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Where to Eat and Drink in Uptown Oakland

A vetted guide to breweries, bars, and coffee galore in the neighborhood

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A neighborhood once occupied by high-end department stores like Sears, I Magnin, and JJ Newbury's, and theaters like the Fox and Paramount, Oakland's Uptown district has long been a destination for entertainment. In most cases, only the beautiful art deco buildings remained after businesses began to vacate the area in the second half of the 20th century.

Now the neighborhood, which hugs the main drags of Telegraph Avenue and Broadway, roughly spanning 17th Street to West Grand, has experienced a resurgence, with the proliferation of breweries, bars, and a diverse selection of restaurants. Use this guide to navigate the best that Uptown has to offer. (For more Oakland dining and drinking, check out Eater's guides to Northgate-Waverly, Temescal, and Fruitvale.)

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Friends & Family

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This explicitly women-led bar brings good food and craft cocktails — both classic and creative — to an inclusive, queer-friendly space in Uptown Oakland. Whimsically named cocktails, like the vodka-based Mom’s Rosy Cheeks, and small plates, like the Big Daddy Artichoke, are served in a cozy, soft-lit space full of antique touches, from the glassware to the table toppers.

Lindsey Shea

Kingston 11 Cuisine

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Between the music, the tropical vibe, and the infectiously upbeat crowd, Kingston 11 is as much neighborhood dining hub as restaurant, with chef Nigel Jones’s Jamaican specialties remaining a draw after nearly a decade. Nibble on salt cod fritters with chimichurri or beef patties before main events like curried goat, jerk chicken, and oxtail stew, while sipping on rum-based cocktails.

Daughter's Diner

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Daughter’s Diner brings a California sensibility to classic diner food and a tongue-in-cheek attitude to the menu, which features customer favorites like the Beast Mode bagel sandwich; the Double B Homewrecker; and “princess pancakes” made with marzipan and house-made raspberry preserves. The dinner menu offers spruced-up diner staples as well, but you’ll be tempted to order breakfast for dinner — the whole menu is served all day.

Farley's East

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Equipped with a parklet along Grand Avenue, Farley’s East offers a meeting place within a busy neighborhood for locals to congregate, hunker down with their computers, or meet with neighbors to enjoy a selection of sandwiches, pastries, and coffee.

Viridian

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One of Uptown Oakland’s newest hotspots, Viridian is a photogenic dream, quickly becoming a destination for its stylish, cinematic space and Asian-inflected sweets — it boasts a dessert menu that’s twice as long as its dim sum menu. Gorgeous, savory cocktails like the Yuzu Bamboo — combining flavors like yuzu, sesame, and Shao Xing wine with vermouth and curaçao — balance out the sweets.

Patricia Chang

Shawarmaji

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Shawarmaji is the permanent location of chef Mohammad Abutaha’s crowd-attracting pop-up, a Jordanian-style chicken shawarma shop serving a menu of halal meat-packed wraps, loaded fries, and salads. The massive wraps are filled with fresh-sliced chicken, griddled to a golden crisp, and topped off with a hit of garlicky toum, the sauce so popular Shawarmaji sells it by the tub.

Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar

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Dubbing itself an "upscale diner," Hopscotch draws inspiration for its menu from the many cultural influences of the Bay, with menu items like the soba bucatini with mascarpone and walnut pesto, classic fried chicken, and kimchi fried rice with a shoyu egg (available at brunch). Chef-owner Kyle Itani, a fourth generation Japanese-American, grew up in nearby Vacaville, but has spent extensive time traveling through Japan; his food is a personal narrative that reflects a mashup of those cultures.

Asian-Mexican fusion spot Belly specializes in affordable tacos and burritos starring ingredients like shrimp tempura, sesame slaw, and pickled cucumbers. The must-order is the steak and eggs taco, loaded up with skinny fries and chipotle aioli, with a runny fried egg as the crown.

Little Giant Ice Cream

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Unlike most scoop shops, Little Giant actually makes its own base and churns it on the premises. With standouts like the Coconauts (a coconut milk base stracciatella) or the Beez Cheez (honey, goat cheese, and black pepper), it’s easy to love this community favorite. There is also a "pup cup" made especially for furry friends.

This self-proclaimed "Mission-style" taqueria features an addictive bacon-wrapped hot dog on the menu, as well as a vegan version of pozole that affirms its dedication to serving the community around it. The casual spot comprises of a patio, a mezzanine, and a dining room, offering selections of Mexican beers and six-ounce glasses of wine.

Palmetto

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Palmetto is new to the Uptown cocktail scene, the latest project from Christ Aivaliotis and Matt Reagan, the guys behind Kon-Tiki. Pastel colors, neon lights, and lush plants transformed the old Flora space in the Oakland Floral Depot building, achieving a retro, Miami aesthetic and mellow setting to meet friends for rum cocktails and creative, steak-heavy food offerings.

Tarik Kazaleh

Shinmai

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A sleek izakaya serving ramen and cocktails has joined the burgeoning dining scene on San Pablo. Small plates like fried potato salad with tobiko, truffle aioli, and furikake, and chicken karaage with miso tartar are jazzed up versions of izakaya offerings in a modern setting.

Jeremy Chiu

Chef-owner Paul Canales draws upon Basque and Catalan cuisines to transport diners with wood-fire cooking, communal seating, a plethora of Spanish wines, and more than 15 sherries by the glass. Come with a group and share a paella or go the pintxos/tapas route and sample dishes from fried fava beans to the classic patatas bravas.

Itani Ramen

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Adding to the growing group of ramen spots in the bay, chef-owner Kyle Itani (Hopscotch) has put his stamp on the Japanese comfort food. The contemporary, hip, and well-lit space is offering ramen, gyozas, rice bowls, and the must-try crispy pig’s ears.

