The walls at Currylicious exude the same orange and yellow hues as saffron and turmeric, which flavor its traditional Indian dishes. Appetizers include hearty veggie samosas and the kachumar salad, an intermingling of fresh garden veggies, herbs, and lime juice. Entrees such as chicken shahi korma and lamb karahi cool down spice with infusions of yogurt sauce and side helpings of naan. During pleasant weather, diners can sit outside, where they take in Oakland’s scenic landscape, or season their meals with crushed sunshine.
The stout, mottled brick front and black and white striped awning of BFC Cajun Seafood's storefront conceal the carefully crafted and spicy Cajun fare waiting inside. Bone-in catfish fillets come on sandwiches or as part of fried-fish plates sporting rich batter with an extra crunch that frequently alarms local seismologists. Beneath the glittering shell of a glass counter, an array of fresh-baked homemade pies and cakes divest themselves of single slices or travel whole to patrons' homes packaged in carry-out orders.
When Don Disraeli and his wife, Randee, turned their attention to seafood retail in 1983, they considered more than their love of tasty fish. Drawing upon his PhD in Biology and her stint as a Scripps Institute of Oceanography researcher, the duo worked to ensure that each aspect of their business would be environmentally sustainable. Those standards are still upheld today, as Kanaloa Seafood remains one of the only North American and European seafood companies environmentally certified by the International Organization of Standardization.
Environmentally responsible fisheries supply the Disraelis with sushi-grade fish, which cutters clean and slice behind large viewing windows at Kanaloa Seafood’s Santa Barbara and Napa storefronts. The succulent cuts are then sustainably packaged inside recyclable corrugated boxes. Every Monday to Friday, guests can procure fish ranging from wild-caught black cod to Hawaiian ahi tuna. Patrons who are unsure of what to pick from the vast assortment will be greeted by a knowledgable staff member who will assist in picking out an ideal choice. Kanaloa Seafood also distributes a variety of marinades, rubs, oils, and sauces, as well as prepared dishes from the staff chef.
When a 13-year-old Isadore Fang began washing dishes at a Sunnyvale restaurant called The Bold Knight, he had no way of knowing he would later own the sink where he performed his humble duties. Eventually, the ambitious restaurateur would own multiple establishments, including The Rendezvous in Fremont and Isadore's, his labor of love since 1989.
There—together with his wife and co-owner Laurel—Fang leads a dedicated staff whose attention to detail earned praises in a 2008 article in the Record. Courteous servers top white-clothed tables with fresh seafood and certified Angus steaks alongside traditional Italian pastas. Semiprivate booths let couples share intimate conversations or the complimentary cheese fondue and warm french bread served with every dinner upon request. Between sips of wine from an extensive list, diners can glance toward the elevated stage where live musicians occasionally play. Alternatively, admire hand-painted murals on the walls, one of which depicts the tranquil, seaside village where Leonardo da Vinci invented the olive-oil mister.
Outside the restaurant, the Fangs' emphasis on serving others carries over to charity work: they have been featured on ABC News10 for helping to send food packages to American troops.
At Sinbad’s Pier 2 Restaurant, guests can look out over the bay as they savor blackened swordfish and startlingly fresh seafood. Clean ocean breezes tickle through the windows as guests spoon up sips of clam chowder and load forks with pasta, shrimp, scallops, and mussels. Customized dishes of salmon-stuffed pastry shells and crab cake eggs benedict start hitting tables as early as 10 a.m. for breakfast-craving diners. An extensive wine list brings out the delicate flavors of the fish and seafood, as well as any napkins that fall into your mouth by accident.
With the right dishes, a tiny boardwalk fish stall can grow into a prestigious seafood restaurant. Just ask the Alioto family. In 1925, Sicilian immigrant Nunzio Alioto, Sr., took the reins of stall No. 8 on Fisherman's Wharf, feeding Italian laborers with hearty seafood cocktails served out of paper cups. Eight years later, when Nunzio passed away, his wife, Rose, took over, steadily expanding the operation to keep pace with Alioto's growing reputation, not to mention the influx of customers brought by the construction of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.
Today, the family still serves the traditional Sicilian recipes of Nunzio and Rose—but on the top floor of a three-story building, overlooking the spot where the modest fish stall began. The chefs work largely with fresh, local catches for the seafood-centric menu, preparing hauls of sea bass, swordfish, scallops, and of course, dungeness crab—a standout favorite among the critics that have sung Alioto's praises in the press. Though many cite the crab cioppino—a spicy tomato and shellfish stew—as their preferred dish, Frommer's lauds the dungeness crab, whether it's "cracked, caked, stuffed, or stewed." Sicilian classics such as the fried calamari are also a huge draw, not to mention the restaurant's third story ocean vistas, a vantage point City Genius hails as "one of the best views of the Bay."
Blu Restaurant's floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the bustle on Market Street from the fourth floor of The Sports Club/LA. Servers set entree plates such as grilled salmon and house-made wild fennel pappardelle atop white linen tablecloths, and mixologists behind the sleek ebony bar fill glasses and crystal Super Soakers with libations from an extensive wine list. Blu Restaurant's multiple dining rooms and bar play host to private events, such as corporate functions and bridal showers.