We went to Pasta Pelican on a Tuesday evening in June 2004 on the spur of the moment. I wanted to go someplace relatively inexpensive where I could have a relaxed conversation and Pasta Pelican seem to fit the bill. It did and we had a very good experience. The food wasn't extraordinary, but the ambiance and location made for a very enjoyable dinner.
Pasta Pelican is located in Alameda, across the water from Jack London Square. From our table by the window we had very nice views of the Jack London waterfront with downtown Oakland in the distance. There were a few pigeons and some other birds playing around, but otherwise the bay was calm. The tranquil views from here are really the attraction, so make sure you request (and get!) a table by the bay.
The restaurant itself is very casual. There are tablecloths and cloth napkins and the waiters and bus boys don long aprons, but the restaurant clearly has seen better days. Tables are set at a good distance from each other in the two large dining rooms, so that private conversations are possible. This is a family restaurant and there were children here, but the noise level in general was low.
The service was good, but relaxed - water was refilled, extra bread brought, etc. etc.
We didn't expect the food to be great and it wasn't, but it was homey and dependable. An appetizer of sferas (meatballs sauteed in a tomato sauce - $7) tasted home made; it wasn't sophisticated and the taste was rather uniform but it was satisfying. I'm not sure if I'd order it again, but only because I'm not sure if it makes sense to have meatballs - a rather heavy dish - as an appetizer.
Pasta Pelican offers pastas as well as chicken, seafood and a couple of meat dishes - but both of us were in the mood for pasta. Mike ordered the fettuccine carbonara ($11), he found it tasty but nothing out of the ordinary. He wouldn't order it again.
I had the Azzuro Delicia ($11), fettuccine in a Gorgonzola sauce with tomatoes, pine nuts and basil. I also found it unremarkable. The sauce was creamy but very light and one-dimensional; the only break in the taste were the crunchy pine nuts. It was satisfying, but not exciting.
The dessert list included tiramisu, creme brulee and I think a chocolate mousse (all for about $5.50) as well as Tucker's Ice Cream. Nothing spoke to me, so we skipped dessert.
In all, I felt that the location and the prices made up for the pedestrian but palatable food, and I would go again.
2455 Mariner Square Drive