Oakland Restaurant Week – a great opportunity to check out new (or new to you) restaurants

18 Jan

You know that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try but keep putting off? The one you’ve read amazing reviews about and friends have recommended, but maybe it’s a bit too pricey or in a neighborhood you don’t often frequent. Well next week’s the week to stop procrastinating and to check it out already in honor of Oakland’s first Restaurant Week. San Francisco has had a restaurant week for years, and it’s appropriate that Oakland will finally have one of our own, considering how many incredible restaurants have opened here in the past few years.

The restaurants participating in Restaurant Week are all offering incredible deals from January 23rd-29th. At $20 for lunch or $30-40 for dinner, this is a great opportunity to check out new or new to you restaurants.

You can see the full listing of participating restaurants at the Restaurant Week website, but here are a few of my recommendations from the list:

Bay Wolf – RW Deal: $20 for three-course lunch $30 for three-course dinner BOOK IT

Bay Wolf is one of the better restaurants I’ve been to in Oakland, but maybe because it’s been around for quite some time, it doesn’t seem to have the buzz of the newer restaurants. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.

Encuentro – RW Deal: $30 for one small bite, one bruschetta and one small plate, plus a glass of wine and chocolate truffle

Encuentro is the only vegetarian restaurant participating in Restaurant Week and whether you’re vegetarian or not, I promise you’ll love their food and wine. Plus, the owner’s really friendly and it’s fun to sit at the bar or at one of the tables facing towards their giant windows.

Hibiscus – RW Deal: $30 for four courses and a rum flight BOOK IT

Hibiscus is actually not a place I intend to go back to, at least not for a meal, but it’s not because the quality of food wasn’t excellent (it was). Unfortunately, they have very few vegetarian options. But if you eat meat, please check out this Uptown restaurant that’s a bit off the beaten path but offers more interesting food and is less crowded than Flora.

Monaghans on the Hill

Councilmember Libby Schaaf introduced me to Monaghans, which is in the hills of District 4, and I’m glad she did. The food is delicious, the staff are incredible, and they have a really nice outdoor patio to enjoy on a sunny day.

Plum – RW Deal: $40 for four courses

This barely needs mentioning, since I’m sure you’ve been to Plum, are planning a trip there, or are sick of hearing about it. But $40 for four courses there is too good of a deal to pass up so I thought I’d highlight it. (Stay tuned for my Plum review, hopefully this week, and for now enjoy this photo of my favorite dish I ate there.)


Sidebar has somehow fallen off my rotation, but as you can see in my review shortly after they opened, I love this place.

Spice Monkey – RW Deal: $30 for four courses and a glass of wine

Looking for a more casual meal? Spice Monkey is your place. I’ve always loved the architecture of this building, which used to house an Indian restaurant, and Spice Monkey has done a great job accenting the architecture with rotating artwork. The food is dependably good, particularly the salads and soup. I’ve also heard that the pork sandwich is amazing.

Yoshi’s – RW Deal: $30 for four course dinner in the Dining Room BOOK IT

Most people think of Yoshi’s as a place to see and hear live jazz, which it is, but it also is one of the best Japanese restaurants in the Bay Area. Everything I’ve had at Yoshi’s has been perfect or close to it, but whatever you do, you absolutely must try the garlic soy edamame, which I could probably eat five servings of.

Those are my recommendations. Let me know if there are any other restaurants that pop out to you that I should try. I hope you participate in and enjoy Oakland’s first Restaurant Week – I know I will!


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