Recently Visited Restaurants

From Vietnamese to Italian eateries, see where we've been lately.


New Alameda Listing

Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails

Italian, 2213 South Shore Center, 510-521-1152

Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails—the spacious Italian eatery in South Shore semi-cordoned off from the outside world—has the right stuff to break out of Alameda’s charming geo-cultural citadel. The charisma begins with design and continues through the cuisine of personable chef Giuseppe Naccarelli, who hails from Italy’s Abruzzo region and spent 19 years with Il Fornaio. The menu offers seven sections: antipasti, stuzzichini (small-plate starters), insalate, pizze, pasta e risotto, pesce (fish), carne e pollame (meat and poultry), and contorni (sides), with nearly 40 dishes in all. Two people could mix and match their way through a score of meals—house-made pastas, roasted rabbit, braised oxtail ravioli, gnocchi, roasted saltcod atop polenta, seafood stew, and pizza, by way of example—and never repeat themselves. Trabocco makes a compelling high-end reasons to venture to the southern terminus of Park Street. Serves dinner daily. CC, Full Bar, Reservations, WC, $$$


Updated Alameda Listing

Pasta Pelican

Italian, 2455 Mariner Square Drive, 510-864-7427

Pasta Pelican is a reliably charming Italian-American eatery tucked along the estuary, where water views and a stone hearth with a flickering fire vie couples looking for a romantic dinner. Head here when desiring a quick vacation-like getaway that stars solid performing pasta, pizza, steak, and sandwiches. The measured service means there are just the right pauses between courses, from the customizable dipping sauce of garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar that arrives gratis to whatever follows. No-nonsense bruschetta, salads, pasta puttanesca, and fettuccine primavera con pollo are generous enough for couples to share. What a bargain. Lunch and dinner daily. CC, Full Bar, Reservations, WC, $$–$$$


New Oakland Listing

Ma Me House

Vietnamese, 416 15th St., 510-272-4700

Ma Me House is a stylish, well-appointed Vietnamese restaurant that shares the tastes of cuisine from the Binh Thuan region, on the country’s south-central coast near Saigon. It is equally adept as a busy go-to lunch spot as it is a friendly, quieter dinner option. Check the board for daily specials, where garlic salt-and-pepper shrimp or a fuji apple salad might be listed—both are delicious. Pho and vermicelli as well as rice plates and specialty dishes like tilapia in curry sauce or Vietnamese crepes add a healthy depth to the menu. Ma Me advertises its free delivery service, and with offices nearby, we just might have to try that on a late night. Serves lunch and dinner Mon.–Fri. CC, WC, $–$$


Updated Oakland Listing


Vegan, Vegetarian, 202 Second St., 510-832-9463

Omnivores may be tempted to turn vegan or vegetarian after a meal at Encuentro, dining nirvana for sure for the meat-free set. It’s no wonder, after tasting what’s done here with walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and cashews to transform them into creams, patés, and “cheeses” that go in dates, salads, vegetables, and other delectable creations. Mushrooms, cabbage, potatoes, celery root, parsnips, lentils, and beans have staying power on the menu, which changes seasonally. Encuentro presents a great opportunity for sharing, say, goat-cheese-stuffed dates and deviled eggs as starters; roasted beets and hazelnuts or mixed chicories and lettuce gems for salads; and perhaps marinated mushrooms and chickpea soca after that. If there’s a savory tart on the menu, order it, though it sells out fast. Encuentro also satisfies on the décor front, with its minimalist space seeming inexplicably sunny and bright in warm weather yet cozy and intimate when it’s cold or rainy. Serves dinner Tue.–Sat. CC, Beer and/or Wine, Reservations (4 or more) WC, $–$$


Updated Oakland Listing


Italian, 5008 Telegraph Ave., 510-652-4888

Homespun hip describes the food and ambience at Pizzaiolo, Charlie Hallowell’s original foray into his own restaurant business. The founder may be spending most of his time at Boot and Shoe Service and Penrose, but his vision remains adroitly executed in the ever-popular Temescal outpost. That means thin, crisped Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas, verdurous salads with vivid seasonal accents, and “100 percent down-home human-made” main dishes like braised short ribs with turnips and beets, or halibut with spring vegetable ragu. Splurge on that extra pizza—especially if it’s the tomato sauce, house-made sausage, hot pepper, and panna. You won’t need a box. Serves breakfast Mon.–Sat. and dinner Mon.–Sat. CC, Full Bar, Reservations, WC, $$–$$$


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