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Where to Eat and Drink in Rockridge

A vetted guide to dining and drinking in one of Oakland’s most dynamic neighborhoods

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Blending the funkiness and diversity of Oakland with the charm and energy of Berkeley, Rockridge is a picturesque and vibrant neighborhood that represents a lot of the East Bay’s best qualities. Built up in the 1920s to 50s with (now multimillion-dollar) charming bungalows and cottages for those seeking a quieter alternative to the city, it’s become one of the most bustling and desirable districts on the sunny side of the bay.

South of Berkeley, west of the Oakland hills, and generally east of Telegraph Avenue, take a stroll down the area’s main drag, College Avenue, and pop into local bookstores, markets, coffee houses, speciality shops, and eateries. The food scene here, in particular, has made the neighborhood a dining destination worthy of a BART ride from San Francisco.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated indoor and outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities than dining indoors, but the level of risk involved with even outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Boichik Bagels

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3170 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705

One of the neighborhood’s breakout stars is this small bagel shop, offering the style of East coast bagels that transplants would kill for. Long lines formed immediately in pre-covid times, and these chewy, malty goodies are still causing quite a fuss after a feature in the New York Times. Order classic bialys and bagels by the dozen, topped with schmears, or formed into a sandwich. Lox, whitefish salad, and all the fixings are on offer, plus coffee, of course. Bulk bagels can be ordered ahead, otherwise head in and order in person.

Boichik Bagels Peter Sussman

2. Casa Barotti

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3204 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 922-1451
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A cheerful Italian spizzicheria (a casual spot for snacks and aperitivo) is open, serving Roman pizza by the slice, focaccias with various toppings, and fried snacks like supplie (fried rice balls) and more. The idea is to grab a few things to try with a glass of wine, or to take along on your walk through the neighborhood. A newly added aperitivo hour offers a complimentary sampling of housemade pizzas and focaccia with the order of wine or beer.

3. La Farine Boulangerie Patisserie

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6323 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 654-0338
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Two words: morning buns. People are borderline obsessed with these glorious buns from La Farine—both the sweet version, stuffed with gooey brown sugar and cinnamon, and the savory option, filled with ham, Gruyere, onion, and a touch of dill. This classic French-style bakery opened in 1977 on College Avenue and now has two other storefronts in Oakland. More fan favorite pastries include their frangipane almost croissant and “Swiss twinkie” (puff pastry filled with a roasted nut puree and topped with cinnamon sugar). La Farine also bakes rustic breads, decadent cookies, fruit tarts, and more.

4. Wood Tavern

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6317 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 654-6607
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Wood Tavern is the corner bistro of your dreams — that cozy, neighborhood spot you go back to again and again, knowing the food will never disappoint. A Rockridge favorite for more than a decade, the upscale yet casual American brasserie is always bustling. Simple dishes shine here, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring: the pan-roasted half chicken with with lemon-rosemary jus or the grilled double-cut pork chop, served with a marsala cream sauce, are both good choices. It’s also popular for lunch, with the Niman Ranch burger served on a La Farine baguette, as another standout on the menu.

5. Southie

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6311 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 654-0100
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A more relaxed, next-door offshoot from the folks at Wood Tavern, this tiny spot is known for its rotating menu of a half a dozen or so large and decadent sandwiches. Try “the Balls,” which stuffs meatballs, marinara, melted provolone, and parmesan into a crisp La Farine baguette, or the Dungeness crab roll, served with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and jalapeño aioli. They’ve also added Southie tacos to the mix, a separate menu of tacos, all-day breakfast burritos, and more. Call ahead for pickup.

6. Cole Coffee Cafe

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6253 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 653-5458
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Rockridge has no shortage of coffee shops, but the neighborhood favorite is undoubtedly Cole Coffee. Serving bold pour-overs way before Philz moved in across the street, this coffee shop is bustling all the time, especially on weekends. The cafe is currently closed but the retail bean shop next door is open.

