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"From Paul Canales, former chef at Oliveto, this wonderful Spanish-Basque restaurant in the growing gourmet Uptown area of Oakland is great for an evening out. The interior is painted in earthy colors, and the hand-made wooden booths and bar chairs (we sat at a tall communal table) were warm and invi..."ting. Service was excellent and attentive, however, it is fairly noisy.
We started with the patatas bravas, with a wonderful, romesco0like sauce, and the Little Gem salad with avocado and anchovy dressing, a very nice balance. We shared the 2-person paella, the duck fideua, which was delicious. It includes 1/2 long bits of spaghetti-like pasta, cooked in duck broth, with shreds of duck though, topped with seared duck breast and duck chicharonnes. If you love duck, this is a wonderful, interesting and quite unusual dish. For dessert, we had the suggested pairing of an oloroso sherry and the Spanish Manchego cheese, just perfect for two to share.
And it was part of World Sherry Week, so...
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"When a place gets as much attention as Bellanico, it is easy to be skeptical about its prospects. For me, it takes a lot for a place to be worth laying down as much for one meal as I would spend on 3-4 meals as my favorite Lao place near Lake Merritt. But the quality of the food, the service, and th..."e atmosphere really make this a dining experience to remember. Every once in a while I think you deserve a treat, and this place is exactly that.
If you have deeper pockets than I do, then go ahead and make a visit here a weekly or monthly affair.
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"Take if from someone who has spent over 4 months in Laos & Thailand- This is THE PLACE to go in Oakland.
If you are looking for fine dining, then why would you bother with a place in this neighborhood? However if you want great SE Asian fare at an incredible price, well, check it out. There is a..." line out the door most nights for a reason. You just cannot find better Thai/Lao food for the price without taking a 14-hour flight to Bangkok.
Be sure to get the Lao fried spring rolls, Pad See Ew, and save room for the mango sticky rice dessert. Service can be pretty iffy, which just adds to the true Lao experience for me. I cannot wait until my next visit to Champa Garden!
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