Partly Cloudy

Temp: 64.0F
More info

 July-August 2012

July-August 2012

 

Best of Alameda 2012

Hip Hip Hooray! Your Favorites, Our Favorites

Chris Duffey

     Alameda is a great little island —  great restaurants, great people, great neighborhoods, great schools, great shops, great culture.
     Alameda Magazine brings that to readers’ attention issue after issue, but once a year we go full-tilt to showcase the everyday greatness of the East Bay’s Best City in an even greater light.
     We go all out in our annual Best Of Issue to highlight the very best of Alameda. Readers get their say. Editors get their say. We could go on and on, but we won’t. Instead, let the reading begin.

Food & Restaurants

Readers’ Choice

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Dragon Rouge

From its prime new waterfront spot to its delicious bouncing-beef tenderloin and garlic-infused Dungeness crab, Dragon Rouge is quickly becoming an Island food institution. Even though the doors opened only six years ago, the restaurant’s fans and loyal followers continue to pack the house. The right mix of tasty contemporary-yet-authentic Vietnamese food, mouth-watering “saketinis” and dedication to taste bud perfection have made it a favorite with readers. Outgrowing its former Encinal Avenue space to keep up with demand seemed only a matter of time. The larger waterfront space — seven times larger — is at the base of the Park Street Bridge, making it convenient for commuters to enjoy happy hour specials. Live music and an outdoor patio invite customers to linger on warm evenings. With its wall of windows and modern décor, there’s a comfortable vibe that extends throughout the space, including the larger full bar stocked with a variety of wine, Asian and European beers and exotic cocktails. Dragon Rouge, 2337 Blanding Ave., (510) 521-1800, www.dragonrougerestaurant.com   —Karen Granados

Readers’ Choice

Best Overall Restaurant

Pappo

Also winner of: Best California Cuisine, Best Date Night Restaurant, Most Romantic Dining Spot, Restaurant With the Best Service, Best Wine List, Best Chef

Coming up on seven years in the Island City, Pappo remains an Alameda favorite. The lovely, brick-walled restaurant offers up tasty and creative cuisine showcasing products from local vendors. Chef John Thiel varies his menu with the seasons, although as a nod to his time at Bay Wolf, duck is a menu staple — making appearances as an appetizer, entrée and brunch item. Serious foodies should sign up for the e-mail list, as Chef John occasionally sends out invitations to “Market Dinners” — special menus inspired by that day’s trip to local markets that showcase the freshest of seasonal produce, such as one spring menu with cauliflower fritto, cream of asparagus soup, slow-braised pork shoulder or rainbow chard as the main course, and orange-cinnamon bread pudding. Complete your Pappo experience with a selection from Thiel Family Wines. Prost!  Pappo, 2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100, www.papporestaurant.com   —Dawn Adams

Readers’ Choice

Best New Restaurant

Spice I Am Thai Bistro

Spice I Am has gotten nothing but praise since its October 2011 opening. Patrons exult in the restaurant’s papaya salad, mango chicken, crispy soft shell crab and Thai fried rice long after they’ve eaten there. With their taste buds dancing, they recapitulate memories of tasty rice plates brightened with fresh fruit, rich curries that don’t ooze with grease and the virtues of sweetness and spice executed with subtlety and excellence. Owned by the proprietor of three more casual, Berkeley-based Thai restaurants, Spice I Am is not run by amateurs in the restaurant business or in Thai cuisine. The East-meets-West theme is nicely delivered in the restaurant’s classy, chic décor and the menu’s variety. Fans of Spice I Am will often be heard trading details about their favorites, and so visits here present a challenging dilemma — go with a dish you’ve been craving or try something new that’s sure to please. Spice I Am Thai, 1353 Park Street, (510) 522-8679, www.spice-i-am.com —Renee Macalino Rutledge

Editors’ Choice

Best Vegetarian Lunch Treat

Fried Tofu at Toomie’s Thai Cuisine

Golden brown and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, the fried tofu (taohu tod) at Toomie’s makes a satisfying lunch, even for nonvegetarians. While technically an appetizer, the portion size is generous, ideal for a single diner to enjoy as an entrée. The crunchy crust pairs well with the slightly spicy plum sauce, garnished with ground peanuts and scallions, and there’s a side salad with carrots and red and green cabbage for that bit of extra fresh flavor. If deep-fried tofu seems like too much of a treat, you can always round out the meal with an order of white or brown rice, a bowl of tom yum (hot and sour) or tom kha (coconut milk) soup, or even a little more salad. Toomie’s Thai Cuisine, 1433 Park St., (510) 865-8008 www.toomies-thai.com  —DA

