Alameda may have a small town feel, but it doesn’t lack in diversity when it comes to restaurants, whether you’re craving a kebab plate or hearty German comfort food. Most of the restaurants are located on Park Street, that stretches on for a few blocks. The are also a few spots located on Webster Street in West Alameda, an area that is worth venturing away from the main downtown area to explore. Here are some Alameda restaurants that are worth checking out.
Mama Papa Lithuania Restaurant and Tea House
Lithuanian (and Eastern European food in general) is not as common in the Bay Area, but this spot makes up for it with delicious comfort food from the homeland. On the menu are hearty dishes like chilled borscht, potato pancakes filled with ground meat and stuffed cabbage. The interior has its own rustic charm, with heavy wooden chairs and an exposed brick wall. Make sure to save room for the honey cake for dessert and Lithuanian-style coffee. The lunch menu offers menu items half off, which makes for an excellent mid-day meal option. Stop by their adjacent bakery, where you can pick up some cookies to bring home for later.
One of my favorite spots to go in Alameda. There’s a large dog-friendly patio, where you’re bound to see quite a few pups and their owners on a sunny day. Traditional German dishes abound on the dinner menu, whether you are craving grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut or wiener schnitzel that is served up with a hearty side of roasted potatoes. To balance it all out order the trio of German salads, which include shredded cabbage, dill cucumbers, pickled red beet, and marinated red carrot. If you want the sausages and wiener schnitzel in sandwich form, the lunch menu has a great selection of sandwiches and burgers. There is a full bar on site and the drink menu has something for every taste, whether you want a classic German beer, cider, wine or a cocktail.
Located on busy Park Street, this casual family-owned Mexican spot is great for a quick meal. The menu offers dishes that are incredibly fresh and flavorful, including options like giant steak burritos, an array of enchiladas, and complete meals like their carnitas plate. If you want something a bit lighter, they have tacos with meats ranging from ground beef to carne asada. Make sure to order a side of their guacamole to dip your complementary chips into, which is always freshly made. Closed on Sundays.
Q Halal’s Chicken
For solid, affordable Mediterranean food, this is the place to go in Alameda. There are plenty of kebab plates with your choice of meat (get the chicken), and falafel for those that prefer a delicious non-meat alternative. All the plates come with salad, rice, pita, and a few dipping sauces and are big enough to bring home leftovers. There are also gyro wraps that are filled with generous portions of fragrant lamb and beef slices. If you want to try something a bit different, the gyro Philly wrap comes with mayo, bell peppers, and Swiss cheese-a twist on the Philly classic sandwich. If it’s warm outside, grab a seat on their spacious patio.
Abigail’s Moroccan Cuisine
Located off the beaten path, this spot boasts a patio with a view of the San Francisco skyline and the Bay on a clear day. The interior is decorated with vibrant colors and offers a casual, but lively atmosphere. The stars of the menu are the kefta (spiced meatballs), Moroccan chicken with lemon and olives, and lamb with couscous. End the evening with a cup of mint tea and Moroccan pastries. On Saturday nights, there’s bellying dancing and a $25 pre-fixe menu, so make sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
Doggy-Style Hot Dogs
As the name implies, this spot does not hold back and has a list of impressive hot dog creations that hits the spot for a light meal. If you’re adventurous, try the Doggyzilla, which is a bratwurst with Asian slaw, wasabi mayo, seaweed, and teriyaki sauce or the Dirty South with chili, cheese, and diced onions. There are also regular hot dogs and sausages if you are craving something a bit more classic. A veggie option is available for those who don’t eat meat. Stop by for breakfast and try the waffle dog with maple syrup, which offers a great balance of sweet and savory flavors. The location itself is small, but has a few tables inside and out to inhale your meal at.
Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden
If you’re looking for a non-chain cafe with excellent coffee and tea, this place should be on your short list. For tea enthusiasts there’s an extensive tea wall with all the flavors you could ever dream of and then some. If you want something a bit different, the Mexican hot chocolate offers a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. There’s an outdoor patio that is ideal for those mild East Bay days and is a great spot to get some work done (no laptop on weekends until 2 pm though). This cafe also has a great selection of food, including baked eggs and their homemade scones.
For a bit of quiet away from the bustle of Park Street, this waterfront cafe is a great place to grab a bite with a view of the Marina. The cafe specializes in a menu using local and natural ingredients, offering sandwiches, crepes, and an assortment of sweet and savory baked goods, including gluten-free options. There are also breakfast choices like the three-egg scramble and cinnamon french toast for early risers. Local Bicycle Coffee from neighboring Oakland is also available.
Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge
Fitting for this city island, this tiki bar does not skimp on atmosphere or its impressive list of cocktails. Choose your poison from either the Golden Age (pre-1960s) if you’re feeling especially nostalgic, and get a drink like the dangerously deceiving 151 Swizzle. For a taste of modern times, try the Planet of the Apes, a creamy concoction that blends fresh banana, coconut, cream and rum. If you come with a group, the Virgin Sacrifice pulls out all the theatrical stops. If you want to go the classic route, the bar’s signature drink: the Forbidden Island, comes in a kitschy mug. The drinks are the main star, but they do have a small selection of bar bites like coconut shrimp and boneless chicken wings to soak up all that booze. There limited seating, so get there early.
East Ocean Seafood Restaurant
If you’re craving dim sum, there’s no need to leave the island and go to Oakland to get your fix. The pushcarts rolling by have all the basics including shrimp dumplings, egg tarts, and shu mai, and you can also order from a la carte menu like the salted fish and chicken fried rice. This restaurant is a great place to go with a group, where you can sample their extensive menu together. The dinning area is massive, so the wait on the weekend is not as painful as smaller dim sum spots, but it is still advised to get there on the early side.