7. Noodle Theory

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6099 Claremont Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 595-6988
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Sometimes, you just need a big bowl of noodles. And Noodle Theory is there for you. This bright, small corner cafe serves up a variety of bowls, from cold noodles to ramen and curries. Opt for the seared black pepper beef vermicelli salad on a hot day, or indulge in ginger noodles with crushed peanuts, a crowd pleasure. This noodle haven also offer a variety of sides in case you want more, such as the goat cheese and yau choy fried wontons and Chinese five spiced sweet potato fries served with a Thai green curry aioli. It’s currently open for takeout only.

8. The Golden Squirrel

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5940 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 735-9220
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When beloved Barclay’s Pub, which had been in this location for 25 years, moved to a new location, the Rockridge community was sad to see it go. Luckily, this casual, family-friendly spot opened in its place, offering a rotating 24 taps and modern spin on classic pub fare. It is neither a classic American restaurant or a dive bar, but it lands somewhere satisfyingly in the middle.

9. Millennium

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5912 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 735-9459
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Vegans and vegetarians rejoiced when Millennium announced it was moving from SF, where it had operated since 1994, to a new home in Oakland in 2015. Arriving in Rockridge with a refreshed menu of globally inspired, plant-based dishes that satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike, it brought something new to the neighborhood with its upscale yet rustic interior. Choose from a selection of fresh salads, eclectic entrees—the pumpkin tamale is a winner—and  inventive desserts. Wash your meal down with your choice from the cocktail menu, which uses fresh infusions and juices. It’s currently available for takeout and delivery, or four course prix-fixe dinners on the back patio by reservation only.

10. Ramen Shop

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5812 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 640-5034
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What happens when a trio of Chez Panisse alumni open a Ramen joint? People go wild. That’s what happened back in 2013 when Ramen Shop opened as an instant Oakland staple. Pulling from traditional Japanese methods but using California ingredients, the shop features a rotating selection of ramen (right now, that includes veggie Meyer lemon shoyu and a beef shoyu with smoked brisket and braised oxtail.) Don’t pass over the appetizers or the signature dessert: a sesame ice cream sandwich. Reservations are required for parklet dining, takeout and delivery are available.

11. Zachary's Chicago Pizza

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5801 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 655-6385
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The secret to Zachary’s success could be its unique, two-dough layer system or the zesty, chunk tomato sauce. If you’re just not into deep dish, you should try it anyway, but they also offer delicious thin-style pizza with a crispy, cornmeal crust. Bonus: the restaurant has been completely employee-owned since 2003. Currently only available for takeout and delivery.

12. Cactus Taqueria

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5642 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 658-6180
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Every neighborhood needs a spot like Cactus Taqueria. While not necessarily the best Mexican in the East Bay, it’s been the neighborhood’s go-to place for cheap, fresh, affordable tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas and other classics for more than a decade. Speaking of tacos, the restaurant is most famous for its crispy corn tortilla shells, which provide a satisfying crunch but are still soft enough to hold everything together. Open for back patio dining, takeout, or delivery.

13. Oliveto

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5655 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 547-5356
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Oliveto, a titan of Italian fare in the Bay Area, is situated in the heart of Rockridge above Market Hall, with large windows giving view to College Avenue. The restaurant is separated into a fine dining experience upstairs and more casual cafe downstairs. The dinner menu is updated daily for both areas, renown for its fresh pastas, grilled meats, and savory roasts. Many more Italian restaurants have opened in the area since Oliveto first opened, but people keep coming back here for more. Open for takeout and delivery.

14. Namastey Patio Nepalese and Indian Cuisine

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5500 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 922-9014
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The former La Boulangerie’s spacious patio is now home to a restaurant serving Nepalese, Indian, and Himalayan food. That means bhel puri, momos, naan, and vindaloo are all available at once, a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The patio truly is one of the best on College.

