Restaurant Review

Berkeley’s El Tiny Cafe has a diverse menu and...

“Everything requires time,” Vizcaino says, sounding like a patient proprietor who’s slowly growing her business. For the first four months of 2021 when El Tiny Cafe opened, Vizcaino ran the place by herself. Opening her first business has been “challenging,” she admits, but once she renews her lease she is going to continue to expand the menu, and hopefully, the kitchen.

Chef Omri Aflalo describes the reincarnation of the former...

While some chefs have gained local and national acclaim—Aflalo mentions Dominica Rice-Cisneros of Bombera, Scott Eastman of Juanita & Maud, and Nelson German of Sobre Mesa—he feels that Michelin stars, with notable exceptions like Commis, go to chefs in San Francisco, Napa and Palo Alto. “We thought Oakland needed to be revived,” he says. “We need to put Oakland on the map.”

Don Blanc: A carnivore’s dream come true

"While Don Blanc is never going to delight vegans or vegetarians, the array of banchan was mostly splendid and pickled to perfection. I loved a string of translucent white onions, pretty red discs of watermelon radish and cubes of daikon—nearly apple-flavored—that had all sweetened in their separate brines. "

Hallouminess: Lulu serves delicious and sometimes confounding California dishes...

Halloumi and preserves is a slightly confounding dish. It’s both sweet and savory, a grilled cheese sandwich topped with jam and arugula. Halloumi, like many similar cheeses, is a lot to take in huge doses. I wanted more acidity, a thick tomato slice, a carrot and cabbage slaw or sautéed zucchini to contend with all that hallouminess.

SJ Boney: The Patron Saint of Sandwiches

"Boney asked himself the essential, existential question: What do I want to do with the rest of my life? The answer pushed him to open The Saint. 'If it fails, at least I tried,' he says. 'I talked about it with all my friends, and it just seemed like the right time.'"

Catfish Croutons: Jo’s Modern Thai cures post-taco distress

"The atmosphere inside Jo’s Modern Thai is aglow and energetic, like the flickering filaments of a light bulb. Servers rush past the kitchen, calling out orders or busily delivering drinks and dishes to their customers. The robust cocktail and beverage menu is clearly conducive to chatter, laughter and conversation."

Carlo Espinas Takes The Lede

According to The Lede’s website, Espinas’ food “represents the geography, history and seasonality of California.” The latest version of a dish called “Three salads” marries Jimmy Nardello peppers, cucumbers and avocados on the plate. Each vegetable is seasoned simply, in its own particular way, but eaten together the flavors still complement each other.

Good Bites: Livermore’s Wingen Bakery is on the rise

"My BLT sandwich—by far the best BLT I’ve had this century—was delayed because a local farmer had just delivered the lettuce. And in the summer veggie bowl, I discovered a new favorite: lemon cucumbers cleaved apart like giant gemstones," writes Jeffrey Edalatpour in this week's 'What The Fork'.

Simple and Tasty: Alameda’s Tahina offers Mediterranean cuisine...

Jeffrey Edalatpour dines at Tahina and speaks with self-taught chef Rumtin Rahmani about his unique menu and bringing Greek yogurt to a deprived strip of Alameda.

A Tasty Hybrid: Piedmont’s Pizzeria Violetta serves up pies...

Jeffery Edalatpour visits Pizzeria Violetta and discovers what makes them so unique. "I tried a slice of the 'Sweet Little Pig' and one of the 'Cali Street Corn Pizza.' Ruppert, who currently cooks at the restaurant every day, puts candied bacon with brown sugar on the “pig” pizza. The sweetness nicely complements the pepperoni, basil and tomato sauce," he writes.

Artfully Authentic: Las Delicias’ Salvadoran-Mexican fusion expands the potential...

Las Delicias serves Mexican food for several reasons. “We know that, especially in California, people love tacos and burritos,” Nelson says. “But we’re serving a Salvadoran-Mexican fusion—the food that we know best—that we can combine with typical Mexican dishes we know people love.”

Wine and Dine: Downtown Wine Merchants make cuisine and...

Jeffrey Edalatpour visits Oakland's Downtown Wine Merchants and speaks with co-owner Susanné Breen about their cuisine and selection of domestic wines. “They have to be from California, Oregon, Washington; some are from New York,” she says.

For the People: Twins Halal House & Bakery is...

Jeffrey Edalatpour visits Oakland's Twins Halal House & Bakery and speaks with chefs Farida and Mohammad Nabizada on making savory traditional foods that are "a wakeup call for a sleepy palate.".

Family Affair: Mother and son join forces to bring...

Jeffrey Edalatpour visits Berkeley's Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar, where Suzanne Drexhage oversees the menu and is the administrator, while her son, Sam Sobolewski, runs the front of the house and is in charge of their beverage program. Now in a new location, their admirable and enviable family business continues to thrive and evolve.
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