Editors’ Choice

Best Savory Scone

Blue Dot Cafe & Coffee Bar

Don’t even think about an Egg McMuffin. You want a one-handed breakfast? Eschew the Pop-Tarts and pop into Blue Dot for the delicious savory scones instead. Baked fresh daily, and in limited quantities (so the early bird gets the scone), these flaky delights are just the thing to go with your morning java. Light as a Southern biscuit, with savory layers of ham and Swiss cheese inside; the lagniappe is an extra sprinkle of melted Swiss atop, nicely browned and extra chewy. Some days Blue Dot has a spinach version as well. Of course, sweet scones have their place — warmed, buttered, jammed and enjoyed with tea. But go for the salty: One bite of these light and crumbly savories, and you’ll be  a fan. Blue Dot Cafe & Coffee Bar, 1910 Encinal Ave., (510) 523-BLUE (2583), www.bluedotcafeandcoffeebar.com  —Julia Park Tracey

Readers’ Choice

Best Twist on French Fries

Scolari’s Good Eats

Also winner of: Best Burger, Best “Non-Burger” Burger, Best Late-Night Munchies

Who needs a burger when you can have Buffalo Fries? As good as Scolari’s makes burgers, and much of everything else on the menu, the Buffalo Fries are probably what send the tiny eatery into Hall-of-Fame yumminess. These fries wait tantalizingly beneath a bed of hot wing sauce, shaved carrot, celery and crumbled blue cheese, producing an overpoweringly flavorful mound of goodness. With spice and tang to go around, these fries have been called everything from amazing to interesting to infamous and beckon hungry denizens back for more. They’re great bar food — so enjoy them with a beer next door at Lucky 13 — and they will definitely satisfy a late-night craving. Or, share the basket and grab yourself a cheeseburger and a sidewalk table under the sun and you’re good to go. Scolari’s twist on french fries represents the restaurant’s overall interpretation of food: inventive, unapologetic, made from scratch — and dripping with flavor. Scolari’s Good Eats, 1303 Park Street, (510) 521-2400   —RMR

Editors’ Choice

Best Lunch Value

La Penca Azul’s Street Tacos

Quick, where can you eat your fill for $2.60? You guessed it, La Penca Azul. For that mere pittance (which, yes, includes tax), you can gorge on chips and salsa and an authentic street taco — two small corn tortillas overflowing with hot-off-the grill meat (choice of al pastor, carnitas, shredded beef, carne asada, lengua or chicken) and a little cilantro and onions. The taco sits aside sizzling grilled onions, pickled carrots, radishes, jalapeno, lime and spicy salsa plus a wee bit (but just enough) of pinto beans (or black beans by request). It’s a meal in and of itself, but LPA knows how Alamedans like to eat and so offers three (mix and match as you choose) street or taco bar tacos for an astonishingly low price. LPA is a favorite lunch spot for us, and all of us often stick to some version of street tacos — one, two or three, or maybe even seafood tacos (caution: at $3.39 for shrimp or fish,  it’s for big spenders). It’s a treat every time. La Penca Azul, 1440 Park St.,  (510) 769-9110, (also Bay Farm), www.lapencaazulalameda.com  —Judith M. Gallman

Readers’ Choice

Best Thin Crust Pizza

East End Pizza Co.

If you’re a thick-crust person, there is surely a place for you at the table. But if you’re a thin-crust person, make way. The thin crust at East End Pizza is crispy, crackly, like a good flatbread should be. The piemasters stretch the fresh dough with deft hands, then slide it into the wood oven. You can watch your pie rise and brown, bubbly as the surface of the moon. If it’s not quite dark enough, the piemasters hold the peel towards the embers for a little more caramelization, a tinge more color. The crust comes out perfectly: sturdy enough for your choice of toppings, but bendable if you party like a New Yorker. Fold it in two or balance it on the fingertips: East End crust is da bomb. And this crust stands up to the biggest test: the morning after. Cold thin-crust pizza for breakfast? In a New York minute. East End Pizza Co., 1650 Park St., (510) 263-9630,
www.eastendpizzaco.com 
—JPT

Readers’ Choice

Best Thick Crust Pizza*

Bowzer’s Pizza

Bowzer’s Pizza is not new to Alameda’s Best Of honors; its patrons have long since shined a light on the restaurant’s many charms, including the made-from-scratch pizza sauce, produce bought fresh and local, and, of course, an adorable mascot — the family’s own precious pug. But the true test of a pizza joint’s greatness is, of course, the pizza, and more specifically, a great crust. Bowzer’s rendition is light as air, a characteristic made possible with old-school hand-tossing. The standout crust is made from cornmeal and the crumbs on your shirt will attest to that. If you’re accustomed to eating pizza by the slice, however, you may be missing out on Bowzer’s thick-crust pizzas that put deep-dish pizza on the Alameda map. Dig in with a fork and knife and taste a bevy of fresh ingredients melting together with the help of some fine cheese and time well spent in a seasoned brick oven. Bowzer’s Pizza, 1330 Park Street, (510) 523-7500, www.bowzerspizza.com (*Deep dish, in this case, is more appropriate.) —RMR

