Box and Bells
5912 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618Neighborhood:
Gastro PubPrice: $30 and under
Box and Bells
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://www.boxandbells.com/
- Phone: 5109232000x
- Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Wednesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 12:00am, Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
- Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Gastro Pub
- Executive Chef: Ben Coe
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine
A word from Box and Bells
Box and Bells is an eating and drinking house located in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland California. Our cooking is spirited and always intended to be accompanied by a well made cocktail, glass of wine or a shot and a beer. As Ernest Hemingway said "I drink to make people more interesting". Welcome to Box and Bells.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Box and Bells reviews from OpenTable diners
127 reviews since May 1, 2014
- Ambiance4Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (81)neighborhood gem (74)great for outdoor dining (56)vibrant bar scene (35)hot spot (30)special occasion (26)romantic (25)good for groups (21)great for brunch (20)late-night find (13)kid-friendly (11)notable wine list (7)great for lunch (7)scenic view (1)Show More
- Sunday eve and chef ?awayPollyVIPDined on 8/24/2014We have eaten here several times but sun eve food was not nearly as good as I. The past. Maybe chefs. Ite off heirloom salad so small and not best tomatoes . Fried chicken , fair, ribs ok, not great. Wine list expensive We will go again and see if we just hit a bad niteSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- The best burger on the planet.PhysikistDined on 8/22/2014The box burger is the best burger on the planet earth, and possibly the galaxy. (however that will be difficult to prove) It consists of the top of a french onion soup (Gruyère cheese and grilled onions) in a bun made from pretzel dough. Rumor has it the beef is massaged by monks. The fries are extremely nice, although I did complain about them once. But now I retract.Special Features:
- overall greatOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 8/21/2014Two dishes were too salty, the deviled eggs and the grilled veggies that came with steak. And I like salt. Everything else was great. Cucumber salad, grilled corn, ribs - all awesome.
- Solid dining choiceJustaRegularGirlDined on 8/21/2014We enjoyed our dinner though my pork porterhouse was overdone and tough. I hate to waste food, so I didn't send it back. The other dishes were tasty and creative (shredded cauliflower salad). A good selection of drinks. Attentive service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Nothing specialMlovefoodieDined on 8/16/2014Beautiful and nice ambiance. Fried chicken and cauliflower salad were nice and yummy but overall this place was nothing special. Probably would not be on my radar when thinking of a restaurant with all of the great Oakland options
- Thursday eveningTakeMeOutDined on 8/14/2014The service was quite good. The hamburger was excellent; cooked just right. My friend commented on how difficult it is to find a a well-done hamburger that is cooked just right. I recommend the grilled corn as a side dish. The restaurant was fairly empty at 7:00 p.m. but packed by 9:00. I found the restaurant noisy, perhaps because we were seated in in small corner in the front. Our table felt a little cramped.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Super staff+wonderful food!InSeasonDined on 8/7/2014Our Waitperson was so patient with my pickey-eater partner. That, combined with the fantastic food and the other friendly staff, made for a very fun experience. It's staying on my "Go-back-to" list.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Celebrated my husband's birthday!Mika5balletDined on 8/5/2014Loved the food and the service was wonderful. Look forward to returning, maybe for brunch with our grandchildren (6 and 8).Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fun and fantastic!OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/2/2014Menu was unique and the food was fantastic. Fried green beans. OMG! Awesome. Burger was amazing as was the hangar steak. Service was attentive and friendly. Great wine pairing too. Saturday night ambience was perfect for dinner in the neighborhood.Special Features:
- OtownmamaDined on 7/31/2014Very welcoming vibe with an outstanding menu. This was my 2nd visit, and it won't be my last! One meaningful touch: the server kept my food allergy in mind, and offered a dessert which wasn't to be on the menu until the following day.Special Features:
- Delicous and seasonalvelocjoDined on 7/30/2014The space here is nicely designed, including a very comfortable back patio. I loved the creamy liver mousse starter and my soft shell crab dinner. The cucumber salad was disappointing---cukes are in season in such variety now that it was a shame the chef did not take advantage. (For the price, I wanted a bit more pizazz, and also have them seeded!)Special Features:
- Interesting culinary conceptssavourygirlDined on 7/26/2014The menu must really be studied here, but even then you must ply your server with many questions. Especially enjoyed the grilled squid panzanella salad, the frites with a very tasty mayonnaise, and the pasta carbonara, tho the taste was subtle. It begged for fresh pepper....Don't go here to stuff yourself. Portions are modest, perhaps sensible. Really enjoyed the patio on a mild night. Easily spent $90 (three of us) without even getting to dessert, which, even then we HAD to have. Wonderful Verve coffee served in carafes. Server was fine but too busy to pay us a lot of attention.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- High HopesJRHOaklandVIPDined on 7/25/2014We had high hopes for a new place in Rockridge. I read the reviews here and thought it might be OK. And it was just that: OK. Food was not spectacular and as much as I hate to say because I cringe when I read other reviews complain about the portions, but they were a tad under-sized for the price. And I'm not complaining about the price because all the restaurants we go to are all about the same. The server was nonplussed, too. The wine selection could have been better. My recommendation? Go here for the bar and get a killer cocktail. That's about it.
