Eating out with Kids in Albany, El Cerrito & Kensington

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Any hidden gourmet restaurant in El Cerrito?

Jan 2006

Is there any gourmet or good enough restaurant in El Cerrito? I love all kinds of food; traditional american, ethnic, asian, mexian, etc, etc. I live in El Cerrito for about 4 years, but seldom dine here, except at Pasta Pomodoro and Fat Apple, though only on few occations. I always go to either Albany, Berekely, or near by towns. I have seen some Thai and Mexican restaurant on San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito but I have never tried them yet. Is there any hidden jewel, or simply there is no good restaurant here in El Cerrito? I love El Cerrito so far ...

Sa Wooie Thai on San Pablo is pretty good. Perhaps gourmet is a bit of a stretch, but it's certainly some of the better Thai food I have eaten in the East Bay. It's in the unlikely location over the parking lot of a motel on San Pablo, just north of Moseser. The service is great and the view of Safeway and passing BART trains is perfect for kids.
Katana-Ya Ramen Japanese Restaurant in El Cerrito is an incredible find. It's on San Pablo in the ''Baskin-Robbins'' strip mall (at Moeser) and the food is terrific. It's usually packed with Asian customers. My kids don't like sushi or anything that doesn't come with french fries so I usually get take-out but I have dined there occasionally too. It's a small place but very cozy. I'm not a Ramen fan but people tell me it's great. I love their sushi, the teriaki dishes are excellent, and I've enjoyed their sukiaki too.
Nizza La Bella on San Pablo (although I think it is in Albany and not El Cerrito). French bistro with good food and a fun atmosphere. liz
The best Thai food we have ever had is at SaWaDee Thai on San Pablo Avenue. They're over the El Cerrito border in Richmond, about a block north of MacDonald. Unprepossing exterior and interior doesn't prepare you for the sensational food. Every bite has a myriad of tastes and spices. Don't know how they do it so cheaply. Good for families. Service can be a little perfunctory but who cares? The food is to die for! I'm salivating just thinking about it :-) Carole
on san pablo near the safeway/longs i think theres a thai restaurant accross the street that looks like a hotel. it's upstairs in front of a hotel i think. it's great. Michelle
I haven't found any undiscovered gem eating places in El Cerrito, but a good place to check is the SF Bay Area message board on - there is a woman who posts with the handle 'rworange' who writes a lot of reviews of places in the area. She recently posted a bit about 'tea with alice' which is a teatime place on san pablo near moeser. (I haven't been there yet.) -fellow foodie
not EC but very close the other way in Richmond 2 perhaps hidden, gems: Sa-Wa-Dee Thai on San Pablo at Nevin Ave. actually it's my favorite Thai in the Bay Area. and then La Bamba up at San Pablo just past Barrett. I wouldn't call it gourmet and it is very casual but they do have excellent Mexican and Salvadorian food- the platanos are devine.... of the Chinese restaurants in El Cerrito I really like Uncle Wong's but for more gourmet and utterly fabulous Chinese food I'd be inclined to drive to China Village on Solano Ave. Also, don't know the name but the Japanese restaurant in the Baskin Robbins plaza (by the Japanese dollar store and food market)at Moeser Lane/ San Pab. has delicious food and sushi, and quite an extensive menu- book. yum. chris
The only good places I know of are Asian. There's wonderful dim sum at Pacific East Mall (south side), fresh, delicious Chinese seafood (dinner) at Saigon Village at 3150 PIERCE ST (Rich.), just north of Pacific East Mall, authentic Hong Kong-style Chinese food at Daimo, also on Pierce St next to Pacific East Mall. I also like Yusan Sushi on S.P. (across the street from Home Depot), and Sawadee (Thai) at 12200 San Pablo Ave in Richmond. There's a great hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant on S.P. across the street from Home Depot, but I can't remember the name (Kung Threp?). I've been wondering if there's good French, Italian, or Mexican food north of Albany, so I'll be reading the other postings closely. El Cerrito Foodie
Yes, there are great restaurants in El Cerrito (and Richmond). We love Sa Wooei Thai restaurant on San Pablo Ave near Moeser (in the most surreal location, on the second floor of a cheap motel, overlooking San Pablo Ave and the Safeway parking lot). But we love that view esp. by night and their food is sooo good. Katanaya Ramen (also near San Pablo and Moeser, in the strip mall south of Moeser) has excellent Japanese food. And the most extensive menu I have ever seen. Some items have the price in Japanese Yen only! Talk about being authentic! Huong Tra is a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant (San Pablo and Barrett). Try their Bun Cha Hanoi, delicious grilled pork and sausages on rice noodles and vegetables. Pacific East mall (near I-80 and Central) has lots of great Asian restaurants including a superb place called Asian Pearl which serves Dim Sum and more. Ba Le in the Peppermint Plaza near Central and San Pablo has yammy (and unbelievably cheap!) Vietnamese sandwiches and more. Enjoy! Food lover in El Cerrito
I'd recommend you checking the listings at, or post your question there--if anyone would know, it's the people who post there. I don't know of any gourment gems in El Cerrito, though I've heard that the Thai place on San Pablo that's in that funny elevated building is supposed to be pretty good. amateur foodie
I read the postings from last week, and only one mentioned Krung Thep. I've been to all of the other Thai places mentioned, but none of them compare to this one.

