Posts Tagged ‘grand lake’

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Restaurant Report: Winter 2011

February 25, 2011

Wow, look at what happens when you take a few months off! Last time I posted on neighborhood restaurants was last May (good grief) and there’s been plenty happening since then. Here’s a very quick rundown of what’s opened or is opening soon in the ‘hood…

Temescal/Pill Hill

  • Homeroom, a new macaroni-and-cheese restaurant, is now open at 40th and Shafter. We have yet to try it but it sounds tasty and has been met with great fanfare—even my sister in Denver heard about it (though in fairness, she does work for the American Cheese Society, so it’s her kind of place!) Full report once we make it there.
  • CommonWealth has been open at 29th and Telegraph for a while now. Check out the details here. [Side note: One review of CommonWealth describes its location as "where Uptown meets Pill Hill." Discuss.]
  • Remedy has been open since forever at Telegraph and 43rd, but I realized I forgot to include them in the last list. Which is bad, because they’re awesome!

Piedmont Avenue

  • Shimizu Sushi is now open at Piedmont and Echo. Haven’t been yet, but have heard good things!
  • It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve wandered down Piedmont, so I have a feeling I’m missing some changes. (Or maybe it really has been quiet?) Updates after we get a chance to walk down that way!

Grand Lake/Lower Grand

  • Ikaros (Greek) on Grand and Caña (Cuban, with a cabaret license, it looks like?) on Lake Park are both open as of this month. Yum! [Yes, I know the Ikaros link doesn't work yet, but hopefully it will soon...]
  • Lin Jia Kitchen has been open on Lakeshore for a while now in the old L’Amyx space; still on the list of new places to try!
  • Room 389 opened this fall where the Golden Bear used to be.
  • Mimosa (at Santa Clara and Grand) has closed again after a brief revival, and is reportedly going to reopen under a new owner as a larger Ethiopian restaurant later this spring. Hopefully the third time’s the charm!
  • Sadly, Di Bartolo Café has closed, but happily,  Boot and Shoe will be taking over their space, expanding to include a patio and reportedly opening for brunch and lunch. Mmm doughnuts…
  • The Flip Side on Lakeshore, a project by the owners of Flavors of India, will be serving up gourmet burgers. (This is the old Adam’s location.)
  • Restoration of KwikWay on Lake Park is well underway at long last! Hoping they’ll be open by the summer, but that might be overly optimistic. Last I heard, the plan was still to do an upscale version of the old burger joint, but we’ll see.
  • Zoey’s Afghan Bistro has sadly closed, not too long after it opened.

Uptown/Upper Broadway

  • 3000 Broadway is now open at, umm, 3000 Broadway. Still haven’t been, but very curious!
  • Plum has been open for a while now, and is slated to open a bar soon. We checked it out when they first opened and are headed for a second visit soon, so I’ll write that one up soon.
  • Next door to Plum, the Punchdown opened quietly last fall in Franklin Square Wine Bar’s old space. Still need to check this one out too!
  • Next door to Mua, Nex is open. Check out the review here. (Can you tell how long it’s been since I’ve done one of these updates?!?)
  • Café Randevu is open too, just across the way from Mua and Nex. They have an eclectic menu spanning a number of cuisines.
  • Bar Dogwood, a new venture by the former owner of the House of Shields, is now open for  “cocktails and cured meats,” which is definitely up my alley! It’s at 17th and Telegraph.
  • Shuga Hill, the soul food truck-turned-restaurant that was originally eyeing a location at 29th and Broadway, has instead settled on a location at 27th and San Pablo that seems to be coming along nicely.
  • Xolo, the new taqueria from the Dona Tomas/Flora crew, is still under construction. Still. They’re also working on a bar in the space between Flora and Xolo.
  • Just up the street at 18th and Telegraph will be Oakland’s own branch of Brooklyn’s Weather Up. They’ll also be serving up cocktails and snacks.
  • Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café is opening its second location next-door to the Fox Theater. Apparently my wish for cocktails and brunch (no, not together…well, sure, why not together??) has been heard!

I think that’s it for now. I’ve undoubtedly missed a few openings and closings in these neighborhoods since I’ve been a bit out of the loop this fall and winter, so feel free to add them in the comments. And I promise to update this in a more timely manner next time around!