Any Way You Spell It: W-I-N-N-E-R

We’re huge fans of Speisekammer — even if this editor does check the spelling each time. It’s German, after all, which is not this editor’s first language. Alamedans who voted in our Best Of poll have a hard time with the name of this decade-old restaurant that puts “a German Take on Alameda.” Here’s a few examples of how the spelling was garbled in this year’s poll: Spackenhamer • Speickenheimer • Spezenkiemer • Spizenkiwe • Speishkamer • Spikemiser • Spiezenchamer • Spiessorkammr • Spiesserkammer -JMG

Editors’ Choice

Best Exotic Comfort Food

Burma Superstar’s Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Sure, the salads at Burma Superstar have won accolades and were featured on national television, but the coconut chicken noodle soup, known traditionally as oh noh kauswer at Burma Superstar takes the medal for favorite exotic comfort food. Soup is the first food that comes to mind when you want to feel better or offer comfort to others. The well-portioned bowl of palate-pleasing chicken noodle soup balances just the right blend of exotic and comforting ingredients. The natural sweetness of the coconut milk underscores a slight spice of turmeric, ginger and onions, while boiled egg and crunchy noodles lay atop the broth. The play of sweet and spice makes each spoonful simply soup-er. Burma Superstar, 1345 Park St., (510) 522-6200, www.burmasuperstar.com  — KG

Drink

Best Cup of Warmth

Mexican Hot Chocolate at Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden

The Mexican hot chocolate at Julie’s Coffee and Tea Garden is The. Best. Ever. The ingredients are simple: organic chocolate, whole milk, sugar, cinnamon and red pepper with an optional knob of whipping cream that can’t even be compared to the “whip” offered at other java joints. The hot chocolate is dark, bitter yet sweet, earthy and spicy, with backnotes of black pepper and nutmeg — more savory than sweet, and yet, the perfect antidote for a sweet craving. The house-whipped cream is barely sweet, melting like a polar ice cap atop the chocolatey depths of your beverage. A slight sprinkle of shaved bitter chocolate and cinnamon gild the lily. New addiction? Yes, please. Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden, 1223 Park St., (510) 865-2385, www.juliestea.com  —JPT

Readers’ Choice

Best Sports Bar

McGee’s Bar & Grill

If there’s one thing Alamedans know well, it’s their drinks and sports. It’s no surprise that McGee’s Bar & Grill scores high among readers as the Best Sports Bar in town.  Perhaps the 13 flat screen televisions and a large projection screen or the 15 beers on tap and full bar served by a friendly staff are what keep patrons happy. The family-friendly establishment offers a full menu for lunch and dinner, including tasty game day food such as burgers, fried chicken, chicken wings and homemade fries. Big pluses include easy parking and additional activities — like a shuffleboard game and jukebox — to keep the whole team happy. McGee’s Bar & Grill, 1645 Park St., (510) 522-3470, www.mcgeesbarandgrill.com  —KG

Readers’ Choice

Best Place to Drink Cheap

Lucky 13

Also winner of: Best Neighborhood Bar, Best Bottled Beer Selection, Best Draft Beer Selection, Best Local Beer

Neither über-chic lounge nor overt dive bar, Lucky 13 strikes just the right balance for a local, casual watering hole, where the drinks come cheap and there’s always a crowd hanging out by the front door. Draft beers start at $2 during happy hour and cocktails at $4.50. A patio, pool table, a few pinball machines and a black-and-white photo booth keep guests entertained while they imbibe. There’s live music regularly, and when the band’s not in, look to the jukebox to solve all your melodic woes. Lucky 13 does not serve bar food, but it is conveniently situated right next door to Scolari’s Good Eats, which will deliver to your bar stool if you’re too lazy to walk a few feet. Lucky 13 has been an Alameda establishment for years, and from the looks of the happy patrons socializing within, it’s easy to see that this corner bar has been a local favorite for just as long. Lucky 13, 1301 Park Street, (510) 523-2118, www.lucky13alameda.com  —RMR

Editors’ Choice

Best New Bar

Swell Bar

Change is difficult at times, particularly when it comes through the death of a local legend. But in just a year, the owners of Swell Bar have transformed the former McGrath’s Irish Pub into their very own vibe. A quieter, cheaper alternative to Forbidden Island, Swell’s nautical theme is inspired more by whiskey-swilling, tattoo-sporting sailors than tropical island palm fronds and frou-frou rum drinks. Monday is Drinko night (think booze + bingo), Thursday is Trivia Night and Direct TV means there is always a game on,  even if it’s often not the focus of the attention. Free shots occur here frequently. Swell Bar, 1539 Lincoln Avenue, (510) 522-6263, www.swellbaralameda.com       —Elisa Williams

