Z Café offers relief from car shopping on Oakland¹s auto row. The restaurant actually shares space with a car showroom in a high-ceilinged, tile-floored historic building. The atmosphere is urban hip, and local abstract art adorns the walls, but the vibe isn¹t pretentious: Sports plays on a TV above the bar.
On our visit, we appreciated a carefully crafted tomato soup, which had a velvety texture, pleasing tanginess, and just the right hint of cayenne heat. The grilled cheese sandwich at the soup's side was made with sourdough bread and sharp cheddar cheese, and arrived at our table with a buttery, crisp exterior and melted cheese within. Our only quibbles were with a tired green salad and a bland bread pudding.