Best To-Go Options

Today’s carry out is way better than pizza and chow mein.


Photo by Pat Mazzera

Growing up, there were two take-out options: Chinese and pizza. If you wanted something more ambitious, you either ate it at the restaurant or cooked it your damn self. Times, thankfully, have changed.

From long paper-thin southern Indian dosas to fresh-made pasta to an Instagram-worthy bowls of ramen, it’s increasingly easier to enjoy the full spectrum of Oakland’s delicious restaurant scene at your dinner table (or in front of the TV in your jammies — we don’t judge).

Last year The Ramen Shop, the perennially packed Cal-Japanese eatery by Chez Panisse alums, introduced an ingenious hack for enjoying noodle soup at home. Their “ramen kits” carry three separate components — noodles, broth, and toppings — inside a container adorably illustrated with simple instructions: Just boil the homemade noodles for two minutes, heat up that incredible broth, and mix in seasonal goodies that always includes a perfectly soft-boiled egg just waiting to be sliced in half.

The new Uptown Oakland outpost of southern Indian eatery Dosa by DOSA was hotly anticipated in no small part because of its namesake specialty. Back in the day, those delicious, delicate cylindrical Indian pancakes would have stood no chance of surviving a trip outside the restaurant. Lucky for us, the owners came up with a custom-created (patent-pending) reinforced rectangular to-go boxes cleverly designed to get that dosa to your door in one piece.

A couple of popular North Oakland eateries allow you to avoid being that pick-up loiterer awkwardly hovering amid a sea of seated diners. Mac ’n’ cheese kingpin Homeroom began the trend when it opened a take-out specific second location. Now, Burma Superstar is following suit with plans to launch a similar concept in a space a few doors down from its bursting-at-the-seams spot.

For many, however, the take-out Holy Grail is fresh pasta, which more often than not is a mushy mess by the time you get it home. New pasta powerhouse Belotti Ristorante has the answer. Not only can you order anything off the regular restaurant menu to take home from its new “bottega” outpost on Piedmont Avenue, you can also get fresh-made, uncooked pastas, including Belotti’s unrivaled stuffed casoncelli and agnolotti, to prep at home. Add your own sauce, or top it with one of the homemade versions, including duck or wild boar sugo, also for sale at the store. It sure beats greasy pepperoni pizza and mushy chow mein.

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