Editors’ Choice

Best Event of the Year

Live @ the Library Presents Frederica Von Stade

Alameda’s gracious and tirelessly philanthropic opera star Frederica von Stade — aka Flicka — has made it a regular practice to support and raise money for the music education programs of the Alameda Education Foundation and, in recent years, musicians of U.C. Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program, a program for underprivileged youth. Flicka seized the opportunity to take the 3-year-old concert series to new heights as she organized a musical evening Feb. 25 that showcased 10 talented young musicians from YMP that raised $40,000 for the cash-strapped Alameda Free Library. The 750 people who packed the historic Alameda Theater for this sold-out event were treated to a cornucopia of music from opera arias and duets to jazz and Broadway musical songs and classical piano and cello solos as von Stade, members of YMP, piano accompanist and YMP vocal instructor Jim Meredith, tenor Chris Pucci, cellist Emil Miland and composer/pianist Karen Garret performed wonderfully in an eclectic musical evening. The finale, with all the performers and the audience singing together the folksong “O Shenandoah” (to words: Oh Alameda), gave the evening a perfect homespun feeling and brought a smile to everyone’s face. The concert was sponsored by Live @ the Library Committee and the Alameda Free Library Foundation.  —Keith Gleason

Lifestyle

Readers’ Choice

Best Live Music Venue

Rooster’s Roadhouse

The unassuming red box-like building at the corner of Clement and Grand houses some of the most interesting live music offerings in Alameda. Rooster’s Roadhouse has been around for years, and its following has grown steadily. The bar/restaurant offers live music at least three nights a week: Wednesday is big band with Bob Enos and the Soundwave (a 20-piece jazz band); Thursday has various flavors of jazz (sometimes blues-based, sometimes Latin, sometimes fusion); and Saturday often features rock bands or metal (!). Fridays have live music more often than not, with the occasional DJ filling in. So come on down and rock it at Rooster’s. Rooster’s Roadhouse, 1700 Clement Ave., (510) 337-9190, www.roostersroadhousealameda.com  —DA

Readers’ Choice

Best Tourist Attraction

USS Hornet

The USS Hornet aircraft carrier, Alameda’s floating history museum of World War II, attracts many tourists each year. Stationed at Pier 3 at Alameda Point, it arrived there in 1995 and opened as a museum in 1998. During its 27 years of service before it was decommissioned in 1970, the 893-foot long ship — the equivalent of a 78-story tall building — the Hornet became one of the most decorated ships in the U.S. Navy as it helped win WWII in the Pacific, including its destruction of 1,410 Japanese aircraft and the sinking of 73 ships. It saw service during the Cold War and Vietnam, too, and ended its illustrious career in 1969 when it recovered from the Pacific the first two NASA astronaut crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 that had landed on the moon. Today, visitors can tour its decks, see displays and learn about the ship’s history. Military holidays are honored with ceremonies while special events are held throughout the year with WWII survivors and other military veterans who bring the past to life with their recollections of their service aboard the Hornet and elsewhere. For history hounds, it doesn’t get much better. USS Hornet Museum, 707 W. Hornet Ave., (510) 521-8448, www.uss-hornet.org   — Keith Gleason

Goods & Services

Readers’ Choice

Best Gift Shop

Modern Mouse

Also winner of: Best T-shirts

Let’s be clear: Gift cards from Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Kohl’s aren’t suitable presents for people you care about. Tucked amid the chains at South Shore Center is a charming locally-owned store filled with lots of things no one really needs but are perfect indulgences. The store specializes in handmade items such as earrings, bags and cards, and there is a good selection of landmark items. Custom pillows inspired by green street signs range from $65 (Park Street, 12” x 20”) to $80 (Santa Clara Avenue, 12” x 30”), while a $13 bag cautions that Alameda’s 25 mph speed limit is strictly enforced. Owner and Alameda resident Eleen Hsu Agustin met many of the artists whose work she carries at local craft fairs. Think Etsy but without the shipping charges. Modern Mouse, 2228 South Shore Center, Unit A, (510) 814-8830, www.modernmousegifts.com  —EW

Readers’ Choice

Best Shoe Store

Scott’s Shoes

People with long commutes often invest in comfortable cars. So why shouldn’t people who walk a lot put the same care into their footwear? Scott’s specializes in gear for urban hiking, comfortable soles that are fashionable enough to go into the office or on vacation in Europe. Brands such as Dansko, Pikolinos, Ariat, Romika and Merrell pride themselves in their technology as much as their colors, hiding proper arch support in trendy designs. The service here is legendary, both in terms of making recommendations and handling special orders. Scott’s Shoes, 1330 Park St, (510) 865-5565  —EW

