Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oakland Eateries Hot and Getting Hotter

If it seems like we're always talking about Oakland's hot, buzz-worthy restaurant and entertainment scene, that's because it just continues to grow. And grow. And grow some more. Local and national media have taken notice of Oakland's distinctive flavor, both in the kitchen and outside of it.

Just within the last month new bars such as Miel, Bar 355, and Room 389 have opened their doors, from Old Oakland to downtown to Lake Merritt.

Miel is a sharp-looking tequila bar adjacent to the restaurant, Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana. It's located on 8th Street, near Broadway. Meanwhile, Bar 355 has taken a charmingly weathered space and updated it into a hip lounge at 19th and Webster streets. And Room 389 gives that stretch of Grand Avenue that hugs Lake Merritt, between Broadway and the Grand Lake Theatre, an inviting and much-needed modern watering hole.

In the meantime, new eateries have opened where Uptown meets Auto Row. Nex is located next to the popular Mua restaurant. Both are across the street from Café RandeVu — yep, that’s how they chose to spell it — a restaurant located at 24th and Broadway. Both Nex and Café RandeVu opened in recent weeks.

Also, new cafes keep opening up on College Avenue in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood, just a few blocks away from where Angelina took the kids shopping when Brad was working at the Coliseum last month. Café Zoe opened in June, and Bica did likewise last week.

These new hot spots only add to a culinary scene that was forged by longtime topnotch mainstays like Bay Wolf, Oliveto, and A Cote.

What's amazing is that all of these new businesses are starting during this deep recession, which has decimated the business communities in other cities. Not Oakland. In this wonderful and underrated city, new eateries and cafes and bars keep opening — and thriving. Or as a restaurant consultant told the Chronicle last week: "Oakland has something special to offer. I don't care what Gertrude Stein said. There is a there there."

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