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Restaurants & Bars 1

Oakland: Garibaldi's (rambling)

Rod Williams | Aug 1, 200512:34 AM

I haven't seen anything here about Garibaldi's in ages, so I thought I'd mention that it's still a very appealing spot for food and drink on the Oakland end of College Avenue.

I'm very fond of the Garibaldi space -- a big high-ceilinged, exposed-brick room, nicely divided between a terrific bar and a pretty well laid-out dining-room. There are a couple of areas where there are rows of too-close-together two-tops, but it's otherwise spacious and very comfirtable, with comfortable seats, good lighting and, for some unknown reason, cool prints of agricultural windmills on the walls. They have large floor-to-ceiling windows looking out west on College Ave., which are well-shaded in the late afternoon and evening.

We go there fairly often for drinks -- the bartenders are top-notch, very attentive and personable, and there's a very good bar menu if you're in that mood -- great individual pizzas and burgers, among other attractions.

Tonight, we stopped in for dinner for the first time in ages, and I thought the food was better than ever. For appetizers, we had what was described as a "classic" Caesar salad, and it was, right down to the house-salted anchovies. My "tomatoes and bread" salad was outstanding -- four large slices of perfect heirloom tomatoes, topped with a mound of baby arugula, thinly-sliced red onion and torn pieces of grilled sourdough, and decorated with four little globs of fast-melting basil gelato and drizzled extra-virgin olice oil. It was terrific -- yet another wonderful solution to the what-can-I-do-with-all-these-tomatoes conundrum.

For entrees, we had perfectly-grilled salmon over sweet white corn and orange cherry tomatoes, with rough-chopped parsley -- the very essence of summer. And sauteed petrale sole, wonderfully fresh and flavorful, with baby artichokes, baby turnips, fava beans and spinach -- a veritable rhapsody of my favorite veggies, in a balsamicky sauce.

It was especially nice to try the seafood there, and enjoy it so much -- I usually order their Moroccan-inspired lamb tenderloin, one of my favorites dishes around, but felt like something lighter on this beautiful Oakland weekend.


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