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Dopo report

Miele Maiale | Dec 24, 200312:31 PM

After a longish hiatus from Chowhound, I'm back with news on a great new restaurant: Dopo in Oakland.

Located on Piedmont Ave. (at Echo), Dopo is the creation of Oliveto alums (so says SF Magazine). We were hankering for pizza last night, and thought that it would be the perfect occasion to check out Dopo.

The restaurant is small, and eerily similar in layout to Jojo, down the street. In fact, Jason thought we were at Jojo for the first few minutes (he'd had a long day!). It's a cozy and elegant little space, unfussy and bistrolike with a really stunning flower arrangement for such a tiny space.

We ordered the Antipasti Misto for two, Spaghetti with Braised Monterey Bay Squid, and the Spicy Cauliflower Pizza. All was washed down with nice glasses of earthy valpolicella and dolcetto.

Antipasti Misto ($16.00): Smallish portions (for the price) of fried cardoons and red onions; fennel, orange and olive salad; and crostini with marinated anchovies and parsley sauce. All excellent!! The cardoons alone are reason to go to Dopo. Perfectly fried, and elegantly served on a folded napkin. The crostini was divine, with perfect, meaty anchovies in a puckery, bright sauce. The fennel salad was very good also, but I gravitated towards the warming foods.

Spaghetti with Squid ($13, I think): Again, small portion. Definitely order a big appetizer if this is your entree. Delicious. A bagna cauda like sauce napped perfectly toothsome (but not chewy) squid, and the spaghetti was a delicous textural counterpoint. Definitely the most interesting seafood pasta dish I've had.

Cauliflower pizza: They weren't kidding about the spice. Very competent, but nothing spectacular. I was relived that the crust was a bit more substantial that the ones I've had at Oliveto.

Great wine (I went with the server's recommendations), lovely flowers, sophisticated service. I give this place a huge thumbs up. The only negative was the small food portions.

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