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Janelle Bitker

Where to Eat and Drink in Fruitvale

A vetted guide to dining in one of Oakland’s most exciting food districts

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The vibrant, bustling section of East Oakland known as the Fruitvale is quite possibly the East Bay’s most delicious neighborhood. It’s predominantly Latino, with excellent taco trucks on just about every corner and countless taquerias in between. But there are also soul food spots and a sizable Southeast Asian population, and in recent years, the neighborhood has attracted some of Oakland’s most socially responsible and radically-minded businesses.

Some of the neighborhoods smaller homegrown businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, shutting down temporarily or, in some cases, permanently. Still, it’s not hard to find a delicious, and often quite affordable, takeout option in the neighborhood. Here are 16 great spots to try.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Queen's Cajun Seafood

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2211 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94606
(510) 328-1458

Viet-Cajun restaurants in the vein of the Boiling Crab are scattered around the Bay Area, but Queen’s Cajun Seafood stands out for its similarity to restaurants in Houston, the birthplace of Viet-Cajun food. In addition to the bags full of boiled seafood — and corn and sausage and spices — there’s excellent turkey neck stew, and the dirty rice makes for the ideal side starch. Call in or walk up for takeout, or get delivery via any of the major third-party apps.

2. Camchilao

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3216 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 470-0662
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This food truck stationed just outside the Fruitvale BART station features a concise menu of Cambodian and Lao street food dishes, with a smattering of vegan Chinese options as well — hence the “Cam” “Chi” “Lao” name. Head here for bold-flavored classics like lemongrass-scented chicken cha-kreung, Lao-style papaya salad, and, perhaps most popular of all, the truck’s take on deep-fried chicken feet, served with a bright fish sauce and chile dip. It’s nostalgic comfort food, mostly — larb tacos are the only real gesture toward fusion. For customers who want to stay and eat, there’s a fairly spacious fenced-off outdoor seating area.

A container of fried chicken wings at Camchilao Luke Tsai

3. Nieves Cinco de Mayo

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3340 E 12th St #2
Oakland, CA 94103
(510) 533-6296

Luis Abundis has been making ice cream since 1991, and the flavors change constantly at his Fruitvale scoop shop, Nieves Cinco de Mayo. Find roughly 24 flavors of ice cream and sorbet — guava, eggnog, cheese, pecan — each day as well as raspados (snow cones), mangonadas (mango sorbet layered with chamoy sauce and chili powder), and sandi-loca (watermelon sorbet, jicama, and chamoy served in a carved-out watermelon).

4. Red Bay Coffee Roastery & Bar

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3098 E 10th St
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 269-1032
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This is the headquarters for Keba Konte’s growing coffee company Red Bay, so you get a fun dose of industrial production warehouse with your charcoal latte. The coffee is very good, but it tastes even better knowing it was produced by a social justice-oriented, people of color-centered business that does real work in the community. The cafe is currently offering takeout for coffee and pastries, with curbside pickup, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily.

5. Ale Industries

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3096 E 10th St
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 479-3185
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This Fruitvale warehouse brewery thrives on both sessionable classics as well as fruity sours, hazy feats, and difficult-to-categorize experiments. Ale Industries is currently open daily for curbside pickup and outdoor seating on the patio. You can also pick up pre-ordered tamales, courtesy of La Guerrera’s Kitchen, Friday through Sunday, noon–3 p.m.

6. Churros Mexicanos

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3352 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 290-0952

Few things beat hot fried dough, and this little cart expertly prepares crispy churros — made to order, of course — and filled with smooth custard. At $2.50, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable dessert option anywhere. The only question is: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, or strawberry? The cart is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

7. Obelisco Restaurant

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3411 E 12th St #110
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 534-3752
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This low-key restaurant sometimes gets lost in the shuffle amid the number of new, high-profile spots that have opened in the immediate vicinity of the Fruitvale BART station, but Obelisco (formerly Taco Grill) was using Mary’s chicken and Niman Ranch pork and beef before it was trendy and commonplace for local Mexican spots to do so. It’s probably best known for its pozole (available in red, green, and white versions), and it’s also one of the few places in town that serves crispy tacos — get the one with potatoes for some excellent carb-on-carb action.