Editors’ Choice

Best Baubles for the Buck

To Herb With Love

Looking for a touch of glamour and bang for your buck no matter what your age? Check out To Herb with Love on Park Street (open Tuesday through Sunday) and you will leave in love with your goods and prices. With a vintage inspired décor, the store has a touch of Paris feel to it; edgy but classic. Owner Marti Collins carries one-of-a-kind jewelry, vintage style T-shirts, retro sunglasses, scarves, handmade soaps and bath salts, essential oils, hosiery and even French macaroons in her eclectic little shop. This jewel, in its new location, is a destination for those who want to pick up some fun, personal accoutrements for themselves or their sweethearts without spending too much dough. To Herb with Love, 1336 A Park St., (510) 814-6542  —Gina Jaber

Readers’ Choice

Best Spa

NoFu Clinical Skincare

No fooling — at NoFu Clinical Skincare, it’s all about creating healthy glowing skin. Susan Dressler has been working in clinical skincare for almost 15 years, and she named her salon “NoFu” because it’s a no “fu-fu” place. Dressler believes most salons offer “fu-fu” treatments, or a lot of fussing without real, lasting results —basically, style without substance. As part of the initial client consultation, Dressler evaluates diet as well as current skincare regime and gives recommendations for changes with gentle humor (no coffee for rosacea sufferers, for example). Clients get a very thorough facial, including extractions and analysis, and leave with a more luminous complexion. Dressler specializes in problem and ethnic skin.One skincare product line that she carries was originally formulated for cancer patients, so its products are gentle as well as effective. But, truly, the best recommendation is the way your skin will feel afterward. NoFu Clinical Skincare, 1912 Clement Ave.,  (510) 521-9100, www.nofu.com —DA

Editors’ Choice

Best Park Street Shopkeeper

Maggie Cunningham, The Clothes Line

It’s no wonder that the best shopkeeper in town — she’s friendly, smart and warm — worked in hospitality management for many years before opening her own business in Alameda. Scotland-born Maggie Cunningham, owner of The Clothes Line, is not only hospitable but also one savvy fashionista who buys and sells gently-used clothing for women. Her small-but-loaded Park Street store (otherwise known as a really big closet) carries a wonderful, wide-ranging variety of styles at reasonable prices. With a passion for fashion, Cunningham has a keen eye for the latest trends yet knows a classic piece when she sees it. Do strike up a conversation with Miz Hospitality herself — you’re definitely in for a treat. The Clothes Line, 1407½ Park St., (510) 522-5200  —GJ

Editors’ Choice

Best Place to Bend, Balance and Break a Sweat

Alameda Martial Arts

If you’re looking for a place to relax and chill out, don’t stop by Alameda Martial Arts. The studio’s mixed martial arts program practically uses “stretch, kick, punch and sweat” as a mantra for its hour-long classes. A typical class might be a dozen mostly school-age students running an obstacle course of mats and throwing strikes at punching bags, grunting through flexibility stretches, sweating during self-defense techniques and loving every minute of the drill. What makes this studio a standout is that while students are physically entrenched in exercise, owner and head instructor Erik Lee intertwines every class with positive encouragement through humor, fun, mutual respect and real-life lessons. Formerly a traditional Korean Kuk Sool Won martial arts school, the new hybrid approach blends the use of major muscle movements found in multiple martial
arts disciplines with the stamina and power of wrestling and boxing. The LockBoxing MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Academy program is a grueling and rewarding class for teens and adults. It trains those interested in martial arts skills such as striking, wrestling and grappling without belt curriculum. Alameda Martial Arts, 2189 Harbor Bay Parkway, (510) 769-0939, www.alamedamartialarts.com —KG

Editors’ Choice

Best Upholstering Shop

Luque’s Upholstering

Favorite chair looking the worse for wear? Swing by Luque’s to check out the facelift options The shop has literally thousands of fabrics — everything from recycled leather to Sunbrella (a former maker of canvas sails) to more traditional brocades. You’ll be sure to find something that appeals to your unique sense of style. Luque’s has been in business since 1925, and Jim Luque (the original owner’s son) is very knowledgeable and helpful in pointing out products that might suit your particular circumstances (although he doesn’t guarantee any product to be cat-claw-proof). The turnaround time is also fast —  about 10 days, give or take, until you are napping enjoyably again. Luque’s Upholstering, 1532 Park St., (510) 521-2100  —DA

