Oishii Bento

By | January 30, 2006

Oishii Bento
119 Oakland Ave
Oakland, 15213
M-S 11-8:30

Every week I thank the heavens for Oishii Bento. Situated in the heart of Oakland, this bright little Sushi and Japanese/Korean restaurant brings fresh flavors at phenomenal prices. Oishii Bento translates to the ‘yummy lunchbox’, and it is such a cute name you want to eat up everything in the whole place.

The best value is the Bento itself. There is a main dish, say Beef of Pork Bulgogi, or Teriyaki with everything from beef and chicken, to salmon, tofu or just straight up veggies in it. And it comes in a little plastic tray already divided up. The other divided holes are filled with rice, gyoza, a clear noodly salad side, and awesome pickles. You also get your choice of Kimchee or Salad (with a truly delicious sesame ginger dressing). All that for ~6.50 – that price can not be beat. Plus it is tast-T! Really Tast-T!

I usually get the Unagi Bowl, which is barbecued eel over rice. It is my favorite, but the Bibimbab is a house specialty as well. Bibimbab is rice with vegetables and a spicy sauce, topped with a fried egg. This is a lot of people’s favorite, and is apparently very authentic. I like it a lot, but I still love my unagi more (maybe just a bit of an obsession on my part).

The sushi is very very good for the price. Obviously, it is no Umi, but the quality of the fish is high and that is the most important thing. The selection is somewhat limited: tuna, eel, salmon, shrimp, snapper, yellowtail, octopus, and a spider roll. There is no sashimi (which makes me sad). But the rolls are all very good. Their Rainbow Roll (California with a bunch of different fish draped over the top to make a ‘rainbow’ of colors) is quite good, but my new favorite is the Caterpillar Roll, which is California with just Eel and Avocado draped over the top. Yum! All the sushi and rolls are good, so choose whatever you like best!

I also really love the other side items you can get here. Inari (rice filled tofu) is featured on the menu, as well as croquettes, shumai, seaweed salad, and miso. They also have edamame, but it is overpriced. I can buy a bag at whole foods and steam it myself for way cheaper. But whatev – it isn’t like you usually have home-steamed edamame in the middle of Oakland anyway.

Couple other things. There is only one guy making sushi, so it is a little slow, especially during peak lunch hour. I often go around 1 or 2, so it usually isn’t a problem. But, if you are low on time, get a Bento Box or a non-sushi related bowl (ie – not the unagi bowl, which he makes in the sushi section). They also seem to have started doing some kind of pick-up and delivery service for CMU, which is pretty cool. I just wish they delivered to buildings on Pitt’s campus, because I would so love it if eel just magically arrived at my door everyday! Add in a snake rolling a doughnut, and that is my dream come true!

Anything you fancy – it is ALL good.


There is an upstairs room where you can sit that is very nice and cheery. You can sit at the window and look out at all the people going up and down the street.