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Where to Eat and Drink in Temescal

A vetted guide to dining and drinking in this Oakland neighborhood

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One of Oakland's oldest neighborhoods, Temescal was known as "Little Italy" until the late 1960s, due to a thriving population of Italian-Americans. Now its continuously diversifying population is part of the draw for this neighborhood, whose restaurants boast a mixed bag of cuisines. Diners can choose from a variety of food offerings, from Filipino brunch to simple fried chicken sandwiches, Korean barbecue, and vegan ice cream.

The neighborhood is also supremely walkable, with Telegraph Avenue from 51st Street to 40th Street comprising the main drag; close proximity to the MacArthur BART station makes it an easy access point for East Bay–curious San Franciscans. And, thanks to the burgeoning population of young families, many restaurants are kid-friendly, and offer takeout or delivery as well.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Kingfish Pub & Cafe

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Established on Claremont Avenue in 1920, this bar is one of the oldest in the Bay. When news that the bar's lot had been sold and a condominium complex would take the landmark's place, the public was outraged. Luckily, the bar's owner was able to transport the small, shack-like structure 35 meters to its new location on Telegraph Avenue, keeping it completely intact. Outfitted with shuffleboard, jukebox, and free popcorn, this community watering hole is here to stay.

FOB Kitchen

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Traditional Filipino flavors are served in a vibrant, contemporary setting at FOB Kitchen, one of Oakland’s buzziest new restaurants. Formerly a popular San Francisco pop-up, FOB Kitchen serves family-style dishes like pork adobo, lechon, and lumpia at dinner and rice plates topped with runny eggs at brunch. Cocktails channel the tropics with help from Cali Gold of Beretta.

Bakesale Betty

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Situated on the corner of 51st and Telegraph sits one of Temescal's most popular lunch destinations. Betty's thriving business is centered around one central food item: a buttermilk battered fried chicken breast, atop spicy jalapeno slaw on an Acme torpedo roll (also available with fried tofu). Chips, baked goods, and canned drinks are also available to eat at the makeshift tables fashioned from old ironing boards. And though the line might look long, it moves fast — this place is a well-oiled machine.

Snail Bar

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Sample orange wine by the glass alongside blue fin crudo, oysters, crudites, and of course, snails, at this new natural wine bar and bottle shop. Snail Bar is from Andres Giraldo Florez, who brings his experience at Michelin-starred restaurants including Saison and WD-50 in New York to a modernist menu of always-rotating small plates served in a sunny space with checkered floors.

There are a few Ethiopian restaurants to choose from in this stretch of Oakland, but Abesha has the edge for its exemplary kitfo — raw beef tartare with cottage cheese, greens, and spices — and lunchtime build-your-own veggie combo. Don’t miss the mushroom tibs.

Janelle Bitker

Rose's Taproom

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Opened by two artists, Rose's is a relaxed gathering place for beers brewed on premises and a selection of snacks. Beers run the gamut from kolsch to saison to coconut porter served with lime. Food is a snacky array, with bread from neighboring Pizzaiolo, charcuterie from Duende, and more. The entire place is painted a warm peachy pink, intended as a welcoming space for beer lovers of all kinds, including families. It’s now offering seating on the new back patio, which used to belong to Doña Tomás.

North Light

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This cozy bar joined the Temescal scene in early 2019, and while it’s no longer an all-day cafe as when it first opened, it still serves as a one-stop shop for top-notch drinks accompanied by snacks like umami tots and mushroom panini, as well as books, records, and art. Since reopening in March 2021, North Lights added courtyard and parklet seating, and launched a monthly drag brunch.

Curbside Creamery

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Gourmet ice cream in charming Temescal Alley is the pitch for Curbside Creamery, though that sort of undersells its many virtues. Those include pie, rotating soft serve (a vegan and non-vegan flavor at all times), and simple seasonal ice cream flavors (again, many vegan). A big seller: Ice cream sandwiches on several kinds of cookies, from gingersnaps to chocolate shortbread.

Marufuku Ramen

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One of SF’s best Hakata-style ramen shops expanded to Oakland with this Temescal location (there are also outposts in Irvine, Redwood City, Del Mar, and Frisco). The 20-hour tonkotsu broth is the more popular, but the chicken paitan is also not to be overlooked, and an off-menu vegan option has everyone covered. You might have to spend some time tooling around the neighborhood while you wait for them to text you off the waitlist: This one draws a line.

The Avenue

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The term "dive bar" takes on new meaning at The Avenue, a no-frills watering hole in the heart of the neighborhood. A metal theme pervades, complete with a pair of skeletons above the sign, foam stalactites hanging from the ceiling, and plenty of chains dangling throughout. Pool tables, PBR, and friendly tattooed bartenders make this the ideal, darkened hangout on a sunny afternoon or late into the night. There's also a working fireplace, for those cool Bay Area evenings.

