Friday, October 22, 2010

Mariscos La Costa in Oakland

It is unfortunate that Oakland gets a lot of bad rap for its crime and negative images of police. If you are not from this area, you probably don't realize that Oakland has many parks up in the hills and next to the bay. It has a zoo and several community colleges. It is culturally diverse with large populations of Chinese, Hispanics, blacks, and white. There is a Chinatown where Bruce Lee lived at one point. You can find plenty of authentic ethnic restaurants there at bargain prices.

Two weeks ago I found this place called Mariscos La Costa in Oakland on International Blvd. I had dinner there with a friend a week ago. They sell oysters on half shell for $1 each! They are big oysters, too. I casually mentioned it to my Mexican friend at work. She was so surprised that I knew of the place. We ended up go there again today. Everything there is in Spanish. This one guy, a regular customer, told me that I was the first Asian he ever saw there. I had a ceviche tostada, too. The place is awesome although I was a bit in culture shock in that part of Oakland - it's like little Mexico. My friend, Rosa, who is from Mexico agrees. Driving down International Blvd during traffic hour isn't exactly a serene experience. It is a very busy street with people shouting, yelling, screaming at other drivers. People were driving and pulling over any way that was doable. Car stereos were booming with heavy bass.

However, as soon as you arrive La Costa, you will suddenly be surrounded by palm tress. In addition to the palm trees next to the sign (first photo), there is an entire row of large palm trees next to the outdoor sitting area. You will start to wonder whether you are still in Oakland or somewhere next to the coast in Mexico.

The setting of La Costa is different from most restaurants that I am familiar with. It only has outdoor sitting. It has a large parking lot, so you don't have to worry about finding parking on busy International Blvd. You walk up to the window to order your food. Their specialty is fresh seafood. You are not going to find any deep fried seafood there. I love oyster on half shell. Rosa loves mixta coctele (mixed cocktail) with shrimp, octopus, and oyster. Most patrons are Hispanics and the menu on the wall is all in Spanish. However, it's okay for you to order in English and ask questions. I am in love with Jamaica drink, which is hibiscus tea. I also love Horchata, but Jamaica is the drink of the month for me.

Mixta Cerviche Tostada

La Costa is located at 3625 International Blvd. (cross 37th) Oakland. I asked them for a takeout menu, and it is in both Spanish and English! The menu says they open until 9PM, but they closed at 7PM when I was there. If you are looking for fresh Mexican style seafood at low price, La Costa is the place to go. It's not a fancy place but the staff is friendly, helpful, and offers fast service. The customers are generally friendly, too.

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