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2008 Restaurant Round-Up

January 5, 2009
the completely unassuming facade of the Townhouse Bar & Grill, via Yelp

As other sites pull out all the stops for their year-end reviews, all I can keep thinking about is the plethora of great meals I’ve been able to enjoy as a result of working for (and with) foodies with impeccable taste. Thanks to them, I’ve discovered some amazing places here in Emeryville, Oakland, and Berkeley… all of which I hope to return to in 2009!

On the quaint and picturesque 4th Street in Berkeley we had our very first staff lunch at Cafe Rouge, where they make and sell their own meats, soon followed by several meals under the sunny yellow umbrellas of the neighboring Eccolo (I highly recommend the chicken “under a brick”). Also in the neighborhood is the always packed/yet still cheap Indian restaurant, Vik’s, where I could munch all day on their somosas, dosas, and tamarind chutney.

Emeryville, I now know, is home to several great restaurants that you would never know were there! Case in point is the run-down looking Townhouse Bar & Grill which reveals itself to be a top notch historic locale. This place as well as the anything-but-traditional Italian joint Bucci’s feature shades of the surrounding area’s Soul food influence, with wildly different yet equally interesting decor.

On the topic of interesting decor, within walking distance from my office is the quirky little Cafe Aquarius which always brings a smile to my face with its abundance of fake ivy, black and white stills from old sci-fi movies, and uber-friendly staff. My drink of choice is a small latte, dubbed ‘the Charlotte’ after the owner’s adorable baby girl. Right next door is Cocina Poblana which features a happy hour with great margaritas and sangria, plus free appetizers, that starts at 2pm on the weekends!

If you stay in Emeryville and venture out to the water’s edge, you can catch some amazing views along with some exotic flavors. Trader Vic’s serves up Americanized Polynesian food with a healthy side helping of kitsch- definitely one of those places to get a big fruity cocktail with a little pink umbrella, especially since it claims to be the creator of the Mai Tai. Further out on the Marina I highly recommend the authentic Dim Sum of the Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant. I even got to try fried chicken feet there, for those among you who might be interested in a palatable adventure!

Now, as I look at my list I realize that you’d be reading for daaaays if I included everything in one go, so I think I’ll take a break here and continue with the rest later. The rest of the restaurants are mostly located in Oakland and Berkeley, so I’ll leave this as a highlight of mostly Emeryville destinations. If anyone has other great restaurants in the area to recommend, do tell!!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2009 3:52 am

    Wow, lots of places i’ve never heard of. Well done. I have only one small footnote to add to your review of Cafe Rouge: the steak frites there is amazing! As you mentioned, they operate their own meat market, but you failed to note their bomb ass dry aged ribeyes! They’re pricey; in fact, it’s almost the same price to buy them raw or cooked with frites, so I recommend just eating there. Keep it going Maris!

  2. January 7, 2009 6:14 pm

    Tim, I bow down in the presence of your extensive knowledge and experience. If anyone should be posting about things de cuisine, it should be you!! I hope to see you contribute more often 🙂

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