Best Lebanese Greek Restaurant Inside a Predominantly African-American Bar That Used to Be a Bank

Wally's Cafe

East Bay foodies and lovers of fresh and cheap Mediterranean meals will be hard-pressed to find a better hot spot than the one hidden behind the Emeryville juke joint the Bank Club. Wally's Cafe is named after proprietor Wally Matar, who operates it with his wife, Angelica, and son, Ronnie. Sizzling up specialty plates since late 2007, Wally's attracts Pixar employees at lunch and is home to an eclectic blend of locals, barflies, and college kids by night. Enter via the Bank Club to downplay the sometimes-strange looks from locals, or head around back past the Dumpster and bougainvillea and use the side entrance to get to the restaurant's classic wraparound counter. Travel photos of Lebanon's coast adorn the walls, in keeping with the restaurant's Lebanese take on Greek and Mediterranean food. The super-size specialty plates, at $11.99, easily feed two to three hungry eaters and come with complimentary spicy lentil-and-rice soup. For lighter lunchers, grab a falafel, gyro wrap, or chicken or beef shawarma ($6.99), and let the flavor begin. Lebanese baklava (pistachios instead of walnuts) comes out crispy-light, not too sticky and not too sweet. Mediterranean staples such as burgers, burritos, cheese steaks, and chicken wings are also all available. Cash only.
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