Food & Drink

Everywhere Worth Going To in Uptown Oakland

DUENDE
Jennye Garibaldi/Thrillist
Jennye Garibaldi/Thrillist
Jennye Garibaldi/Thrillist
Jennye Garibaldi/Thrillist
Hopscotch
Joe Starkey/Thrillist
Jennye Garibaldi/Thrillist
Flickr/Sonny Abesamis
Bar Dogwood
Stag's Lunchette
Xolo
Jim Woods
Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
Make Westing
Jennye Garibaldi/Thrillist
Umami Burger Oakland
Café Van Kleef
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1. Duende 468 19th St, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

"Duende" means the spirit of passion in Spanish, and both the decor and cuisine at this stunning Uptown spot take that definition and run with it: the contemporary Spanish space sports chevron parquet floors, custom barstools and tables, and a soaring ceiling, setting a beautiful, intimate scene for an equally vibrant smattering of tapas, such as manteca colora (spicy pork rilettes) and bunuelos de queso (gruyere fritters). You can share these piquant dishes over a glass of wine or sherry from Duende's extensive selection. There are larger plates, too, like fideu caldosa: crispy rice-like noodles served in a pan with chicken, shrimp, and savory spices.

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2. Fauna 1900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

It's obviously owned by the same crew behind Flora (there's actually a door that connects the two) and looks sorta like the entryway to a hunting lodge. There're smaller taxidermied animal heads on the walls (gazelles, jackalopes, etc.), regal-looking alternating vertical stripes, and a King Kong poster. Combine Art Deco architecture with their signature cocktails to pay tribute to a bygone Hollywood era. Here's looking at you, kid.

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3. Belly Uptown 1901 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

The perfect pre-show dinner if you’re short on time and cash, Belly Uptown serves street tacos with a twist -- that twist being ingredients that you never thought of putting in a taco before, like kimchi, French fries, peanuts (not all together, of course, that’d just be anarchy). The steak & eggs taco is the stand-out on the menu: marinated steak, fries, aioli, and a perfectly fried egg to top it off. Strap on the feed bib; this is one sloppy-but-totally-worth-it taco.

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4. Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar 1915 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

An upscale diner serving Japanese-American fusion cuisine, Hopscotch is a standout restaurant in Uptown Oakland. You could order anything and be totally satisfied, but the perfectly crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside buttermilk fried chicken is one of the best dishes on the menu, especially when paired with a sweet & smoke Maple Old Fashioned. Did we mention the delightfully unusual menu includes homemade donuts and custard cream?

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5. The Legionnaire Saloon 2272 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

This divey two-story pub in Uptown Oakland is a one-stop shop for dancing, drinking, sports-watching, and general debauchery. There's rarely a cover and you'll find live performances or dance parties here most days of the week -- from hip-hop parties to comedy shows to Motown nights. This family-run spot gets bonus points for its old-school jukebox and pinball machines.

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6. Dogwood 1644 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

This hip and cozy bar is serving up Prohibition-style craft cocktails (get the Bees Knees, a sweet & sour gin confection) and gourmet grilled cheeses (get all of them, but especially the one with truffle oil and/or whiskey bacon chutney). There's also a meat counter in the corner of the dimly lit, brick-lined space, where charcuterie and cheese plates are created -- perfect for sharing with a date at one of the communal wooden tables.

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7. Stag's Lunchette 362 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

Due to the name, we don't blame you for maybe thinking that Stag's Lunchette, in Uptown Oakland, is a spot designed for adult male deers to have a meal in the early afternoon. But, not to disappoint or anything, we have to inform you that you're wrong. Instead, SL is a place designed for adult male humans to have a meal in the early afternoon. Head over to get your fill of sandwiches, none of which, thankfully, contain stag.

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8. Xolo 1916 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

Should you order a hot dog at a Mexican restaurant? Uh, yeah, you should. Because this bacon-wrapped hot dog with mayonnaise, mustard, pinto beans, cheese, pickled jalapeños, and avocado is all wrapped in a flour tortilla like no other before it. Does it get more Mexican than that for hot dogs? We think not. Everything is made from scratch at this Mission-style taqueria, so you can't go wrong, but you're definitely also going to want to try the mini crispy churros. If it's warm enough (which it will be because: Oakland), take your food outside and enjoy it on the hidden back patio.

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9. Woods Bar & Brewery 1701 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

After years of being hidden by hideous stucco, the original 1927 façade of the new home of Woods Bar & Brewery has been revealed, as has a collection of adventurous beers, most of which have been brewed on-site (there’s a 93-gallon, three-barrel brewery located above the storefront). Go with a flight, which will give you a selection of four 4oz pours for $12.

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10. Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe 1805 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

Presumably a place where Rudy Huxtable can refuse to do her homework without consequence, RCFC's the second outpost of the open-'til-1a diner backed by Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt, and features 150 seats next door to the Fox with the same signature punk

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11. Make Westing 1741 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

Make a point to try Make Westing’s signature cocktails. Pair a Garden Gimlet with the habañero & cilantro-infused popcorn and a game at the indoor bocce court (!!!), and you have yourself the makings of a perfect happy hour.

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12. Umami Burger 2100 Franklin St #2190, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

There are only four Umami Burgers in Northern California and one of them is in Uptown Oakland, so get your fix while you can. Really, you can't go wrong with any of the burgers at this chain where the beef is ground in-house, but we can't resist a double patty situation.

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13. Cafe Van Kleef 1621 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

This quirky Oakland watering hole, covered from floor to ceiling with knickknacks galore, serves fresh fruit cocktails and other bespoke libations among a friendly, hip crowd. Come for the eclectic decor and strong drinks, stay for local live music (bands play most nights of the week) and a chance to hobnob with locals who've been hanging around since its heyday.

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