Request: greater downtown OAK, last minute, new ....

I eat in Oakland occasionally, but have a mission planned to the east bay with some eater friends. We’ll eat on the early side then drive to Berkeley for a play.

I’ve been to most of the places that have been open more than a year… hopscotch, pican, mua, haven, plum bar, etc. I’m thinking of recommending Encuentro with these particular friends because a lighter meal of freshness is great after a redwood hike and urban wineries… Encuentro has great wine… we are wine ++ biased.

Any suggestions of places I’m not considering ? Or your general list of Oak places that have opened recently ?

Have you tried The Barrel Room in Rockridge? Not sure if that meets your greater downtown requirement but it is close to BART, has great wine, good food, and you can nibble or eat heartily.

Well, if you’re wine biased you should also consider Michel Bistro on Lakeshore, not downtown, but an easy hop on 580 to Berkeley.
The newest places, none of which I’ve been to include Drake’s Station and Calavera on Broadway and 23rd, Salsipuedes in North Oakland, and the Advocate, in Berkeley.

Barrel Room is noted, but out of the target region for this trip. If it was easier to park in RR that would be different. Lakeshore is potentially more possible but also hard to park.

Reports or opinions on Drake’s Station, Calavera, Salsipuedes, Advocate ?

I didn’t really like Calavera (I wrote a review below) but I have also heard that they have stellar dishes that I didn’t try, like the ahi ceviche. The cheese dish is a crowd pleaser. Didn’t look at the wine list but everyone around us was enjoying cocktails.

I love Barrel Room but I would not call their food light, although it is definitely wine-centric. And they do have the widest variety of flights of anyplace. But yes, on a Sat parking can be difficult so that might knock out Advocate as well.

What about Lungomare? Not an extensive list on the web but some interesting wines:

For Barrel Room I didn’t mean to imply their food is light. Just that you can order an appetizer or two if that is all you want.

hawker fare(2300 webster st), camber uptown (1707 telegraph)-go laotian, not thai. belly(1901 san pablo ave, next to hopscotch, upscale burritos/burger, asian fusion).nearby

drakes’s dealership(2325 broadway) fab fish & chip, pizza looked squarish, interesting. Calavera next door, open for lunch now, didn’t try

giants ice cream(1951 telegraph) fab artisan ice cream

torpedo sushi(25 grand ave) not a fan of veggie rolls
taiwan bento(412 22nd st) some seating, taiwan eats, bento box, noodles recommeded
suya-african carribean african cuisne (408 22nd st) combos best deal, little seating, mostly take out
-exotic african flavor
ike’s next door
unami burger next block. luka’s across street, kingston on telegrah for jamaiican, xolo (telegraph) next to haven, mexican

y… posts times for Salsipuedes and Advocates evenings only, heard Sal opens lunch, no confirmation.
Drake’s Dealership and Calavera definitely opens for lunch. only tried Drake’s. fab fish & chip.

We did end up at Encuentro and enjoyed ourselves — except for one thing. The deserts there are heavy and kind of spoiled the mood. Wish we hadn’t ordered them. Everything else was, as usual, very pleasant. Lots of great fresh herbs, tastes.

Thanks for the recs - they are filed for future trips. I realized if I’m taking some friends out, I should be going places that I know they’ll like. I’ll have to try some of these myself before recommending for a particular occasion.

I am a fan of Drake’s, but if your group is larger than 4, it has been really hard to get a table. Long waits. And the lack of an interesting wine list may not make it the best bet for you. But I recommend the pizzas and beers.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo