Restaurants & Bars

Vallejo Crawl – Front Room, Waterbarge (RIP), Sardine Can

rworange | Sep 12, 200501:57 AM     5

It was a beautiful warm Sunday and I was looking for seafood with a view. Considered the Nantucket, but their clam chowder still haunts me. Dead Fish doesn’t do a good job with dead fish. Not brave enough to try the Waterfront in Rodeo yet.

So I finally decided to check out Waterbarge in Vallejo and what do I see on the window but a change of ownership notice. Hmmm … not a good sign, so I went over to the restaurant next to the Vallejo Ferry.


Holy Smoke! It’s the Front Room Pizza from San Francisco.

While it’s been five years since I’ve had a Front Room pizza, they were not bad. I remember someone on Chowhound blissing out on one of their pizzas, I think it was the Chinese deep dish.

The menu is pretty much the same as the SF location (see link below). There are more burgers in Vallejo (including a blue cheese burger) and a seafood section. Alas, no salmon which I was after. I thought I’d pass on the Chipino, given the spelling and the fact you could add noodles for another $2.

They also carry fried calamari, prawn cocktails, prawn Dijonne (no clue), crab cakes, Chevy Chase with avocado (???), prawn Provencal, prawn Dijon, trout meuniere, and trout almandine.

I nervously decide to get an appetizer of mussels with garlic butter ($6.95) and then move on to the soon-to-close Waterbarge for the entrée.

The mussels were actually good and beautiful. Dinner comes with foot long soft bread sticks (think Olive Garden). There were six huge, three inch long, bright orange mussels in green-lipped shells covered with chopped parsley and garlic and bathed in butter. The plump mussels were chewy like escargot and had that same quality to me … if you put enough butter and garlic on anything it tastes great.

This is a HUGE restaurant that overlooks the water. They have a full bar but their wine list is limited to St. George at $3 a glass. The theme is nautical with ship models in cases, nautical lanterns for lights and a few lamps that look like the wheels of ships. There’s also an open fireplace in the bar to cozy up to on cooler days. I think there is live music on the week end … or there was at one time.

Big place if you need to have an event. Great place to nosh while waiting for the Vallejo Ferry if the pizza is the same as the SF restaurant.


So sad, the food is actually the best of its kind in Vallejo. It was still brunch so no grilled salmon until five. I order the house-smoked salmon plate. They also had a great Dutch apple pancake with Hobbs Apple-smoked bacon and huckleberry jam. If only I wasn’t dieting.

The salmon was pretty as well as tasty. It actually was better than the house-smoked salmon from Tivoli. It was a deep smoke that had almost a bacon flavor. It came with four large toasted crackers, lemon-chive cream cheese, pink-pickled onions and was sprinkled with capers and fresh chives. Lovely dish. Wish I had stopped here before. There was a small but decent wine list also.

I’m not sure of the new owners. The server said it was someone who had an Italian restaurant in Pleasanton and the new menu would be Italian. A newspaper article mentioned it was a Benicia couple who was going to keep things as is. Anyway, Waterbarge is open 42 more days and will close a week and re-open with new owners.

For anyone who might care, here’s their website


With my current diet, I’m trying to have one tomato-based dish a day. Last time at the Sardine Can, one table was raving about the bloody Mary’s … so

It turned out to be an ok spicy bloody Mary, but not great. The one time I ate at the Sardine Can. the breakfast was so awful I never went back. At lunch, the dishes looked better but I notice lots of people left food on the plate. It’s a pleasant place to have a drink (other than bloody Mary). It looks over the marina and on Sunday night there is live jazz. Very much a fish shack décor with an enclosed deck with picnic tables. Windows can be opened on a warm day like today to give an outdoor feel. There is and outdoor deck in front, but no water view. I would stick with the alcohol though and skip the food.

Link: http://thefrontroomsf.com/Menu.htm

Image: http://www.vallejoads.com/Best_of.../...

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