15. À Côté

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5478 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 655-6469
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Before small-plate dining became seemingly the only way anyone eats, ever, À Côté was one of the first restaurants to bring the concept to the Bay Area back in 2001. Its safe to say their bet on tapas-style was a good one, and while the idea may not be as unique in 2018, this cozy neighborhood gem continues to impress diners with its seasonal Mediterranean menu that’s served family-style.

16. Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery

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5421 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 655-0889
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Named after the narrow side streets that make up the city of Bangkok, this chic, modern restaurant serves an extensive menu of elevated Thai classics (think pad Thai, pad see ew, and kao soi) in addition to many more unique dishes, such as the kieow wan talay, squid, shrimp, salmon, eggplant, and zucchini in basil green curry or the panange neur, braised bone-in beef short ribs in Makrut lime leaf curry.

17. Belotti Ristorante E Bottega

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5403 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 788-7890
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Chef Michele Belotti, born and raised in a small town northeast of Milan, brings his love for simple, heartfelt cuisine of his homeland to Rockridge’s vast Italian scene. Honoring traditional methods and using local ingredients to craft an approachable menu where his homemade, soul-warming pasta is the star, standouts include the casoncelli, his mom’s Lombardian-style stuffed pasta with beef, prosciutto, pork shoulder covered in sage brown butter sauce. Belotti also churns out a small selection of impressive entrees, such as the 13-hour slow-cooked suckling pig. You can also now take out fresh pasta from the botega in Piedmont.

18. A16

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5356 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 768-8003
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Rockridge has never lacked for Italian restaurants, so when A16 — with its original outpost in the Marina — announced plans to open here in 2013, many wondered if the neighborhood really needed another. But it’s been a welcome addition to College Avenue, with its rustic-yet-industrial environment, complete with brick walls, a crisp-white marble bar, and wood-fired oven open to the dining room, churning out pizza after pizza. Named after the highway that runs through the Campania region of Italy, which also inspires the cuisine, A16 is known for its fresh pasta, house-cured meats, and those Neapolitan pizzas — served with scissors for you to slice — as well as their extensive wine list.

19. Marica Seafood Restaurant

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5301 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 985-8388
Visit Website

Finding a quality seafood restaurant in Oakland is a surprisingly daunting task, so Marica serves an important role in this town. Family operated since 2000, it remains just as popular today, known for its top-notch service and classic dishes including Prince Edward Island mussels soaked in a pernod-shallot butter broth, and seafood stew made with 20-hour lobster-cognac-tomato stock and teeming with scallops, shrimp, and rock cod. Always — always — end your meal here with the German dark chocolate souffle.

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1. Boichik Bagels

3170 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705
Boichik Bagels Peter Sussman

One of the neighborhood’s breakout stars is this small bagel shop, offering the style of East coast bagels that transplants would kill for. Long lines formed immediately in pre-covid times, and these chewy, malty goodies are still causing quite a fuss after a feature in the New York Times. Order classic bialys and bagels by the dozen, topped with schmears, or formed into a sandwich. Lox, whitefish salad, and all the fixings are on offer, plus coffee, of course. Bulk bagels can be ordered ahead, otherwise head in and order in person.

3170 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705

2. Casa Barotti

3204 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

A cheerful Italian spizzicheria (a casual spot for snacks and aperitivo) is open, serving Roman pizza by the slice, focaccias with various toppings, and fried snacks like supplie (fried rice balls) and more. The idea is to grab a few things to try with a glass of wine, or to take along on your walk through the neighborhood. A newly added aperitivo hour offers a complimentary sampling of housemade pizzas and focaccia with the order of wine or beer.

3204 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705

3. La Farine Boulangerie Patisserie

6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Two words: morning buns. People are borderline obsessed with these glorious buns from La Farine—both the sweet version, stuffed with gooey brown sugar and cinnamon, and the savory option, filled with ham, Gruyere, onion, and a touch of dill. This classic French-style bakery opened in 1977 on College Avenue and now has two other storefronts in Oakland. More fan favorite pastries include their frangipane almost croissant and “Swiss twinkie” (puff pastry filled with a roasted nut puree and topped with cinnamon sugar). La Farine also bakes rustic breads, decadent cookies, fruit tarts, and more.

