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“Don't miss this gem in Old Oakland” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Borgo Italia Bar & Caffe - CLOSED

Borgo Italia Bar & Caffe
499 9th St., Oakland, CA
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Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Don't miss this gem in Old Oakland”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

A must visit for the pasta lover. Wonderful food, good service, and a solid Oakland vibe. Going back this week!!

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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14 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
SF, CA
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Lovely setting in old town Oakland, but”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

The restaurant went out of its way to provide a wonderful experience for a co-worker's retirement dinner of about 25 people on one side of the restaurant. Perched on a corner in the hip old town part of revived Oakland, the restaurant has a nice L-shaped plan with an inviting bar at which customers can also eat. The architecture of the building is very warm and interesting. I would return to try other than the somewhat mundane prix fixe menu we had because the items on it were just average. The charcuterie plate of fried bread pocket with coppa, salumi and prosciutto was very good, but the pizza and pasta (pesto and bolognese) were just so-so. Borgo has a terrific selection of (all, I think) Italian wines. I did not stay for dessert so I can't speak to the quality of those selections. The bread could be better, too. I found the mound of chunks of grating cheese over radicchio a little odd as a table munch. Judging from the other reviews, it is very possible that other menu selections are of higher quality. The place certainly makes Italophiles feel that they have recaptured the wonder of Italy.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Oakland, California
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Gave it another shot...............”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

and we are thrilled that we did. If you find yourself in Oakland, CA (or close by) make a dinner res. at this OldTown eatery. When they opened a little over 2 months ago, we were sorely disappointed. Now, night and day. The food is fabulous, full of flavor, nicely presented in a very Italian atmosphere (all the furniture came from the ristorante that Fabio's mother ran for 52 yrs.! Who else can boast that?? The desserts are sensational, so save room. We were treated like family and seated at the corner booth (if you are looking out the window, it's the quintessential Chamber of Commerce shot. The owners paid attention to corrective criticism and now have a winner. Don't discount OldTown Oakland, there's something happening there.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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California
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Fantastic New Restauratn”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

We had an excellent dinner at Borgo Italia. We ordered the Torta Fritta Emiliano as an appetizer to share. OMG! Melt in your mouth, incredible. The fried bread pocket filled with salumi is an amazing combination. We also had chestnut pasta with pine nuts and the ragu. Both excellent dishes - perfectly al dente, served by bringing the saute pan to the table and filling our dishes. When we refused dessert, our waitress "forced" us to have a sampling of the pastries. The milk and honey was great but the merangue was over the top. It almost floated to our mouths. Our server, Alessandra, was incredible. Welcoming, knowledgable, funny. The only thing missing was a salad appetizer. You could order one, but it's not obvious. I realize it doesn't fit into the authenticity of the restaurant but I missed it. We will be back soon.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Marin County
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
102 helpful votes 102 helpful votes
“Escape to Italia without the Planefare !!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

We live in the North Bay and a movie on Shattuck took us to Berkeley. On my iPad I quicky checked “Yelp” for Italian restaurants & fortunately chose this newly opened one. Never looked at the menu but was attracted by the 3 owners being native born Italians but, more important, that Fabio’s Mamma, Luigina, was in the kitchen—not too many Italian restaurants anywhere anymore with native born Italians in the kitchen, maybe 1st & 2nd generation Italians or Latins, albeit trained by Italians, I’m prejudiced I know, but for me there is nothing like having an native born Italian in the kitchen. Why am I so biased, my grandparents, parents, aunts & uncles are all born in Italy and I go to Italy every year & mostly to enjoy the food. Enjoyable dining for me these days is more than the food, the service and environment are important too and I can’t recall a setting in a US restaurant where I felt more like being in Italia. And when I say Italia, I don’t mean Venice, Florence, Rome etc. where in the Piazzas they cater to tourists and there are barkers outside enticing people to come in. I see this too in SF’s North Beach & Italian sections in NY & Boston. Here is like being in a village in a remote part of Italia and an area not frequented by tourists. And I have been in B & B’s and Villa’s in these small towns in the mountains where the dining room had no menu. You ate what they served and that is "alla Casalinga” made home style and I couldn’t wait to arrive as I saw this on their sign”Cucina Casalinga” on their website.

It was Saturday and despite having no reservations, they accomodated us. Fabio was fabulous !!! We spoke Italian and I asked what he recommended on the menu & he said, "trust me, I’ll select dinner items for you”. There is a generous pouring of wine by the glass & I had Chianti. I must tell you that the “Torta Fritta Emiliana”, little fried bread dumplings were soft and exquisite. “Emiliana” although a female name, also means these are done in the style of the region of “Emilia-Romagna” where Fabio indicated are his roots, in Parma, a hour from Bologna. They were served with Prosciutto & 2 other Italian cured meats . Eating these little pillows I felt like I was eating potato chips, I couldn’t stop so asked for more. In Italian this is called “lo sfizio” and I recall my Mamma when I saw her continuing to eat something & I asked why, she said “per togliere lo sfizo” which not easy to translate sort of means to satisfy a yen. Also, I was reminded of another Italian saying which is “l’appetito viene mangiando”, the appetite increases eating. Then we had homemade Tagliatelle( a pasta cut a litle wider than Linguini) in a Ragu’ & this was the best Bolognese sauce I’ve had since Italia. I think this was Luciano Pavarotti’s( as he was from the Bologna area) favorite dish. Now come thin sliced pork medallions in a delectible lemon flavored sauce. Fabio, always busy, and the restaurant with a waiting line still returned to our table frequently and asked “Tutto Bene, Tutto a Posto” which means is everything OK ? We were never made to rush as happens in many places where they need to turn the tables as other customers(with reservations) were waiting.

I didn’t know what else Fabio planned to bring us but I said we were full so anything else would "da portare a casa”, go home in a doggie bag. They have their own pastry chef and we saw so many delectible items that I let them prepare a plate of an assortment and they melted in your mouth. I had a double espresso as I needed to drive. But when I asked if they had “Grappa” a very strong pressed skins and seeds of grapes or a winemaker's leftovers which is also a pretty good digestive, Fabio brought over 2 glasses and I told him to put it on my bill but he generously didn’t. I ended up drinking both and my wife, not liking to drive at night, needed to do so.

I see they are open for breakfast and I don’t know for a fact but with the convention center and huge Marriott hotel nearby, I would advise people to come here if they wish to eat in the morning as many Italians do with a strong coffee & “Cornetti”, similar to the croissant. I found that in the big cities in Italy that the ham & eggs on hotel menus are mostly for the tourists.

You people who live in the East Bay & business people who travel to Oakland are lucky to have this place nearby. If it were in Marin County, we’d be in there once per week !!!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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