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The New York Times' Guide to Eating in Oakland

How to spend 36 hours in this "long overshadowed" town.

An aerial view of Oakland.
An aerial view of Oakland.
Dan MS/Wikimedia

The New York Times seems to have its eye on the Bay Area. It recently cast its glow on our fair city, recommending where to eat if you’re only in SF for 36 hours. And now it’s Oakland’s turn, which the Grey Lady called out as "long overshadowed by its dolled-up big sister across the Bay." Here's the cribbed version of where the NYT recommends you eat in one weekend in Oakland:


Fortify your stomach for a long night ahead with the garbage bread (pizza dough, proofed overnight and rolled into a burrito-Stromboli mash-up stuffed with either pepperoni and sausage, herbs and ricotta) from Portal, before strolling around the city. Dinner’s at Camino, where according to the NYT, "it’s hard to find more emblematic Northern California cooking in its purest, casual-yet-refined form." Cap your night at The Sound Room to get a taste of Oakland’s "storied jazz tradition" here.


It’s going to be a long day. Start at either Taqueria Campos, which "feels like a modest Mexican home" in which to find tacos and soups, or Saigon Deli Sandwich & Taco Valparaiso, for some cheap banh mi and tacos. Next up is a scoop of the "wonderful" Thai tea flavor at Curbside Creamery. Pause for some drinks and snacks at FuseBox, where the NYT said you should get "the spicy, rice-flour-battered "KFC" — Korean fried chicken — and a beer for $8, or the pig ear fries and beer or wine for $7." Spend the afternoon perusing through Umami Mart, "a sublime Japanese kitchen and barware shop" and Swan’s Market, "a historic 'housewives’ market,'" with "an exceptional food court, from the Japanese set lunches at B-Dama to The Cook and Her Farmer’s mind-blowing oyster po’ boy." Dinner’s at Miss Ollie’s, where the NYT called the skillet-fried chicken "among the best in the Bay Area." Then snuggle up in the "love seats and vintage chairs" at New Parkway Theater while drinking local wine and beer and watching a show. Finally, head to The Alley for Rod Dibble, "an Oakland institution" who has been "playing a selection of some 4,000 standards and show tunes" since 1960. If by some miracle you’re still standing, get the greyhound at Cafe Van Kleef.


There’s only a few hours left in the 36-hour time limit, so the NYT is sending you to breakfast at The Fat Lady, which it described as "dimly lit, with dripped-wax-draped candelabras, mismatched paintings and a long bar, this 1970s-era Jack London Square institution is housed in a former (circa 1880s) brothel and built on myth and a mean corned beef hash."