8. Guadalajara Taco Truck

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Fruitvale Ave & E 10th St
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 533-7194

As the birthplace of Oakland’s food truck movement, Fruitvale remains a destination for tacos, burritos, and chile-dusted mango eaten on the street. Many different trucks could have landed on this list (see John Birdsall’s favorite tacos in Fruitvale), but the trusty truck in the Guadalajara parking lot serves some of the best and most monstrous burritos in the area. (Seriously, the super burrito is the size of at least two normal burritos.) The distribution of ingredients is admirable, and the al pastor gloriously greasy. Both the truck and the adjacent restaurant are open for takeout — just walk up to order.

9. Mariscos La Costa

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3625 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 533-9566

While Mariscos La Costa offers a slew of taqueria standards, diners should zero in on the fresh seafood options. Choose from oysters, seafood cocktail, or the crispy tostadas piled high with bright ceviche. (The shrimp and octopus tostadas are strong bets, too.)

10. Ruby Q Smoke Fusion

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954 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 253-2270
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Located in the Aloha Club-adjacent spot formerly occupied by La Guerrera’s, Ruby Q is all about smoked meats served in an array of formats, including several that give the barbecue a bit of a Mexican slant. Here, in addition to getting your pork ribs or brisket sliced up and served by the pound, you can also enjoy it on nachos, tacos, or quesadillas. The whole smoked chickens are a thing of beauty, and Aloha Club’s spacious outdoor patio is available for diners who are comfortable sitting down to enjoy a cocktail with their meal.

11. La Grana Fish

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952 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 612-5917
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The wildly popular taco truck is now open at its new digs, outside the Aloha Club bar in the heart of the Fruitvale district. The source of customers’ enthusiasm has mostly to do with La Grana’s quesabirria (it was one of the first spots in Oakland to offer the cheesy, consomé-soaked birria tacos), but also its menu packed with other crowdpleasers: seafood items like ceviches and aguachiles, oversized “pizza mulas,” and a lineup of loaded baked potatoes. The truck is currently open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. If you order food, the Aloha Club patio is also open for outdoor seating.

Close-up view of the quesabirria Karina

12. El Huarache Azteca

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3842 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 533-2395
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A Fruitvale institution since 2001, this family-run spot has long been one of the East Bay’s top destinations for the food of Mexico City — especially for its namesake huaraches (sandal-shaped fried masa cakes), sopes, and other masa-based dishes. The restaurant’s chicken tinga and the barbacao are some of the best versions in town, and it’s one of just a handful of spots where you can snag a pambazo, a kind of sauce-soaked sandwich that’s popular in Mexico City. In addition to takeout, El Huarache Azteca now also has a small outdoor patio that’s open for customers who want to dine in.

13. Peña's Bakery II

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3912 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 533-5733

The undisputed neighborhood favorite bakery is Peña’s Bakery II, which features trays and trays of glazed conchas, crumbly biscuits, flaky empanadas, soft buns, and other pan dulce. It first opened in 1989, and the community has never stopped coming. It’s currently open for takeout daily from 8 a.m. to noon.

14. Two Mammas' Vegan Kitchen

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3700 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 606-0596
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Perhaps best known for its homey vegan brunch offerings — like its mushroom Florentine, faux sausage breakfast sandwiches, and Belgian waffles — Two Mammas’ is currently open for takeout Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

15. Taqueria El Paisa@.com

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4610 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 610-6398
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This taqueria has slowly gained the reputation for serving the best tacos in not just Fruitvale but all of Oakland — and according to Eater critic Bill Addison, in all of California, too. The al pastor, carnitas, chorizo, and other common cuts are good, but Taqueria El Paisa@.com truly sings when it comes to offal-y bits like tripas (beef tripe), sesos (brains), and cabeza — garnished with strips of cactus, cipollini onions, and some of the fieriest salsas in town. Call in your to-go order.

