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Alameda Restaurant Review: Gold Coast Grill

Submitted by on 1, April 22, 2011 – 12:03 am3 Comments
Gold Coast Grill’s Greek sampler. Photo by Heather Lyn Wood.

By Heather Lyn Wood

Writing always teaches the writer something about him or herself, and in writing this restaurant review, I learned that I’m a bit of a snob. After passing the Gold Coast Grill every day for almost two years, it never once occurred to me to stop in and eat there. Not because I had ever heard anything negative about the service or the food. No, my avoidance was one of pure aesthetics: the Gold Coast Grill just didn’t look that great to me from the outside.

Maybe it was the big white “Lunch and Dinner” banners, or the burgundy scalloped awning, or the neon sign in the window that gave off an “early bird special” kind of vibe. Regardless, something about it turned me off, and I never went. Until another restaurant review deadline rolled around, and I decided to conquer my unexplained reluctance and just go.

Now, the inside of the Grill didn’t immediately dash the doubts I had about the outside. The place is definitely not “hip.” It opened for business in 1992, but certain elements – okay, mostly the brown vinyl booths and “harvest gold” walls – make it look older. There is no design “theme” to speak of, and what little there is has an undertone of what you might call “late 1980s Victorian.” But that is where my criticism must end. Because after a few minutes at the Gold Coast Grill, I realized I had erred in judging the place at all.

While the restaurant is not going to win any interior design awards this year, it has ambiance that far outweighs a few questionable décor choices. There is a live piano player who plays well – something most restaurants no longer offer. There are real white tablecloths, another flourish that seems to be disappearing in all but the most formal establishments. And the service is genuinely polite and attentive. By the time we ordered our first menu item, I was feeling sheepish.

We started with the Greek sampler, a mix of dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), tzatziki (strained yogurt), melitzanosalata (eggplant dip), taramosalata (caviar salad) and pita. My dining companion, who is generally conservative in doling out praise, remarked that it was “one of the best things (he’s) had on the entire Island.”

Along with the sampler, he ordered the French onion soup, which was piping hot with cheese, chock full of onions and “exactly like French onion soup should be.” It was served in one of those old-school brown soup crocks, too, also as it should be.

I ordered the blackened red snapper. The fish was soft, fresh, and covered (but not smothered) with a subtle roasted tomato sauce. It was slightly soft in consistency for my taste, but cooked well enough and definitely flavorful. My co-diner ordered eggplant parmesan as part of the $17.95 prix fixe meal, and it was excellent: crisp, thickly breaded, steaky slabs of eggplant with rich marinara sauce, cooked all the way through, Southern Italian style.

Our food came with hot crusty French bread and butter, another nice touch. For dessert, we split the galaktoboureko, a phyllo roll filled with Greek semolina-based custard. It was simple, rich and sweet.

So the Gold Coast Grill did, and didn’t, fit my snobbish assumptions. It is a little frayed and dated and it’s not the place to take out-of-town guests to prove how cool and urban Alameda is. But the food is really good, and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and there’s no place quite like it nearby. I recommend it, and will be back.


  • Damian Barnes says:

    The Gold Coast is one of my favorite restaurants ever! The owners Stellios and Christos introduced themselves to me three years ago when I joined the Justus family on a fateful Christmas Eve dinner there. I fell in love! The staff are not just polite and courteous but are intent on providing you with the highest service. I am always impressed when Jorge brings out his table comb to scrape the crumbs of my dinner off the white table cloths before suggesting dessert! It has a very homey feel and yet the food and drink are deluxe! The atmosphere may be a little dated but it is not shabby! The staff are meticulous about keeping the place clean and presenting a fabulous atmosphere! My cosmos effervesce a little more to the piano player’s Linus and Lucy by Vince Guraldi.

    I have to say my favorite dish is the Veal Medallions in Champagne Sauce. It is tender, medium cooked and gravylicious! I choose the mashed potatoes always. Their filet mignon in green peppercorn sauce or the cabernet reduction sauce is really an affordable indulgence. The portions are generous but not gluttonous!

    Finish with a cheesecake slice, or even better the bread pudding with caramel sauce, and a half-shot of Metaxa (a Greek cognac) or a glass or Samos (a Greek Muscat).

    All our family get-togethers happen here…every special occasion – like Fridays. Well…what makes it special is really the owners’ dedication to serving the citizens of the island with the highest care and quality. Honestly…I’m a little bummed that the best kept secret is being let out. Oh…go try it!

  • Al Wright says:

    Lynda and I LOVE the Gold Coast! You can find us there nearly every Friday night, and sometimes during the week, too. Why? Perhaps not for the ‘comfortable’ decor (although I first visited their location when it was the Brass Rail, and I have been told that I don’t do well with change), but for the food, friendship, and Tom, the Friday-Night-Piano-Player. If you are a carnivore, the filet with peppercorn sauce is outta this world good, the rack of lamb is probably the best in town, any of the soups (different and homemade every day) are delightful, and the cioppino (during crab season) is to die for (and quite messy)! Can’t say enough about the staff, they are all wonderfully friendly and helpful. And that leaves Tom, the Friday-Night-Piano-Man. On any given Friday night, we’ll be sitting at the first table to the left as you walk in the dining area, loving Tom’s music. Please say ‘hi’ as you pass by, and become one of the family.

  • Ryan Keith says:

    Gold Coast has become a family tradition. I will agree that the decor is a bit dated…but in reality that is part of the charm for me. I enjoy cool modern restaurants, but I regularly prefer the intimate, cozy and “relaxed” atmosphere at Gold Coast. The seating is comfortable and you never feel rushed.

    The staff is not snobby or snooty. They are warm and inviting make you feel like you are at home, but receiving A+ service constantly.

    Every dish I have enjoyed here has been prepared perfectly and I have enjoyed every last bite. And even if I know I don’t have room for dessert, I go for it…wrapping a meal up with something sweet and a little samos (i love that drink) is the perfect end to the day!

    I take friends from out of town here all the time because it is not noisy and we can spend time catching up and eating a great meal.

    **BTW the cosmos are delicious. And the bar staff is great!
    Check them out and as they say at Gold Coast “Kali Orexi!”

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