- What Took Us So Long?like2dineDined on 7/25/2014We used to visit Somerset when it was here but hadn't been back since Box and Bells was opened. It was a very pleasant surprise. We started with a mixed salad with beets and the Hen's liver mousse - both of which were very good. Our server recommended a nice Italian wine that was reasonably priced and was perfect for a warm summer night. My husband had the salmon and I had grilled squid panzanella and they were also good. For dessert, we shared the grilled pound cake with berries. The décor is nice and service was excellent. We will definitely be back.Special Features:
- Amazingly poor serviceHalPooleDined on 7/23/2014Four of us went to dinner to celebrate a birthday. We each ordered appetizers and entrees. For each course, they only brought out 3 of the 4 items ordered. And to top it off, it was the birthday girl's appetizer and entree that were not delivered with the others. Big fail. Her appetizer came out after the rest of us had finished ours and we were told she had not ordered an entree when ours were delivered - despite the fact that we all heard the waitress confirm the order clearly. The food was not bad, but only so so. It looked as thought they had never heard of vegetables. The pork was a huge slab that filled the plate. Not bad, but nothing with it.
- mtf419VIPDined on 7/19/2014Box and Bells occupies a prime location on College Ave, just a short walk from the Rockridge BART station. For earlybirds, the bar opens at 5:00 with dinner service starting at 5:30. Also, happy hour extends through the weekends, with $6 beers and $7 house wines (cocktails are $10). Service is friendly and quick, no sitting around with empty glasses wondering where the wait staff are. The menu is well-curated, which is to say that it fits on a single page, with multiple fish, poultry and red meat options. Most of the ingredients are local and the starters include poutine, salted padrone peppers, and eggplant salad. Dishes are smallish, best for sharing.Special Features:
- a perfect dinnernikbarDined on 7/16/2014Oysters with bloody mary shaved ice, soft shelled crab on a creamy corn base, and an ice cream assortment, including basil ice cream (unbelievably good) all showed the imagination and skill of the chef. There were no-show-off-y innovations but unusual combinations that enhanced the ingredients, and everything was perfectly balanced. Efficient, considerate service too. My only complaint is the noise level--OK at 5:30, but later my partner and I were shouting to hear each other.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- sunday brunch w/ friendsOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 7/13/2014we sat out in the garden. a bit warm and the canopy they've hung to cut the light worked but still a bit warm, never-the-less pleasing. we sampled many plates off the brunch menu. other than the french toast being a bit on the sweet side, food was wonderful and enjoyed all around. nice bloody mary too, nice and spicy…well done! very friendly and helpful staff. all in all, a very nice meal was had by all.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- disappointeddisappointedDined on 7/12/2014i took my husband here for his bday. i alerted the hostess that it was his bday and she told me that she would tell my server. we decided to skip dessert (we had 2 starters, 1 salad and 2 mains). our server handed off the bill. no happy birthday, nothing. as we headed out the door, i asked the hostess why my husband's bday wasn't acknowledged. she was like, 'oh you have to order a dessert.' i was like, 'that would have been good to know earlier. i would have ordered a dessert.' i don't expect a small, boutique restaurant to give us anything for free. our tab (before tax) was $77. i know this isn't chevy's but for goodness sake, let a woman know what the protocol is so she can follow it. plus, the food was oversalted!
