When our shop first opened in Old Oakland last year, there were only a couple of eating establishments in the 'hood. These days, there's a whole smorgasbord of drool-worthy restaurants to choose from, and summer evenings have definitely gotten more lively, with folks spilling out of the restaurants into the streets for dining al fresco. It's been great watching the neighborhood come up and establish itself as a dining destination (though, we admit, it's been hard on our wallets).
In case you haven't gotten the inside scoop yet on all the new (as well as tried-and-true) restaurant hot spots in Old Oakland, here's a little round-up. We hope this list inspires you come come and see us, and get some good grub while you're at it.
Rosamunde Sausage Grill
This casual place slings housemade sausages out of Swan's Marketplace. They're known for their good selection of craft beers, as well as their 4-7 p.m. happy hour, where you can get $1 off beers on tap. We especially recommend going on trivia night, which happens every Wednesday at 8 p.m.
This crowd pleasing Mexican restaurant is a lively Oakland institution, as one of the first eateries to establish itself downtown. It's the king of inspired Mexican small plates and insanely good margaritas, though we'd highly recommend anything on their cocktail list. While it's definitely worth checking out their happy hour menu and Taco Tuesdays, we definitely recommend springing for some of the regular menu items like the ceviche and the mole. They're hosting a Festival de Mezcal & Tequila coming up on August 18th.
This restaurant is another new kid on the block, and the menu is full of Cajun, Creole, and Southern influences. With a fun cocktail program, a menu full of surprises, artful walls, and a great layout for people watching, its atmosphere can't be beat for a night-on-the-town. They are already famous for their fried chicken, but we also like a bunch of their family style plates, such as the garlic plantains. The menu changes daily, so be sure to check their website first or call in if you are looking to partake of a specific dish.
The Italian restaurant in the beautiful, tall-windowed corner space tall-windowed place on the corner at 9th and Washington has been replace by yet another Italian restaurant. This one seems promising. Eater tells us the chef is serving up wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas, house-made pastas, and locally sourced entrees like fish crudo and rabbit terrine. Apparently he owns a couple of acclaimed restaurants in the South Bay. We haven't been yet, but we're especially excited about their promised Italian happy hour with bar snacks!
While gastro pubs have become super popular of late, The Trappist is one of the original Bay Area gastro pubs with an extensive and intricate beer selection and a well crafted food menu. It's definitely where you want to take the beer connoisseur in your life, and they're bound to find something they haven't tried on the menu. The atmosphere is dark and artsy cool with exposed brick walls, dark wood, and interesting fixtures.
Another Mexican spot downtown, this one prides itself on working with local farmers and letting its menu be driven by what's in season at the moment. The food is excellent, and it packs in a substantial lunch crowd for sunny patio dining.
Skip Starbucks and head over to Caffe 817 if you'd like an artisanal coffee. We highly recommend sticking your face into a bowl-o'-latte, but don't forget they have a wonderful little food menu to boot. The Italian toast, Poached egg with toasted levain and olivada, and baked eggs in polenta with chorizo-tomato sauce are not-to-be-missed. Can you tell we go here often? Don't miss their First Annual Caffe 817 Party on August 17 (get it 8/17) with a specially curated menu, prosecco cocktails, a wine tasting, and more.
Of course we can't forget the neighborhood's oldest establishment Ratto's Market and Deli, family owned and operated since 1897! Amazing deli sandwiches, packaged Italian foods, bulk olives by the pound (yummy!) and a great selection of olive oils, wines and pastas. Another neighborhood institution is La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen & Specialty Shop home base of the amazing Tina Tamale! Family owned and operated for the past 69 years!
Photo credits: Desco – Eater, Tamarindo – Isaiah D on Yelp, Miss Ollie's – Berkeleyside, Trappist – SF Chronicle, Cosecha – TastingTable, Caffe817 – FoodSocialist, Ratto's -italyinsf.com