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101 Best Bites

The 101 best things to eat and drink in the East Bay.


(page 3 of 4)

 Berkeley / Oakland: Foodie Delight                  

54. Onion Soup, Plum

The best bites from downtown Oakland to the Berkeley Hills

51 | Egg Amuse-Bouche
Commis  Chef James Syhabout’s signature dish starts with a precisely poached, warm farm-fresh yolk. The white is mimicked by a custardy onion cream. Add the sweet, haunting flavors of date puree, the comforting chew of steel-cut oats, and the perky freshness of minced chives and wow!: It’s a dish as close to perfection as any. The humility of this egg-worshiping amuse-bouche, served in a modest ceramic bowl, sets the stage for Commis’ prix fixe menu, one of the Bay Area’s greatest culinary adventures. Oakland, commisrestaurant.com.

52. Vegan Charcuterie, Gather // Cody Pickens52 | Vegan Charcuterie
Gather  Four seasonal vegetable cocktails (such as pulled mushrooms with charred peanuts, pistachio, seaweed, and cilantro blossoms) are served in little bales on a cutting board (see photo on cover and page 26). Berkeley, gatherrestaurant.com.

53 | Urban People’s Common Lager
Linden Street Brewery  A smooth lager—but strong enough for hardcore beer lovers. Oakland, lindenbeer.com.

54 | Onion Soup
Plum  Served atop tender onions, brioche croutons, sorrel, and date puree, this deeply satisfying dish brings the cutting-edge Plum’s inventive flavors to life. Oakland, plumoakland.com.

55 | Beignets
Angeline’s These pillowy pastries buried in powdered sugar are the most authentic this side of the Mississippi. Berkeley, angelineskitchen.com.

56 | Burger
900 Grayson  Double-smoked bacon, white cheddar, crispy shoestring onions, and zippy house-made BBQ sauce top this intensely delicious burger. Berkeley, 900grayson.com.

58. Moscow Mule, FIVE 57 | Tea Leaf Salad
Burma Superstar  With two dozen ingredients (shrimp powder to fried garlic) mixed table-side, this salad is eclectic, intriguing, and comforting all at once. Oakland, burmasuperstar.com.

58 | Moscow Mule
Five  A refreshing mix of vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and mint in a copper mug. Berkeley, five-berkeley.com.

59 | Banh Mi
Cam Huong  Marinated barbecued chicken, carrot, daikon, and white onion, plus fresh cilantro and jalapeños, equals heaven on a baguette. Oakland, (510) 444-8800.

60. Fried Chicken, Pican // Cody Pickens60 | Fried Chicken
Picán  Get the table-side truffled honey service to take this guilty pleasure to another delicious level (see photo on page 3). Oakland, pican

61 | Milk Shake
True burger  Hand-spun to order, these pristine, frothy shakes are awesome on their own—or add mix-ins like strawberries or toasted marshmallows. Oakland, trueburgeroakland.com.

62 | Meatballs
Marzano  This casual spot is known for thin crust, but we flipped for the savory, brothy meatballs, wood-fire roasted with chicories and tomato. Oakland, marzanorestaurant.com.

Chef Pick: 
63 | Pancakes
Bette’s Oceanview Diner  “Every day off I’m at Bette’s to get the pancakes before the crowd starts. Nothing makes me happier on a Sunday morning.” Berkeley, (510) 644-3230.
—Banks White, Five restaurant 

64. Pasta, Oliveto64 | Whole-Grain Pasta
Oliveto  The specially sourced whole-grain pasta has a satisfyingly stout texture and flavor that hold up well to the restaurant’s heavier ragus and Bologneses. Oakland, oliveto.com.

65 | BBQ Chips
T-rex  Beloved barbecue flavor with a lighter, fresher crisp. Go for the ones with the skins still on, and dip generously in the fiery chipotle ketchup. Berkeley, t-rex-bbq.com.

66 | House-Made Root Beer
Homeroom  This refreshing take on the kids’ classic is spiced with vanilla, sassafras, wintergreen, and burdock extracts. Try a float with ice cream. Oakland, homeroom510.com.

66. Root Beer, Homeroom // Allison Arevalo67 | Tamales
La Borinqueña  Made with stone-ground corn masa, these tamales are the real deal—and you can get ’em by the dozen. Oakland, tamale

68 | Pizza Topped With Egg
Zut  Set atop a light, wood-fired crust, the rich yolks of two over-easy eggs infuse the whole pie, blending perfectly with the mild tomato sauce and seasonal toppings. Berkeley, zutonfourth.com.

Reader Pick:
69 | Duck
Bay Wolf  “The duck dinner is my favorite because the chefs prepare the most succulent duck breast I’ve eaten, always perfectly cooked and enhanced by delicious accompaniments.” Oakland, baywolf.com.
—Maria Lee, Orinda

70 | Mixed Plate
Adesso  We’d eat anything here, and the Adesso misti offers a mouth-watering pick of house-made salumi and pâté, and other treats. Oakland, dopoadesso.com.

71 | Lamb 71. Lamb Sous VIde, Eve // Nick Vasilopoulos
Eve  Prepared sous vide—literally “under vacuum”—the meat is placed in an airtight bag then slow-cooked in a water bath until it’s as tenderas a quiet morning. Berkeley, eve-berkeley.com.

72 | Four Thirteen, Red Blend
Donkey and Goat Winery  We love this all-natural winery’s Rhône-style blend. It’s full-bodied and approachable—but with enough spice and acidity to make it fun to drink. Berkeley, adonkeyandgoat.com.

73 | Chiles Rellenos
Doña Tomas  These delicate poblano peppers—filled with seasonal sautéed veggies and ricotta, Jack, and mozzarella cheeses—are worth the $18 price tag. Oakland, donatomas.com.

74 | Wood Oven–Baked Egg
Camino  Served in a simple ceramic dish, this oven-baked egg with savory, herb-filled cream will quickly become your go-to brunch item. Oakland, caminorestaurant.com.

75 | Macaroni and Cheese
Paragon Restaurant  Pair the sweeping Bay views with this heaping portion of oh-so-gooey parmesan and cheddar mac with just a hint of roasted garlic. Berkeley, paragonrestaurant.com.

76 | Doubleskin
Great China  Flat mung bean noodles with egg, pork, calamari, onion, sea cucumber, and shrimp, tossed with soy sauce and hot mustard: It works. Berkeley, greatchinaberkeley.com.

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