KIDS

Readers’ Choice

Best Birthday Venue

Circuits 

Circuits is a busy parent’s dream and a seamless birthday party waiting to happen. With the help of this roomy party venue complete with arcade games, inflatables, open space and video game stations, you can cross cleaning up before the party and cleaning up after the party off your already-inundated to-do list. Circuits is great because it’s relevant to many age groups, whether your birthday boy or girl is an active tot or a happy-go-lucky pre-teen. Many ages have access to various options for unleashing hours of energy, and parents don’t even have to coordinate games or assist with floor equipment. The rental comes with party supervisors who do all that for you. One more thing you can cross off your list as well: “buy invitations,” because the party package comes with those, too. Just don’t forget to bring the food and cake. Circuits, 1710 Lincoln Avenue, (510) 522-6600, www.circuitsofalameda.com  —RMR

Readers’ Choice

Best Children’s Birthday Cakes

Tucker’s Ice Cream

Thanks to ice cream cake, the world is a brighter place. Tucker’s Ice Cream helps ice cream cake transcend to its natural place in the upper realm of all things beloved. Alamedans wouldn’t dare buy anonymous frozen cakes in the lower reaches of a forgotten freezer when there’s Tucker’s in town, luring passersby with the sweet fragrance of coconut pineapple, burgundy cherry and banana chocolate chip, not to mention waffle cones. The super creamy, old-fashioned ice cream that Tucker’s is famous for may be custom created on a delightfully thin cookie base to top your birthday celebrant’s day. Not only will your birthday cake match your child’s birthday theme and personality, but the signature flavor and texture will remind you of everything you love about living on the Island. And when you’re ready to sing “Happy Birthday,” there’s nothing quite as jubilant as a room full of kids screaming, “ice cream!” Tucker’s Ice Cream, 1349 Park Street, (510) 522-4960, www.tuckersicecream.com  —RMR

Pets

Editors’ Choice

Cutest Animal in Town

Bosco

He’s a head turner, with his dark color, pointy ears and contented grunt. Locals and out-of-towners alike give Bosco a triple-take when they encounter him on the streets of his hometown. It’s not just because he’s the cutest animal in town. This miniature Juliani pig’s got charm, originality and a winning story behind him. With the help of community support last year, Bosco was spared being excommunicated from his comfortable and loving Alameda home with the Thompson family, and he even taught the law a lesson or two. As a result of Bosco’s case, the City Council vowed to review and update city code in relation to swine-kind. A 27-pound vegan, Bosco resides on Alameda’s West End, where he enjoys snuggling with the family dachshunds and greeting smitten visitors at the fence on their way to the nearby Alameda Farmers Market. —RMR

Readers’ Choices
Best of Alameda

Restaurants

Best Barbecue

Great American Barbecue

2009 High St., (510) 865-3133 www.greatbbq.com

Best Breakfast Sandwich

Little House Café

2300 Blanding Ave., (510) 864-4044 www.littlehousecafe.com

Best Brunch

The Hobnob

1313 Park St., (510) 769-1011 www.thehobnobalameda.com

Best Twist on French Fries

Scolari’s Good Eats

1303 Park St., (510) 521-2400

Best Chef

John Thiel, Pappo

2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100 www.papporestaurant.com

Best New Restaurant

Spice I Am Thai Bistro

1353 Park St., (510) 522-8679 www.spice-i-am.com

Best Bakery

Feel Good Bakery

1650 Park St., Suite 1, (510) 864-2733 www.feelgoodbakery.com

Best Breakfast (Sitdown)

Jim’s Coffee Shop

2333 Lincoln Ave., (510) 523-5368 www.jimscoffeeshop.com
(also: Jim’s On the Course, 1 Club House Memorial Road,510-337-9950)

Best Burger

Scolari’s Good Eats

1303 Park St., (510) 521-2400

Best “Non-burger” Burger

Scolari’s Good Eats

1303 Park St., (510) 521-2400

Best California Cuisine

Pappo

2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100 www.papporestaurant.com

Best Chinese Restaurant

Ching Hua

1650 Park St., (510) 522-8777 www.chinghuaonpark.com

Best Date Night Restaurant

Pappo

2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100 www.papporestaurant.com

