Tag Archives: Barlata

A night out in Temescal

13 Apr

On Saturday night, I hopped on the bus and met up with some friends for dinner and a night out in Temescal. Now it wasn’t too long ago that you really couldn’t do this unless you had reservations or wanted to wait more than an hour because the only real options for a sit down dinner were Pizzaiolo and Dona Tomas. Last summer, Marc 49 opened and changed that, and now we’re lucky to have Barlata in the neighborhood.

We arrived at Barlata at 6:30, and the restaurant was half full. Our group was seated at one end of the long community table, which takes up a third of the restaurant. Our dinner was excellent. We quickly ordered a bottle of white wine and a couple of dishes, and then slowly ordered more dishes as the night went on. I was incredibly impressed by how quickly food was served – I think our salad came less than a minute after we ordered it! And everything we ordered was delicious. My favorites were the romaine salad, which I devoured, and the vegetable paella, which got me thinking that I should make a paella sometime. I’ll leave the detailed food reviews to City Homestead, but suffice it to say that everyone in our party was more than satisfied. Also, the bill came out to be much less than we expected – even with wine and a generous tip, we made it out of there for less than $30 per person, which was very reasonable considering the amount of food we ate.


The delicous vegetable paella at Barlata.

By about 8pm, Barlata was full, and since we were finished eating, we decided to give up our seats and head a couple doors down to Marc 49. I had been to Marc 49 a few times before, but somehow I had never gone all the way back to their outdoor “room”.  And now that I have, I can’t imagine sitting anywhere else. It’s a great space that’s entirely covered in wood planks – floor, walls, and ceilings. It was a bit warm for my taste, with strong heating lamps, but everyone else in my party loved that. We lounged in wicker chairs with very comfortable cushions in front of a table that was made out of a wine barrel. The space itself is huge – big enough to fit a large group, or several.

Feeling very full already, we skipped the food and went straight to the wine. One of my favorite things about Marc 49 is that you get to create your own flights of wine from their fairly extensive wine list. I got a flight of local whites, and all of them were delicious. Of course, I don’t remember the names of any of them, and their online wine list is terribly outdated so that’s no help to me either. You’ll just have to go down there and create a flight that suits your tastes.

As we were sitting in the back of Marc 49, sipping wine, I started to reflect on how great Temescal has become. I turned to a friend of mine who grew up in Temescal and started grilling her about the history. What had Marc 49 been? How about Barlata? She tried, but came up blank, saying that clearly nothing memorable had been there. As for the popular restaurants across the street – she thinks they were a grocery store and a hardware store, which is strange to imagine.

I realized that though I’ve lived in North Oakland for several years and know very well what it is now, I have very little perspective on what it used to be like. So I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’ve lived in the East Bay for a long time, what was Temescal like, before the hip restaurants and wine bars moved in?

First Friday Adventures

2 Apr

We all know about the art murmur, which is a great way to spend the first Friday evening of the month, but this first Friday, there are lots of other options to get out and enjoy Oakland, especially if art galleries aren’t your favorite place to hang out. Here are some adventures you can take tomorrow night:

Adventure 1: Celebrating Bikes & Small Bites in Temescal

Tip Top Bike Shop is turning 2, and to celebrate the store’s birthday, they’re having a party, complete with cake, music and beer. But it gets better than that – though the party is free, they’ll be accepting donations, all to benefit Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. The party starts at 6pm at their shop at 4800A Telegraph, and you can find out more details at WOBO’s blog. Once you’ve had your fill of cake and bike talk, head across the street to Barlata, the recently opened but already popular Spanish tapas bar. I’ve yet to go there, but City Homestead gave it a great review (A-, which is pretty much as high as her ratings go). Stop in to have some wine and nibble on small plates. When you’re done, hop on your bike or the 1 bus to get home.

Adventure 2: A Night at the Museum

Can I just say that I love the trend of museums staying open at night? And tomorrow night, the Oakland Museum of California will be open after hours, from 5-9pm, as it is every first Friday. Swing by 1000 Oak Street to catch a lecture, enjoy some jazz, watch a movie, or just wander the museum. But 9pm is far too early to end a Friday night, so afterward, walk three blocks up Oak Street to 14th to grab a drink at Ruby Room.

Adventure 3: A Classic Evening in Uptown

Every other Friday, the Paramount screens classic movies for only $5! Tomorrow, they’ll be showing An American in Paris, featuring Gene Kelly as an ex-G.I. who just wants to paint (and, of course, dance). Catch the movie at 7pm, and when you’re done, head from Broadway to Telegraph to check out the Den at the Fox Theater. The Den is the bar attached to the Fox, which is open to the public (without paying for a show). The space is gorgeous, filled with sofas, tables, and a piece of the ceiling from decades ago that’s apparently fake (but still nice to look at). My favorite parts are looking out the windows on the second floor and checking out the old switchboard, which is still very much in tact. Grab a cocktail or a bite to eat and enjoy being transported back to the 1920s for an evening. And while you’re gazing out the window, see if you can imagine any more uses for the empty lot across the street.