Oakland Museum Restaurant

There is a new trend at Bay Area Museums (at least) to have restaurants or cafeterias that offer “gourmet” sandwiches, made with organic and/or high quality ingredients, in new and interesting convinations. Among these the cafeteria at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the restaurant the the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Grow Cafe at the California Academy of Sciences come to mind. The Oakland Museum could not be less, and its restaurant could actually be the best of the bunch.
Its menu includes soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as a “daily special” for each day of the week. Thursday is meatloaf, Sunday is the “curry of the day,” and other offerings include a vegetarian tart and an herbed chicken. They also have a soup, sandwich and quesadilla special each day. For kids, you have your choice of a hotdog or a mini-pizza ($4). They also have cookies, bars and slices of cake, as well as fruit salad and bottled and fountain drinks. The prices are on the high side, a small fountain coke is $1.70 (I think) and most entrees are in the $7-9 range. They are quite generous, however.
Today I had the Southwestern Tri-tip sandwich, a cold sandwich with roasted tri-tip (which is really not that different than roast beef), lettuce, tomato, beans and corn and some tasty mayo. It came with a small mixed-green salad with a simple, not too tasty vinaigrette. I exchanged the greens for the lettuce in the salad, and that worked well. The sandwich itself was quite good. Desiree had a turkey sandwich, which she liked. They also had a couscous salad and a fruit salad, which again they enjoyed. My kids ate up the cheese pizza – it’s good enough for an adult – and we all enjoyed the soft chocolate chip cookie, the melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate chips were excellent. A lemon bar was too runny, but still very good.
You can enjoy lunch in their large dining room, while listening to live jazz – or eat in the outside veranda, a particularly nice option in summer (though, with little kids prone to running away, not one we can enjoy).
In all, we love this place and always make a point of eating there when we visit the Oakland Museum.

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