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Restaurants coming out my ears (or: the spring restaurant report)

May 11, 2010

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted any restaurant news….which means there’s a whole lot happening to report! Here’s a quick pass at what’s coming up. (I’m quite sure I’m missing a bunch of stuff, since I haven’t been paying much attention to much of anything but work and wedding planning this spring….but I promise to catch up this summer!)

Temescal/Pill Hill

  • Little Mac, a macaroni-and-cheese restaurant (?!? sign me up!) that will also have craft beer and tasty sounding salads and desserts, is slated to open at 40th and Shafter this fall.
  • Commonwealth is due to open later this month at 29th and Telegraph, and will be a British-style pub. If they have good fish and chips, we will be regulars!

Piedmont Avenue

  • Sparky’s is indeed open. And it is indeed an extension of the burger place up in the hills.

Grand Lake
Grand Lake is kickin’ this spring!

  • Mimosa reopened as Mimosa Ethiopian Restaurant at Santa Clara and Grand.
  • YaYu Ethiopian is also now open on Lakeshore where Vine used to be.
  • La Taza de Cafe plans to reopen (yay!) where the Grand Lake Neighborhood Center used to be on Lake Park. There will apparently be a small Cuban takeout place next to a larger cabaret, says the Splash Pad newsletter.
  • Good Chemistry Baking, a gluten-free bakery, will open where Daily Delectables used to be.
  • Yogofina, another of the trendy tart yogurt shops, is coming soon on Lakeshore (and also to Montclair Village).

Uptown/Upper Broadway
…but not as much as Uptown!

  • Pakxe is going in at Broadway and 30th where Union Auto used to be on Auto Row. This is super exciting because it’s the first reuse of an auto space on the main Auto Row drag. (Mua also reused an auto space for their Webster Street place.) No clue what kind of food it will be, but the name suggests Laotian.
  • Plum, Daniel Patterson’s new restaurant,  is coming soon where Louisiana Fried Chicken used to be—and will be expanded in the coming months to include a bar where Franklin Square Wine Bar used to be. This is exactly what I was hoping for in this space. (Well, okay, I didn’t necessarily have a chef in mind, but broadly, it was the perfect timing to combine the two spaces and really make use of Franklin Square’s plaza, as FSWB was doing.) Go Uptown! Also, it is named after a William Carlos Williams poem that was one of my favorites in high school, which bodes well…
  • Xolo, the new taqueria from the Dona Tomas/Flora crew, is still under construction.
  • Uptown Café & Crêpes is now open at 21st and Franklin.
  • Bakesale Betty is open at Broadway and Grand! (Woohoo! Now if only they had weekend hours…)
  • More pizza! Hurray! (Because, in case you haven’t figured this out, D. and I really, REALLY like pizza.) Mua is expanding into the space where the short-lived Cafe Noir used to be on Webster, and will be making pizza for me (okay, and everyone else in town…) (Cafe Noir had a wood oven, so I presume it stayed with the space.) No details yet. (Incidentally, is this Uptown? Or Upper Broadway? Or still Auto Row? Curiouser and curiouser….one of our neighbors predicted we’d live in Uptown in ten years’ time, and I do have to say that it seems to be creeping this direction!)

And falling off the radar…

  • The third Pizzaiolo location in Uptown now has a “for lease” sign back in its window, which I presume means that project is toast. Boo. (But at least we’ll always have Boot and Shoe…)
  • Kotobuki Sushi on Piedmont has moved to Montclair.
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The very long overdue winter restaurant (and bar!) update

February 16, 2010

I realized it’s been months and months since I did a restaurant rundown, which is no good! Here’s a very quick summary of food news in the ‘hood…

Already here or coming soon in Grand Lake:

  • Zoey’s Afghan Bistro, the newest addition to the growing Middle Eastern scene in the neighborhood.
  • Boot and Shoe Service, Pizzaiolo’s sister restaurant. Yay for pizza even closer to home!
  • Yayu, a new Ethiopian spot on Lakeshore, is coming soon to the spot that housed the short-lived Vine.
  • Heart and Dagger Saloon: There’s a changing of the guards happening at what used to be the Serenader, one of the last remnants of the old Grand Lake. This new bar is due to open this Friday, February 19th, and I’m super curious to see what they do with the space! (If Yelp is to be believed, they will have pinball, video games, and pool. Maybe they can be kinda like the Chatterbox Pub in Minneapolis—a city that has the art of neighborhood bars mastered—except without the 3.2 license….that would make me happy!)
  • Mimosa Café, under new ownership: Rumor has it that this Grand Lake spot isn’t gone for good, but is merely changing hands. We’ll see.
  • Kwik Way, the Sequel: A yet-to-be-named replacement for the long-closed Kwik Way Drive-In on Lake Park by the owners of Somerset is finally under construction. No ETA, though.

