Marica restaurant, Oakland- 8/22/2015

Loan and Minh have been talking about Marica in years and they been trying to get the whole group to dine there without any success because it an hour away.   A few of our friends are out of town, and the rest of group are busy so at the last minute I called Marica and was able to get a reservation for 4 people.

Marica is a small family owned and operated restaurant by Chef Owner Christopher Cheung and family since May 2000, located on College Avenue in Rockridge, Oakland.

Cheung opened Marica with a rotating Asian-influenced seafood menu but over the years the menu has evolved into a hodge-podge. Though ginger and scallions pop up here and there, Asian flavors have given way to more global influences (Yucatan sausages, gruyere soufflé, etc.). As sustainable seafood became harder for Cheung to obtain, wild-caught fish and seafood still dominates his menu but he is also including lamb and beef. Marica also switched from gas to charcoal four years ago, and nearly half the entrées are now mesquite-cooked.

Marica is located in the Rockridge district of Oakland which is a residential neighborhood and commercial district. Rockridge is known for being one of the wealthiest areas of Oakland. Rockridge was listed by Money Magazine in 2002 as one of the "best places to live.

Crossing the street and walking towards Marica.

Marica store front.

A large full-length windows in the front of the restaurant let people peek in.

Entering the restaurant... we came prepared and brought two bottles of wine.

The interior is very cozy, warmly lit, painted in warm yellow and green tones is inviting and gives a really comfortable vibe. The restaurant is fairly small and reservation is a must.


This is the view of the restaurant from our table. Warm light spilled from multilevel, wire-hung seed pods.

 Comfortable sprawl of wooden tables filled up the small floor space. The back wall was made with  brick, another a two-toned olive and light yellow and a large bar occupied a good portion of the restaurant.

Our table is in the right corner with a view of the whole restaurant.

Interesting art work hanging on the wall.

Odd jumble art hanging on the wall

Hoa brought a Pahlmeyer 2004 (red) and Minh brought a Grgrich hills chardonnay 2012 (white).

Cocktails here at Marica are very reasonable =$7

Minh ordered a Manhattan

Bread and butter are served to start with.


Loan and I

Chef Cheung changes his menu daily and offers a short list of appetizers such as Miyagi oysters on the half shell ($1.50 each) and crispy fried calamari ($9.5), Mussels in Pernod shallot broth ($7)as well as five seafood dishes and a Rack of Lamb and Filet Mignon if you are not into Seafood. 

Our waitress opening our wine.

We ordered oysters, mussels, and fried calamari to start.


The Prince Edward Island mussels with Pernod, shallot butter broth ($7) is a steal.

Minh and Loan highly recommended this dish and we liked it so much that we ordered another serving right after finishing it.


Miyagi Oyster at $1.5 a piece is a steal!


Hand chopped Calamari, wok fried, tossed with Jalapenos, ginger, scallions, and mixed green ($9.5)

Delicious and so flavorful.  Leaning more on the Asian side with the Jalapenos and ginger making this dish really special.

Okay time to dig in!

We ate all of it!- so far so good!

Minh ordered the Australian Rack of Lamb, Mesquite grilled, marinated in herbs de Provence, potato carrot gruyere gratin, Parsnip puree and haricot verts - ($27).


Generous portion but the lamb was just okay.

Hoa ordered the Filet Mignon, Blue cheese butter, demiglace, mashed potato, carrot and parsnip puree, and haricot vert - ($33)

The filet Mignon was cooked rare to Hoa's specification but same as the lamb is was pretty bland.

Loan and I we shared the seafood stew, swordfish, shrimps, scallop, lobster cognac sauce & gruyere puff - ($29)


Their seafood stew was excellent.  The broth was flavorful and the seafood was sweet and succulent!


Starting our main dish.

We are done...


We ordered coffee and we were shocked to see their huge coffee mugs!

For dessert we ordered a grand Marnier creme brulée, French custard, crisp caramel shell, topped with seasonal fruits - ($7)

and a German dark chocolate soufflé topped with vanilla ice cream - ($9)

Both desserts were excellent! 


Some of the big hits are our appetizers!  All 3 dishes were flavorful, and simply delicious!  Our favorite dish was the mussels with a delectable pernod butter sauce that we could not stop mopping the sauce with bread.  The miss are the lamb and beef.  My recommendation is to order seafood at Marica and skip the meat.  I love their desserts too. Most of the dishes at Marica are very reasonable even on the cheap side but they used very good seafood and ingredients.  Overall, we had a really nice time at Marica and we will come back if we are passing by Oakland.


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