Janelle Bitker

16. Big Momma's Kitchen

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4929 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 479-1122

Closed for the past couple of years, the New Orleans-style restaurant has risen again — under new ownership — during the height of the pandemic, It’s open for takeout only with a fairly stripped down menu of soul food offerings focused on chicken and turkey wings, fried seafood, and assorted po’boys, with classic sides like mac and cheese and red beans and rice.

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1. Queen's Cajun Seafood

2211 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

Viet-Cajun restaurants in the vein of the Boiling Crab are scattered around the Bay Area, but Queen’s Cajun Seafood stands out for its similarity to restaurants in Houston, the birthplace of Viet-Cajun food. In addition to the bags full of boiled seafood — and corn and sausage and spices — there’s excellent turkey neck stew, and the dirty rice makes for the ideal side starch. Call in or walk up for takeout, or get delivery via any of the major third-party apps.

2211 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94606

2. Camchilao

3216 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601
A container of fried chicken wings at Camchilao Luke Tsai

This food truck stationed just outside the Fruitvale BART station features a concise menu of Cambodian and Lao street food dishes, with a smattering of vegan Chinese options as well — hence the “Cam” “Chi” “Lao” name. Head here for bold-flavored classics like lemongrass-scented chicken cha-kreung, Lao-style papaya salad, and, perhaps most popular of all, the truck’s take on deep-fried chicken feet, served with a bright fish sauce and chile dip. It’s nostalgic comfort food, mostly — larb tacos are the only real gesture toward fusion. For customers who want to stay and eat, there’s a fairly spacious fenced-off outdoor seating area.

3216 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601

3. Nieves Cinco de Mayo

3340 E 12th St #2, Oakland, CA 94103

Luis Abundis has been making ice cream since 1991, and the flavors change constantly at his Fruitvale scoop shop, Nieves Cinco de Mayo. Find roughly 24 flavors of ice cream and sorbet — guava, eggnog, cheese, pecan — each day as well as raspados (snow cones), mangonadas (mango sorbet layered with chamoy sauce and chili powder), and sandi-loca (watermelon sorbet, jicama, and chamoy served in a carved-out watermelon).

3340 E 12th St #2
Oakland, CA 94103

4. Red Bay Coffee Roastery & Bar

3098 E 10th St, Oakland, CA 94601

This is the headquarters for Keba Konte’s growing coffee company Red Bay, so you get a fun dose of industrial production warehouse with your charcoal latte. The coffee is very good, but it tastes even better knowing it was produced by a social justice-oriented, people of color-centered business that does real work in the community. The cafe is currently offering takeout for coffee and pastries, with curbside pickup, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily.

3098 E 10th St
Oakland, CA 94601

5. Ale Industries

3096 E 10th St, Oakland, CA 94601

This Fruitvale warehouse brewery thrives on both sessionable classics as well as fruity sours, hazy feats, and difficult-to-categorize experiments. Ale Industries is currently open daily for curbside pickup and outdoor seating on the patio. You can also pick up pre-ordered tamales, courtesy of La Guerrera’s Kitchen, Friday through Sunday, noon–3 p.m.

3096 E 10th St
Oakland, CA 94601

6. Churros Mexicanos

3352 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601

Few things beat hot fried dough, and this little cart expertly prepares crispy churros — made to order, of course — and filled with smooth custard. At $2.50, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable dessert option anywhere. The only question is: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, or strawberry? The cart is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

3352 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601

7. Obelisco Restaurant

3411 E 12th St #110, Oakland, CA 94601

This low-key restaurant sometimes gets lost in the shuffle amid the number of new, high-profile spots that have opened in the immediate vicinity of the Fruitvale BART station, but Obelisco (formerly Taco Grill) was using Mary’s chicken and Niman Ranch pork and beef before it was trendy and commonplace for local Mexican spots to do so. It’s probably best known for its pozole (available in red, green, and white versions), and it’s also one of the few places in town that serves crispy tacos — get the one with potatoes for some excellent carb-on-carb action.