- Excellent, Hip, FunTheStarLadyVIPDined on 7/11/2014College Avenues has become a foodie’s mecca. Come early to cozy up to the bar for a perfectly designed cocktail. The dry martini and negroni were first rate. We sat out on the pretty patio where it was quieter as the main dining room is dark and super noisy. The patio needs heaters as the wind picks up. The wait staff are friendly, knowledgeable and swift. For starters we ordered the beet salad and frites, both delicious. For entrée, the crabs were really a small portion, but the sole was huge and filling. Being an anniversary, they brought us a delectable dessert. Food is really good and prices reasonable. Looking forward to a return visit when they have heaters!Special Features:
- Box and Bells offers great foodOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 7/10/2014We ate at the bar the other night, and the two knowledgeable and helpful bartenders guided us through the menu and drinks. They are great assets for you, and you should treat them well. We ate cucumber salad, padron pepper salad, frites, and squid, all recommended by the bartenders. And two desserts: ice cream bar and the chocolate mousse, again on the bartenders' recommendations. Very, very good. Portion small on the entree squid, and it was perfectly prepared, and not too chewy.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Outstanding dinner experience!!!MotownJoeDined on 7/6/2014Dinner was exceptional and was matched by the fantastic service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Prairiethepines52dinerDined on 7/5/2014The place is beautifully designed. Wait staff was very friendly. Menu was extremely limited and portions are tiny. We left hungry and spent about $160 before tip. Our drinks were delicious but also miniscule. I am not sure why an owner decides to be skimpy with everything. I'd rather pay more for a regular sized portion. I had read reviews beforehand, but didn't imagine it could be that bad. My husband ordered a seafood entree as an appetizer and a beef entree for dinner. The hanger steak was fairly tough to chew. The reason I would not tell friends, though, is that the menu selection offered nothing appealing for me. Vegetarians, don't bother. The beet salad was fabulous but you'd need to order 3 of them to make a meal.Special Features:
- So delicious!FavoritesVIPDined on 7/2/2014Box and Bells never disappoints. Whether it's a cocktail and burger at the bar or 4 courses of food, it is amazingly delicious. Warm, friendly staff and cozy atmosphere.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Slow foodUCgradVIPDined on 7/1/2014We sat on the patio, but the seating is not that comfortable there, but the noise inside was incredible. My wife's halibut arrived ten minutes before my burger. The fish portion was very small, too skimpy for $23. Tasted ok. The burger was done less than I specified, but it was good. The server was prompt enough, but the kitchen's production was faulty. No good reason to go back.
