Oakland — The New Culinary Mecca

The just-opened Bocanova serves up pan-American cuisine, including quinoa salad with shrimp and orange vinaigrette. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Teplin)

If you think you’ve noticed an unusually high number of new restaurants opening in Oakland in the past year, it’s not your imagination.

Much-buzzed-about Commis, Camino, Barlata, Pican, Miss Pearl’s Jam, and Bocanova all chose to locate in Oakland. Many more are on the way, too, including Bracina from Daniel Patterson of San Francisco’s famed Coi.

Indeed, of the 160 new businesses that have opened in downtown Oakland in the past six years, 65 of them have been restaurants.

A throng of diners at Bocanova. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Teplin)

Each week, the city’s redevelopment agency fields requests for tours of available properties by San Francisco restaurateurs contemplating a new project on the other side of the Bay.

Why has Oakland become the hot spot for dining lately?

Read my story in today’s East Bay Express to find out the intriguing reasons behind this exciting restaurant revolution.

Bocanova's Sea of Cortez scallops in Brazilian curry sauce. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Teplin)

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  • Wow. I had no idea there was an Oakland food scene. My boyfriend and I happened to stay there for our last night of our California adventure because it was close to the airport. I wish I had known there was fantastic food as well.

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  • Yay for Oakland! Makes it easy for me to find places to eat around my hood! I can’t wait to try Bocanova. I liked reading your article, you interviewed a lot of people! I would also throw in Wood Tavern as one of the early restaurants creating the buzz for Oakland (even though they’re almost at the border of Berkeley). The owners used to have a restaurant in San Francisco and they live in the East Bay so opened on the edge of Rockridge. It’s one of the standard-bearers now, I think.

  • thanks for the post. I’ll read the article next. Is it Bart friendly to get to these restaurants? I hate driving if I don’t have to.

  • Yes, Ann, many of the new spots are definitely accessible by BART, particularly the Jack London Square ones. Also, Pican and Ozuma also are an easy ride away by BART.

  • Good post, Carolyn. My husband and I were so disappointed when we watched Anthony Bourdain’s SF Bay Area episode because he only showed ONE place where he ate Mexican food from a taco truck. Nothing against the taco trucks, in fact, we enjoy many Mexican food from them. However, we knew better that Oakland has just as many good restaurants as SF or SJ.

  • Ok Oakland is on my list for my next trip out West. Of course that means you’ll have to deal with a barrage of my question laden emails then.

  • Hopefully will be able to visit Oakland .

  • Very interesting – I’d seen these restaurants open up, hopefully the city will not scare folks aways with the parking situation, its gotten to the point where you can barely avoid getting a ticket with street parking. But that aside – I am glad Oakland is finally getting some well deserved recognition, its been underrated for so long.

  • Found out about you through this article. THANK YOU! I’m lucky enough to live in the Temescal where we also have Aunt Mary’s (the breakfast menu rocks). Most folks know about the best restaurants in the Temescal but I want more folks to check out the macrobiotic delight Manzanita at 40th and Adeline and Souley Vegan at 3rd and Broadway. Both places are on my regular rounds as healthy but tasty places to get my greens fix!

    Taste of Temescal next Tues the 13th is a culinary crawl for $25 benefitting local charities. See http://.www.temescaldistrict.org. I’m also doing a foodie bike tour that folks might like if you check out my website http://www.hesternet.net/events.html

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