Burma Superstar

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Although waiting in line can be a drag, the Temescal location of uber popular Burma Superstar offers all the best Burmese classics. Don't skip the famous tea leaf salad, which combines more than 20 components in a salad flavored with fermented tea leaves, and make sure to order an extra bowl of the house coconut rice topped with crispy garlic.

Pyeong Chang Tofu House

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Serving Korean comfort food and seasonally changing banchan since 1999, Pyeong Chang Tofu House is a great family-run restaurant on Telegraph Avenue. Tofu soup, seafood pancakes, and bibimbap are all popular orders here, though there’s also Korean barbecue, cold noodles, and ginseng stuffed whole chicken to be had on the extensive menu.

Aunt Mary's Cafe

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Named after the owner’s aunt, a master at Southern comfort food, this spot specializes in a brunch that delivers just that. The inviting space also offers a selection of house-made pies and baked goods. Try a yeasted grits waffle with fried chicken on top, or the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote.

2ND Half Sports Lounge

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The Warriors or A’s might be the main reason to go get a drink at this sports bar that opened in 2018, but the MVP is Smokin’ Woods, chef James Woodard’s barbecue pop-up that serves some of the Bay Area’s best brisket.

Beef rib plate at Smokin’ Woods Bill Addison

Temescal Brewing

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Check out Sam Gilbert’s 35-seat taproom and beer garden with constantly changing beers and a lively, sunny patio out back. Inside, the colorful decor and airy space matches the brewery’s “lighter and softer” style of craft beer that is more approachable for the masses, yet still complex enough for enthusiasts. Well-behaved dogs and children are welcome.

Homeroom

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Throwing traditionalism to the wind, classic and quirky combinations of the cheesy, all-American favorite are the allure here. Build your own mac n’ cheese with a myriad of toppings or try some of the classics like the Hawaiian with ham and pineapple, or the buffalo chicken that uses Frank’s Red hot and grilled chicken. With a list of wine and draft beers, there really is something for everyone. Homeroom-to-Go, located just around the corner, is now completely dedicated to delivery.

Copper Spoon Cocktails & Kitchen

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Bohemian and funky, Copper Spoon is a neighborhood spot that feels appropriately Oakland. The eclectic menu jumps around from Japanese to Mediterranean influences with dishes like deviled eggs with togarashi and a lamb merguez burger, but plenty of people stop in purely for Vita Simone’s strong cocktails. Mezcal fans will be pleased here.

Copper Spoon

Teni East Kitchen

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Chef-owner Tiyo Shibabaw infuses California into her bright Burmese restaurant, with kale in the tea leaf salad and a sense of seasonal vibrancy throughout the menu. The refreshing pea shoot salad is deservingly popular, but the crispy catfish, curries, and noodles are all winners, too.

Mama's Royal Cafe

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More than 40 years ago, George Marino opened this beloved neighborhood spot in an old Chinese restaurant at a time when breakfast wasn't the spectacle it is today. Unable to afford cosmetic changes to the interior at the time, Marino left the now iconic Chinese accents throughout the restaurant. Despite a change in ownership, this community-minded cafe continues to offer locally sourced breakfast and lunch classics, though regulars know the more eclectic specials are where it’s at.

Beauty's Bagel Shop

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Beauty's was a neighborhood favorite for Montreal-style bagels, before Wise Sons purchased the shop in 2020, to form a new bagel-and-pastrami superteam. They kept the sign and name, and although the bagels have definitely changed, they’re still kettle boiled and made with locally milled flour. And the upshot is that the menu got meatier, with pastrami reubens, smoked trout salad, and matzo ball soup.

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Kingfish Pub & Cafe

Established on Claremont Avenue in 1920, this bar is one of the oldest in the Bay. When news that the bar's lot had been sold and a condominium complex would take the landmark's place, the public was outraged. Luckily, the bar's owner was able to transport the small, shack-like structure 35 meters to its new location on Telegraph Avenue, keeping it completely intact. Outfitted with shuffleboard, jukebox, and free popcorn, this community watering hole is here to stay.

FOB Kitchen

Traditional Filipino flavors are served in a vibrant, contemporary setting at FOB Kitchen, one of Oakland’s buzziest new restaurants. Formerly a popular San Francisco pop-up, FOB Kitchen serves family-style dishes like pork adobo, lechon, and lumpia at dinner and rice plates topped with runny eggs at brunch. Cocktails channel the tropics with help from Cali Gold of Beretta.