- Bells & WhistlesOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 6/29/2014The cocktails are amazing here. I had a moment to sit at the bar & was able to watch the genius of the mixologists create one tasty cocktail after another. They were so patient with me as I kept inquiring about each concoction. Sat in the backyard which is a lovely setting. The food was to be expected outstanding. I will def. be coming backSpecial Features:
- Taste but Very Small PortionsLiteonfoodDined on 6/27/2014First off, they know how to cook at this place. My biggest issue was portion size. Don't get me wrong, I see the importance in not serving up huge portions but this place is not cheap. I put Box & Bells at the same level of execution as Bourbon & Beef. The main difference is potion to cost. The salmon I ordered was probably a 2 ounce portion. Not a big deal unless it is ~$25. I get it, good product cost a restaurant but I walked out of the place, spending a pretty penny and just didn't feel like I got my money's worth. Great food but I just don't see me going back.Special Features:
- Not what I expectedFoodBugVIPDined on 6/19/2014I thought the menu was wonderful: creative, yet understandable dishes. But some of the main courses were not up to par and the frites were a disappointment. The frites are such a simple dish to wow people with, so I was surprised when they weren't even average. For the first course, the softshell crab was very good, as was the beer batter green beans.Special Features:
- Disappointed again!RJ44VIPDined on 6/17/2014This was our second time at Box & Belle, first time food was too salty and the fish we ordered had so many bones that made it almost almost impossible to eat, this time around the service was the biggest problem, our appetizer came on time but we had to get up and ask about our main course, server never came to the table to explain when tables next to us which were seated after us got their dinner. We had to ask for bread to go with sweetbread sausage ($17) which just comes as one and almost nothing else on the plate and by the time the bread came my friend was finished with the lone sausage. Expected more from people who run Commis...Special Features:
- fabulous but OMG noisypkr21VIPDined on 6/13/2014This is really a great neighborhood gem. The food was great, inventive and delivered by great staff. They pour 1/2 glasses of wine, but someone needs to baffle the noise level. I was exhausted from having to yell at my dinner partner.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Bad night at Box and Bellsfood4funDined on 6/7/2014We have enjoyed Box and Bells before so we were very disappointed at the poor service. We had a reservation for 8 and after 25 minutes we were told our table was still occupied. We were seated near the doorwy. it was LOUD and busy. The drinks and bread arrived well into the meal& when we suggested to the manager that the service was poor, he said "That's just how long it takes because everything is made to order". The waiter, perhaps in an effort to correct our impression of poor service, reached across me to clear the table of crumbs every 20 minutes. Finally, the check came as a total, not itemized. I have no idea what I paid for, but don't intend to pay a check at Box and Bells again. Too bad because the food is good.
- a winnerfoodiefun22Dined on 6/5/2014I was very impressed by the staff. Good food and drink suggestions, a sense of humor(which is very important) and not lurking around. Water is served immediately, good touch, and service was quick but not too quick. Definitely a find. Food was great.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great Meeting Place!BillWallaceDined on 6/5/2014The food is excellent, the service is terrific and the menu one of the more interesting in a Bay Area high-end gastro pub. We had bone marrow (a huge portion big enough for three people), sweetbreads sausage, duck breast with blue berry sauce during our second visit. Everything was fantastic! Try the Japanese style cheesecake to finish if it is on the menu when you are there. Scrumptious!Special Features:
- great foodalexVIPDined on 5/31/2014I prefer the dinner menu to their brunch menu. Good for groups if you want to share a bunch of small dishes. However portions are small for the price.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fun NightBurgessDined on 5/31/2014We had a great, great time at Box and Bell. The group we were with created an energy we just enjoyed. The food was innovative and very tasty.Special Features:
- Food below averageDinerVIPDined on 5/30/2014Weirdly designed restaurant. Strange liquor list and martini's we're not served in a martini glass. Expensive wine list. Food was not good. Grilled squid was mushy. Ordered sand dabs but they replaced with sole which was difficult to eat due to the abundance of bones. Will not be back.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIPDined on 5/29/2014Noisy bar like atmosphere. Good food but small portions.I would recommend this to a friend.
- taggyleeVIPDined on 5/28/2014good cocktails, friendly service. first order of biscuits was incredible, asked for a second order and they weren't as good. hardly matters with that pimento butter (soooo good!). very few vegetarian options that are substantial enough for a meal. will return for snacks and drinks.I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpensesameDined on 5/25/2014Delicious food. Interesting. Not the usual run of the mill fare. The burger was the best I have ever had and it is right across the street from Barney's! We will be back soon to try dining outside on the patio in back.Special Features:
- Very Good by all measurescostosVIPDined on 5/25/2014In a neighborhood that is rapidly becoming Oakland's answer to Gertrude Stein's memorable description of a place where "there is no there there", Box and Bells has added the exclamation mark to the there that now is really there. What a fun, inviting, and comfortable place which just happens to also have some very inventive and carefully conceived menu items. Oh, those deviled eggs! And the soft shell crabs, the squid, the bone marrow, etc. etc. The four of us shared everything (and the kitchem had no problem with adding a fourth marrow bone to the usual serving of three). We look forward to a return visit - soon.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.