Ask the Critic: Where Should I Lunch After a Trip to OAK?

Categories: Ask the Critic
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Octopus tostada from Mariscos La Costa, just a few miles north of OAK.
Today, @aynsavoy Tweeted me to ask:

Picking up my mother at OAK around noon; where should we go for lunch?
The 140-character answer: El Huarache Azteca (3842 International Blvd., at 39th St., Oakland), just off the Fruitvale exit. When I lived in Seattle and would fly into Oakland to visit friends, the epically muraled, family-friendly restaurant was usually my first Bay Area meal ― for pozole and huaraches slathered in beans and grilled chicken, gorditas stuffed with chicharron, or quesadillas made with freshly pressed masa (cornmeal).

A further Twitter exchange indicated that @aynsavoy's mother is pescatarian, and if I remember correctly, many of the antojitos can be ordered with huitlacoche and corn or squash blossoms.

On a day like today, though, I might pass up El Huarache Azteca in favor of the nearby Mariscos La Costa (3625 International Blvd., at 37th St.) for ceviche tostadas and seafood cocteles. I've been coming here since it was a tiny truck with a stainless-steel rail that we would stand over, slurping coctel from plastic bowls, and the shrimp and octopus are as fresh and sweet as ever.

Now, if your mother doesn't want Mexican food...

The restaurant closest to the airport that I would recommend is Angel Fish Japanese Cuisine (883 C-2 Island Drive, Alameda) in the Harbor Bay Landing Shopping Center ― in fact, you don't even need to get on the highway to cross over to the island. When I was reviewing restaurants for the East Bay Express, this was my favorite sushi place, year after year.

One last recommendation, for scenery alone: Quinn's Lighthouse (1951 Embarcadero E., Oakland), not far from the 16th Street exit of 880, has decent pub food and a second-floor deck overlooking the Oakland Marina.

Follow me on Twitter: @jonkauffman.
Or hit me up with a recommendation or question at jonathan.kauffman@sfweekly.com.

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