From a bomb ass bagel shop and inventive tasting menus to Caribbean soul food and Filipino street eats—explore the East Bay’s bustling food scene.
Kicking off the list with the most important meal of the day, Beauty’s Bagel Shop is known for its “Montreal-inspired wood-fired” bagels. Get your favorite flavor with some tasty schmear, or order one of their famous breakfast sandwiches. The bakery serves lunch too, including smoked trout salad and fried chicken sandwiches. Unlike the Downtown location, the Temescal location is open on the weekends.
Tucked into colorful Piedmont Avenue, Commis is the epitome of haute cuisine in the East Bay. This two Michelin star New American restaurant is the fine-dining flagship of Chef James Syhabout of elBulli, Fat Duck, Manresa, and Coi fame. The open-kitchen applies precise technique to unique, locally sourced ingredients to craft sophisticated prix fixe tasting dinners.
For $175, enjoy eight courses of inventive, modern, well-conceived dishes based on French technique and California inspiration. For an additional $100, complement the cuisine with beverage pairings from the ever-evolving list of fine wines from around the world. Commis open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, by reservation only (with a 72-hour cancellation policy).
The adjacent bar, CDP Bar is Commis’ sister spot. Dubbed “One Of The Best Bars In America, 2019” by Esquire Magazine, CDP focuses on rare and high-end brandy and sparkling wines. CDP stands for “chef de partie,” and offers a discounted taste of James Syhabout’s creativity in addition to a stellar cocktail menu.
In the California tradition of combining international cuisines with local produce, Hopscotch serves “regional American food with a Japanese sensibility”. The upscale, retro diner is located on San Pablo Ave in Uptown, among other Oakland greats such as Duende and Starline Social Club.
This quaint, eclectic spot focuses on seasonality and sustainability. The buttermilk fried chicken is the star of the show—you can even get an eight-piece bucket to go. Marinated for days
In a mixture of buttermilk, whole milk, Japanese mustard powder soy sauce, and ginger, the chicken is dredged in equal parts AP flour and potato flour, then fried to golden-brown perfection, with a healthy sprinkling of Korean chili flakes and sea salt.
Unlike most diners, Hopscotch serves craft cocktails. Head to happy hour between 3-5pm for discounted drinks and bites, or join them for brunch, served daily until 3pm.
For authentic Filipino street eats, look no further than this colorful cafeteria-style counter-service spot on Fruitvale Ave. The family-owned restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The everyday menu boasts the best wings in the Bay as well as delicious pork and chicken lumpia (a type of spring roll). Lucky Three Seven’s specials are posted on its Facebook page daily—keep an eye out for the spicy crispy chicken.
Located in Swan’s Market in Old Oakland, this counter-service cafe brings island vibes to the Bay with Caribbean soul food, colorful decor, and picnic tables. Open for lunch and dinner, daily lunch specials include Carribean classics like jerk chicken on Wednesdays and more American dishes like skillet-fried chicken and waffles on Friday and Saturday. One of Miss Ollie’s signatures is the island-style pork, a slow-cooked, herb and citrus rubbed pork shoulder served with pinto beans and sofrito sauce, tostones (twice-fried plantain slices), pikliz (pronounced "pick-lees")—a bright and fiery Haitian cabbage-based condiment, and sauce chien, aka “dog sauce”, which is a bright, sour, spicy, garlicky salsa that originated in the West Indies. Miss Ollie’s Carribean eats are complemented by a very small cocktail menu.
This artsy and industrial Mexican oasis is nestled on the scruffy edge of Jack London Square in the Warehouse District. NIDO serves a seasonally driven menu of modern farm-to-table cuisine focused on Mexico’s central and Pacific coast regions. Although the menu is always changing, the standout mole Coloradito quesadilla is always available, featuring a pulled chicken and cotija queso in a California chile tortilla, served with avocado and an Oaxacan Coloradito mole sauce.
NIDO is open for lunch and dinner, plus weekend brunch and happy hour. The restaurant turned its “backyard” (parking lot) into a “Margarita Garden” where you can enjoy drinks off the agave-driven cocktail menu and seasonal, shareable Mexican cuisine inside repurposed shipping containers.
Located at the foot of the Oakland hills in one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, this bustling Rockridge Japanese joint serves up creative seasonal takes on traditional Japanese noodle soup. Started in 2013 by three Chez Panisse alumni, Ramen Shop is known for its one-of-a-kind ramen, made with organic and sustainable produce. Once small and insanely intimate, the space has recently been expanded to add a bar, a bigger prep kitchen, and a noodle room. The dinner menu changes daily, with lunch available on weekends and daily specials like Tsukemen Mondays and Tonkotsu Tuesdays. Enjoy steaming bowls of veggie Meyer lemon, entrees like duck shoyu (a type of soy sauce), and appetizers like squid and pork fried rice.
The bar menu features craft cocktails, highballs, sour beers, ciders, wine, and sake. Book Ramen Shop’s private dining and karaoke room for a seven-course prix-fixe tasting menu for up to eight guests.
Get your dumpling fix at this buzzing Mandarin eatery in Oakland’s Chinatown. In addition to the best handmade pork and vegetable dumplings in the Bay Area, Shandong offers traditional Chinese staples in a bright, straight-up setting. This Asian spot is also known as a noodle paradise—serving up thick, chewy hand-pulled noodles mixed in spicy sesame paste or topped with the restaurant’s signature chicken. This East Bay staple is open daily for lunch and dinner daily, save Mondays.