Already here or coming soon in Uptown:

  • TrueBurger: Former BayWolf sous chefs do burgers, milkshakes, and fries. Reviews say “better than In ‘n Out”—but with sustainable meats! How can you go wrong?
  • Hibiscus: It’s open! Yay! We have reservations to try the Caribbean food later this month, so I’ll report back then.
  • Era: Okay, it’s a bar, not a restaurant, but still. We’ve been eyeing their empty* windows forever, so I’m glad they’re finally open! Full report once we’ve tried their cocktails out. (*Okay, not actually empty, but filled with cool teasers, which is why we were eyeing them! Let’s go with “vacant” windows instead.)
  • Bakesale Betty: Someday, someday this will come off the “coming soon” list, if the stars are aligned in our favor. I hope. April is the current ETA on this, and there’s activity and a hole in the paper on the windows, so we’re ever hopeful.
  • The other Pizzaiolo sister restaurant, name TBD. They have the beginnings of a liquor license, though it’s still in process. But that’s promising! (I don’t speak ABC so I can’t say exactly why it’s on hold or what that means, though.)

Already here or coming soon on Lower Telegraph:

  • Phat Matt’s BBQ: Loved him at the Grand Lake market? Now he’s got his own spot! We haven’t made it here yet, but it’s just a few blocks away so it’s high on the list. I’m also excited to see more restaurants staking out this stretch of Telegraph, which has struggled to keep retail for years. With Oasis Market opening just down the street a few months ago and several small coffee shops, it’s finally starting to fill out. Yay! Look for him next door to Neldam’s.
  • Remedy Coffee is trying its best to open soon—and you can help out! You can prepay set amounts ($1000, $750, $500, or $250) and get a percentage back in a setup similar to Awaken’s credit system. Check their Facebook page for details. Their sidewalk cart is already up and running, too.
  • SR24: Okay, I can’t believe I missed this one given the name! Anyway, this comfort food spot popped onto the scene this week, replacing Bear Naked Burgers in the little mini-mall across the street from the Temescal library branch.

Already here or coming soon on Piedmont:

  • Sparky’s (maybe?) Something is happening with the space at 4151 Piedmont, which has been vacant forever. Way back in December 2008, a restaurant called Sparky’s (which may or may not be related to Sparky’s Giant Burgers up near the Mormon Temple) had a plan for this space, but there’s been no movement since then, though ABC says they got their liquor license in October. So possibly this is Sparky’s coming back from the dead, or maybe something new is afoot. Keep an eye out!
  • César Latino: Okay, this is really just Piedmont staple César, but the restaurant has reinvented itself as a Latin American hot spot featuring South and Central American dishes, rather than the Spanish tapas it has traditionally featured. So it’s almost like a new restaurant to try!

And leaving us are:

  • Café Noir: This closed eons ago, shortly after it opened. But now they are definitively gone. Not sure what went wrong here, as they weren’t open long enough to even get their feet wet…maybe a change of heart. But a great spot for a new coffee shop, which are in short supply in our neighborhood, so hopefully there’ll be some takers!
  • Louisiana Fried Chicken: This place always seemed busy, so possibly this is just a victim of rising rents. I never ate there, so can’t say I’ll miss the food, but I did think it was going to be funny when there was a quadrangle of fried chicken in Uptown (with variations served at Luka’s, Pican, Bakesale Betty, and LFC). Ah, well.
  • Mimosa Café: I never managed to get to this spot either (maybe all of these restaurants are dropping at my hands?!?) but they had a brunch that was widely loved in the ‘hood. It will supposedly reopen under new ownership soon (see above).
  • Franklin Square Wine Bar: Don’t know details here, but I’m sorry to see Uptown losing one of its newest spots. That means two wine bars have come and gone in the neighborhood in as many years…maybe Oakland isn’t the spot for these? With luck, maybe this will be the magic time for a new restaurateur to come in, lease both the FS Wine Bar and LFC spaces, and take down the wall between the two, since one challenge Franklin Square did have was its tiny, narrow seating area. We’ll see… (Incidentally, not in the neighborhood, but I did recently notice that Wood Tavern in Rockridge, one of our favorites, is doing just this: taking over the adjacent storefront and growing out a bit.)
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Dine About Oakland: Boot and Shoe Service