Location: On San Pablo (same side of the road as Target), directly across from the plaza where Blockbuster video is. I think the nearest major intersection is Potrero.

Anyway, I used to live behind Target and we would eat at Krung Thep at least once per week.

Their prices are great, Their food is amazing, Their service is superb.

Charlie, the owner, was always so kind to us and really appreciated our business. He would go out of his way to make sure we had a nice dining experience.

I don't see a lot of people in there, so it would be great to give them more business. They have the best Thai food in the East Bay as far as I'm concerned. karen

More Suggestions


Inn Kensington: it's quiet, which made me anxious, but staff was very nice with young kids -- Ann

Both the Circus Pub and Kensington Bistro (under new ownership)on Colusa Circle in Kensington are extremely child friendly. Each of them have a corner with a nice big rug with lots of kids toys. JE
We've not eaten out much the past 3-4 months. Our 20-month old son is a terror in restaurants, and it just doesn't seem worth it! However, on those occasions when I can't face cooking or yet another take-out meal, we go to the Kensington Circus Pub on Colusa (near Semi-Freddies Bakery). The menu is primarily geared to adults (but our son enjoys the big bowl of spaghetti they bring him; they also serve burgers and fries, and fish and chips); the attraction is a small play area with several toys and usually other kids to play with (later in the evening this becomes the dart-playing area, so go before 7:00-7:30!). Lee
We also really like the Kensington Circus. -- Laurie

Since a lot of people may have relatives in town to entertain this weekend, I thought I would put in a plug for a new restaurant my family and I have eaten at recently. It is called Sam's Log Cabin and is located at 945 San Pablo Ave. in Albany, just south of Solano on the east side of the street. (It does look like a log cabin on the outside.) For breakfast, they use organic eggs and coffee and make their own muffins, scones and coffee cakes. They have nice smoked meats as well. They are in the process of putting in a beautiful garden out in the back, complete with vegetables. Best of all, they are very kid friendly and go out of their way to get my two year-old a muffin before anything else. (They did not have any high chairs just yet, so you may want to call ahead to see if they have them now if you are taking a baby.)

They are open for breakfast and lunch (from 8 am to 2 pm) and are closed on Mondays. Breakfast is around $5.50 and lunch specials start at around the same price. (BTW, they serve a great Cobb Salad!) Their phone number is 558-0494. Sarah

Re: Bruce's query about eating places with kids: The Sizzler on Portland and San Pablo is extremely kid friendly and kids under two eat free. My husband and I have been bringing our son since pregnancy and now he's nearly 20 months. He willingly sits in the high chair and loves the macaroni and cheese. Sometimes he'll eat some of the soups, or some of the salad bar items. There's also french fries and hamburgers and soft ice cream for dessert and fresh fruit and a kids cart with Pepperidge Farm goldfish and applesauce and baby hotdogs and stuff like that. There are many, many choices, and you can ask for a balloon. There are always a lot of kids there. When our son used to make a huge, huge mess my husgband would ask for the broom and duspan and weep up himself. I prefer to leave a larger than normal tip. Wendy
My 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter really enjoy Sizzler (Albany now that the El Cerrito one is closed) and Chevy's in El Cerrito Plaza. This is a big step up from MacDonald's and Chuck E. Cheese's, our former haunts (yuck). They also enjoy Fat Apple's in El Cerrito or Baker's Square on San Pablo Avenue for breakfast. Helen
Quick meals: I go to Nations on Central and San Pablo in El Cerrito (there are more of them in Berkeley, I believe) and get a sweet potato tart for $1.70. They also have grilled cheese sandwiches. Barney's Hamburgers on Solano Ave. in Albany and the one on College have 1/2 huge orders of big fat soft french fries for $1.70. And Andronicos also has good roasted chickens to go as well as cold cuts, and cheap stuffed huge baked potatos. Wendy