Location: Uptown Oakland
Food quality: I enjoyed the orcchiette and the pumpkin tart. Both were simple, elegant and well-prepared.
Portion size: It was relatively small bowl of pasta and a relatively large tart.
Presentation: Lovely. My pasta arrived on delicate, vintage, European porcelain.
Restaurant Atmosphere: The Loring Cafe is notably and pleasantly odd. It’s worth a visit just to take it all in. They describe themselves as “Bohemian dining” and I don’t think that’s too far off. I’d probably add keywords like: European, gypsy, theatrical, baroque and romantic to that list. It’s definitely a good date restaurant.
Service: The service was pretty good, up until it was time to pay the bill. Then the waitress just disappeared. Granted, that was at 9:45, 15 minutes after the stated closing time. So I only kinda blame her. But I was still annoyed.
Table rating: My restaurant review for the Loring Cafe charts at a solid 3.5 stars.
Size: Pleasantly spacious.
Decor: Spectacular. If Gaudi designed a bathroom for a wealthy, Spanish version of Bilbo Baggins, this would be it. The low ebony toilet and matching end table is a spectacle unto itself. The gold and cream floor tiles are inspired. Sweeping curves of glossy brick transform the room into something non-linear and otherworldly. The gold gilt floor mirror added to the perception of space and literally “crowned” the long list of reasons to love this bathroom. Two minor downsides only: 1) The spare roll of toilet paper was set - cavalierly - on a rocky shelf and looked a little tacky. 2) The toilet paper dispenser was an iron pipe, set into the wall. Out of sync with the high class and whimsical nature of the space.
Temperature: I was so taken with this restroom, I didn’t even notice.
Toilet paper: Adequate, but two-ply would have really secured this restroom’s place in my all-time-best list.
Music: None. Honestly, I can’t imagine what they would have played. Some fast and energetic gypsy music? Some italian experimental post-punk stoner rock, maybe? In my head it’s Tom Waits playing accordion and singing with Blonde Redhead as the backup band.
Other: The sink is outside the bathroom, in some kind of bizarre communal hand washing space. Like a cross between a UFO and a chemistry lab bio-hazard sink. It was amazing and I’ve never seen anything like it or quite so out of place.
Throne rating: My restroom review for the Loring Cafe in Oakland, CA arrives at a majestic 4.5 stars. That automatically puts it on my short list of best restaurant restrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area.