February 5, 2010

I should probably start this review off by saying that I love-love-love Pizzaiolo. We’ve been waiting excitedly for Charlie Hallowell’s two new projects to open in Grand Lake and Uptown, because then we will live smack in the middle of the Pizzaiolo Golden Triangle, with three different restaurants in easy walking or biking distance. So, obviously, I was a little biased as we finally headed to check out Boot & Shoe Service, Pizzaiolo’s new sister restaurant on Grand, with a friend who was visiting—but I tried to leave my expectations at the door and give this little restaurant a shot at its own identity.

I really didn’t need to. This place is a) wonderful and b) exactly the pieces of Pizzaiolo that I would want to copy and paste into my neighborhood, which is to say that it’s a slightly lower-key version of its big sister. Boot & Shoe, named in honor of the cobbler’s shop that was originally here, serves up pizzas—including takeout—and a small selection of appetizers and salads, but for the most part they leave off the entrees that Pizzaiolo is known for. That’s perfect, since it makes for a casual (and far less costly!) night out. Astoundingly, we walked right in on a Thursday night (after trying and failing to get in a couple of weeks earlier). The space is much smaller than Pizzaiolo, but it works with the scaled down menu. The front half of the space that once housed DiBartolo is tables, while the back has a bar that stretches across if all you want is a cocktail and a snack.

We tried a mix of dishes, including one pizza that we’d had at Pizziolo a couple of times as a reference point. We also happened to be there on Stand with Haiti night when the restaurant and wait staff were donating 15 percent of sales and tips to Partners in Health, so we ordered an extra dish for good measure. Our meal started off with the complimentary house olives—mmm!—and included:

  • Burrata with toast and radishes: This was good burrata, although my favorite version of this dish uses warm burrata, and this was cold (as is most common). However, the bread-and-cheese theme ended up overlapping a bit too much with the pizza that followed, so I think next time I’d try one of their other starters, and save this for a night when I’m just headed there for a cocktail and a snack.
  • Salad! Forgot this the first time. And I can’t remember what kind it was, since D. picked it. I wanna say there were beets involved, but I might be making that up.
  • Margherita pizza: Astoundingly, we’ve never tried Pizzaiolo’s version of this, even though D. swears you must use the margherita pizza as the baseline to judge any good pizza joint. Great mozzarella and good tomatoes with a perfect crust—D. pronounced it better than Marzano’s (which is a high compliment since we’re big Marzano fans).
  • Wild nettle and ricotta salata pizza: Wild nettle pizza is one of my favorites at Pizzaiolo, and I was pleased to find the Boot & Shoe version very comparable. If you’ve never had nettles, try some! Again, a great crust on this. (I’ve seen B&S list this with other types of cheese some nights as well, so it would be interesting to see how they compare.)
  • Beer and housemade tonic: To drink, the boys ordered local beer while I had my favorite, a gin and tonic made with the housemade tonic. (It’s the same as the housemade tonic at Pizzaiolo, which they didn’t have the last time we ate there—so I was excited to see it again!)
  • And finally,  a cannoli filled with ricotta, pistachios, and blood oranges. We ordered this on a whim, and it was an unusual pick. First, I grew up in New Haven and also spent a lot of years in Boston, where cannolis are an art form, so I’m a pretty picky cannoli eater. And D. generally hates them altogether since he’s not a fan of ricotta-based anything. But the pistachios and oranges sold him on this one, so we gave it a spin. Yum! Not quite a traditional cannoli, but very good in its own right, with a light filling and a crispy shell. Not a dessert to get for takeout—the shell wouldn’t last long—but a nice bit of sweetness to end a meal.

Here are some shots D. took with his schmancy new phone to send to our friend’s wife back in Colorado (with apologies to our wonderful waitress, who asked with a raised eyebrow, “oh, are you Yelpers?” when D. started snapping shots…err, not exactly?)

Mmm....

Mmm....

Move along, now, nothing to see here...

Move along, now, nothing to see here...

