Some locals are reluctant to cross the Bay for love, but every night, Oakland's thriving restaurant scene attracts hungry members of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd.
Many popular eateries are steps away from the city's two downtown Bay Area Rapid Transit stations, which means you and your party can be seated about a half hour after boarding BART in San Francisco.
Hangar steak. | Photo: Mockingbird/Facebook
Mockingbird (416 13th St.)
Mockingbird's seasonal menu includes gluten-free and vegetarian options inspired by the San Francisco cafes and bistros where co-owners Melissa Axelrod and William Johnson learned their trade.
Lunch, dinner, and happy hour menus feature a wide variety of entree salads, sandwiches and plates like savory butternut squash and kale bread pudding ($14), a cheeseburger and house-cut fries ($16), plus desserts and beverages, and a full bar.
Faz Oakland (1111 Broadway)
Steps from 12th Street BART, Faz' Mediterranean-inspired menu ranges from selections like mast o musir (yogurt dip with shallots, garlic and flatbread) for $7, pizzas starting at $16, and kebob plates ($15 and up).
A weekday happy hour from 4-7pm offers price breaks on wine and beer with bar foods like a mezze platter ($15), housemade flatbreads (starting at $15) and marinated olives ($6).
Flora Restaurant & Bar. | Photo: Facebook
Flora Restaurant & Bar (1900 Telegraph Ave.)
Located inside Uptown's Art Deco Oakland Floral Depot building, Flora Restaurant & Bar is great before a show at the Paramount or Fox, but it's also worth stopping in on its own merits.
The menu is separated into small bites like chicharrones with chili and lime ($7), first course plates like pork belly with heirloom tomatoes and grilled corn ($15) and second courses, including buttermilk fried chicken ($26) and baked halibut with fresh cranberry beans, black-eyed peas and haricots verts ($30).
Photo: Camber Restaurant/Facebook
Camber Restaurant (1707 Telegraph Ave.)
Serving dishes with Thai, Lao, Indian, Mien, Burmese and Vietnamese influences, Camber Restaurant is ideal for a small groups or couples seeking an affordable range of diverse offerings.
The menu offers Pan-Asian items like veggie and chicken samosas ($7), papaya salad ($11) and tea leaf salad ($14), along with stir-fry dishes like garlic basil shrimp ($17.50) and noodle favorites like pad thai and pad si ew ($13).
Happy hour is from 5 to 7 Monday-Thursday and 2 to 6 on Friday.
Photo: Le Cheval
Le Cheval (1007 Clay St.)
Only a 3-minute walk from 12th St. BART, Le Cheval has served French, Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine from its Old Oakland location since 1985.
With a focus on traditional Vietnamese dishes, Le Cheval serves familiar appetizers like shrimp rolls ($7), roasted quail ($14) and spicy chicken wings ($10), along with multi-course beef and seafood meals, stir-fried noodles starting at $11, and a rainbow of pho and tom selections. Reservations recommended.
Bay Area Rapid Tasting: 5 Transit-Friendly Oakland Restaurants