6323 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

4. Wood Tavern

6317 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Wood Tavern is the corner bistro of your dreams — that cozy, neighborhood spot you go back to again and again, knowing the food will never disappoint. A Rockridge favorite for more than a decade, the upscale yet casual American brasserie is always bustling. Simple dishes shine here, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring: the pan-roasted half chicken with with lemon-rosemary jus or the grilled double-cut pork chop, served with a marsala cream sauce, are both good choices. It’s also popular for lunch, with the Niman Ranch burger served on a La Farine baguette, as another standout on the menu.

6317 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

5. Southie

6311 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

A more relaxed, next-door offshoot from the folks at Wood Tavern, this tiny spot is known for its rotating menu of a half a dozen or so large and decadent sandwiches. Try “the Balls,” which stuffs meatballs, marinara, melted provolone, and parmesan into a crisp La Farine baguette, or the Dungeness crab roll, served with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and jalapeño aioli. They’ve also added Southie tacos to the mix, a separate menu of tacos, all-day breakfast burritos, and more. Call ahead for pickup.

6311 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

6. Cole Coffee Cafe

6253 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Rockridge has no shortage of coffee shops, but the neighborhood favorite is undoubtedly Cole Coffee. Serving bold pour-overs way before Philz moved in across the street, this coffee shop is bustling all the time, especially on weekends. The cafe is currently closed but the retail bean shop next door is open.

6253 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

7. Noodle Theory

6099 Claremont Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Sometimes, you just need a big bowl of noodles. And Noodle Theory is there for you. This bright, small corner cafe serves up a variety of bowls, from cold noodles to ramen and curries. Opt for the seared black pepper beef vermicelli salad on a hot day, or indulge in ginger noodles with crushed peanuts, a crowd pleasure. This noodle haven also offer a variety of sides in case you want more, such as the goat cheese and yau choy fried wontons and Chinese five spiced sweet potato fries served with a Thai green curry aioli. It’s currently open for takeout only.

6099 Claremont Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

8. The Golden Squirrel

5940 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

When beloved Barclay’s Pub, which had been in this location for 25 years, moved to a new location, the Rockridge community was sad to see it go. Luckily, this casual, family-friendly spot opened in its place, offering a rotating 24 taps and modern spin on classic pub fare. It is neither a classic American restaurant or a dive bar, but it lands somewhere satisfyingly in the middle.

5940 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

9. Millennium

5912 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Vegans and vegetarians rejoiced when Millennium announced it was moving from SF, where it had operated since 1994, to a new home in Oakland in 2015. Arriving in Rockridge with a refreshed menu of globally inspired, plant-based dishes that satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike, it brought something new to the neighborhood with its upscale yet rustic interior. Choose from a selection of fresh salads, eclectic entrees—the pumpkin tamale is a winner—and  inventive desserts. Wash your meal down with your choice from the cocktail menu, which uses fresh infusions and juices. It’s currently available for takeout and delivery, or four course prix-fixe dinners on the back patio by reservation only.

5912 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

10. Ramen Shop

5812 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

What happens when a trio of Chez Panisse alumni open a Ramen joint? People go wild. That’s what happened back in 2013 when Ramen Shop opened as an instant Oakland staple. Pulling from traditional Japanese methods but using California ingredients, the shop features a rotating selection of ramen (right now, that includes veggie Meyer lemon shoyu and a beef shoyu with smoked brisket and braised oxtail.) Don’t pass over the appetizers or the signature dessert: a sesame ice cream sandwich. Reservations are required for parklet dining, takeout and delivery are available.

5812 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

11. Zachary's Chicago Pizza

5801 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

The secret to Zachary’s success could be its unique, two-dough layer system or the zesty, chunk tomato sauce. If you’re just not into deep dish, you should try it anyway, but they also offer delicious thin-style pizza with a crispy, cornmeal crust. Bonus: the restaurant has been completely employee-owned since 2003. Currently only available for takeout and delivery.

