.Readers Say the Darndest Things: Restaurants and Bars

Best Ambiance at a Restaurant
Miss Ollie’s
The environment feels yummy, you never want to leave. Plus the fried chicken is hella good!!! — fishsong

Best Bar
The Albatross Pub
Darts. Nuff said. — MasG

Best Barbecue
B-Side BBQ
I know they closed, but still the best. Sweet Potatoes!!! — E Grev

Perdition Smokehouse
I wish they didn’t run out of chicken so often! — Joe Floren

Smokey J’s BBQ
Best BBQ ever! The pork ribs fall right off the bone, and they’re not all sauced up, they have a spice rub and a glaze so they’re amazing, but not sloppy. Plus … the owner is hot!!! — Rachael Reese

Best Bartender
Shari Murphy
Between Heart and Dagger and Merchants in Oakland she is a true pro, and doesn’t take any shit. — cstrong

The Cute Guy at Acme with the Dog Called “Diesel”
Get at me — Lindsey Park

Best Beer Bar
Beer Revolution
Glug. Glug. Glug. — femily

Best Brewery
Linden Street Brewery
These dudes are really cool, generous people in addition to making nice beer. And, I don’t know them outside of being a customer. — Olivia Nava

Best California Cuisine
Chez Panisse
Both upstairs and downstairs. They began it all, and still do it better than anyone else. —Bill Mayer

Best Chef
Andrew Hager
Up and coming chef — watch out! — catlover814

Ghazwan Alsharif
He’s so good, there is a movie being made about him. Stay tuned. — The Wacky Italian

Best Chinese Restaurant
How does that one little tiny woman in the kitchen produce so much excellent, authentic, food?? — sarahsmiles

Best Cocktails
Bar Three Fifty-Five
That homemade tonic is stupid good — Ann Ayers

Bar César
Forget the guy dripping pretense from his waxed moustache and get a Sunday afternoon cocktail here. Balance it out with a hike in the hills first, then lose yourself in the cocktail menu. — GO

The Bee’s Knees — Mary Hickox

Oakland Juice & Co.
They have cocktails made with organic cold press juice! Soo bomb! —  Nathalie Huerta

Best Coffee
Highwire Coffee Roasters
Stellar coffee by a gang that cares — david sharp

Still — james g dashe

Best Food at a Bar
Room 389
Empanadas at 389 cannot be beat, with chimichuri sauce. Yum. But they stop serving them or maybe run out in mid-afternoon. — Diane Winters

Best Ice Cream
Took the crown from Tara’s! — Peter Rubin

Flavor Brigade
Near Fruitvale and MacArthur. They serve fresh local organic Straus ice cream that has no gunk in it. Flavor Brigade also has Italian water ice, custard, and other yummies. The owners are from Philly, so there’s no pretension here — just a neighborhood ice cream store where you can go for your occasional (or frequent) treat. Much better for your health than buying a pint at the grocery store and having it a little too much available in your freezer! — Helene Maxwell

Scream Sorbet
Still miss you guys. — cygna

Smitten Ice Cream
Mint chip … mmmm … . — Kristina G

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream
Her ice cream is so good it will make you melt into a puddle of happiness. — David Schoenthal

Best Indian/Pakistani Restaurant
No contest — TxAt

Café Raj
The ladies can cook! — Judy Kerr

Best Italian Restaurant
Botto Bistro
Great Italian food in the Richmond Marina. Plus, these Italians will give you a discount if you write a one star review on Yelp. — David Schoenthal

Best Japanese/Sushi Restaurant
Omigosh. Where do I begin. You’ve got to go there and put yourself in the hands of your server. You will not be disappointed. Plus, an aesthetic experience that you will remember. — Molly Sullivan

YaYa Sushi
Maybe not the “best,” but you can’t beat their lunch discounts! — Jeremy Yong

Best Korean Restaurant
Gogi Time
All you can eat meat. Major food coma! — supercae

Best Locally Sourced/Organic Menu
Cafe Gratitude
Quintessential Berkeley. Hippie and delicious food. — Zykari

Best Mexican Restaurant
Juan’s Place
Family owned, no-frills, classic Mexican fare. The ambiance is similar to being welcome into a friend’s home and having their abuela fix you something because she thinks you look thin. Large portions, homemade chips (both corn and flour), kid-friendly, low-key restaurant. — Miranda Felix

Saigon Deli Sandwich
An iconoclast, Saigon Deli serves the best Mexican food and some of the best Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches ($3.25) in the entire Bay Area. This place deserves recognition — Sam Singer

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant
No-brainer — Kristi Holohan

Best Pizza
Gioia Pizzeria
Best pizza in the bay. No, wait! Best pizza you may ever have this lifetime! — Daniel Burgess

Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
Always and forever. — Mollie D.S.

Best Restaurant for a Date
Blessed Garden
Quiet place for those couples — lalalalu

Best Seafood
Tokyo Fish Market
If we’re talking raw … If we’re talking cooked? Couldn’t tell ya. — The Wacky Italian

Best Service at a Restaurant
Kiraku Sushi
They are sooo much fun. And the food is great — adi gevins

Best Southern/Soul Food
Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen
Their fried catfish is to die for. — Timothy Craven

Best Special Occasion Restaurant
Bay Wolf
Hurry while you can. They’re closing forever on 8/30. — Janet Winter

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant
Souley Vegan
My initial reaction to the idea of vegan soul food was one of complete disbelief. This place made me a believer. — Tigress Osborn


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