The focus and specialty at The Barrel Room is wine. The restaurant offers more than 50 types that are carefully selected for their quality, interest and rarity. According to the wine list and the regional ingredients available, Executive Chef Manuel Hewitt creates a masterful menu of food that will focus on the traditional cuisine of a particular region. The Barrel Room changes its menu quarterly, so you can stop by around the year to experience new flavors and options.
The Barrel Room features a bistro-style menu that changes throughout the year. The level of cooking you can expect to find here is presented through sophisticated dishes like bruschetta with heirloom tomato, basil, pine nuts and goat cheese, roasted stuffed dates and duck liver mousse. You can always order an artisan cheese board or charcuterie platter to enjoy with your wine as well.
Had been there once before and enjoyed everything so retuned and brought friends. A little disappointed as what was listed on- line for menu choices wasn't the same; half had changed. Nice service and waiter, but should have warned us that the entree with scallops really only came with one scallop, and waiter knew two were planning to share the dish as a main course.
We did the Valentine's Day prix fixe menu. While the food and service we good, the restaurant was very small and we didn't like being quite so crowded together. Given that, I feel like the value wasn't as good as it could've been. That said, if you don't mind getting cozy with your neighbors on a special occasion dinner, this is still a great place to eat.
I did not have a bad experience at the Barrel Room. The service was great, and the restaurant is very comfortable overall. The wine was also fantastic. My only gripe is the price vs. food quality. I do not mind paying top dollar for a great meal, but I paid 400$ for something quite forgettable. There was an oyster dish that was tasty, but the oyster was warm; There was a pasta and scallop dish that was all over cooked and under seasoned; And a bone marrow dish that was served, confusingly, without some sort of a vessel to carry the marrow(i.e. Crustini or cracker...etc.). Again, the wine was great, but I went to Barrel Room for the food, and unfortunately I left disappointed with my meal. My suggestion is that the kitchen staff raise the expectation around the food quality so that it matches the price they are asking customers to pay.
I still maintain that it was a good overall experience, and I will return for the atmosphere and wine selection.
We went there on Valentine's Day, so perhaps they were under a lot of pressure?
When a restaurant doesn't post its menu for the special event & doesn't post the price, even on the menu after you are seated, there is a reason! We felt it was over rated & overpriced. We had the 5 course dinner with wine pairings. We were shocked by the price. 2 of the courses were foods I don't like & the entree was a dry Cornish game hen that I would never order, given a choice. However, the dessert was delicious!
Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
They called hardly two weeks ahead of time to change the time of my valentines day reservation. This was not a request they gave me no other option. They also failed to post a fixed price menu even the week of. Changed to Saturday because of this and they were out of one of their four entrées at 6 pm on a holiday weekend which is inexcusable. Our waitress couldn't even be bothered to tell us that when we were seated which should be standard procedure. Very sloppy inconsiderate management for such a price. I get better service at run of the mill family places. Clean up your act!
My husband and I went to The Barrel Room for our fourth dinner; the prior three times, we have been pleased with the small plates and the atmosphere. However, we tend to limit our wine to just one glass, and order beer (reasonably priced and a good selection) to supplement the wine, because the wine prices seem so high. Most wines by the glass are in the $15 - $20 or more range. The food is excellent, generally speaking. However, on our fourth visit there, we were very disappointed by the service provided by the main wait person, who seems to be the manager or owner. He has always been the one to wait on us, and he has seemed in the past more reserved than friendly. On this night, his attitude was off putting. First, he presented the menu, and it had only four large-plate selections: a pasta, a sea scallop dish, a baby back rib dish, and a shortrib entree. Since I don't eat beef, and am trying to limit my pasta, I was eager to order the scallops. He informed us, even though it was early in the evening (5:30!), "we are out of the scallops." So I asked, "You only have three main dishes to choose from?" He said in a condescending, defensive way without a hint of apology: "We had four, and four minus one is three, so yes." Then, as the hour went on, it was clear that the kitchen was experiencing significant delays; we had to wait excessively between the cheese plate and the small plates that followed. He never apologized or acknowledged that there was a delay. We were finished with our drinks by the time the food finally arrived but did not want to order another round. At the end of the night, we had a $140+ bill for a stuffed fig appetizer, a cheese plate, a small salad, a small-plate roast quail, and the baby back rib dish my husband ordered; three beers, one glass of wine, two bottles of sparkling water. It did not seem worth it, and we will not go back.
Food was quite tasty, though portions were a bit in the small size. Good variety of wines by the glass, but they were pricey. A nice dining experience that we will do again, but the prices make it more of an occasional than a regular spot for us.
