Guide to Oakland
Can you believe it, we have been Oakland residents for over a year and a half?! Crazy – it seems like just yesterday we made the jump over to the East Bay from San Francisco. Since I have unofficially become Oakland’s #1 fan, I thought I would share some of my favorite places to eat, and things to do in Oakland, just in case you ever find yourself on the right side of the Bay.
Pizzaiola - This is my number one favorite restaurant in all of Oakland. It also happens to be in walking distance to my house. Created by a Chez Panisse alum, Pizzaoila has delicious pizza, fresh seasonal main courses and seriously delicious cocktails. Plus the gorgeous outdoor space doesn’t hurt.
Haven - I just ate here last week for the first time and had one of the best meals ever hands down. The prix fix meal is pretty affordable at $49 per person and comes with three courses, including a breaking bread course with the most delicious bread and dips around. It is a gorgeous space and is the perfect spot to celebrate a milestone or just treat yourself.
Juhu Beach Club – Created by a Top Chef alum, Juhu Beach club is a restaurant that serves Mumbai beach food. I have no idea what that means, but it is delicious. Located in an unassuming strip mall (also close to my house) the food is incredible.
Cholita Linda - I am not exaggerating when I say I eat here at least a couple of times a week. A blend of Mexican and Peruvian food, they have the best tacos in all the Bay Area (in my opinion).
Dona Tomas -A pioneer in East Bay restaurants, this Mexican restaurant in the Temescal area has been in business for 16 years and still reigns supreme with fresh ingredients and delicious margaritas.
Flora - owned by the same people who run Dona Tomas, this gorgeous restaurant has amazing cocktails and the space is an Art Deco lovers dream
Boot and Shoe Service - Same owners as Pizzaaiola and just as delicious. The only reason that this is not my favorite restaurant is because I have to drive there. Other than that, it is delicious.
A16 Rockridge - The popular San Francisco restaurant opened another spot in Oakland and it is just as good as the original with amazing food and huge bar to sit at.
Dolly’s Donuts - Located on Temescal Alley this donut shop fills your donut with whatever pastry cream you want - to order. Get the naughty cream, you won't be sorry.
Curbside Creamery - This cute little ice cream shop in Temescal serves the best ice cream sandwiches and they even have soft serve!
Drake's Dealership -A new addition to the Oakland scene, Drake's Dealership is a renovated car dealership turned beer garden with outdoor seating and fire pits.
Starline Social Club -Another new bar in the Uptown Oakland scene with delicious food and cocktails. Housed in an old saloon that was built in 1893.
Ordinaire - The cutest little wine bar you have ever seen. (They also let me bring donuts in and eat them while sipping on wine. It was a classy move on my part, and for that I will forever love them)
Kona Club - Fun fact the mai tai originated in Oakland. No it didn't originate in some far off exotic beach, but right here in Oakland in 1944 at the original Trader Vics. Although Trader Vics is no longer around, you can still get a delicious mai tai from this kitchy tiki bar.
Alchemy Bottle Shop - You will never want to shop in another liquor store after stepping foot in this one. Between the well curated liquor and stylish shop, this is one of my favorite liquor stores.
Social Studies - Full disclosure this is not in Oakland but rather in Berkley. But if you are in Oakland it is totally worth it to drive over to this store in Berkeley. It is perfectly curated with everything you didn't know that you needed in your life. Also the husband and wife team behind the store are really nice which always makes spending cash a little easier.
Umami Mart- Specializing in Japanese kitchen and barware needs, Umami Mart is another store that makes you want everything in it, especially the chic Japanese bar tools.
Esqueleto - located in Temescal alley, this store has the most gorgeous and unique jewelry around, including many local designers
Atomic Garden - I instantly feel a little hipper when I shop at Atomic Garden. Located in Rockridge on College Ave, this store has a great selection of clothes, home goods and chic children's clothing.
Things to Do
Lake Merritt - Before moving to Oakland, I had no idea how gorgeous Lake Merritt was. I am not even sure I thought it was a real lake. Boy was I surprised when I saw this gorgeous lake in the middle of downtown Oakland filled with runners, walkers, picnic - ers and even a gondola
The Paramount Theater - Built in 1931 this Art Deco theater is the epitome of the Hollywood Golden era - when going to the movies was a special occasion. The Paramount now hosts music shows, is home to the Oakland Ballet and plays vintage movies.
Temescal Farmer’s Market - This is my local farmer's market. It is about 1 block from my house, so there is no excuse not to go. It is the perfect size with the best vendors and best food. Sunday morning farmer's market trips are my happy place.
Temescal Alley - Originally stables for the city's horse-drawn carriages, this alley has now become an Oakland destination. Filled with great stores and delicious eats, most notably Donut Dolly and Curbside Creamery.
By no means is this a complete list of things to do and places to eat in Oakland. Let me know if there is anyplace I need to check out in the rapidly changing city.