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Jan 17, 2014 02:25 PM

Looking for an awesome pre-Warriors game meal (coming from Union Square area)


I'm visiting the bay area from LA and am really excited to be going to a Warriors game on the 28th. Going to the game is great and all but I have to get some killer food while I'm here so I'm looking for recommendations on great pre-game meal. I'm pretty open in terms of type of food, just want something memorably good and doesn't take too long! Ideally it would be around the Oracle arena or near a bart station on the way there from Union Square area. Thanks for your help!

PS: Also any other general recommendations for SF/Oak would be happily taken! In the week I'm here I'm going to see the State at sketchfest Sf, probably some museums, the anchor steam brewery tour, nopa/nopalita, probably a bike ride around presidio/golden gate area! Thanks again! I'm so excitedddddd!

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  1. If you're into beer, go to Trappist, a few blocks from 12th St. BART. Good food there, too, or at Miss Ollie's around the corner.

    There's nothing around This Space for Rent Arena.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I do love beer, this place looks awesome!

    2. You'll be on a Fremont train in order to get to the arena, so it might be worth looking for something close to the Lake Merritt BART stop. Nido (Mexican, good cocktails, but maybe not the best pick for someone from LA) would be the closest option and Chop Bar (great burger, nice beer selection) is not too far afield.

      I am not a fan of their beer and the food is inconsistent, but Lake Chalet is also a reasonable walk and scenic, with views of the lake.

      Portal would be my wildcard option, also near the lake.

      If you do go to 12th St., I'll second the Trappist and Miss Ollie's recommendations--both places are great. Tribune Tavern has mixed reviews here (I generally like it), but the one constant is that you can always get a mug of Oakland's best beer there: Linden Street Burning Oak Black Lager. Yum!

      1 Reply
      1. re: lakemerritter

        Nido is great. I wouldn't usually recommend Mexican for someone coming from LA, but if you're thinking of going to Nopalito, it's a similar sort of place.

      2. There's nothing near Oracle to speak of, especially if you are taking public transportation. You could stop off at the 19th St Station in Oakland and have access to some great restaurants in the Uptown neighborhood:

        Duende, Flora, Hopscotch, Plum, Ozumo, Pican, Mockingbird...many choices of bars and restaurants there.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hbsboak

          19th really does have a lot to offer, good list there, it's a and the ever-excellent bar Van Kleef (go for the atmosphere), Make Westing, the Dogwood. It is more convenient to the Coliseum than it might look - lots of trains go to 19th, and you can take the fremont trains direct when you finish dinner.

          1. re: bbulkow

            Drink at Make Westings, burger at Hopscotch. Drool.

            1. re: grayelf

              If I was coming from out of town, I'd want something a little more "special" --- Pican. I've never heard of anyplace like it in LA - though LA's a big place, and my knowledge not that broad.

              Pican is interesting because it's not just Upscale Southern, it's Upscale Black Southern, which really means it's Upscale Oakland Black, since oakland in the 40's attracted the black families to work in all the military complexes.


              The area at 19th & Broadway was part of the epicenter of black culture, with both the Fox and Sweet's Ballroom and probably more - and, to me, Pican really tried to be Black South not White South.

              There's been some grumbling about Pican not being quite what it used to be, but I'd still give it a shot.

              Wouldn't the hopscotch burger be a bit Father's Office, but in a more sedate setting?


              ( Although I haven't even seen Duende yet, people I respect like it )

              1. re: bbulkow

                Picán's owner is from New Orleans, the original chef was a white guy from Massachusetts, and the current chef is Cambodian. Fried green tomatoes with sheep's milk feta, goat cheese beignets, peanut-jalapeño cole slaw—if you want to peg it as a particular sub-cuisine, I'd say it's pretty definitely Cal-southern.

        2. Don't know about recommendations for other days,
          but regarding your pre-game meal, I suggest that you may want to re-think it a bit. First of all, there is absolutely nothing around Oracle Arena and that's true whether you are driving or taking BART. This is not an area that you want to be walking around in at all! And I would suggest arriving early, as you would be going during rush hour, and there is always lots of traffic, waits at BART, long lines to get in, a long walk to find your seats, etc. So perhaps you could opt for a nice lunch beforehand instead, which would probably leave you with more options, either in SF or Oakland, at the many places people have already recommended. Hope this helps and that you enjoy the game.

          13 Replies
          1. re: cometraveler

            The game on the 28th is at 7:30. Plenty of time for an early dinner even if you plan to get to the Arena before 7:00.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Yeah since I'm not working or anything I think I'll just aim to go early to oakland. Didn't really think about how bad it might be to get into a bart station from say...trappist/12 st bart to Oracle. Will just have to try to head over at...5/5:30?

              1. re: jorgeadp

                Just look at the bart schedule. You'll always be able to squeeze into any train, and 12/19th -> Coleseum is short enough that you'll survive standing. The walk from the station to the stadium is, what, 5 mins? 10?

                1. re: bbulkow

                  Just me, but I would not want to count on that being the case on a game day. Warrior games are usually sold out, so think about 18,000+ people arriving by car and BART at the same time. It is not just the walk but the lines, to get out of the Bart station, into the arena & security, etc. And my experience is that the later you get there, the longer it takes. And if you are going for something like Lefty's you might as well just eat at the arena itself(not that I would recommend that).

