I've found my ultimate favorite Chinese restaurant... Manila Garden Cafe on 12th between Webster & Franklin in Oakland. From the outside the place looks tiny, but their food rivals those of large SF Chinatown restaurants! They opened last summer as a family operated dining establishment. The food is always excellent, and they are accomodating to special requests. Last Christmas I hosted a Chinese banquet for 40 there, and the dishes were amazing!
If you go, I suggest one of their signature dishes -- Chiu Chow style catfish.
The greatest thing about this place is probably what I noticed last night... folks who come to eat for their first time end up regulars. I always see familiar faces there when I go, and last night was no different -- practically every table on their first floor and every party waiting in line had folks I recognized. Maybe the reason is that the owner treats all guests like family; the feeling I get whenever I go is that "Mom's kitchen is open!"
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