The Punchdown

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The Punchdown is one of Oakland’s top destinations for natural wine, prioritizing organic and biodynamic wines made with naturally occurring yeast and minimal intervention. The list constantly changes, with flights and half pours on offer so you can fully explore in a laid-back yet sophisticated space. There’s also a small food menu (charcuterie, cheese, sandwiches) and impressive selection of bottles to take home with you.

The large bar gets packed on the weekends for its wide array of craft cocktails and beer from local breweries. The upstairs mezzanine is filled with cozy couches and skeeball to ensure that despite producing high-end cocktails, the bar itself doesn't take itself too seriously.

Modern Coffee

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This women-owned coffee shop has quickly expanded across downtown Oakland, thanks to the winning combination of quality coffee, well-designed spaces, and free wifi where busy workers need it most.

Parlour Restaurant

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From the owners of Bar 355 and chef Jason Tuley (Gitane), Parlour's large space features wood-fired pizzas, Italian fare, and housemade bread. While Italian at its core, the approach is Californian, with selections ranging from wood-fired margherita pizza to a whole wheat pappardelle with duck ragout and broccolini salsa verde.

Cafe Van Kleef

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Before Uptown became the epicenter for craft cocktails and gastropubs, there was Cafe Van Kleef. The iconic spot, which serves the best greyhounds and salty dogs in the Bay, was officially born in 2004 when friends of then-owner Peter Van Kleef convinced him to turn the slow cafe into a full-fledged bar. Though Van Kleef passed away in 2015, his spirit remains in this special bar filled with his tchotchkes and stories.

Bar Shiru

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Bar Shiru is styled after Japanese listening bars where vinyl and high-end sound systems compete with cocktails for attention. Craft coctkails, beer, and wine can be consumed in front of an impress wall of records, and very, very nice glassed-in sound system.

Bar Shiru

Aburaya

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Punk rock-themed Japanese fried chicken shop Aburaya is actually much more than fried chicken — though you’ll usually spot fried chicken on just about every table. Aburaya also functions as an extra chill, fast-casual izakaya with classics like okonomiyaki as well as creative small plates.

Friends & Family

Lindsey Shea

This explicitly women-led bar brings good food and craft cocktails — both classic and creative — to an inclusive, queer-friendly space in Uptown Oakland. Whimsically named cocktails, like the vodka-based Mom’s Rosy Cheeks, and small plates, like the Big Daddy Artichoke, are served in a cozy, soft-lit space full of antique touches, from the glassware to the table toppers.

Lindsey Shea

Kingston 11 Cuisine

Between the music, the tropical vibe, and the infectiously upbeat crowd, Kingston 11 is as much neighborhood dining hub as restaurant, with chef Nigel Jones’s Jamaican specialties remaining a draw after nearly a decade. Nibble on salt cod fritters with chimichurri or beef patties before main events like curried goat, jerk chicken, and oxtail stew, while sipping on rum-based cocktails.

Daughter's Diner

Daughter’s Diner brings a California sensibility to classic diner food and a tongue-in-cheek attitude to the menu, which features customer favorites like the Beast Mode bagel sandwich; the Double B Homewrecker; and “princess pancakes” made with marzipan and house-made raspberry preserves. The dinner menu offers spruced-up diner staples as well, but you’ll be tempted to order breakfast for dinner — the whole menu is served all day.

Farley's East

Equipped with a parklet along Grand Avenue, Farley’s East offers a meeting place within a busy neighborhood for locals to congregate, hunker down with their computers, or meet with neighbors to enjoy a selection of sandwiches, pastries, and coffee.

Viridian

Patricia Chang

One of Uptown Oakland’s newest hotspots, Viridian is a photogenic dream, quickly becoming a destination for its stylish, cinematic space and Asian-inflected sweets — it boasts a dessert menu that’s twice as long as its dim sum menu. Gorgeous, savory cocktails like the Yuzu Bamboo — combining flavors like yuzu, sesame, and Shao Xing wine with vermouth and curaçao — balance out the sweets.

Patricia Chang

Shawarmaji

Shawarmaji is the permanent location of chef Mohammad Abutaha’s crowd-attracting pop-up, a Jordanian-style chicken shawarma shop serving a menu of halal meat-packed wraps, loaded fries, and salads. The massive wraps are filled with fresh-sliced chicken, griddled to a golden crisp, and topped off with a hit of garlicky toum, the sauce so popular Shawarmaji sells it by the tub.

Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar

Dubbing itself an "upscale diner," Hopscotch draws inspiration for its menu from the many cultural influences of the Bay, with menu items like the soba bucatini with mascarpone and walnut pesto, classic fried chicken, and kimchi fried rice with a shoyu egg (available at brunch). Chef-owner Kyle Itani, a fourth generation Japanese-American, grew up in nearby Vacaville, but has spent extensive time traveling through Japan; his food is a personal narrative that reflects a mashup of those cultures.

Belly

Asian-Mexican fusion spot Belly specializes in affordable tacos and burritos starring ingredients like shrimp tempura, sesame slaw, and pickled cucumbers. The must-order is the steak and eggs taco, loaded up with skinny fries and chipotle aioli, with a runny fried egg as the crown.

Little Giant Ice Cream

Unlike most scoop shops, Little Giant actually makes its own base and churns it on the premises. With standouts like the Coconauts (a coconut milk base stracciatella) or the Beez Cheez (honey, goat cheese, and black pepper), it’s easy to love this community favorite. There is also a "pup cup" made especially for furry friends.

Xolo