An island in a sea of sameness, the Oceana Diner sits in a shopping plaza along the stretch of Beach Boulevard between Hodges and San Pablo. In an area heavily populated by chain restaurants, this family-owned spot is quickly building a steady crowd of regular patrons.
Clean and bright, Oceana Diner’s décor represents a thorough transformation from the previous tenant, the cramped, eclectic Across The Ditch Cafe. Dark wood tables and chairs fill the room but leave plenty of space to navigate. An impressive-looking European-style copper and brass cappuccino maker adorns the counter opposite the door. The walls are empty, but there are plans to fill them with the works of local artists post-One Spark.
The fare is diner classics, presented in a straightforward style. Breakfast begins with an array of Early Bird Specials ($4.99) available from 6-8 a.m. Monday through Friday. It’s a bargain price for a decent repast. Our favorite so far is the Farm Eggs Combo — two eggs any style, two pieces of bacon or sausage, home fries or grits and toast. Our eggs came as ordered — a perfect over-medium. Bacon was suitably crisp, and the home fries were large crispy chunks of potato and onion.
The Oceana Benedict ($8.99) brought a new dimension to the traditional bennies — in the form of ground beef, onion and peppers with a “secret” Turkish seasoning. Tomato was involved, and the result was flavorful but not overpowering.
The aforementioned coffeemaker churns out expertly prepared espresso and cappuccino all day.
Breakfast leads into lunch, and ours was a welcome treat on a sunny Saturday. A Fried Flounder Sandwich ($7.99) was accompanied by lettuce and tomato and served on a fresh kaiser roll. A crispy, thin, evenly browned piece of fish and plentiful tartar sauce made my dining companion happy with her choice.
Mounded with deli-sliced turkey breast and loaded with bacon, lettuce and tomato, the Turkey Bacon Club ($8.99) was just too big to finish. A side of fries was greedily devoured.
A kids menu features entrees named after familiar characters — Mickey Mouse, Sponge Bob, Pokemon and Superman. Families are finding their way there, too. Saturday’s breakfast crowd enjoyed their waffles and pancakes as the lunch crowd started to filter in for takeout sandwiches and coffee. The diner staff refilled drinks and bused tables promptly and courteously. From the looks of it, this is an efficient and well-run operation.
Oceana Diner owners Marvin and Yalcin are of Turkish descent. They hail from New Jersey and Maryland and, along with their families, they bring decades of restaurant experience to their new venture. If you visit Oceana, you are likely to meet them in person. They worked the room on each of our three visits, making new friends and sharing their passion for good food and great customer service.
We’ll return to Oceana Diner to check out the burgers, wraps, fresh fruit-topped waffles and more. See you there!
Nancy White blogs about food and culture at www.nourishthebeast.com. Feast your eyes on her mouth-watering photography on Instagram @nourish_the_beast. She’s also pinning on Pinterest and posting on Flickr @nourishthebeast. If you see something happening in the dining world, email Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.