Located in the neighborhood on the corner of 8th Ave in Oakland, this spot has delicious and affordable Lao and Thai food. The Champa Sampler is one of my favorites and includes Lao Sausages, Fried Rice Ball Salad, and Fried Spring Rolls. The catfish dish, I think #51 is also a typical favorite of mines. Interestingly the chicken pho there is actually pretty good too. Wash it all down with a BeerLao. It's always for $2.
Located in the affluent Rockridge area of Oakland, this is a spot most "regular" people might not even think about going to unless you live in that neighborhood. The first time I came here I thought the food would be overpriced considering the clientele it was serving but it's actually pretty affordable and good, my 2 favorite things about any restaurant! The crispy tacos are the bizness! There's always a daily special that can be hit-or-miss depending on what you're craving but its worth trying if you're indecisive. The salsa is also crackin'. The tomatilla and the one with pineapple are top choice. The daily agua fresca flavors are always bomb and you can end your meal with a savory alfajor cookie.
3. Koryo Sushi
Located in the Temescal neighborhood, this spot is place to go if you're in the mood for some sushi. They also have sister restaurants called Drunken Fish and Miyozen but this location is best. Its fairly small and intimate. I think they have a happy hour or early dinner special. My favorite thing is something that my partner and I found out when we saw the chef serve one day, its called sashimi salad. I think it's on the menu but it's easy to overlook.
4. Ao Sen
This is my favorite spot after a Saturday morning run around Lake Merrit. Although the Pho here is pretty good, the best dishes to get are the broken rice plates with shrimp and/or pork. I don't think many places do their rice up this way.
5. Cafe Colluci
Not too far from the Oakland/Berkeley border is a nice little Ethopian spot. I can't say I know too much about Ethipian food but almost everything I've tried here is good. Just pick according to the veggies and meats you like. The waitress/waiter can also advise you on what to get if you're stumped. They have these things called "Denitch Tibs", that look like lightly fried potato chips. Sambussas are also good starters.