IF YOU HAVE PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF PLACES TO EAT NEAR OAKLAND PLEASE ADD THEM
A recent local newspaper article discussed several new hotspots within Oakland. Some of a local ASF member's favorites (most included below) are available on a map here - and we have other great recommendations about GettingAroundOakland and RecreationOakland.
Oakland (Walking Distance Of Hotel)
Le Cheval http://www.lecheval.com/ is great for groups. Good French-influenced Vietnamese food served fast at low prices (one of my favorites is the watercress salad). There's often a wait on Friday/Saturday night, but it's a large (and sometimes noisy) place, and they turn the tables over pretty fast. Good drink selection (solid beer and wine list backed by a full bar). (Monday night I had the 5 course seafood meal: very good food with fairly good service -Shane)
Levende East http://www.levendeeast.com/, a swanky restaurant and bar best for smaller parties.
Tamarindo http://www.tamarindoantojeria.com/, a small restaurant with elegant decor and friendly staff serving upscale Latin American-style food and aguas frescas.
Breads of India http://www.breadsofindia.com/ opened a large location in downtown a couple years back. Their Berkeley location puts out excellent food at only slightly higher than market price.
Phnom Penh http://phnompenhhouse.com/default.aspx, a friendly Cambodian restaurant. Good food, good service, try the Singapore noodles and Papaya salad.
Bin Minh Quan http://www.yelp.com/biz/binh-minh-quan-oakland, cheaper than Le Cheval, and far better portions. Avocado shake is delicious. Open until 10pm.
The Golden Lotus http://www.goldenlotusvege.com/, vegetarian and heavy on the tvp.
For breakfast, check out the Cockadoodle Cafe http://www.cockadoodlecafe.com/ (+wireless, key required), or Cafe 817 http://www.cafe817.com/ (best espresso in town, flaky wireless can sometimes be picked up near the door from the brew pub).
The Breakroom http://www.breakroomcafe.com/, 6 blocks from conference, is a quiet, unassuming place with wireless internet. Serves vegan pastries and a boho ambience.
For a pub feel, you might consider Pacific Coast Brewing Co. http://www.pacificcoastbrewing.com/ for okay beer and terrible food, and flaky wireless.
Luka's Tap Room & Lounge http://www.lukasoakland.com/, less pub-y, with surprisingly excellent food. And I hear dancing in the evenings too, if you're into that sort of thing.
Or, if you just want excellent beer, try The Trappist http://thetrappist.com/ with over 160 beers, 20 on tap.
There's a mod_perl, SF.pm gathering at Luka's Taproom and Lounge on Tuesday evening at 7: http://www.meetup.com/San-Francisco-Perl-Mongers/calendar/11676532/
Good deli sandwiches and basic deli meats, cheeses, olives, snacks, and some groceries are found at http://rattos.com/ - excellent idea for lunch or pickup snacks.
Oakland/Berkeley/Emeryville (BART-able / short drive)
Camino http://www.caminorestaurant.com/ would be good for a larger group, serving up food and cocktails you just won't find anywhere else. However, it's a bit too far to walk on foot (over to Lake Merritt and up Grand Ave.).
Yoshi's http://www.yoshis.com/ sushi restaurant and jazz club can make for a fun night out (could end up on the pricier side).
Take a very short drive (or a medium walk from the MacArthurBart station) to the Piedmont area for a real pub (Cato's Ale House, with solid wireless and soccer on the TV) or some high end dining (Bay Wolf).
You can take the BART (local mass trainsit train, 12th St. stop right near the hotel) for even better food and bars to nearby College Ave. The Rockridge area of North Oakland features several excellent pubs and restaurants, and its only a short BART ride away (since the conference hotel is sitting on top of a BART stop. Some favorites include Somerset http://www.somersetrestaurant.com/ on College Avenue for lunch and dinner and weekend brunch, tiny but great tiki bar the Conga Lounge http://congalounge.com/ open evenings and weekends, and Zachary's Chicago Pizza http://www.zacharys.com/ (long wait, no reservations, renowned deep dish spinich and mushroom) open when pizza places should be open...Barclay's Pub on College Avenue http://www.barclayspub.com/ is another with excellent local microbrewed beer on tap (30 varieties at a time on tap) but pretty crummy food. Nick's Bar & Grill nearby http://www.yelp.com/biz/ben-and-nicks-bar-and-grill-oakland/ has great food but not such a good selection of beers (sigh).
Greater East Bay (BART-able / medium drive)
Berkeley is the home of one of the greatest restaurants in the United States (some say in the world). Chez Panisse http://www.chezpanisse.com/ was started in the late 1960s by Alice Waters and is considered to be the home of "California Cuisine" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chez_Panisse/ . Dinner in the downstairs restaurant is a reservations-only affair (and you probably can't get reservations...they are snapped up months in advance)...but you can go to the upstairs cafe with a little advanced planning. Call ahead at least 24 hours most days. Accessible by North Berkeley BART (its a 15-block walk) or car. There's an excellent brewery if you get thirsty on your way there -- Triple Rock.
There are several other restaurants on the same block as Chez Panisse that take advantage of their overflow. (Cesar's, a tapas place which used to be next door, closed.) Across the street is the CheeseBoard Collective http://cheeseboardcollective.coop/ and a little further down you'll find the mecca for vegan and raw food fans, Cafe Gratitude http://www.cafegratitude.com/, which is far enough down Shattuck that its actually closer to the University BART station.
Of course San Francisco is also just a short BART ride away from the Oakland Marriott. The first City-side stop on BART (all lines) is Embarcadero. The building with the quaint clock-tower along the waterfront at Embarcadero is called the Ferry Building http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/ and its just full of shops and eateries including The Slanted Door (Vietnamese http://www.slanteddoor.com/, you'll need reservations, has an excellent bar with a view of the bay) and Taylor's Refreshers (old fashioned hamburgers http://taylorsautomaticrefresher.com/) just to name two. Open-air Farmer's Markets complete with tent restaurants open Saturday and Thursday mornings.
For the best fine dining in SF, check out Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys (expensive, reservations required in advance, stupendous wine pairings and pre fixe menus), or if you can't get in there, Gary Danko (same "deal").