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Oct 11, 2013 02:30 AM

chowing without a car?

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!

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  1. You're working in SF? Where exactly?

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


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    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

    2. 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: barleywino

          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.

      1. 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

            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

              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

                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

                  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)

            2. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: bbulkow

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

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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. 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.