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“An improving gem in downtown Oakland”

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
Ranked #47 of 1,278 Restaurants in Oakland
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: This is right next to the Fox Theater in Oakland! I guess it opened recently? The food was quite good - got pics if you want 'em!
Oakland, California
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“An improving gem in downtown Oakland”
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Heard from a friend about Rudy's and took the kids on a Saturday for lunch. Surprisingly, for downtown Oakland on a Saturday, this place was humming and we had to wait about 15 minutes to get a table, but the music overhead was cool and the kids got a kick looking at all of the Barbie dolls and other action figures lined up along the wall wearing Rudy's Can't Fail shirts! All of the wait staff were hip and friendly, and I appreciated how nicely they treated my young kids.

I had the BALT sandwich (a generous portion of thick-cut, crispy bacon, fresh avocado, crisp lettuce and ripe tomatoes) on sourdough with a fresh salad accompanied by a balsamic vinaigrette and a tasty pickle. Both kids had a cheeseburger (cooked to medium well as requested) with crispy fries which was a big hit.

The restaurant was buzzing but I was still able to have a conversation with the kids without having to raise my voice. Water refills came promptly, and the only slight delay was in trying to grab our bill to pay. Even though there were people waiting, we didn't feel pressured to eat quickly and leave, and our waiter was rushing around helping multiple tables but was always pleasant to us.

We look forward to going to Rudy's again soon!

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ray-may
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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88 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Level 6 Contributor
269 reviews
207 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
“Awesome Two-Tone / Punk concept diner in great area”
Reviewed January 10, 2013

It's going to be plus one star for the name, based off a favorite Clash song. Then plus another star just for the ethos, as told by the action figure "strip mural" on their wall.... no matter who you are, you are all equal... That old punk ethos vibes throughout, with a bit of the bluebeat, two-tone era vibrating along with it. It's a hodge podge of different fun ideas, central bar, diner seating.... if you are coming in here expecting fine dining, you might want to turn around (not because the food isn't up to par, but because they don't need you). Fact is, the design, interiors, etc are all fun and interesting - I even like the home made Airstream style private dining room (that has it's own private entrance into the Fox Theatre. That's sort of worth the price of admission.

But the fries were crunchy and great, service was stellar, happy, on top of it without being too overbearing, the manager was kind and hands on. It turned out to be a great spot for a quick, casual business lunch. I had the Buffalo Tender Salad, which is heaven for the guy that likes buffalo wings, but likes to pretend he is eating healthily. =) It was one of the best I have had, for what it's worth.

And for what it's worth... Rudy's Can't Fail is a 5 Star diner. Such that I can't wait to get back to Uptown. Oakland is happenin', people. Awesome spot, awesome location... well done.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank OnlineConcierge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“What a nice surprise”
Reviewed October 19, 2012

Saw it online and went before a show. Great people watching even if the food were marginal. However, we both had burgers that were OUTSTANDING. Perfectly cooked, with some of the best fries you've ever eaten. Crazy cool crowd throughout, and terrific Happy Hour specials. Loved it, would definitely return!

Visited October 2012
Thank RenoSongman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
843 reviews
593 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 409 helpful votes
“fun diner with good food”
Reviewed October 14, 2012

My friends and I went to Rudy's Can't Fail for Sunday brunch based on a recommendation from a friend who lives in San Francisco, and we were pleased with the food.  This is just a typical diner place and doesn't pretend to be anything else. Although we were there for brunch, half of us opted for the burgers, since they had some unique creations. I'd recommend the Santa Fe burger, but not the chupacabra burger (goat cheese and bacon). The breakfast items that we ordered were actually pretty tasty, though. The chicken and gravy biscuits were the best, and the chorizo & egg hash was spicy. 

The atmosphere is very low-key, and it's a fine place to lounge around with a cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning. Obviously it's not really fine dining, but you know what you're getting yourself into. We got out of there for less than $20 a person, so it's not very expensive. 

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jg325
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“You "Can't Fail" to like to place!”
Reviewed July 2, 2012

An absolute find! We're in our 50s, but we didn't feel uncool in such a hip place - all staff seemed to be tattooed! It has an edgy, rocker kind of vibe. Having said that, the background music is nice and low in volume allowing conversation as you eat. There are interesting things to look at, like a case containing dressed up dolls of every kind, and the tables have art tops on them. Very cool!

Most of Oakland is closed on Sundays, so we were really glad to find such a nice cafe open for breakfast, lunch or dinner (specials of the day from 4.30 pm onwards). The area is what we'd describe as 'mixed', but we felt safe enough. We sat at the bar and were very well cared for - the barman gave us tasters of the beers we were not familiar with, and was knowledgable; we enjoyed our drinks! Our helpful waitress was willing to find out ingredients for my food allergies, there are lots of vegetarian, gluten free and even vegan options on the menu. She also told us about the Farmers Market that was on and where 'life' happens on a Sunday in Oakland.

Don't miss this one - the bill was lower than we expected it to be as well.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Eleanor G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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