All-in-all, I’m excited to welcome this spot to our neighborhood. It’s practically perfect. Our dinner—which included a bit more than we generally order, plus a round-and-a half of drinks and great service!—still wound up under $100 for three of us, which really can’t be beat. The only things that could be improved? I would love for Boot & Shoe to be open on Sundays (they’re currently closed Sundays and Mondays, and Pizzaiolo’s closed Sundays too). And I’d REALLY love for them to be open for breakfast a la Pizzaiolo (or even weekend brunch with doughnuts and breakfast pizzas like Marzano used to serve). But for now I’ll be content to dream about buttermilk doughnuts while we enjoy dinners and takeout there.

Update, 5/4/10: Boot and Shoe is now open on Sundays!

Grade: A A+
Price: $$

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Dine About Oakland: Grand Tavern

December 28, 2009

I’ve been really curious about Grand Tavern ever since they opened earlier this year, but somehow we just never seem to end up out and about in Grand Lake at an appropriate tavern time. (Also, for a while D. was resisting because their website plays music—a pet peeve of his—so that took a little coaxing!) A couple weeks ago, though, we were over at Grand Lake Ace for some errands, and it was cold, mucky, and drizzling out. As we passed Grand Tavern on the way home, it looked oh-so-appealing decked out in Christmas lights, and I suddenly remembered they had a fireplace, too. A few minutes later, we were headed in the door.

Grand Tavern moved into the Arts and Crafts house on Upper Grand that was home to Señor Nero’s until it closed last year. During the day, you can get a drink with light food; in the evening hours, they serve a full dinner. They still seem to be figuring out their place, caught between being a pub and being a restaurant. It was actually a perfect fit for what we wanted, though—drinks by the fire with a little snack. We ended up staying for a couple of hours, which meant an opportunity to really give the cocktail menu a workout. On the side, we tried some “small social bites” (or so says the menu). The vegetarian chili was okay, but not too exciting—in the category of “things I can make just as well at home” (and for considerably less!) The fries, on the other hand, were fabulous. “Fries” is something of a misnomer, since the “social skin fries” are actually more like potato chips—warm, crispy rounds of potato with a softer bit on the inside. We’ll definitely get them again, and might give the dinner menu a spin too. When we were there it had a burger in addition to several fancier main dishes; seems like the kind of menu that you can swing towards the casual or the upscale (which is to say, my favorite kind of menu, a la Wood Tavern and Sidebar!)

The list of wines, beers, spirits, and cocktails is extensive, with a distinctively “speakeasy” vibe. (Four different absinthes…!) The cocktails are old school classics reminiscent of the Prohibition era. I tried the Ward 8 and the Old Fashioned, which were both well made; D. was surprised to find that neither was too sweet for him, since generally if the cocktail description includes grenadine or gum syrup, it doesn’t bode well on that front. He stuck with the beer list, though, which features a lot of Belgian ales (including a few I’m not used to seeing anywhere but the Trappist and occasionally Luka’s) plus a good mix of local brews to round it out.

The early evening crowd was mixed on a Saturday night; people trickled in and out, but generally I don’t think this place has been discovered yet (which may be a good thing—a lot of its charm was the quiet by-the-fire environment). We didn’t stay into the dinner hour, so I’m not sure what it’s like then or as you get into going-out time (but generally I’ve found that Grand Lake shuts down a little earlier than some other parts of town, perhaps because it leans to the family side of things).

At any rate, this place was a nice discovery, and one we’ll be back to. While we savored the warm fire during the wintry rain, they also have a back patio that looks like it would be a great spot in the summer. If you bike, skate, or walk to the Tavern, you also get a $2 discount on your second drink, which is good news for us since it’s (sort of!) in the neighborhood.

Grade: A−
Cost: $$-$$$

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Coming soon to an avenue near you! (Okay, or at least to one near me…)

October 7, 2009

…otherwise known as the fall restaurant update! It’s been a rough year for a lot of small local businesses and restaurants, so I was excited to see a bunch of new spots show up on the horizon this summer and fall to fill the empty spaces. It’s been a while since I last did a restaurant rundown, so here’s the latest and greatest.

