In the last few years, Oakland has seen a boom in casual upscale places to eat, but even at these fancier restaurants the down-to-earth vibe of the city comes through. Chefs we spoke to told us a big part of the appeal of opening in the city is that it's a relatively affordable place for real estate, and that they can really fulfill their vision without compromising. In the case of the first place we went, Russell Moore's Camino, that meant building an enormous wood-burning hearth, stocking the kitchen with whole animals, and having long, dramatic tables in the dining room to fill with people. At Daniel Patterson's Plum, in downtown, it meant doing a late-night menu in addition to lunch and dinner; building a beautiful space with local artists' murals, handblown lampshades, and woodwork; and using extremely high-quality ingredients.
3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland
2214 Broadway, Oakland