I have had the pleasure of working in downtown Oakland for most of the last nine years. During the period where I did not work downtown, I worked at night. Since I live downtown, this meant that even then, I was around here at lunchtime.
And not to sound like I don’t love downtown Oakland or anything, but there is a serious shortage of decent places to eat lunch around here. That’s not to say that there are no nice lunches to be had — I pack my lunch probably about half the time (well, more often than that now that I work in a culinary wasteland), but for those other days, I have my rotation of favorite places to go grab something quick and cheap, just like everyone else who works downtown.
Anyway. The DTO does okay for those kind of quick lunches. But when it comes to going to an actual restaurant where you, like, sit down and have servers come take your order and bring you your food and it tastes decent and you can talk to someone over a nice meal but it’s not some super fancy thing, the options shrink. I mean, I have nothing against Spice Monkey or Caffe Verbena. I quite like them both. But I do not need to go to either one of them every damn time I’m meeting someone for lunch. I refuse to go to Max’s, which I find disgusting. I swear, at least 40% of the time when people ask me to lunch, they suggest we go to Max’s. Why, people? Why?
Anyway. The point of all this is not to harsh on the DTO, but rather to say how excited I am that downtown Oakland now has two new places to eat lunch. The first is Disco Volante, which I wrote about when they first opened for lunch like two weeks ago.
I have been to Disco Volante twice since they opened (I would have gone more, but I was out of town for over a week). I have sampled the fennel & pork pie, the sand dabs, and the burger. Every single one of them was really fucking good. They don’t have any liquor (hence the lunch-only status of the restaurant right now), but they do have a delicious blood orange soda drink. And they make a great cup of coffee. I was there yesterday for lunch and…well, let’s just say that if you had wanted to come get something to eat, you would not have had to wait for a table.
So come on, folks. Do you work in the City Center area? Give Disco Volante a try. 14th and Webster is an easy walk from your office. Go to Disco Volante instead of Max’s next time you’re taking someone out to lunch. The food is better, and it is also cheaper. Also, it is prettier. If you’re eating solo, that’s cool too. Just go sit at the bar. Aren’t you sick of getting the same boring sandwich every day?
Plum opens for lunch
The other exciting lunch restaurant news for the DTO today is that PLUM IS OPENING FOR LUNCH! Starting today!
You guys surely remember how much I loved Plum when I went there for dinner on opening night. And I can’t even think of how many times since then I’ve told people that I wished they were open for lunch. So I am delighted that my wish has come true and they are now open from 11 to 2. I don’t know if they’re going to have the same menu or not. The dinner menu is a little different now than when I went there, but reviews remain positive, so I expect that either way, lunch will be delicious.
One more thing
In other Oakland restaurant news, Inside Scoop reports that Chef Paul Canales is leaving Rockridge institution Oliveto. The story doesn’t say what Canales is doing next, but does reveal that whatever his new venture is, which we will more about “in the next few days,” it will definitely be in Oakland. Hooray!