One of the major draws of our great city is its amazing cuisine. Oakland has been a culinary destination for years now with some of the Bay Area’s most diverse and exciting flavors. From food trucks to fast-casual and pubs to pop-ups, Oakland has a little bit of everything for literally everyone. Sadly, as of November 2020, it is estimated that more than 300 restaurants have closed in the Bay Area with several of those closures being in Oakland. With the recent mandatory shut down, hundreds of restaurants, some of whom spent thousands creating a safe outdoor dining experience, have gone dark once again. With more closures surely on the horizon, small restaurant owners are relying on us to prevent them from boarding up permanently. Thankfully many of these eateries offer gift cards, which make a great stocking stuffer—with a sense of optimism, knowing that one day in the future we WILL be back together again, sharing plates and drinks and lots of laughs. We know everyone has their favorites, as do we, and we’ve compiled a list for you. Cheers to you and happy noshing!
Aburaya Japanese Fried Chicken: (Pictured Above) This Uptown Oakland hot-spot offers gift cards and take out daily. Super reasonable for the quality AND quantity of food. Check out their merch, the Ramones inspired logo is pretty fantastic. From their website, “We are a punk rock influenced restaurant specializing in Japanese fried chicken and seasonal izakaya plates.”
Pomella: Delicious, fresh and just really great, superior service. This sweet little Israeli restaurant offers a plethora of hearty plates, wraps and salads. Don’t forget about the sweets. The baklava is insane.
doña: Located right next door to Pomella is doña, the spin-off of Telegraph Ave’s doña tomas. Although the menu has changed, the food is still amazing—and their famous carnitas remain a staple. Don’t forget about to-go drinks. Their menu of fresh, signature margaritas and mezcal cocktails will make any gathering festive.
Clove & Hoof: (Pictured Above) The beloved butcher shop/restaurant offers gift cards for the meat lover on your list. If you haven’t had the C & H Burger, you need to make that a priority. Great beer program and sweet merch to show your support!
Bakesale Betty: Miss Betty is an Oakland icon, serving friend chicken sandwiches and strawberry shortcake (among all of her other amazing treats) for almost 20 years. Not only does she provide the community with delicious delights, she generously gives back to civil rights campaigns in our community. Go give her a visit!
Portal: This neighborhood restaurant and bar is well-known for their awesome weekend brunch with bottomless mimosas! Right on the lake with outdoor dining. Purchase a gift card to use in sunny Spring! We are sure to be dining out again by then!
Blue Nile Ethiopian: (Pictured Above) Newer to the Downtown Oakland neighborhood, this gorgeous restaurant has become a local fave. Pop over for take-out or purchase a gift card for the Ethiopian fare fan on your list!
Tacos Oscar: Carefully curated ingredients and love go into every bite. This “taco joint” is unlike any other you’ve been to. Be sure to follow them on Instagram for daily menus and surprise guests like Pop-Up Paletas. The Michelada paleta is worth it’s weight in gold.
Grand Lake Kitchen: Can you imagine The Town without GLK? This popular breakfast, lunch AND dinner spot is still serving food to go and offers gift cards as well as to-go cocktails.
Reem’s California: (Pictured Above) Michelin star winner and James Beard finalist, Reem Assil brings her delicious flavors of home to Oakland. From their website, “We believe in the power of food to build a strong resilient community.”
Sequoia Diner: Step into this adorable diner in Oakland’s Laurel District and be transformed to another era. Beautifully decorated mom and pop “diner” with a refined feel. Every little detail is perfect in this quaint little eatery. Gift cards available!
Horn Barbecue: Just opened in Brown Sugar Kitchen’s old Mandela Parkway location. We drove by the other day to see a line two blocks long. This seems like the perfect place for the BBQ lover on your list.
Malibu’s Burgers: (Pictured Above) Newly opened brick and mortar (Malibu’s was a truck for months), serving up vegan “smash” burgers, fries, shakes and other moutwatering plant based nosh. You’d never know it was vegan. Seriously. Congrats Malibu’s!
Comal Next Door: We are SO excited to have a Comal in Oakland. Amazing food and drinks to go. Cabin fever? Order pickup and head to the lake for lunch or dinner al fresco. Gift cards available.
Lois the Pie Queen: One of Oakland’s oldest and most beloved breakfast/brunch spots. Looking for a holiday pie? Seriously, look no further. Lois’ are the best in Town.
Alamar Kitchen & Bar: (Pictured Above) Delicious Dominican-Asian-Cajun inspired dishes, and cocktails, to-go! Chef Nelson German also offers meal kits and virtual cooking demos. A super unique and thoughtful gift for the home-chef on your list!
Cosecha: EVERYthing is great at this cafeteria-style Mexican eatery in century-old Swan’s Market. From tacos, to pozole and their cast iron baked corn bread (which goes FAST!). Gift cards make a perfect stocking stuffer!
The Kon-Tiki: Dreaming of tiki drinks and pupus on the beach? We all are these days. Fortunately we have one of the best tiki restaurants this side of Hawaii. The burger, made with local hot shots Cream Co. is a local fave.
Stay tuned next week for a list of bars, salons and other mics mom and pops that could use a little holiday love this time of year.