The fifth annual Oakland Restaurant Week kicks off Thursday, with more than eighty participating restaurants offering special menus from January 14 to 24. For the budget-minded prix-fixe menu aficionado, it’s the happiest time of the year — especially because Oakland’s annual promotion tends to feature more reasonable prices than its counterparts in larger cities such as New York and San Francisco.
The nature of events like this is that each year’s edition gets voted as the biggest and best one ever, and it’s true that this year’s list of participating restaurants far outshines last year’s total of fifty-plus eateries. That said, the structure of the event remains essentially the same, with restaurants offering a $20, $30, or $40 prix-fixe menu — or, in some cases, one price point for lunch and another for dinner.
With more restaurants to choose from than ever, we thought it would be helpful to offer recommendations for some of the best (and tastiest) food options, at least among restaurants that have posted their Restaurant Week menus online. Berkeley’s Restaurant Week will start a week later, on January 21, with at least 27 restaurants signed up to participate so far.
Our top picks:
5634 College Avenue Oakland, CA 94618
At Lungomare , their mission is to show guests a unique expression of the Northern California foodshed, as interpreted by Chef Craig DiFonzo and their staff. Through support of small local producers, they offer their guests a culinary tour of one of a kind climate and culture. All salumi, pastas, and gelatos are made in house. Chef Craig applies traditional Italian technique to pasture raised meats, seasonal produce, and heirloom grains to create a blend of old world and new. Their tapwine and beer programs let you sample the very best local brewers and vintners, as well as Italy’s finest.
1 Broadway Oakland, CA 94612
“Nido” translates to nest in Spanish. Nido is an inviting space for the local community to enjoy delicious, fresh, farm-to-table Mexican food and drinks. Their commitment is to source the best ingredients and make them as tasty as possible. Their influences span Mexico’s central and Pacific coast. They use California’s produce, so you’ll find lots of vegetable dishes on the menu, too. Nido sources our poultry, pork and beef from producers who raise their animals humanely with no growth hormones or antibiotics. Everything on the menu is made in-house daily, including their famous hand-made corn tortillas and guacamole. Enjoy!
444 Oak St. Oakland, CA 94607
À Côté is a small-plates restaurant in Oakland’s charming Rockridge district. Cozy tables surround large communal tables in both the main dining room and on the sunny patio to create a festive atmosphere. Small plates reflecting the best of seasonal Mediterranean cuisine are served family-style by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Menu items are paired with a carefully chosen selection of over 40 wines by the glass as well as a highly diverse bottled wine menu. Specialty drinks featuring fresh fruits, rare botaniques and fine liqueurs are featured at the bar.
5478 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618
At A16 Rockridge they explore the seafood-rich culture of the Eastern side of the highway. With his deep-rooted Puglian heritage, Chef Rocky Maselli’s cuisine merges the region’s culinary traditions with the bountiful offerings of Northern California. The menu offers a daily selection of antipasti, raw seafood and handmade pastas. The open dining room showcases their two wood-fire ovens from which they produce authentic Neapolitan pizzas and roasted fish and meats.
5356 College Avenue Oakland, CA 94618