                  More unique for San Francisco, what about going over to the Ferry Building near Embarcadero and eating at one of the many restaurants there. It's not far from Union Square, and a plus is the great views of SF Bay with lots of choices for food and a pleasant stroll. Embarcadero BART station is nearby.

                  1. re: cometraveler

                    I've only ever taken BART to Oracle, and it has always been very painless, even during evening commute hours. According to the BART website, a 10-car train can hold over 2000 people (!), so it shouldn't be a problem. Leaving the arena can be a little messy, but I've still never had to wait very long for a train after the game/fight/whatever. Just walk to the very end of the platform and you should be able to get on the first train in.

                    Driving, on the other hand, seems like it would be a disaster, judging by the traffic that develops during Raiders home games.

                    1. re: cometraveler

                      Judging from the backed-up traffic I've driven past before Warriors games, getting there very early is essential if you're driving, but that's not very relevant to taking BART.

                      1. re: cometraveler

                        Have you, or anyone you know, had a packed train pull in and you couldn't get on, going to the coleseum? If you've never had that experience - I never have - then you should agree with me that the OP shouldn't cut it too close, but just grab a train when it makes sense.

                        I think the only time I've ever seen a full train and had to wait was on a sunday going in for pride parade. There were a lot of people with costumes and similar, and it was a morning when they weren't doing enough extra trains.

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          I have definitely had that experience but only after a game, not before (and it was after the A's playoff game last year, which had many more people than a Warrior game).

                          It does seem, though, that there are a lot more good food choices in SF near Union Square than there are near the Coliseum (where there are none), and stopping in Oakland would require two BART trips, wasting time. Cafe Claude, Akiko's sushi, Gitane, Cafe de la Presse, Amber India, Bourbon Steak (at least for the burger), Jasper's Corner Tap are all somewhat nearby the walk between Union Square and BART.

                          1. re: calumin

                            Downtown Oakland near 12th or 19th St. BART has a much more interesting and affordable selection of restaurants and the slight detour and extra BART trip would add only a few minutes.

                            1. re: calumin

                              The uptown region has much better atmosphere and food than union square. Eat oakland.

                          2. re: cometraveler

                            I agree that you need go leave time for actually getting into the arena (notably, they take the bag restrictions very seriously). Still, you should have plenty of time for an early dinner, and I agree with the suggestions for down (or up) town Oakland. I wouldn't worry about BART -- it will still be on a commute time max frequency/capacity schedule and it's only 10 minutes from up/downtown Oakland to the Coliseum.

                        2. re: jorgeadp

                          On Thursday evening, BART trains leave 12th St. for Fremont (the line that stops at the Coliseum / Arena) on the quarter hour and the trip takes ten minutes. They leave 19th St. a minute earlier. If you have a smartphone, you can check the actual arrival times. The 12th St. station's three blocks / five minutes from the Trappist.


                      2. re: cometraveler

                        The area near the Coliseum is fine, and the walk from transportation, and entry to seats isn't long - but as mentioned, there are zero options for food.

                        Since you have an excuse to go to Oakland, I would second the suggestion to take a detour and visit the Uptown district where the most interesting options are, or staying convenient, and eating close to Union Square, or Jackson Square, or the Ferry Building, before getting on Bart. With either option, you want to allow time to get lost on the Bart trains, or handle a slow down. Once you're on the right train, it's fine, but if you have to transfer, or there's a disruption in service, it's easy to end up late for a game. Overcrowding usually only happens after events, if ever.

                      3. Since you're near Union Square, just hit Lefty O'Doules for the hot turkey sandwich, with sourghdough bread, dipped in gravy, and whatever type of beer that suits your fancy. A City landmark-the west coast equivalent of McSorleys (in NYC), with a central location, near BART, etc.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: mchametzky

                          I guess Los Angeles has no old-school hofbraus left, so if you're into that stuff, you can get it at Lefty O'Doul's.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I'm 100% going to check this place out either on game day or another while I'm in town. Haven't heard about a ton of places right near Union Square (seems much of the hyped places are in Mission area) so it will be great to eat somewhere both close and delicious.

                            1. re: jorgeadp

                              Another SF institution, on Montgomery Street (financial district, walking distance from Union Square) is Tadich's Grill,
                              It's one of the oldest, continuing running restaurants in the US-along with Antoine's in NO, and the Union Oyster House in Boston. While I love the bely clams at the UOHouse, I still prefer Tadich's to Antoine's (even after having lived in NO for a decade, well before Katrina).
                              The service may seem impersonal, but I've always found the Cioppino and the Sea Bass to be reliably satisfying. My brother-in-law swears by the filet mignon.
                              Anyway, it is unique, and doesn't require a lot of travel time from Union Square.

                              1. re: mchametzky

                                Tadich isn't quite unique. Sam's Grill is pretty much the same thing minus the tourists.

                                The whole package is fun, but if a new place opened serving the exact same food, it would probably be out of business in short order.

                                Here's a report on Tadich's steak:


                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                              What about a french dip at Musso's? Isn't that in every way better than boiled cabbage at Lefty's?

                            3. re: mchametzky

                              Lefty O' Doul's is prison food. I can't believe anyone would recommend that. It's not even good by "hofbrau" standards.

                              1. re: sfchris


                                I love the idea of Lefty O'Douls, and it's an institution which I hope sticks around - but the food is depressingly bad. It's as if the owners are intentionally running the place to be a tourist trap.

                                Tadich's is a great suggestion.