San Francisco has some of the best dining options in the country, so if you’re going to venture over to the East Bay for a meal, it damn well better be worth the drive over the bridge. Saysetha (6230 Telegraph Ave.) in North Oakland is always worth the culinary commute–offering up some of the Bay’s best Thai food.

I used to live a few blocks up the street from this unassuming ethnic favorite, just a matter of yards from the Berkeley border. I remember at first being intimidated by the place, which actually requires getting buzzed in through a front door–a security measure to safeguard from the often undesirable rif-raf ambling the streets of Telegraph, nightly. Truth be told, it’s really not that dangerous of a neighborhood at all. Perhaps the buzzer adds to the experience, as I don’t know many other restaurants that require specific permission for entry.

Once I made it inside, however, I immedately became a regular. Enamored by the authentic, robust flavors of their Thai specialties–cooked by native Thai chefs, and entirely reasonable prices, I was also taken aback by the friendliness of their small, attentive wait staff.

When you make it here (cause it shouldn’t be a matter of if) there are a few can’t-miss favorites…first and foremost: the succulent, fried chicken wings–overstuffed with spiced pork and savory, cellophane noodles. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these are my favorite chicken wings in all of Northern California.

When it comes to entrees you really can’t go wrong, but I would highly recommend the Pad Kee Mao –thick and flavorful stir-fried rice noodles brought to life by a perfect balance of garlic, soy, and proteiny goodness derived from an array of unique and fresh ingredients–the quintessential flavors of Thai cuisine.

So the next time you find yourself on that other side of the water, buzz on in to the friendly confines of Saysetha. An affordable and unexpectedly delectable dining experience awaits.