridge, Lake Merritt (Oakland Chinatown), Fruitvale, Downtown Berkeley, North Berkeley

      2 Replies
      1. re: sundeck sue
        barleywino Oct 11, 2013 03:41 PM

        thanks, i will look these up

        1. re: barleywino
          Robert Lauriston Oct 11, 2013 04:02 PM

          If you're working near a BART station in the Financial District, Oakland is easily the best place to live as far as food goes. You'd not only have a lot of local choices, but San Francisco would be a 15-20 minute BART ride away.

      2. g
        goldangl95 Oct 11, 2013 11:04 AM

        Hmm. So BART and Caltrain are not linked and don't go to the same places...so keep that in mind.

        SOMA has these huge large condo/apt buildings. There's some cool stuff going on there, but you have to like that type of apt building. Lots of craft cocktail stuff - decent amount of New American.

        You could also live walking distance from the 16th street BART station in the Mission. Lots of cool food in that area. There's still a decent amount of crime that goes on around that BART station many choose to live up and away at Guerrero or Dolores.

        6 Replies
        1. re: goldangl95
          barleywino Oct 11, 2013 03:42 PM

          good to know, thanks!

          1. re: goldangl95
            bbulkow Oct 11, 2013 06:01 PM

            They are linked at Millbrea.

            Which has pretty danged good eatin'

            Just about every station has some good stuff, I would highlight:

            MacArthur, although you'll want a bike, it's a spread out district.

            Rockridge, more genteel

            19th Oakland - more urban

            Jack London Square - FERRY COMMUTE - and well linked by busses to lots of good eats but 12th St bart is a bit of a hoof.

            Fruitvale - more mexican

            Millbrea - more chinese, and bicycle required (station has little housing nearby)

            San Mateo - more japanese, chinese

            The rest of the peninsula is somewhat hit and miss. Both Mountain View and Palo Alto stations have over 150 restaurants within 10 blocks, but Palo Alto's overpriced and Mountain View gets kind of far from the city. For commuting to the city, the "bullets" do a decent job but you have to come and go at the right time.

            The rest of the east bay has issues, chow wise.

            1. re: bbulkow
              goldangl95 Oct 11, 2013 06:24 PM

              Well they built stations next to each other - but the schedules don't really work together and it's quite a pain to transfer between BART and CalTrain at Millbrae.

              1. re: bbulkow
                barleywino Nov 19, 2013 02:38 PM

                did some looking for places in the East bay near some of these recommended areas but could not find anything suitable...for the time being, will be going with a small place near the Civic ctr while I look for more reasonable accommodations. Any eating/drinking recommendations in that area (or further up Market st)? Sounds like Rich Table, AQ, Bar Agricole are good options. Thx!

                1. re: barleywino
                  Robert Lauriston Nov 19, 2013 02:57 PM

                  Bar Jules, Terroir (wine bar), TBD (new AQ spinoff), Burmese Kitchen, Lers Ross, House of Thai, Mikkeller Bar (beer bar), Smuggler's Cove (rum bar)

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    barleywino Nov 20, 2013 12:27 AM


            2. s
              sfchris Oct 11, 2013 04:07 PM

              San Mateo seems to have a lot of good Ramen places, much better than anything you can find in SF.

              Ramen Dojo is 7 blocks from San Mateo Caltrain:

              12 Replies
              1. re: sfchris
                Rapini Oct 11, 2013 04:10 PM

                While I'm an East Bay person, and endorse Sundeck Sue's suggestions, I agree that Caltrain to San Mateo is another good option. Once you step off the train, it's a short walk to chow.

                1. re: Rapini
                  Robert Lauriston Oct 11, 2013 04:23 PM

                  San Mateo's one of the brighter culinary lights of the Peninsula, but Oakland's exponentially better, and in general a much better place to live if you don't have a car.

                  BART trains run every 20 minutes until midnight. After 7pm it's an hour or more between CalTrain runs.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    bbulkow Oct 11, 2013 06:04 PM

                    Hard to argue with this characterization, although it really depends on what you like. I'm sure I can get a better burrito, and several kinds of japanese, in San Mateo, but the overwhelming choice of Oakland, better high end mid end choices --- it's not even close. Oakland, baby.