T his is our favorite local restaurant . We really like the wine flights . We can discover new wines paired with very interesting small plates .
Nice choice wines but lousy pour. Date appetizer tasted medicinal. Side of cole slaw had weird tasted but rib portion ok though the BBQ tasted store bought. Only 3 scallops came with pasta scallop dish. House salad tasty though.
The California Syrah was very nice and fruity. The cabernet flight was mixed, best was the Corison. The short ribs special was delicious but the cauliflower appetizer was meager. The pasta special was very nice but the baby back ribs were mediocre
Terrific wine pairings!
The smoked burrata small plate was delicious. Wine flights were great as was the service!
I went during restaurant week so I only ordered off the prix fixe menu. I was not impressed. There was a long wait between dishes and only small portions were given. The food selection from the actual menu was actually quite large. I am sure I would have had a more enjoyable experience had I ordered their regular dishes instead. Extensive wine collection.
I love this place and am always happy with the Oakland location. Like be the flights, good beer selection and plenty of delicious food to taste with.
Outrageous pricing for mediocre service. Timed seating and fixed price shouldn't have been so difficult to coordinate. There were nice touches, don't get me wrong. But not a $320 experience after all was said and done.
We had the NYE special 5 course with wine pairing (two wines per dish). Really great
The food was fantastic. Great selection of wine. They were out of a lot of things but the waitress substituted well. This is a great date location but not if you are looking to have a private conversation.
Yummy food and interesting wine flights.
To start, we were taken aback by the $30 corkage charge at a small local restaurant, even for bottles they sold. This is a $10 increase over any other local. Our starters were tasty but our main was a disaster. Our ribs were cold a stringy. They did offer to replace them but we refused and just left half of them. They did deduct $8 from the price, though we didn't ask. We did ask for bread and got what tasted like croutons. Not a happy experience.
I went with my girlfriend at 7:30 in the evening. This place is small and therefore has only one server, one bartender, and one manager on staff at any given time. Our server was very cordial and knowledgeable. She was running around all night trying to fulfill orders and describe wines to the dozen or so two-person tables at the restaurant. This significantly slowed the pace of the dinner, and we were often sitting with nothing in front of us, having completed the food and wine we ordered.
Don't come hungry. This is a great place for a long evening of conversation and some excellent wines.
We arrived on the last day of their Italian menu. It was pretty good. The house made pastas were excellent, as were the selections of charcuterie. I was less impressed with my raw tuna dish and the squash gnocchi were a bit more like square blocks of fried paneer (very cheesy and dense). Flavor was good but the texture was not what I expected. I look forward to their new menu!
Finally ......a restaurant in the East Bay where my wife and I can actually hold a conversation without having to fight over overly "hip" music with horrible loud acoustics, which robs the experience of however good the food may be...Of course the food is the main reason to go, the pasta with Scallops was top notch and a good portion, the salad was also very good. If you enjoy wine, this is also great as they have themed flights as well as a retail shop where you can buy a nice selection then have it opened at your table for a corkage fee. Looking forward to returning to try some other dishes.
Waiter was knowledgeable about the wine. Unfortunately they had a big party so we didn't get any food for over 30 min from ordering We got our flight of wines. Apologies and one free glass of sparkling wine only slightly placated. Some bread or olives would have gone further than more wine. When food came it was good but I would think twice about going back.
I noticed the tables around mine were turning over VERY quickly for a Fri. Then I realized folks probably didn't want to stick around after finding out the glass of wine, which the waitress kindly offered you a taste of, ended up being $22 each, which you don't find out until after they've poured you a glass. Adding insult to injury, the waitress finished a bottle when pouring my BF a glass. I guess he got more than the standard pour because they billed him for 1.5 glasses. Tacky. But whatever.
I think people will pay top prices in the right place, with the right service. They could hire more sophisticated staff than the kids they currently have there and step the place up to a more elegant experience. That might help to increase the perceived value needed to charge $22 for a glass of wine. The staff they have there now seem like they should be working in a pub with artisan beer.
We love this restaurant , especially the wine flights . The menu is constantly changing so we always look forward to new things .
We return to the Barrel Room because it's a peaceful place to have a conversation and enjoy the good food and excellent wine. Service is a bit sketchy and unattentive. Beware the prices on some of the single glasses of wine. $20! Oucheee!