Best Dim Sum

East Ocean Seafood Restaurant

1713 Webster St., (510) 865-3381 www.eastoceanseafoodrestaurant.com

Best Express Lunch

Shay’s Café

2711 Encinal Ave., (510) 748-0423 www.shayscafe.com

Best Food Truck

Jon’s Street Eats

twitter: @Jonsstreeteats

Best Gourmet Doughnuts

Lee’s Donuts

660 Central Ave., (510) 521-8019

Best Italian Restaurant

C’era Una Volta

1332 Park St., Suite D, (510) 769-4828 www.ceraunavolta.us

Best Late-Night Munchies

Scolari’s Good Eats

1303 Park St., (510) 521-2400

Best Mediterranean/Greek Restaurant

Asena Restaurant

2508 Santa Clara Ave., (510) 521-4100 www.asenarestaurant.com

Best Mexican Restaurant

La Penca Azul

1440 Park St., (510) 769-9110 www.lapencaazulalameda.com;
891 Island Drive, (510) 814-0560 www.lapencaazulbayfarm.com

Best Overall Restaurant

Pappo

2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100 www.papporestaurant.com

Best Outdoor Restaurant

Speisekammer Restaurant

2424 Lincoln Ave., (510) 522-1300 www.speisekammer.com

Best Place for Soup-Sandwich Combo

Dimitri’s Sandwich Shop

1251 Park St., (510) 521-3737

Best Place to Buy Cakes

Feel Good Bakery

1650 Park St., Suite 1, (510) 864-2733 www.feelgoodbakery.com

Best Restaurant With a View

Pier 29 Waterfront Restaurant

1148 Ballena Blvd., (510) 865-5088 www.pier29restaurant.com

Best Restaurant With Staying Power (5-plus years in business)

Asena Resaurant

2508 Santa Clara Ave., (510) 521-4100 www.asenarestaurant.com

Most Romantic Dining Spot

Pappo

2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100 www.papporestaurant.com

Restaurant With the Best Service

Pappo

2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100 www.papporestaurant.com

Best Thin Crust Pizza

East End Pizza Co.

1650 Park St., (510) 263-9630 www.eastendpizzaco.com

Best Thick Crust Pizza*

Bowzer’s Pizza

1330 Park St., (510) 523-7500 www.bowzerspizza.com (*Deep dish, in this case.)

Best Sushi Restaurant

Kamakura Restaurant

2549 Santa Clara Ave. (510) 521-9121 www.kamakurarestaurant.com

Best Thai Restaurant

Toomie’s Thai Cuisine

1433 Park St., (510) 865-8008 www.toomies-thai.com

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Dragon Rouge Restaurant

2337 Blanding Ave., (510) 521-1800 www.dragonrougerestaurant.com

Drinks

Best Coffee

Peet’s Coffee & Tea

1365 Park St., (510) 473-0136 www.peets.com
(also: 2531 Blanding Ave., 510-814-8800)

Best Bottled Beer Selection

Lucky 13

1301 Park St., (510) 523-2118 www.lucky13alameda.com

Best Draft Beer Selection

Lucky 13

1301 Park St., (510) 523-2118 www.lucky13alameda.com

Best Local Beer

Lucky 13

1301 Park St., (510) 523-2118 www.lucky13alameda.com

Best Cocktails

Forbidden Island

1304 Lincoln Ave., (510) 749-0332 www.forbiddenislandalameda.com

Best GLBT Hangout

Fire Den Bar & Grill

1231 Park St., (510) 748-0517 www.firedenalameda.com

Best Happy Hour

The Hobnob

1313 Park St., (510) 769-1011 www.thehobnobalameda.com

Best Wine List

Pappo

2320 Central Ave., (510) 337-9100 www.papporestaurant.com

Best Margaritas

La Penca Azul

1440 Park St., (510) 769-9110 www.lapencaazulalameda.com
891 Island Drive, (510) 814-0560 www.lapencaazulbayfarm.com

Best Martini

The Hobnob

1313 Park St., (510) 769-1011 www.thehobnobalameda.com

Best Neighborhood Bar

Lucky 13

1301 Park St., (510) 523-2118 www.lucky13alameda.com

Best Wine Shop

Du Vin Fine Wines

2526 Santa Clara Ave., Suite A, (510) 769-9463 www.duvinfinewines.com

Best Local Winery

Rock Wall Wine Company

2301 Monarch St., (510) 522-5700 www.rockwallwines.com

Best Place to Drink Cheap

Lucky 13

1301 Park St., (510) 523-2118 www.lucky13alameda.com

Best Sports Bar

McGee’s Bar & Grill

1645 Park St., (510) 522-3470 www.mcgeesbarandgrill.com

Lifestyle

Best Bay Area Day Trip

San Francisco 

Best Weekend Getaway

Monterey

Best Girls’ Getaway

Napa 

Best Guys’ Getaway

Reno

Best Art Gallery/Art Show Venue

Frank Bette Center for the Arts

1601 Paru St., (510) 523-6957 www.frankbettecenter.org

Best Gym

Harbor Bay Club

200 Packet Landing Road, (510) 521-5414 www.harborbayclub.com 

Best Local Festival or Annual Event

Park Street Art & Wine Faire

www.shopparkstreet.com

Best Local Tourist Attraction

USS Hornet Museum

707 W. Hornet Ave., (510) 521-8448 www.uss-hornet.org  

Goods & Services

Best Antique Store

Pauline’s Antiques

1427 Park St., (510) 523-9941 www.paulinesantiques.com

Best Bookstore

Book’s Inc.

