Stars in Our Eyes

Our selections from the new and controversial Michelin restaurant guide garner mixed reviews

Based on my one meal at Soizic, I would not hasten to return. I was saddened on my drive back to pass three Oakland restaurants where one eats considerably better — Luka's Tap Room, Garibaldi's, and Pearl Oyster Bar — none of which is listed in the Michelin guide.

Later, I have to take my friend Ruth out to dinner; she's come to town to see Fleet Week's air show, and is staying in Fisherman's Wharf, pretty much a culinary wasteland. I consult Michelin and make a reservation at A. Sabella's, the first alphabetical listing. Ruth and I are charmed by our vantage point over the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge; as the guide says, "the view is good from any table" in the third-floor spot, above the rather alarming honky-tonk. We dine on good creamy clam chowder (termed "San Francisco" on the menu, which turns out to mean white rather than red), a decent chilled shellfish assortment (wonderful oyster, OK clam, good mussels, excellent grilled scallop with a tart garlicky topping, slightly dull poached shrimp), and quite creditable renditions of Pacific king salmon, served rare as requested, with fresh French green beans and baby carrots, and even better local Petrale sole adorned with bay shrimp and capers in a lemony brown butter sauce.

The view from A. Sabella's is as lovely as the food.
James Sanders
The view from A. Sabella's is as lovely as the food.

Location Info

Map

Soizic

300 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94607

Category: Restaurant > California

Region: Jack London Square

Details

www.soizicbistro.com. Open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., dinner Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m. Closed Monday. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: fairly easy. Noise level: moderate.

A. Sabella's, 2766 Taylor (at Jefferson), 771-6775, www.asabellas.com. Open daily from 5 to 11 p.m. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: difficult. Muni: F, 10, 39, 47. Noise level: high.

Soizic

Lamb filet mignon $18.50 at lunch $22.95 at dinner

A. Sabella's

Clam chowder $8

Chilled shellfish $16.50

King salmon $32

Petrale sole $23

Tarte tatin $8.75

300 Broadway (at Third St.), Oakland, (510) 251-8100

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Without a doubt this is the best seafood spot in an area otherwise filled with tourist traps. And it was easy to find both restaurants because of the very terseness of the Michelin guide (356 restaurants rather than the 1,082 of the 2007 Zagat), and its useful division into neighborhoods. As we share a slightly misnamed but tasty tarte tatin (here the apple slices were cooked separately from the crust), I decide the $16.95 for the guide was a good investment. I give it one star: a very good guide in its category.

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