Bakesale Betty

Situated on the corner of 51st and Telegraph sits one of Temescal's most popular lunch destinations. Betty's thriving business is centered around one central food item: a buttermilk battered fried chicken breast, atop spicy jalapeno slaw on an Acme torpedo roll (also available with fried tofu). Chips, baked goods, and canned drinks are also available to eat at the makeshift tables fashioned from old ironing boards. And though the line might look long, it moves fast — this place is a well-oiled machine.

Snail Bar

Sample orange wine by the glass alongside blue fin crudo, oysters, crudites, and of course, snails, at this new natural wine bar and bottle shop. Snail Bar is from Andres Giraldo Florez, who brings his experience at Michelin-starred restaurants including Saison and WD-50 in New York to a modernist menu of always-rotating small plates served in a sunny space with checkered floors.

Abesha

Janelle Bitker

There are a few Ethiopian restaurants to choose from in this stretch of Oakland, but Abesha has the edge for its exemplary kitfo — raw beef tartare with cottage cheese, greens, and spices — and lunchtime build-your-own veggie combo. Don’t miss the mushroom tibs.

Janelle Bitker

Rose's Taproom

Opened by two artists, Rose's is a relaxed gathering place for beers brewed on premises and a selection of snacks. Beers run the gamut from kolsch to saison to coconut porter served with lime. Food is a snacky array, with bread from neighboring Pizzaiolo, charcuterie from Duende, and more. The entire place is painted a warm peachy pink, intended as a welcoming space for beer lovers of all kinds, including families. It’s now offering seating on the new back patio, which used to belong to Doña Tomás.

North Light

This cozy bar joined the Temescal scene in early 2019, and while it’s no longer an all-day cafe as when it first opened, it still serves as a one-stop shop for top-notch drinks accompanied by snacks like umami tots and mushroom panini, as well as books, records, and art. Since reopening in March 2021, North Lights added courtyard and parklet seating, and launched a monthly drag brunch.

Curbside Creamery

Gourmet ice cream in charming Temescal Alley is the pitch for Curbside Creamery, though that sort of undersells its many virtues. Those include pie, rotating soft serve (a vegan and non-vegan flavor at all times), and simple seasonal ice cream flavors (again, many vegan). A big seller: Ice cream sandwiches on several kinds of cookies, from gingersnaps to chocolate shortbread.

Marufuku Ramen

One of SF’s best Hakata-style ramen shops expanded to Oakland with this Temescal location (there are also outposts in Irvine, Redwood City, Del Mar, and Frisco). The 20-hour tonkotsu broth is the more popular, but the chicken paitan is also not to be overlooked, and an off-menu vegan option has everyone covered. You might have to spend some time tooling around the neighborhood while you wait for them to text you off the waitlist: This one draws a line.

The Avenue

The term "dive bar" takes on new meaning at The Avenue, a no-frills watering hole in the heart of the neighborhood. A metal theme pervades, complete with a pair of skeletons above the sign, foam stalactites hanging from the ceiling, and plenty of chains dangling throughout. Pool tables, PBR, and friendly tattooed bartenders make this the ideal, darkened hangout on a sunny afternoon or late into the night. There's also a working fireplace, for those cool Bay Area evenings.

Burma Superstar

Although waiting in line can be a drag, the Temescal location of uber popular Burma Superstar offers all the best Burmese classics. Don't skip the famous tea leaf salad, which combines more than 20 components in a salad flavored with fermented tea leaves, and make sure to order an extra bowl of the house coconut rice topped with crispy garlic.

Pyeong Chang Tofu House

Serving Korean comfort food and seasonally changing banchan since 1999, Pyeong Chang Tofu House is a great family-run restaurant on Telegraph Avenue. Tofu soup, seafood pancakes, and bibimbap are all popular orders here, though there’s also Korean barbecue, cold noodles, and ginseng stuffed whole chicken to be had on the extensive menu.

Aunt Mary's Cafe

Named after the owner’s aunt, a master at Southern comfort food, this spot specializes in a brunch that delivers just that. The inviting space also offers a selection of house-made pies and baked goods. Try a yeasted grits waffle with fried chicken on top, or the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote.

2ND Half Sports Lounge

Beef rib plate at Smokin’ Woods Bill Addison

The Warriors or A’s might be the main reason to go get a drink at this sports bar that opened in 2018, but the MVP is Smokin’ Woods, chef James Woodard’s barbecue pop-up that serves some of the Bay Area’s best brisket.

Beef rib plate at Smokin’ Woods Bill Addison

Temescal Brewing

Check out Sam Gilbert’s 35-seat taproom and beer garden with constantly changing beers and a lively, sunny patio out back. Inside, the colorful decor and airy space matches the brewery’s “lighter and softer” style of craft beer that is more approachable for the masses, yet still complex enough for enthusiasts. Well-behaved dogs and children are welcome.