1344 Park St., (510) 522-2226 www.booksinc.net

Best Butcher Shop

Encinal Market

3211 Encinal Ave., Suite C, (510) 522-7171

Best Consignment/Resale Shop

Second Home

2524 Santa Clara Ave., (510) 523-6642 www.secondhomealameda.com

Best Gift Shop

Modern Mouse

2228 South Shore Center, Suite A (510) 814-8830 www.modernmousegifts.com

Best Grocery Store (nonchain)

Encinal Market

3211 Encinal Ave., Suite C (510) 522-7171

Best Home Decor/Home Furnishing Store

Daisy’s

1347 Park St., (510) 522-6443 www.daisysonpark.com

Best Jewelry Store

Seelenbacher Jewelers

1507 Webster St., (510) 522-8300

Best Beauty Salon

Salon One

1327 Park St., (510) 523-5555 www.salononealameda.com

Best Manicure/Pedicure

The Nail Shop

1351 Park St., (510) 522-1401 www.thenailshop.com

Best Place to Book a Shower/Party

Color Me Mine

2205 South Shore Center, (510) 521-8893 www.alameda.colormemine.com

Best Place to Get Married

Alameda City Hall

2263 Santa Clara Ave. www.cityofalamedaca.gov

Best Spa

NoFu Skincare

1912 Clement Ave., (510) 521-9100 www.nofu.com

Best Shoe Store

Scott’s Shoes

1330 Park St., (510) 865-5565

Best Shopping District

Park Street

www.shopparkstreet.com

Best T-shirts

Modern Mouse

2228 South Shore Center, Suite A (510) 814-8830 www.modernmousegifts.com

Best Women’s Accessories

Sway

1350 Park St., (510) 864-0244 www.swaychic.com

Best Women’s Boutique

M Zoe Couture

1424 Park St., (510) 814-6950 www.mzoeshop.com  

Best Chiropractor

Symmetry Spine & Wellness -  Cynthia Boyd, D.C.

2329A Eagle Ave., (510) 769-0125 www.symmetryspineandwellness.com

Best Dentist

Richard Tabor, D.D.S.

1821 Santa Clara Ave., (510) 865-2900

Kids

Best New Kids’ Clothes

Monkey Bars

1339 Park St., (510) 769-6905 www.shopmonkeybars.com

Best Gently Used Kids’ Clothes

Lauren’s Closet

1420 Park St., (510) 865-2219

Best New Toys

Toy Safari

1410 Park St., (510) 522-1723 

Best Used Toys

Toy Safari

1410 Park St., (510) 522-1723 

Best Children’s Birthday Cakes

Tucker’s Ice Cream

1349 Park St., (510) 522-4960 www.tuckersicecream.com

Best Kid-Friendly Vacation Destination

Disneyland

Most Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Tomatina

1338 Park St., (510) 521-1000 www.tomatina.com

Best Birthday Venue

Circuits

1710 Lincoln Ave., (510) 522-6600 www.circuitsofalameda.com 

Best Preschool

The Child Unique
Montessori School

2226 Encinal Ave., (510) 521-9227 www.thechildunique.org

Best K–8 School

St. Philip Neri Catholic Elementary School

1335 High St., (510) 521-0787 www.spnalameda.org

Best High School (9–12)

Alameda High School

2201 Encinal Ave., (510) 337-7022 www.aus.alamedausd.ca.schoolloop.com

Best Summer Camp

Alameda Recreation and Park Department

2226 Santa Clara Ave., (510) 747-7529 www.cityofalamedaca.gov

Best Overnight Camp

Harbor Bay Club

200 Packet Landing Road (510) 521-5414 www.harborbayclub.com

Best Kids’ Haircuts

Kid’s Choice Hair Salon

1504 Encinal Ave., (510) 522-5437

Best Music Instruction
for Kids

Starland Music Center

1631 Park St., (510) 523-4797 www.starlandmusic.com

Pets

Best Pet Shop

Dog Bone Alley

1342 Park St., (510) 521-5800 www.dogbonealley.com

Best Veterinary Practice

Alameda Pet Hospital

2275 Buena Vista Ave., (510) 523-1626 www.alamedapet.com

Best Pet Sitter

Island Pets

(510) 502-3999 www.alamedaislandpets.com

Best Place to Go Overnight With Fido

Carmel

Best Place to Board Pets

Under One Woof

1701 Webster St., (510) 523-3224  

Add your comment: