This famous Chicago-style pizza company is always packed with UC students, families and out-of-towners. No one seems to mind the 20-minute (or more!) wait for the stuffed masterpiece. The pizza is made as thick as a pumpkin pie (yes, you do need a knife and fork), and the ingredients are put on upside down with tomatoes on top, meat on the bottom. So filling and so delicious, count on bringing home leftovers. For those with a slightly lesser appetite, they also serve thin crust pizzas that are just as delectable.
Located in the heart of the chic Rockridge area, Wood Tavern is arguably one of Oakland's favorite restaurants. Saying that they have pretty good dishes is a vast understatement. The menu changes frequently but might include dishes like seared duck breast, steaks and freshly made pastas. While the restaurant tends to crowd up, especially during peak hours, an airy breeze (when weather permits) and a friendly staff help to cultivate a casual atmosphere. Equipped with a full cocktail menu and over 70 wines, you can even stop in just for an after-work drink and leave satisfied.
Blue Bottle Coffee takes its name from the first coffee house ever opened in Central Europe: The Blue Bottle. Like its name, the company practices old world coffee-making; you won't find any grande soy pumpkin spice lattes at this establishment, which prides itself on brewing coffee for people who actually want to taste their freshly roasted coffee. The establishment has now been operating for over ten years and has several cafes on the west coast. This Oakland shop on Webster Street was opened in 2009 in a beautiful brick warehouse that was build in 1923. Coffee-lovers can stop into the bright and cheerful space to indulge in some freshly pulled espressi or brewed coffee and snack on the gourmet pastries also on offer.
Fenton's has been an Oakland institution for over 100 years, serving up homemade ice cream and deluxe toppings, along with all your classic American diner favorites. You can always get a juicy burger with fries, or cranberry turkey sandwich, but the real draw are the sweets. Fenton's serves up everything from your basic flavored ice cream cone to a super-deluxe sundae or an incredible milkshake. Besides high quality ice cream, the toppings are a huge favorite here, especially the marshmallow sauce.
Yoshi's is not just a place where you can catch mind-blowing jazz, but also a sushi bar with an excellent food. Eager music lovers pack the restaurant and the Jazz House on performance nights. It showcases the best talent and boasts of high tech acoustics in the Bay area. A full cocktail menu is available with items like sushi, appetizers, salads and desserts. The attire is causal and the atmosphere jazzed up. It has a top-notch restaurant that serves Japanese food, and is open for lunch and dinner.
A world renowned name in the culinary industry, Chez Panisse is known for their innovations in tastes and flavors.Started by Alice Walkers in 1971, it was named after the movie character Honore Panisse. Prepared with fresh, local produce, the restaurant is a spectacular specimen of fine dining. The menu changes daily and is curated keeping the seasonality of ingredients. Through the week, delicacies like Striped bass carpaccio with cardoons and Titone olio nuovo and Huckleberry and Meyer lemon ice creams meringata are served, to name a few. The wine list is extensive, featuring dozens of wines from across the world. With contributions like California style pizza to the ever changing culinary world, the Chez Panisse is no less than a legend.
The East Bay is abuzz with talk of Modern Coffee. At this beloved flagship location in downtown Oakland, you'll find an assortment of roasts that could satisfy any connoisseur. Pair drinks like burnt cinnamon and lavender almond milk lattes with fresh-out-of-the-oven pastries. The friendly staff is happy to help you find your preferred flavors, even if you haven't discovered them yet. Stick around for the ambiance or take your treats to nearby Lake Merritt for a delicious break.
In a world filled with carnivores, Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant stands out. Featuring vegetarian versions of chicken, beef, fish, shrimp and more, Golden Lotus is one vegetarian Vietnamese (and Chinese) restaurant that local veggies and carnivores alike swear by. Especially amazing are the "chicken" drumsticks, and the vegetarian pho. Golden Lotus aside from not using meat, also does not use eggs in any of their dishes, however not all dishes are Vegan. There is, however, a fair amount of vegan selections also.
A staple of Vietnamese cuisine in Old Oakland, Le Cheval has been serving patrons for over a quarter of a century. Their vast, decorative dining hall is ideal for large gatherings, as is their "Bo 7 Mon" meal, seven courses of beef cooked and served at the table. Le Cheval features an extensive menu, serving specialties in beef, poultry, fish, salad, and rice, along with a full bar. If the menu size seems daunting, there are always favorites to rely on, like the claypot fish or appetizing Imperial Rolls.
Everything that the Spaniards love, comes together at Duende. Chef Paul Canales and owner Rocco Somazzi overlook the proceedings here as their passion for great Spanish food, flamenco music and art as well as excellent wines and beer take shape in the form of this rustic restaurant, which has a charming industrial vibe accented by furnitures made from reclaimed woods, cast iron lighting and colorful windows. You can select from a variety of options in tapas and entrees, which includes delicacies like Pork Belly Paella, Pork Chops and Albondigas. The bar is well-stocked with a variety of wines and beers to choose from. The cafe adjoining the bar is also a great spot for a cup of delightful coffee. Walk in for a great time.
Shan Dong Restaurant located in Oakland's Chinatown specializes in Mandarin cuisine. Especially popular are the fresh, homemade dumplings, pancakes and rolls, as well as their tasty hand-made noodle dishes. The decor, however, is minimal and showcases the traditional Chinese culture. Try the special Shan Dong dumplings or the always delicious sesame noodles. Shan Dong also offers an extremely affordable lunch special, all lunch entrees served with rice. If you live nearby, they offer free delivery for dinner within one and a half miles.
La Bonita Taqueria is a hidden gem located in Uptown Oakland's Franklin Square. Only open until mid-afternoon, La Bonita excels at breakfast burritos and plates and of course lunch foods, all traditionally prepared with care. Favorite dishes include the Enchiladas Poblanas, the Torta, and the Carnitas.