5801 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

12. Cactus Taqueria

5642 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Every neighborhood needs a spot like Cactus Taqueria. While not necessarily the best Mexican in the East Bay, it’s been the neighborhood’s go-to place for cheap, fresh, affordable tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas and other classics for more than a decade. Speaking of tacos, the restaurant is most famous for its crispy corn tortilla shells, which provide a satisfying crunch but are still soft enough to hold everything together. Open for back patio dining, takeout, or delivery.

5642 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

13. Oliveto

5655 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Oliveto, a titan of Italian fare in the Bay Area, is situated in the heart of Rockridge above Market Hall, with large windows giving view to College Avenue. The restaurant is separated into a fine dining experience upstairs and more casual cafe downstairs. The dinner menu is updated daily for both areas, renown for its fresh pastas, grilled meats, and savory roasts. Many more Italian restaurants have opened in the area since Oliveto first opened, but people keep coming back here for more. Open for takeout and delivery.

5655 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

14. Namastey Patio Nepalese and Indian Cuisine

5500 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

The former La Boulangerie’s spacious patio is now home to a restaurant serving Nepalese, Indian, and Himalayan food. That means bhel puri, momos, naan, and vindaloo are all available at once, a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The patio truly is one of the best on College.

5500 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

15. À Côté

5478 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Before small-plate dining became seemingly the only way anyone eats, ever, À Côté was one of the first restaurants to bring the concept to the Bay Area back in 2001. Its safe to say their bet on tapas-style was a good one, and while the idea may not be as unique in 2018, this cozy neighborhood gem continues to impress diners with its seasonal Mediterranean menu that’s served family-style.

5478 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

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16. Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery

5421 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Named after the narrow side streets that make up the city of Bangkok, this chic, modern restaurant serves an extensive menu of elevated Thai classics (think pad Thai, pad see ew, and kao soi) in addition to many more unique dishes, such as the kieow wan talay, squid, shrimp, salmon, eggplant, and zucchini in basil green curry or the panange neur, braised bone-in beef short ribs in Makrut lime leaf curry.

5421 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

17. Belotti Ristorante E Bottega

5403 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Chef Michele Belotti, born and raised in a small town northeast of Milan, brings his love for simple, heartfelt cuisine of his homeland to Rockridge’s vast Italian scene. Honoring traditional methods and using local ingredients to craft an approachable menu where his homemade, soul-warming pasta is the star, standouts include the casoncelli, his mom’s Lombardian-style stuffed pasta with beef, prosciutto, pork shoulder covered in sage brown butter sauce. Belotti also churns out a small selection of impressive entrees, such as the 13-hour slow-cooked suckling pig. You can also now take out fresh pasta from the botega in Piedmont.

5403 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

18. A16

5356 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Rockridge has never lacked for Italian restaurants, so when A16 — with its original outpost in the Marina — announced plans to open here in 2013, many wondered if the neighborhood really needed another. But it’s been a welcome addition to College Avenue, with its rustic-yet-industrial environment, complete with brick walls, a crisp-white marble bar, and wood-fired oven open to the dining room, churning out pizza after pizza. Named after the highway that runs through the Campania region of Italy, which also inspires the cuisine, A16 is known for its fresh pasta, house-cured meats, and those Neapolitan pizzas — served with scissors for you to slice — as well as their extensive wine list.

5356 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

19. Marica Seafood Restaurant

5301 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

Finding a quality seafood restaurant in Oakland is a surprisingly daunting task, so Marica serves an important role in this town. Family operated since 2000, it remains just as popular today, known for its top-notch service and classic dishes including Prince Edward Island mussels soaked in a pernod-shallot butter broth, and seafood stew made with 20-hour lobster-cognac-tomato stock and teeming with scallops, shrimp, and rock cod. Always — always — end your meal here with the German dark chocolate souffle.

5301 College Ave
Oakland, CA 94618

Related Maps