Trader Vic’s 9 Anchor Dr./Powell St. Free valet parking.
The original Trader Vic’s opened in Oakland in 1934 and is said to be where the Mai Tai was invented in 1944 (the name of the drink is coined from the Tahitian phrase “Mai Tai, Roa Ae,” which translates as “Out of this world, the best”). Be sure to order the Original Mai Tai if you want that tasty version and all-fresh ingredients.
That location closed and then reopened in this new incarnation. Now it is a link in the world-wide chain of Polynesian bars and restaurants. Famous dishes include bongo bongo soup (spinach and oysters) and Calcutta curry. At lunch—the perfect time to be here because the lovely water view can be fully enjoyed--I had a macadamia nut chicken salad sandwich that was delicious, though the nuts were chopped too small to taste and I couldn’t figure out what made the potato salad side Hawaiian.
Next time I’ll order either the Chinatown chicken salad, the Green Goddess salad, or something smoked in the big red Chinese wood-fired ovens (you can view them in action through glass walls). Another great time to be here is on a rainy day because your car is dropped off and picked up under a covered drive-thru.
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers