February 11, 2015

Emeryville: Trader Vic’s; restaurant review

80 North 

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.   

the Original Mai Tai at Trader Vik's in Emeryville, California

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.

chicken salad sandwich at Trader Vik's in Emeryville, California

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.

red Chinese wood-fired ovens at Trader Vik's in Emeryville, California

Trader Vic's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More things to do in Emeryville.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


  1. Sounds like a wonderful stop in the East Bay. Love me some Tiki!

  2. I loved the sound of your sandwich but too bad it disappointed. Interesting to hear where the Mai Tai started.

  3. Love the lore surrounding tropical drinks. And your lunch looked great!

  4. Classic, old school Trader Vics. Probably should've had some macaroni in that tater salad for it to seem more Hawaiian. Looks yummy nonetheless.

  5. Wow! Thanks for introducing me to this chain! I thought it was something related to Trader Joe's but Mai Tai I like a lot!

  6. Wow Trader Vic's has been around for a long time - I have yet to visit one.

  7. Trader Vic's looks fabulous! Thanks for introducing me to it.

  8. Thanks for the history of this restaurant and its brand name products. I'd love to try the Bonga Bonga soup as well as sample a Mai Tai at the original site.

  9. Awesome! Love tiki and maitais and those wood burning ovens look very interesting.

  10. That potato salad made my mouth water. I don't even care that it wasn't Hawaiian!

  11. Looks like a great stop for lunch. The bongo bongo soup sounds interesting!

  12. Definitely need to check out Trader Vic's next time we're in San Fran. There was one in the Palmer House in Chicago that was iconic. Would love to try the Mai Tai.

  13. I was on a self-appointed mission to taste test as many mai tais as possible during our 3 month Hawaii sojourn last year. Thanks for letting me know that there's one for me to try in Emeryville!

    1. Trader Vic's is as good as anything I've had in Hawaii.


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