Oakland is often written in the media as a gritty, high crime city to avoid. Oakland insiders know Oakland as the only city we want to live in. It is not that we are oblivious to our City's flaws, but we love the culture, feel completely at ease and understand our potential. Being the foodie that I am, I am super hyped about our current restaurant scene.
After a major renovation and 100 years after its birth, the Lake Merritt Boat House is now transformed into, the Lake Chalet. The Lake Merritt Boathouse is one of the defining buildings on the shores of Lake Merritt. It was designed in 1908 by John Galen Howard as a high-pressure salt water pumping station for the City of Oakland Fire Department. ( This $19 million project to restore the historic Lake Merritt Boathouse and renovate four acres of adjacent parkland was funded by the Oakland Trust for Clean Water and Safe Parks, Measure DD, a $198 million bond measure approved by Oakland voters in 2002. It is nice to see our tax dollars at work.) Luscious and beautiful, this restaurant seats over 400 people, boasts 3 bars including one on the outdoor dock.
This restaurant hums with large crowds and clinking martini glasses and Oaklanders are proving that we prefer to spend our dining dollars in our City. Todd, the bartender last Saturday made me a wonderful citrusy Vodka drink that he calls, Five Alive, (remember this drink from Coca Cola). Try the dungeness crab and citrus consomme, the crispy brandade fish sticks with malt reduction and arugula and crab and shrimp deviled eggs. Better than the food is the crisp atmosphere with the glistening water views.
Sidebar restaurant on Grand Avenue across from Lake Merritt is a neighborhood joint with fresh decor and sweet horseshoe shaped bar. The other week, after a long day at work, I took my kids to Sidebar for a late impromptu dinner. We had great service from Chad and Enrique and loved my Niman Ranch burger with house-made pickled red onions and a fried egg. Who knew that a fried egg is the perfect topping for a burger? The yolk opens and melts into the patty upon the first bite. The fresh berry and polenta cake dessert with marscapone cheese was perfection and both my children and I were satisfied with the total package that sidebar delivered.
Pizzaiolo is coming to Grand Avenue. They will take over DiBartolo restaurant.
À Côtéwill be opening a sister restaurant in the Gleview district of Oakland on Park Blvd. featuring small plates with Latin flavor.
All weekend Jack London Square will host the Eat Real Festival. Founded in 2008, Eat Real Festival is a social venture created to inspire eaters to choose tasty, healthy, good food. Tonight to kick this event off, the festival will be scooping ice cream from local folks. This event is free all weekend, will have music and cooking demos and more and food costs between $1 and $5 bucks. I am off to eat ice cream!
Enjoy the weekend! Deidre