3411 E 12th St #110
Oakland, CA 94601

8. Guadalajara Taco Truck

Fruitvale Ave & E 10th St, Oakland, CA 94601

As the birthplace of Oakland’s food truck movement, Fruitvale remains a destination for tacos, burritos, and chile-dusted mango eaten on the street. Many different trucks could have landed on this list (see John Birdsall’s favorite tacos in Fruitvale), but the trusty truck in the Guadalajara parking lot serves some of the best and most monstrous burritos in the area. (Seriously, the super burrito is the size of at least two normal burritos.) The distribution of ingredients is admirable, and the al pastor gloriously greasy. Both the truck and the adjacent restaurant are open for takeout — just walk up to order.

Fruitvale Ave & E 10th St
Oakland, CA 94601

9. Mariscos La Costa

3625 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

While Mariscos La Costa offers a slew of taqueria standards, diners should zero in on the fresh seafood options. Choose from oysters, seafood cocktail, or the crispy tostadas piled high with bright ceviche. (The shrimp and octopus tostadas are strong bets, too.)

3625 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601

10. Ruby Q Smoke Fusion

954 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94601

Located in the Aloha Club-adjacent spot formerly occupied by La Guerrera’s, Ruby Q is all about smoked meats served in an array of formats, including several that give the barbecue a bit of a Mexican slant. Here, in addition to getting your pork ribs or brisket sliced up and served by the pound, you can also enjoy it on nachos, tacos, or quesadillas. The whole smoked chickens are a thing of beauty, and Aloha Club’s spacious outdoor patio is available for diners who are comfortable sitting down to enjoy a cocktail with their meal.

954 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601

11. La Grana Fish

952 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94601
Close-up view of the quesabirria Karina

The wildly popular taco truck is now open at its new digs, outside the Aloha Club bar in the heart of the Fruitvale district. The source of customers’ enthusiasm has mostly to do with La Grana’s quesabirria (it was one of the first spots in Oakland to offer the cheesy, consomé-soaked birria tacos), but also its menu packed with other crowdpleasers: seafood items like ceviches and aguachiles, oversized “pizza mulas,” and a lineup of loaded baked potatoes. The truck is currently open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. If you order food, the Aloha Club patio is also open for outdoor seating.

952 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601

12. El Huarache Azteca

3842 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

A Fruitvale institution since 2001, this family-run spot has long been one of the East Bay’s top destinations for the food of Mexico City — especially for its namesake huaraches (sandal-shaped fried masa cakes), sopes, and other masa-based dishes. The restaurant’s chicken tinga and the barbacao are some of the best versions in town, and it’s one of just a handful of spots where you can snag a pambazo, a kind of sauce-soaked sandwich that’s popular in Mexico City. In addition to takeout, El Huarache Azteca now also has a small outdoor patio that’s open for customers who want to dine in.

3842 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601

13. Peña's Bakery II

3912 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

The undisputed neighborhood favorite bakery is Peña’s Bakery II, which features trays and trays of glazed conchas, crumbly biscuits, flaky empanadas, soft buns, and other pan dulce. It first opened in 1989, and the community has never stopped coming. It’s currently open for takeout daily from 8 a.m. to noon.

3912 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601

14. Two Mammas' Vegan Kitchen

3700 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601

Perhaps best known for its homey vegan brunch offerings — like its mushroom Florentine, faux sausage breakfast sandwiches, and Belgian waffles — Two Mammas’ is currently open for takeout Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

3700 E 12th St
Oakland, CA 94601

15. Taqueria El Paisa@.com

4610 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601
Janelle Bitker

This taqueria has slowly gained the reputation for serving the best tacos in not just Fruitvale but all of Oakland — and according to Eater critic Bill Addison, in all of California, too. The al pastor, carnitas, chorizo, and other common cuts are good, but Taqueria El Paisa@.com truly sings when it comes to offal-y bits like tripas (beef tripe), sesos (brains), and cabeza — garnished with strips of cactus, cipollini onions, and some of the fieriest salsas in town. Call in your to-go order.

4610 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601

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16. Big Momma's Kitchen

4929 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

Closed for the past couple of years, the New Orleans-style restaurant has risen again — under new ownership — during the height of the pandemic, It’s open for takeout only with a fairly stripped down menu of soul food offerings focused on chicken and turkey wings, fried seafood, and assorted po’boys, with classic sides like mac and cheese and red beans and rice.

4929 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601

Related Maps