Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers is a great place to get burgers - beef, chicken, ground turkey, and other things like eggplant and mushroom. Their menu is HUGE, offering different toppings and burger configurations (barbecue, Greek, Russian, teriyaki, etc.) and they also have giant and tasty salads, baskets of yummy fried things like zucchini and mushroom. This is a great place to grab lunch with friend, but be prepared to wait...
PROS: great burger selection
CONS: cash only - maybe ATM
The Ruby Room in downtown Oakland has long outlived its "in spot" status - people still love coming here, especially on the weekends. You'll have to squeeze your way to the bar, fight for the bartender's attention, and feel your way in the dark back to your seat. They have dj entertainment and a pool table. Fun place to meet with friends.
PROS: still cool after all these years
CONS: still can get too crowded
If you do wash and fold services, consier Le Magic in downtown Oakland - it's about 85 cents a pound and takes 2-3 days to get your dirty laundry all clean and neatly folded. The folks who run the place are so friendly that I enjoy dropping off and picking my laundry every time. The only downside, of course, is that it costs more than regular coin laundry, and you may lose one or two more socks than normal, but the luxury of wash and fold can't be beat!
PROS: quick and easy - friendly
CONS: hard to find parking
The UPS store is one of those one-stop shopping places - mail services, copies, even passport photos. Very convenient. The store is always clean and the people that work there are always helpful and friendly. The only downside is the lack of parking - but if you work in downtown Oakland, it's an easy place to get your mailing done.
PROS: one stop shopping for mail services
CONS: no parking
A good gas station is dependable and predictable - well stocked snacks and a decent bathroom - this 76 station in downtown Oakland fits the bill. The gas pumps and such are always in good working order and the squeegee water is always clean and full. They carry the typical snacks and smokes - and everything's pretty predictable - which is good.
PROS: Fully stocked - well run - no complaints
CONS: not the best gas prices - but hey
Temple Tattoo is the premier place in Oakland to get ink. The shop is clean and and has funky decor - and the artists are friendly, professional, and world class artists. You'll have to call ahead or stop by to make an appointment a few weeks in advance, but the wait is worth it.
PROS: World class tattoo artists
CONS: small wait
This place serves up a wide variety of sushi - you can pluck your sushi off one of the boats that go around and around, or order directly from a server. They also have other Japanese dishes like noodles and teriyaki meats - most of which are ok. The sushi is definitely what to order here. Sushi Village is a nice alternative to other things going on around Emeryville, but their service, which ranges from apathetic to nearly hostile deters me from going more often. I've been here more than five times - and each time has been horrible service-wise.
CONS: a little expensive - and disappointing service
I absolutely love Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe - they've got really tasty comfort food to soothe away any bad day - and award-winning french fries (not sure which award, but try them, you'll see.)
Their burgers are my favorite in the East Bay - and their breakfast/brunch offerings are top-notch. The have beer and wine, so you'll have to try a pint of Guinness with an espresso shot.
The downside is you'll have to wait amongst Emeryville denizens, the hipsters, and the hungry on weekends...
PROS: Best Burgers in the Bay Area
CONS: wait, wait, wait
If you like Chinese dim sum, then you must try Restaurant Peony. Their dim sum dishes range from traditional shrimp stuffed dumplings and leaf-wrapped sticky rice to more innovative and creative dishes with the same ingredients but prepared differently (for example, phyllo dough.) All the dishes I've had here are excellent, and unlike other places, aren't as greasy. Downside? The service is a little annoying, and the prices are a little higher than most.
PROS: wonderful variety of dim sum dishes
CONS: a little more expensive than most
The Merritt Restaurant and Bakery is a neighborhood favorite - wonderful cakes and pastries (I recommend the strawberry shortcake), a full service diner (can't go wrong with the chicken 'n waffles), and they make their own ice cream (any flavor will do.) Its an retro, older looking diner, with a loyal clientele, and great for breakfast standby's like pancakes.
PROS: Yummy Cakes and Petit Fours
CONS: A little pricey.