Occitania, chef Paul Canales’s restaurant located inside the Kissel Uptown Oakland hotel, has closed as of Friday, March 10. The restaurant opened in June 2022 and served Southern French cuisine in a space that featured large-scale artwork from local artists.
In a statement released to Eater SF on Wednesday, Canales says it was a difficult decision to close the restaurant. “Unfortunately, it was not sustainable to keep the restaurant open,” he writes. “I’ll continue to focus our efforts on Duende, where business remains strong and we have developed a strong, loyal fan base. I’m glad that we can continue serving food we love to our community.” The chef also thanked Occitania’s investors, team members, partners, and fans.
Occitania had been in the works since October 2020 and offered a menu focused on a new cuisine for Canales, who’s best known for the Italian fare he served while running the now-shuttered Oliveto in Rockridge. He worked at that restaurant for 15 years before launching Duende on 19th Street in Oakland in 2013, where he serves Spanish food and small plates.
Occitania, meanwhile, offered the chef the opportunity to dive into French food influenced by the region of Occitania, which touches parts of Italy and Spain, focusing on older historical texts of the area. Canales dug into the culture of this region of Southern France, creating a menu that showcased both classic French bistro dishes such as steak frites and seafood stews such as bourride provencale.
Occitania is the latest in a line of highly anticipated Bay Area restaurants that opened in 2022, only to shut down within a number of months. Mission District restaurant Ancora opened in July 2022 with a sea-to-table ethos, courtesy of restaurant co-owners Joe and Andi Conte who also run the seafood company Water2Table, which supplied the restaurant. That restaurant suddenly closed in February 2023, with the owners stating that it was the wrong concept for the neighborhood. Meanwhile, chef Traci Des Jardins opened her Los Altos restaurant, El Alto, in March 2022 but closed down in September after six months. San Francisco restaurant Hotline was the second venture for the couple behind Inner Sunset superette, Queens, but owners Eddo Kim and Clara Lee closed down the spot within five months.
It’s unclear whether there are plans in place yet for another restaurant at the Kissel Uptown Oakland.