On Piedmont Avenue:

  • The widely-anticipated Commis opened at the end of June to much fanfare. We finally checked them out earlier this month, and were duly impressed.
  • A new La Farine branch is coming soon now open! where Piedmont Lighting used to be. (I know, I’ve mentioned this several times already—but I’m so, SO excited to finally have good baguettes within walking distance!) The cases are in and the signs are up, so they should be open any day now.
  • Caffe Trieste is actually open! They’ve been in limbo for so long over the cabaret permit (longer than we’ve been in the house!) that I hadn’t even bothered including them in my “coming soon” list. But they’re here!!
  • Lush Gelato opened earlier this summer where Tango Gelato used to be.
  • Tutti Frutti, a tart frozen yogurt chain, is now open in that stretch of Piedmont, too.

On Grand and Lakeshore Avenues (Adams Point/Grand Lake):

  • The new Pizzaiolo spot where DiBartolo used to be on Grand is still “coming soon.” opening in early December! It will be called Boot and Shoe Service (though the website isn’t live yet).
  • Taste of Joy Southern Bistro has moved over to Upper Grand from Lakeshore, and is now in La Taza de Cafe’s former location.
  • …which, of course, means that La Taza de Cafe has closed, as has their brand-new tapas bar. Go figure.

In Uptown/Lake Merritt (Grand, Broadway, Telegraph, and San Pablo Avenues):

  • The Lake Chalet opened with much fanfare last month. Mmm—local brews on a deck overlooking Lake Merritt, walking distance from our house! We went for the first time last week, and were impressed—while the food isn’t out of this world, it’s solid, and the location is top-notch. (You have to wait long enough for a table as it is, so I almost think it’s a blessing in disguise that the food isn’t A+ quality…)
  • Farley’s East opened earlier this summer on Grand near Broadway, hopping on the Uptown bandwagon. We checked it out a few weeks back; my latte was great, while D.’s gibraltar was a bit on the milky side. Haven’t tried the drip yet, though. They hope to extend their evening hours in the future, so if that happens we’ll be able to hit them a bit more often.
  • Down the street, there’s now an Oakland Specialty’s location at Grand and Harrison for lunchtime sandwiches and cookies.
  • Mimosa Champagne Lounge is now serving dinner, desserts, and cocktails (and, of course, champagne!)
  • Still under construction: the second Bakesale Betty location, which now has an ETA of February March 2010. (I really am going to stop asking, I swear!) I’m almost afraid to ask these days, since every time I do it gets pushed back another few months…
  • In the space of a month, Café Noir on Auto Row got its liquor license, opened for dinner, and then abruptly closed “for renovations.” Umm. I really want to love these guys—they have tasty pizza and beer and great coffee, and they’re just down the street!—but they desperately need to get their act together. Let’s hope they’re really just closed for renovations (but really…what could they possibly be renovating?!?) and not for good, since the place was just oozing with potential….
  • Hibiscus, a nouveau Caribbean spot, is going in where Sweet Jimmie’s used to be on San Pablo between 17th and 18th, and sounds like it’s going to be excellent! (Their website doesn’t have much up yet, but their Facebook page has a running list of information on potential dishes and renovations.)
  • And another Pizzaiolo spin-off is going into Uptown, too. Still all papered up, but the liquor license notice went up in October—promising!

On Telegraph Avenue (Pill Hill/Mosswood/Temescal):

  • Subrosa Coffee is now open on 40th at Webster next to Manifesto Bicycles. Haven’t been yet, but I’m hearing good things—yay! Hours are 6:30 to 7 on weekdays, 7 to 7 on weekends.
  • Remedy Coffee is coming soon on Telegraph at 43rd, but is already selling out of a cart in front of their new storefront. They’ll be brewing Ritual beans.
  • Oasis Food Market, technically a small Middle Eastern grocery store, is getting some buzz for great prepared food as well. They’re across the street from Alta Bates  Summit on Telegraph at 30th. Hours are 6 am to 11 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 11 pm on weekends. We tried them for the first time this week—yum! And they have a small but complete and good-looking section of fresh fruits and vegetables, too, which means they’re a great late-night grocery option since the other local groceries all close by 8 pm. More on the food later….

So that’s the story for now….as usual this list just includes places I can walk to, so it doesn’t take into account the many (many!) new spots coming soon in other parts of the city, including Jack London Square, which is hopping these days. (I’ve spent more time there in the past two months than in the rest of the years I’ve lived here combined….and when Blue Bottle finally opens, it will be hard to tear myself away!)

