The 10 Best Restaurants in Oakland

Oakland, California, is quickly becoming a notable culinary hotspot in the Bay Area, offering a diverse and vibrant food scene that rivals its famous neighbor, San Francisco. From high-end, Michelin-starred restaurants to authentic street food, Oakland provides a range of dining experiences that showcase its rich cultural mix.

Here are 10 must-visit restaurants in Oakland that promise a memorable culinary adventure.

Commis

Oakland’s only Michelin-starred venue, Commis offers an exquisite dining experience that promises a culinary journey unlike any other in the city. With a sophisticated, minimalist decor, the ambiance sets the stage for an intimate evening where each course is a work of art. Chef James Syhabout’s innovative approach to Californian cuisine features an eight-course tasting menu that showcases the finest local ingredients with a surprising twist.

Dining at Commis is a theatrical display of culinary excellence, from the precision in the kitchen to the meticulous service. Each dish is paired with exceptional wines, enhancing the flavors and transforming your meal into a memorable gourmet narrative. It’s a splurge at $175 per person, but the experience justifies every penny, proving itself as a culinary beacon in Oakland.

Parche

Step into Parche and find yourself immersed in the lively spirit of Colombia right in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood. This vibrant contemporary Colombian restaurant buzzes with an energetic crowd, eclectic decor, and a flavorful menu. Chef Paul Iglesias uses traditional Colombian cooking techniques to craft a menu that’s both authentic and innovative, featuring standout items like ceviches and arepas.

The family-style dining at Parche encourages sharing, making it perfect for groups looking to explore an array of dishes. Their cocktail menu, highlighted by a Spanish-style gin & tonic, complements the fiery flavors of the food. With its bold, colorful interiors and a welcoming atmosphere, Parche isn’t just a meal; it’s a festivity of Colombian culture.

Wood Tavern

Wood Tavern stands out as a key player in Oakland’s American cuisine scene, offering a cozy and welcoming environment that complements its robust and well-crafted menu. Nestled on bustling College Avenue, this local favorite skillfully blends rustic charm with refined culinary techniques, and its ever-changing menu features local, sustainable ingredients that truly capture the essence of Californian cooking.

Known for its friendly and approachable service, Wood Tavern is beloved by both locals and visitors. Whether you’re there for a quick lunch or a more indulgent dinner, you can expect dishes like their signature pork chop or the beloved pan-seared fish, each promising a satisfying taste of authentic American flavors.

The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill

Located on the shores of Lake Merritt, The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill provides not only a feast for the taste buds but also for the eyes with its stunning views of the water and city skyline. The menu is a seafood lover’s delight, featuring everything from fresh oysters to their famed fish tacos, all sourced to emphasize local and sustainable practices.

The Lake Chalet is more than just a restaurant; it’s a destination. With its historical setting in a beautifully restored boathouse, guests can enjoy live music, happy hour specials, and seasonal events that make every visit unique. It’s the perfect spot to unwind, sip a craft cocktail, and watch the sunset over the lake.

Daughter Thai Kitchen

Nestled in the Montclair Village, Daughter Thai Kitchen offers a vibrant blend of traditional Thai flavors and modern culinary techniques. The decor is as lively and colorful as the dishes themselves, featuring intricate Thai craftsmanship that complements the spicy, rich flavors of the cuisine. From the street-style appetizers to the robust curries, each dish is crafted to offer a genuine taste of Thailand.

Daughter Thai’s charm lies in its ability to blend authenticity with innovation. The restaurant’s lively atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for family gatherings or a romantic night out. Their weekend brunches, featuring Thai-inspired twists on classic dishes, are not to be missed, providing a fresh take on weekend dining.

ACRE

ACRE breathes new life into the corner of College Ave with its Mediterranean-inspired menu and relaxed, stylish atmosphere. ACRE has made its mark on the culinary landscape by paying homage to its storied past while infusing the menu with a contemporary twist. The cuisine, featuring straightforward yet sophisticated dishes like stone oven-baked pizzas and innovative takes on steak tartare and whole-grilled branzino, showcases the rich flavors of the Mediterranean.

The restaurant is designed with a two-level layout that includes a European-style café on the ground floor and a more upscale dining space upstairs. This setup offers flexibility, making ACRE suitable for both casual drinks and luxurious meals. With a focus on simplicity and excellence, ACRE ensures that each visit is memorable, encouraging diners to return.

Shakewell

Shakewell brings the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean to Oakland’s bustling Lakeshore district. The restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, with a menu featuring Spanish cuisine and beyond. Led by Chef Jen Biesty, the kitchen prepares a variety of tapas and larger dishes like their signature bomba rice, perfect for sharing with friends.

Complementing its Mediterranean fare, Shakewell has a lively bar scene with handcrafted cocktails and a wine list that includes Spanish and local Californian selections. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out or a delightful brunch, Shakewell is a great addition to Oakland’s culinary landscape.

Mua

Mua offers a unique blend of arts and dining, creating an experience that is both visually and gastronomically engaging. Located in a converted warehouse in Oakland’s Uptown district, the restaurant delights the senses with its eclectic decor and a menu full of creative dishes. From small, innovative starters to hearty entrees, each item on the menu is thoughtfully prepared to surprise and satisfy guests.

The ambiance at Mua is lively and dynamic, filled with the sounds of lively conversations and clinking glasses. It’s a place where surprises are standard, from unexpected ingredients in your drink to DJs playing music late into the night. Dining at Mua goes beyond just eating; it’s about being part of Oakland’s vibrant creative scene.

Bellanico Restaurant and Wine Bar

Bellanico, located in the Glenview district of Oakland, blends traditional Italian cooking with Californian flair. This cozy restaurant is known for its rotating menu that highlights the best local ingredients in classic Italian dishes. Favorites like homemade pasta and risotto show dedication and passion in their kitchen.

The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine list, with a mix of Italian and local wines chosen to enhance the flavors of the dishes. The warm, welcoming environment makes Bellanico perfect for a romantic dinner or a memorable meal with family, where the conversation is as enjoyable as the wine.

Cholita Linda

Cholita Linda shines as a hub of Latin American tastes within Oakland’s dynamic dining scene. Originally a popular food truck, it has evolved into a vibrant restaurant attracting people with its delicious tacos and street food. The standout Baja fish taco is especially famous for its crispy batter and flavorful balance.

The restaurant’s lively and colorful decor complements the zest of its meals, creating a cheerful and inviting atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy shared meals with friends, accompanied by homemade aguas frescas or cold beer. A visit to Cholita Linda is like taking a mini trip to Latin America without leaving Oakland.

Each of these restaurants not only serves food; they curate experiences that reflect the soul of Oakland. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a curious traveler, Oakland’s dining scene promises encounters that are as enriching as they are delicious.