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Oct 27, 2013 06:51 PM

Does good food exist at a sports arena?

Just attended another game at the Oakland Coliseum. I am an avid Raiders and A's fan. Unfortunately I went there hungry. I decided to buy the ribs which were devoid of flavor. My question.. Does tasty food exist at sports arenas or is the problem the Coliseum?

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  1. The Coliseum is particularly bad (if I must eat at, I get a hot sandwich from that lounge area; those aren't too bad), but in my opinion no ballpark has truly excellent food, at least as far as I've been to. I think the only time I'd want to search out ballpark food is when notable local chains have an establishment inside the ballpark, for example Primanti Bros in Pittsburgh, or Tony Luke's in Philly. But even with that sort of item, I'm not sure anyone would say that it is truly "good food."

    1. Oakland has lots of fantastic places to stop for food before or after events.

      Plus most events still let you bring in food from outside.

      I never think of of buying any overpriced, below average food inside.

      Last A's game we brought in taco's,burritos,chips and salsa from El Taco Zamorano and ate like Kings !

      It made the A's lost a little more palatable.

      1. At the Giants' yard, the ChaCha Bowl is supposed to be good. I've never had it, but made a "copy cat" recipe I found and liked it quite a bit. The vaunted garlic fries are a big disappointment, in my view-- they smell great, but three of 'em are more than enough.

        As others have said, bringing in food is probably the best option. We once brought Big Nate's BBQ (long time ago) to a game and were the envy of our section.

        6 Replies
        1. re: monfrancisco

          Thumbs down re ChaCha Bowl (I actually had a version @ a friend's house for a Giants party; and that was tasty, per your experience, but the actual one @ the ball park is pretty so-so).

          Haven't found any great in-the-park alternatives.

          We used to always get--and love-- the crab sandwich @ the Giants yard--but the one time we got it this year, the crab didn't taste the same (seriously meh).

          The carved meat sandwiches you get there are fine, nothing to write home about.

          We've taken to bringing food in.

          One time this year, I picked up sandwiches @ The Sentinel sandwich shop on Old Montgomery and hopped on Muni to the ball park, but by the time we ate, the bread was disintegrating. Plan to try again, ordering less "wet" fillings.

          I buy peanuts in the shell before I go to a game, since the ones at the ballpark are a million times too salty (and--as w/ everything there--expensive).

          I've even begun to make cracker jacks to bring along (beyond simple and, goes w/out saying, so much better than the kind in the box: pop some corn in the microwave, toss in a quick, light, home-made caramel sauce, add a little coarse salt and salted peanuts, break up into bite-size pieces)

          1. re: sundeck sue

            at the SF ball park we found the food from the tacqueria on the ground level entry quite acceptable and fresh. the hot dogs from Let's be Frank are above average.

            for the oakland coliseum, going by BART there are many options near either the Lake Merritt or Fruitvale stations for decent take out. on our last visit, had a very good draft Aventius German beer, reasonable at $11. for 22 ounces. bringing good food in and having excellent, not overpriced beer on site is far preferable to being stuck with mediocrity in both departments.

            1. re: moto

              I've hit up the taco truck at Spear and Folsom before a few Giants game. Use to work near ATT and the LBF cart kinda sucked...the guy operating it didn't get the dogs hot enough.

              Otherwise, the selection at ATT is very good, almost a distraction but just about anyone can find something, but it can get a little gouge-y.

            2. re: sundeck sue

              Thanks for the ChaCha bowl info. I'll stick with my copy-cat!

            3. re: monfrancisco

              Are you the guy who dumped a pint of BBQ sauce down the back of my shirt? (Yes, that really happened)

              1. re: sfchris

                Absolutely not! What a huge, huge drag. A kid once dumped a huge soda down MY back, and I thought that was bad, but sauce is way worse. I'm a pretty tidy person (at least in public).

            4. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I've heard decent things about the new food program at the UC Berkeley sports arenas. Can anyone confirm?

              4 Replies
              1. re: abstractpoet

                I went to one game last year and the food was the same as it ever was. Warm, steamed dogs in foil. Yum. As I recall the hummus was Sabra. I saw no difference. If they would only bring back Gremlins, the little cups of frozen OJ, from Cal's glory days.

                Best to bring food into the Coliseum. My last Raider game happened to be the same day as the Rockridge Out and About street fair, so we brought porchetta sandwiches from Oliveto.

                Still, a ballpark hot dog is always welcome.

                1. re: abstractpoet

                  UC's on-campus catering (Cal Dining) has taken over concessions at Cal FB games, and the food is very average, nothing special. Last season they had a vendor grill sausages on charcoal that was very good...this year they're gone. Also Top Dog served brats and dogs on the Eastern rim last year but are gone now.

                  OTOH, they did have a couple of food trucks on the Eastern side during a night game. There were long lines so I didn't even pay attention.

                  If there's any news about food, it might be in the exclusive donor clubs...including full bars. However since I'm not a big donor, I haven't checked it out.

                  Any way, the deal about Cal FB or BB is there's plenty of food/drink option around the campus area and not only are they reasonable in price (student eats) but superior to what's in the stadium.

                  1. re: abstractpoet

                    So I misremembered -- it was actually the food at Oracle Arena that I saw a positive mention for:


                    Again, can't confirm, but it does it least look/sound better than the culinary atrocities on the baseball side...

                    1. re: abstractpoet

                      Eater reports that Farina pizzeria has an outpost at the Arena:

                      The A's closed a deal on a lease extension that allows them to choose the food concessionaire, so there may be (hopefully) changes there as well.

                  2. I think it's a problem with any mass food service operation like that.

                    I usually bring my own food to the Coliseum, but when I don't, I usually splurge on all-American junk food (nachos! chicken tenders with ranch dressing!) rather than trying to find good food.

                    Otherwise, it's taco trucks for me.