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Spring restaurant updates

May 27, 2009

Yeah, it’s not like I’ve actually made much progress on my growing list of new places to try—though we did finally make it to Picán last week!—but there are so many to add that I figured another post on this was in order. (Luckily, we have several waves of family coming into town this summer, so there should be some good opportunities to finally work down this list!)

Now open in my ‘hood and the surrounds:

  • Bacheeso’s, the second location of the West Berkeley Mediterranean spot, is now open on Lower Grand. Not sure how the menu compares to the original, but I’m guessing there are cheap brunch/lunch/dinner buffets at the new location as well—probably worth checking out for the respective $9 and $12 price tags. They also have a little patio overlooking Grand that looks cute, and seem to sell gelato.
  • Café Gratitude opened an outpost in, of all places, the Oakland Whole Foods. There’s a counter for dining in, and you can buy (and often sample) their raw vegan goodness to go, as well. It’s pricey, but, well, it is Café Gratitude.
  • Burma Superstar is now open on Telegraph in Temescal.
  • Café Noir is finally open next to Mua on Webster Street along Broadway Auto Row—woohoo! I haven’t been yet but it’s high on my list to try. This place has been under construction for almost as long as I’ve lived in the Bay Area (and way longer than we’ve lived in our house). They’re serving Ritual Coffee, crepes, and wood-fired pizza….could only be better if they add Blue Bottle to the mix! Currently open 7 to 3, but they apparently plan to open for dinner once a wine and beer license is in place. (Looks like the sign is already up.)
  • Bar Andalucia, which is a project of La Taza de Café, is now open on Upper Grand for dinner and weekend brunch. Same location as the original restaurant (which is still open), but a new chef and a much-appreciated “affordable” theme—tapas range from $3 to $8, and on Fridays there’s a five-course prix fixe dinner for $40. They also have an awesome discount program for OUSD employees, and on Sunday nights OUSD students can eat for free (one student per table, and the rest of the fam must eat too!) if they bring a report card or school ID. High on our list to try.

Coming soon(ish):

  • Dubai Food Market is about to open on Telegraph on Pill Hill, right across from Summit. I’ve been watching the renovations because it’s right across the street from the 1R bus stop, and they’ve rehabbed the building with a gorgeous tile exterior. The inside is set up with tables and will, I think, be a combination market and restaurant. Looks quite nice, so hopefully the food will be up there as well—a much needed addition to this forlorn stretch of Telegraph.
  • Farley’s, a San Francisco-based independent coffee shop, is opening an Oakland location on Grand in Uptown in the heart of Art Murmur country. I’ve never been to their San Francisco location, but hear good things from my city friends.
  • A new Pizzaiolo venture is going in on Grand where DiBartolo’s (which closed a few weeks back, sadly) used to be. (Coffee shop is still open; just the restaurant closed.) [UPDATE: Apparently this new spot is in addition to, not instead of, the Uptown location!] (I’m also way impressed with their Craigslist ad for cooks—sounds like a fab place to work!) I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the new spot will also do the coffee-and-pastries morning gig that Pizzaiolo has going on in Temescal, because I’m mildly addicted to the buttermilk doughnuts rolled in sugar. By “mildly,” I mean “have given up Bakesale Betty’s sticky buns for.” (Okay, actually maybe I should be hoping that they won’t have these….)
  • The Splashpad newsletter also reports that Lanesplitter is getting ready to open up shop on Lake Park (the little street by the farmer’s market that connects Lakeshore and Grand), though just for delivery and takeout. Apparently Grand Lake is the new pizza district, with longtime champ Arizmendi already well established… (There is also now a Lanesplitter sign up on San Pablo in Emeryville near the West Oakland line, which is equally exciting for that area!)
  • The Grand Tavern is opening up on Upper Grand where Señor Nero’s used to be. No info on that except that they’re apparently looking for a good bartender….hope they find one!
  • Bakesale Betty‘s second location at Grand and Broadway in Uptown has also been coming soon forever (okay, not as long as Café Noir!), but word on the street is that they finally have all their permits and are gearing up for a September opening. Hooray!
  • Mimosa Champagne Lounge is taking shape in the old Saturn dealer (now the Packard Lofts) on the corner of 24th and Broadway. Not sure what the ETA is, but it looks close to complete.

That’s all for now, though I imagine the summer may bring some progress on places like the Lake Chalet and Commis, too.

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