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UCOP Picks: The best places to have lunch

From Chinatown to Uptown, the sheer number of dining places around UCOP’s offices is overwhelming. But rest assured, Link’s on the case!

We’ve compiled a list of staff recommendations below, but we know that new restaurants open all the time in Oakland. So let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment at the end of this post about your favorite lunch spot.


Anula’s Cafe: One of the best deals downtown, with daily lunch plate specials (veggie or meat) for just $7. Try Wednesday’s roti, either chicken or vegetables in a delicious sauce, wrapped with a slightly spicy roti, accompanied by a fresh salad, as well as a fresh veggie or fruit! Limited seating inside a small hot storefront, so take your food to go and find a picnic spot. (1319 Franklin)

Aroma Bakery & Cafe: Have you had breakfast? If not, how about an everything bagel with veggies, cream cheese and bacon? For lunch, try a gyro, falafel, deli sandwich or salad. Excellent cookies, too. (1900 Franklin)

B-Dama: Bring your appetite! Huge and tasty servings of Japanese food, including sushi, salmon teriyaki and chicken kara-age as well as big bowls of several types of udon soup. Lunch specials and entrees run $8 to $10. (Swan’s Market – 907 Washington)

Biryani Kabab: Tandoori, tikka, samosas and more. (377 13th St.)

Bissau Baobab: Traditional Senegalese food. (381 15th St.)

Café Gabriela: Best pulled pork sandwich and caprese salad, good people, great manifesto. (988 Broadway)

Cam Huong Deli: Great for cheap take-out lunch combos or bahn mi. Bring cash. (920 Webster)

Cathedral Café: The three-salad option is tasty, fast and reasonably healthy. A bonus: The grassy area adjacent to the café and cathedral is an oasis for decompression, too. (2121 Harrison)

Cosecha: Fresh Mexican with a good choice of veggie and meat options for tacos, quesadillas and tortas. (No burritos.) Daily “blue plate specials” include sides like rice and beans with an entree such as chicken mole. (Swan’s Market – 907 Washington)

Deli Fresh: Sandwiches as good as Ike’s and quite a bit cheaper! Salad bar with lots of choices. (404 22nd St.)

Fountain Café: Outstanding salad bar. (City Center)

Gourmet Delight Seafood: A dim sum feast for less than $10 per person. (701 Webster)

Hawker Fare: Thai with a twist. (2300 Webster)

Marhaba: A fairly lavish lunch buffet. Plan to be there by 11:30 a.m. — they can be full by 12:00. (1437 Franklin)

Napoleon Bakery: Egg tarts, BBQ pork buns, pineapple buns and more. Bring cash. (810 Franklin)

Nature Vegetarian: $7.50 lunch specials of healthy, no MSG vegetarian Chinese food served with soup, rice and spring roll. Good customer service and lovely owners.  (1116 Franklin)

New Gold Medal: The best won ton soup — little nuggets of meat and shrimp in a flavorful broth. (389 8th St.)

Phnom Penh House: Amazing, low-priced Cambodian food and extremely nice owners. Try the chicken or shrimp soup. (251 8th St.)

Ratto’s International Market and Deli: Too-big sandwiches and shopping for fancy foodstuffs while you wait. Go on a Friday, when Old Oakland Farmer’s Market is in full swing. (821 Washington)

Rosamunde Sausage Grill: A daunting selection of delicious sausages (including a vegan one), fresh sauerkraut with caraway seeds, German style potato salad with bacon, fries and a surprisingly good green salad. Lunch combo special. Come back at happy hour to sample the craft beers. (Swan’s Market – 907 Washington)

Shan Dong: Known for noodles and dumplings. (328 10th St.)

Saigon Restaurant: Huge menu and great outdoor seating. (326 Frank Ogawa Plaza)

Taylor’s Sausage: From spicy boudin to hot beef links to andouille and “the perfect Italian sausage.” (Swan’s Market – 907 Washington)

Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana: Authentic Mexican for a special lunch or after-work cocktail. (468 8th St.)

Tao Yuen: Cheap and delicious. (816 Franklin)

The Cook and Her Farmer: Their kale salad is fabulous if you want a healthy option; the grilled cheese is amazing if you’re up for indulgence. They also have great oysters and rosé for a Friday afternoon treat. (Swan’s Market – 907 Washington)

Tribune Tavern: Comfort food served in the former Oakland Tribune newsroom. (401 13th St.)

TrueBurger: House-ground meat and a really good vegetarian burger (a fried portabello stuffed with smoked mozzarella), great fries and interesting shakes. (146 Grand)

Uptown Café & Crepes: Lots of veggies as salads or crepes. (410 21st St.)

Uptown Juice Company: Incredible fresh daily cold-pressed juices and smoothies. (1629 Broadway)

Wonder Food Bakery: A variety of fresh baked goods; try the pineapple buns or pork buns. Bring cash. (340 9th St.)


TIP: Restaurants in Oakland change all the time, so you may want to bookmark this helpful site:

Getting there

Take advantage of the free Broadway shuttle, which runs from Jack London Square to Grand Avenue. Just look for a sign with the green “B on Broadway” logo. Buses run every 10 minutes during lunchtime, every 15 minutes at other times. See for details.


Link thanks the following colleagues for their contributions to this list: Shawn Brick, Mark Cianca, Nina Costales, Kimyatta Dorsey, Katherine Edwards, Emily, Leland Espinosa, Blaze Farrar, Tracy FitzGerald, Katiria Jimenez, Robert Koster, Jeff Li, Hank Moreira, Alec Rosenberg, Jaswinder Saini, Paul Schwartz, Katherine Tam, Liz Tamayo, Anne Wolf and Han Mi Yoon-Wu.

Image on Link’s home page: Spring rolls at Phnom Penh House

Comment ( 1 )

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  1. Elizabeth Ellis June 14, 2016 Reply

    Kamdesh – 332 14th Street.
    Afghan food.
    I’ve tried a lot of their menu, and every single thing has been delish!

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