The food was very good and the wines outstanding. The service had its moments. When we arrived the restaurant was full and it was clear the waiter could not wait even a second to hear the order. Then it took a long time for the food to be served and one plate was left out. When it was brought to the attention of another waiter who came to pick something up, it was handled very well and it arrived much faster. The restaurant was not that full anymore. I would go back knowing that one may have to wait a while and that plates come out one at a time.
I enjoyed a couple of flights of white wines here (this month, Italian-themed) with my date. We tried two different wine personalities ("volcanic" and "crispy" flights) and the sommelier was very informative, gracious and attentive. Lots of fun if you're into tasting varieties of wines -- I love their unusual format. It's a cozy, easily manageable place, though weirdly the table was shaped such that my date and I were rather far away from each other. I will certainly come back and try more flights as their monthly theme changes. We shared yummy olives and a nice salad -- would need to really dine here to rate the food.
Great wine, good food, knowledgable servers who care. Will do again.
The wine selection was varied and well explained. The various wine "flights" were very well constructed. The food offerings are designed to pair with the wines and the food is interesting and excellent--both taste and presentation. Definitely recommend this spot!
The service was impeccable -- attentive but not overbearing. The wine selection was fantastic. The food was memorable.
Since they don't tell you the producer you will be served on the flights menu, we found the wine ordering a bit confusing. We asked for suggestions based on likes and dislikes and were served two flights but we found them to be just good, not great, so we switched to just ordering by the glass. The food, on the other hand, was fantastic! Our compliments to the chef!
We regret that TBR has dropped the entree section; they did such a superb job on them. But admittedly most people come for the wine, whereas we come for the food! This is the Italian menu (we have also had the French, Spanish, and Latin American menus here), and all small plates. The potted smoked pig was tasty, a little salty but fine with the perfect crostini and caramelized shallots. Tuna crudo was fresh and flawless, goat cheese gnocchi w/pancetta won raves from all 4 diners. Other winners were the burrata salad, tri-tip, pasta w/cauliflower, scallops, and eggplant Parmesan w/marinara. The aranchini were a little too solid, no melty cheese in the middle, and it lacked sufficient salt altho the smoked mozzarella was tasty. Ice cream sandwiches are excellent, as is the XOX dark chocolate truffle trio. Try one of their 20-odd wine flights and expand your horizons, too! Golden State hard cider on tap as well, great with food.
Everything about our night out at the Barrel Room was excellent: The food was outstanding -- every course of it, the service was excellent, and of course the wine was exceptional. We particularly enjoyed their variety of wine flights - all with a different theme and all wonderful.
The only down side here is that the tables are a bit too close together. It's an intimate space.
This is a fun addition to College Avenue. Casual and comfortable. We had very attentive service (the waitress was fantastic about my husband's allergy, thoughtful about suggestions, and knowledgeable about the wine). The food was interesting and well presented. There are a lot of wine flight options and they offered a fun way to explore the region. We'll be back.
Amazing selection of wines.
Food changes. We went during South America flavors and wine
Well done to the staff and owner
The Barrel Room has an ambitious program: the wine AND food change every four months. This review is for the French menu, which ended around April 15 (it's now featuring Latin America, which is SUPERB). The French menu offered a number of good dishes, including a great charcuterie platter and excellent cheese plate. The lamb entree had been tweaked from a single porterhouse to a rack of lamb with roasted baby potatoes and a mix of cauliflowers. My spouse was very pleased and said everything was perfect. I had one of the small plates as my entree, the sweet potato-mushroom croquettes which were wonderful with a lively mustard aioli. Service is excellent here but do be patient; the waitstaff spends time with each table to find out what kinds of wines they enjoy so they can make the best suggestions. TBR is UNMATCHED for wine lovers: they have more sets of flights to try than any other wine bar in the East Bay. Make a reservation (this isn't a big place) and go now!
Barrel Room's Oakland location is a cozy, simple affair, with a significant wine list paired with a small number of entrees that compliment and enhance. French garlic sausage was our choice; it had the right amount of crispness and flavor, and went quite well with a red from Burgundy that was recommended. Service was efficient without being obtrusive. It's not a fine dining, elegant type of place, but pick a couple of small plates, an appetizer and a glass or two (or bottle) of wine and you should be quite content.
My friends and I came for a girls' night dinner. We generally like sharing several plates in order to try a variety of dishes and still have room for dessert. The focus was on French cuisine. We took a few of the waiter's recommendations and were not disappointed. Two of us enjoyed a wine flight each, from which they had several to choose. Everything the waiter recommended was delicious. We all agreed we would definitely return when they changed up the menu to focus on a different cuisine.
Attentive helpful staff with speedy service and wonderful flavorful food. What else could you ask for?