Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We Get Hyphy in the Bay...Eating in Oakland and Berkeley

So the Bay Area is and always will be home. What I miss most about the Bay is being able to go out with my foodie family all the time. But I figured I'd share with you all the best places (in my opinion) to grab a bite to eat or do your grocery shopping. This entry includes my Oakland and Berkeley favorites.

Rick and Ann's
2922 Domingo Ave
Berkeley, CA
This is a very homey place to grab brunch or dinner. The tables are communal, so you'll get to know your neighbors and see what they're getting to eat. The walls are always full of fun artwork from customers or local kids. Their pot pie is amazing, as are the burgers.

Zachary's Pizza
5801 College Ave.
Oakland CA
This is the location I grew up on, though there is another location on Solano and they just recently opened up one in San Ramon (so my mom can pick it up on the way home...yes...). Their deep dish Chicago-style pizza is my absolute favorite pizza anwhere. I miss it all the time and have often considered getting one half-baked and driving it down with me when I come back after vacations. My personal favorite is the stuffed chicken and basil, but the thin-crust cheese is also incredible and a standard dinner at my house.

Cactus Taqueria
5642 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Amazing Mexican food. Nuff said. Tres Leches Cake? To die for.

Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers
5819 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
This place has burgers that are to die for. Everything on the menu is incredible. There are a few other locations throughout the bay (and even one down in Brentwood).

Fenton's Creamery
4226 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA
This makes for a great dessert outing. Their sundaes are gigantic and delicious and more that sufficient for multiple people. It was featured in the movie "Up" to...made me miss home.

510 Embarcadero West
Oakland, CA
I've never actually been here, despite growing up in the Lamorinda music culture. It is a jazz club/restaurant and features all sorts of big names in the Jazz community. My drum teacher, band teachers, sister, mom, dad, and on and on have all been. Norah Jones performed there when she was unknown. The jazz music is brilliant and going for a performance is still on my "To Do" list.

Market Hall
5655 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
This market is lovely. There are many, many different stores within the market. They have fresh pasta, coffee, a bakery, and a gigantic produce section. One of my favorite purchases on a regular day: curry chicken salad. On special days (like around Valentine's Day): chocolate raspberry raviolis. You never know what you'll find there, but it is all delicious.

Cafe Gratitude
1730 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Raw Vegan. Amazing. Their milkshakes are TO DIE FOR. What's great about this place is because it's raw vegan, after you leave you feel incredible because you're getting all the nutrients (including the ones that would have been cooked off) out of your food. Their pad thai is definitely something to try.

Bette's Diner
1807 4th St.
Berkeley, CA
Great brunch in a cute little shopping area. There can be a little bit of a wait on the weekend.

Cheeseboard Pizza
1512 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Cheeseboard has a different kind of pizza every day, and that is the only pizza they carry that day. The line tends to be down the block but it's a fun outing to make with friends.

Bittersweet Cafe
5427 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Bittersweet is a fun place to stop for dessert or coffee. They carry all sorts of chocolate treats, chocolate bars, and drinks. It is a little hole in the wall so seating is very limited but get something to go and wander College Ave.

1809 4th St.
Berkeley, CA
I came across this place with my sister once, and it stopped us dead in our tracks. This is some fantastic gourmet ice cream. Sketch has flavors including Saffron and Earl Grey, with toppings like salted caramel and cocoa nibs. It's a little pricey (a small can set you back $5) but it is so worth it.

2106 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Naia has great gelato (inlcluding flavors like Rose and Lavender). I frequent the one in Walnut Creek more, but the Berkeley ones came first.

Cafe Fanny
1603 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
So I've actually never eaten here, but Cafe Fanny Granola is a standard in my house. Alice Waters is the brains behind this legendary Berkeley restaurant, which gives it a stamp of note.

5600 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
When my friends and I want crepes, this is the go-to place. It's so worth the drive from the other side of the tunnel. They have all sorts of savory and sweet crepes as well as a coffee menu, salads, and all sorts of baked goodies.

1601 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
Acme bread is TO DIE FOR. Like, literally. It is absolutely incredible. Acme is the the Bay Area as La Brea is to the Los Angeles area. My favorite way to eat this bread is as a burger bun (as one of my other Bay Area favorites, Chow Restaurant, serves it).

Berkeley Bowl
2020 Oregon St.
Berkeley, CA
Berkeley Bowl is unlike any other grocery store in the world. They carry EVERYTHING if it's healthy, organic, delicious, and comes in a an array of varieties. My sister was there with my mom once, and my mom told her to go get some eggplant for moussaka. A few minutes later, my mom got a call from my sister asking what kind of eggplant? There were at least eight different types. And that is just the beginning. Most of the apples come in a variety of sizes, too. Have you ever seen a 1 pound apple? I have. At Berkeley Bowl.

Gourmet Ghetto
The Gourmet Ghetto isn't so much a restaurants as it is a neighborhood full of delicious food. It covers the area north of Delaware Street, south of Live Oak Park, East of Henry Street, and West of Walnut. The majority of these restaurants are along Shattuck, but there are a few on the cross streets like Vine.

1346 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA
This place takes me back to my childhood. I think I actually had my 16th birthday dinner with my family there. They serve burgers and all sorts of comfort food. They make their buns fresh, and have milk shakes and malts to cause a heart the best way possible.

Khana Peena
5316 College Ave.
Oakland, CA
Located on a very sharp corner, Khana Peena has a great patio for warmer evenings. This is probably my favorite Indian restaurant in the Oakland/Berkeley area.

Cha-Ya Japanese
1686 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA
This is vegetarian Japanese. It's delicious. I've been there once and got a great rice dish with tarot root among other things.

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