                    1. re: bbulkow
                      barleywino Oct 12, 2013 03:18 AM

                      Thanks to all, great suggestions! didn't realize Oakland was high up there on the list.

                      1. re: bbulkow
                        Robert Lauriston Oct 12, 2013 10:05 AM

                        You can get a better burrito in San Mateo than in Oakland?

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          bbulkow Oct 12, 2013 02:20 PM

                          Let me be more precise :-)

                          Downtown oakland, and the parts of oakland that are commonly discussed here (temescal + rockridge), are - to my knowledge - burrito light.

                          San Mateo, in the downtown walking area we're discussing (a subset of SM like the subset of oakland), has both La Cumbre and Pancho Villa. And a number of other places (which I am slowly trying to eat through. Yelp's first recommendation is El Palinque, was underwhelming.

                          If there's a better burrito in THAT PART of oakland, I'd like to hear about it.

                          NOW, that being said, Oakland is a MUCH LARGER place than those parts, and for that ... I take it back.

                          You go south of lake merrit, and burrito quality is sky-high. We do talk about Fruitvale, which is insanely good. There's all the late night trucks.

                          Oakland VS RWC, I dunno. Someone more informed than I might have to weight in. Oakland VS SM --- oakland, hands down.

                          1. re: bbulkow
                            Robert Lauriston Oct 12, 2013 02:40 PM

                            Temescal has La Calaca Loca and Pico Paco, Rockridge has Cactus and The Burrito Shop.

                            If you're living in Oakland near BART, you can quickly get to Fruitvale for serious Mexican food.

                            There's also Nido, Comal, Tamarindo, and Dona Tomas for Mexican food that's serious in a different way.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              bbulkow Oct 12, 2013 03:36 PM

                              When I lived in rockridge, I ate constantly at Cactus and The Burrito Shop. San Mateo is better.

                              Agree regarding fruitvale.

                              Several meals at Dona Tomas, watered down stuff there.

                              1. re: bbulkow
                                ML8000 Oct 12, 2013 04:48 PM

                                I'd take La Cumbre, Pancho Villa and Tres Amigos in San Mateo over Cactus and the burrito shop. I never understood why people like Cactus. Tamarindo and Dona Tomas are over-rated.

                                While not in downtown Oakland, the Mi Rancho truck at 1st Ave near Lake Merritt is pretty good. Depending on what you order, it's as good as many places in the Fruitvale.

                                1. re: ML8000
                                  Robert Lauriston Oct 12, 2013 06:56 PM

                                  Does the San Mateo La Cumbre still have the squeeze bottles of sour orange hot sauce the SF La Cumbre dropped?

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    bbulkow Oct 12, 2013 08:07 PM

                                    Sorry, don't know. Is it like the La Victoria orange squeeze bottle hot sauce? That stuff's pretty addictive (there's one in RWC near Martin's West)

                                    I don't know exactly where 1st and lake merrit are, but there was a reason I said south of lake merrit - there's a lot of good eating that starts right near that boundary.

                                    1. re: bbulkow
                                      Robert Lauriston Oct 13, 2013 09:22 AM

                                      There are a few great Mexican, Vietnamese, and Laotian places on International scattered between 5th and 23rd or so, plus the best Thai place in Oakland, but I wouldn't want to walk there or live in that area.

                                      Taking BART to Fruitvale is practically like being teleported to Mexico.

                                      The taco truck that parks in front of Grocery Outlet is good.

                2. m
                  ML8000 Oct 12, 2013 09:47 AM

                  You might look at this: http://www.walkscore.com/

                  You enter the neighborhood (ex: Temescal, Oakland CA) and it gives you a walking, bicycle and public transit score, plus a map outline of the neighborhood and shaded food/rest map.

                  You'll have to cross reference the food map for better info but at least you know if the neighborhood is walker/bike friendly and where the food is.

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