I think The Fat Lady is an underrated restaurant in Oakland. Not that it gets bad reviews, but it just doesn’t seem to get much recognition for some reason. It’s pretty much a locals in-the-know place, and one you should definitely try for its unique atmosphere and good food.
The Fat Lady was opened in 1970 by Louis and Patricia Shaterian, and is still owned by the same family. Their daughter Patricia Rossi now owns it with her husband Jerry. Local family owned, non-chain restaurants are celebrated here at Le Continental.
The restaurant was named after a painting of a nude woman which came from the historic Overland House bar in Oakland that was a Jack London hangout. The painting now hangs inside the bar at The Fat Lady. The decor is Victorian, with Tiffany lamps, stained glass, dark woods, red velvet wallpaper, gilt framed paintings, signs, and much more for the eye to peruse. Think Farrell’s for adults (with cocktails instead of shakes) but more dimly lit. Much of the decor came from real historic places. For example, the back bar came around Cape Horn in the Victorian era and was previously used in Mike’s Pool Hall in San Francisco, some of the beer signs came from old breweries, and the exit sign came from San Francisco’s Fox Theater (demolished long ago).
The menu is mostly classic American fare, with a few Mediterranean dishes reflecting the heritage of the family who owns it. A must is their famous French fried zucchini appetizer, which is surprisingly light and not greasy. I had the grass-fed beef New York steak, which came with perfect shoestring fries (my favorite fries with a steak), sautéed greens, and a whole roasted garlic, which the waiter suggested I spread on the steak (I did and it was delicious). The steak had a great char (but it wasn’t burned), was cooked just right, and was tender and juicy. On Fridays and Saturdays they offer Prime Rib from grass-fed beef, which I can’t wait to return and try. They have a popular brunch on weekends, when they offer a large menu and some classic cocktails.
The Fat Lady
201 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607
Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:00am (dinner service ends at 9pm on Monday, 9:30pm Tue-Thu, and 10:30pm Fri-Sat)
Sat 9:00am-2am (no food service between 2:30pm and 5:00pm on Sat)
Sun 9:00am-4:00pm (food service ends at 2:30pm on Sun)
See website for more info on meal hours